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Monthly Archives: April 2018

Readers’ app photos

The Nut. Picture: Bree Howe. Six-month-old Macy Poke, of Wynyard, ready to go and watch her dad, Dane, beat the demons on Saturday. Picture: Kendall Poke.
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Callum Guard

Spring time on the West. Picture: Melanie Hay.

Spring fling. Picture: Ashley French.

Paul Murphy

Ashley French

Table Cape. Picture: Daryl Dick.

Jan Dicker.

Charlie and Spencer at East Wynyard beach enjoying the sun. Picture: Lisa-Jayne Scolyer.

Jessica Huggins

K Bourke

Cradle Mountain. Picture: Lauren Baly.

Submit your photos via The Advocate iPhone app (download it from the iTunes store), or The Advocate’s Android app download it through your phone’s search engine using this website link.

First tulip of spring. Picture: Lisa-Jane Scolyer.

Ulverstone. Picture: Callum Guard.

Burnie beach. Picture: Paul Murphy.

We decided to have a look up at Brushy Lagoon with our three children, Keishia, Olivia and Elliott. We had no fishing gear but a few nice fishing people asked if our children wanted to fish and lent us their rods. Within 10 minutes they bagged one each, all big. Thanks to the friendly people we met, made our day and supplied our tea for a week. Picture: Rodney Thomas.

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

Why the number five could cut down the bills

Illustration: Robin Cowcher.When householders hand Lara Olsen their electricity bills, they watch her with nervous eyes. ”We’ve spent lots of time doing residential energy assessments,” says Ms Olsen, from Energy Return.
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”Everyone asks, ‘Is this normal?’ Some look at you as though they’ve received a test result and they’re handing it to a doctor. They’ve paid it for the past 20 years, but never really had a chance to read it and understand what it means. Using as much electricity as we like is something we’ve taken for granted. But I think that’s changing.”

But that change won’t necessarily mean lower bills or less brown-coal electricity. If you visit the Energy Made Easy website (set up by the Australian Energy Regulator), you can type in your postcode, together with the number of people who live in your home, and find out the seasonal average electricity use in your area. Electricity retailers are now required to provide this information on bills too.

It’s a nifty site, but Ms Olsen says just stating the mean isn’t good enough. Average household energy consumption is skewed: it’s pushed up by a relatively small number of very high consumers. And that means we’re creating a social norm that’s higher than the typical home, and much higher than an efficient one.

”At the moment, that benchmark is the average and the majority of people actually use less than the average,” she says. “If this information keeps going out as it is, we will create the social licence to consume more.”

Energy Return has been working with the Moreland Energy Foundation and several councils in Melbourne’s north (and the Horsham Rural City Council) to test a better target.

The councils are part of the Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action. From now until November, they are piloting the ”Go 5” campaign, which promotes a target of five kilowatt-hours per person per day (for households with gas).

”We’re helping people think about their individual energy use,” says Judy Bush, executive officer of the alliance. ”But we’re also creating targets and benchmarks for this region. We’re saying, this is what you and your neighbours could all be aiming for.”

The councils are testing tactics, from community workshops to publicity campaigns. Some will focus on ”bill busting” and others on using new metering portals to understand how we use electricity.

In Nillumbik Shire, the ”Watts your power 3099?” campaign will encourage householders to set their own energy targets, based on five kilowatt-hours per person per day, and offer prizes and incentives for those who take part.

For most people, it isn’t a stretch target. Ms Bush, for example, says she uses ”dramatically less than that” in her two-person household.

But, as with the Target 155 campaign on water, they picked a number that is achievable, rather than intimidating.

Ms Bush says the pilot campaign will help her team analyse whether ”Go 5” is the right goal, and also whether people will continue to cut their bills, even if they reach the magic number.

The target is harder for a one-person household than for a family of five, so larger households could comfortably aim much lower. ”The more people you have in a household the more efficient it gets per person, because you’re spreading the use of appliances, like fridges and heating, across more people,” she says.


Links: energyreturn南京夜网.au naga南京夜网.au/climate-change-action/energy-use-data.htmlenergymadeeasy.gov.au mefl南京夜网.au

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

TV host’s $1.75m home snapped up

Dominic Lopresti found bidding was keen for his Pyrmont apartment. Forge Group boss David Simpson will be hoping for similar interest when his Collaroy home goes to auction at the end of the month.
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The television presenter and radio host Glenn Wheeler and his wife, Michelle, sold their home at Caringbah in the Sutherland shire for $1.75 million on Wednesday.

The property was snapped up after only 10 days on the market through Highland Property agents David Highland and Laura McKay.

Designed for family living and entertaining, the two-storey residence was listed for auction in early October with price expectations of more than $1.6 million. With views of Burraneer Bay, the modern four-bedroom house stands high above Grandview Parade on an elevated 796 sqm block with a swimming pool.

The couple extensively renovated the house after buying it for $775,000 in 1999. Wheeler appears daily on Channel Seven’s The Morning Show. He also hosts a radio talk show on 2GB 873 on Saturday evenings, and runs a sales and marketing business.

Lots of licks in bidding

Last weekend a Darling Island apartment in Pyrmont owned by Dominic Lopresti, a co-founder of the gelato chain Gelatissimo, and his publicist wife, Carlii, sold at auction through Morton & Morton agent James Crow. Three parties registered to bid at the on-site auction of the two-bedroom two-bathroom apartment with a waterside balcony and point blank harbour views.

Auctioneer Damien Cooley accepted an opening bid of $1.65 million, and after 13 bids from two parties, his hammer fell at $1.76 million. The apartment was last traded for $1.51 million in July 2008. The Loprestis, who are expecting their second child, intend to upgrade to a family home. Until recently Carlii was the publicist for supermodel Miranda Kerr. The Lopresti family’s first Gelatissimo store opened in 2002, and the chain has grown worldwide.

Adding another nought

A Woollahra home offered by the Stephens family sold for $6 million last week through Kim Jones and Kate McCullagh of Di Jones Real Estate. Set on a 1365 sqm block in Edgecliff Road, the seven-bedroom house was bought for $121,500 in 1968 from the entrepreneur Harry M.Miller.

Designed by the architect F. Glynn Gilling and built in 1927 for a judge, Allan Maxwell, and his wife, Sadie, the house is accessed by a driveway shared with other homes including one owned by the fashion designer Carla Zampatti.

Paddo address

Fashion retailer Jane Jasper has

listed her Paddington terrace for October 13 auction through the BresicWhitney agent Simon Doak. The Brown Street property, which was last traded for $1,055,000 in 2003, is expected to sell for more than $1.3 million. The renovated terrace has three double bedrooms, two bathrooms, connected sitting and dining rooms and a modern stainless steel kitchen. Jasper owns the Land’s End women’s clothing boutique at Fiveways in Glenmore Road, Paddington.

Gone west

David Simpson, managing director of the mining services company Forge Group, and his wife, Laura, have listed their northern beaches home in Collaroy for a September 29 auction with expectations of about $2.45 million through Jo Morrison of Century 21 Read Essery & Witt.

Their decision to sell the Hilma Street property follows their recent move to Western Australia. They bought the property for $2.6 million in January 2010 from the Channel Seven television presenter Johanna Griggs, host of the Logie-winning Better Homes and Gardens, and her husband, Todd Huggins.

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

Hands on: Borderlands sequel is bigger and better

Borderlands 2 has improved on the narrative and gameplay of the original.Gearbox Software co-founder Randy Pitchford walks Calum W. Austin through the upcoming Borderlands 2 to see what it takes to survive on Pandora 5 years on.
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870 gazillion. That’s how many guns Borderlands 2 proudly claims to offer players. It might seem like a far-fetched claim: how could a development team have time to develop more guns than a player could ever hope to see in a game? Well Gearbox, the creators of the Borderlands franchise, have cracked the combination of absurdity, outrageous design and endless variety that few other games can imitate to give the player more death-dealing choice than they could ever need. Gearbox gets so many weapons into their game by procedurally generating the guns as they go — a system that means even the developers haven’t seen every instance of outlandish ordnance on offer.

But when we get down to it, this is what makes the Borderlands games so successful and such a surprise hit with gamers. They’re soaked in surreal characters and stories that perfectly mirror the alien-balls-to-the-wall combat and cel-shaded design. I got to sit down with Randy Pitchford, founder and president of Gearbox Software, to discuss what makes Borderlands so well-loved and how the sequel takes it up a few gazillion notches.

The first Borderlands was a complete surprise when it was released. After halting development mid-way to pursue a cel-shaded art style (concept images of the original, bland design are available online) and a maniacal attitude, Borderlands 1 was well-received by players and critics alike. The combination of light role-playing elements, frantic action and mountains of loot were a refreshing change for the first-person shooter market and gamers instantly embraced it.

You played as one of the vault hunters — a group of four mercenaries who arrive on the planet Pandora (no relation to James Cameron’s Smurf village) seeking fame, fortune and carnage. Pandora is a brutish, post-industrial wasteland filled with violent wildlife and even more violent humans.

Without giving too much away, the vault hunters find what they are looking for after killing everything in a hundred kilometre radius. Story was never the focus in Borderlands and the plot was tenuously strung together. It’s enough to propel you from one environment to another.

In Borderlands 2 you play as a new set of vault hunters, five years after the events of the first game, are looking to stop the self-made dictator, Handsome Jack. Again, the story is secondary to the gameplay, but the sequel looks to have at least an improved plot that gives a more lasting, satisfying experience.

Pitchford stressed the fact that improvement was the name of the game on Borderlands 2: “Everything from the interface to the crispness of the graphics, the detail and the sophistication of the AI and the variety of the environments, challenges, enemies and loot has been improved. And then there’s all these new features and systems that have been brought into it. It’s not just about systems — it’s about technology too. It’s quite an improvement.”

The enigmatic Pitchford is known for waxing lyrical about his upcoming projects, but his enthusiasm for Borderlands seems to be well-founded.

From my hands-on time with the game, the improvements range from vast to more subtly implemented. What’s immediately obvious is how far the graphics have come. Cel-shaded games usually take longer to look outdated because of their art style, but Borderlands 2 looks positively beautiful compared to the original. The interface is also far more intuitive and navigating your vast pile of loot is much less confusing than previously.

But as with the first game, the role-playing aspect takes a back seat to the explosive action. The guns I saw were much more distinct than before, with an outlandish number of varieties to each style of weapon. The gun-play is where the changes seem more subtle. The experience will be instantly familiar to fans, but the whole control scheme seems more fluid.

As in Borderlands 1, you start the game with a choice of four characters, each with their own distinct skills that need upgrading. As each class has a special ability, much of your time in the game will be spent playing to their strengths. Should you choose Salvador, the Gunzerker, you will be able to dual-wield any two weapons in the game, regardless of physics or common sense. Axton, the commando, carries a portable gun turret that can be thrown down to mow through the inhabitants of Pandora or upgraded to produce a nuclear explosion as it deploys. Lillith has telekinetic “phase” abilities that allows her to suspend enemies in the air with dangerous purple space-magic. Finally Zero, the assassin, rounds out the group with the more subtle power of invisibility and a great big sword.

Each of the characters is tailored for a different style of play and players will surely have a blast finding out which is best for them. Even though fans of the original will notice some similarities in these characters, Pitchford is proud of the improvements made to the classes. “The first thing we did was create new characters so it felt fresh,” he says. “There’s some things we wanted to iterate and perfect, but there’s other things that we’ve decided it would be fun to do something completely new. I think that these are intelligent decisions and they offer new experiences and new gameplay while still having a relationship and connectivity to the original game.”

Regardless of whether you’ve played the original or not, the new characters have been vastly improved over the previous ones and exploring all their ridiculous powers is appealing enough. That’s before you even consider the new varieties of enemies, environments and vehicles that round out the rest of the game.

Nor will you be blasting your way through Pandora alone. As with the first game, the entire campaign is co-operative. Playing with friends is the way Borderlands is meant to be experienced, and will keep you from feeling murder-fatigue — a problem towards the latter half of the original.

The first Borderlands was well known for its surprisingly good story-based downloadable content. From the horror-inspired Zombie Island of Dr Ned to the manic Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution, the quality of the stories Gearbox produced vastly improved after the release of the original game. Pitchford acknowledges this and admits it’s a process of refinement.

“With Borderlands 1, we did some DLC that not only allowed us to explore other ideas but practice our storytelling. The narratives were stronger because we got better at making stories, but we also got better at making Borderlands. We had a lot of passion and momentum when we finished that game and in Borderlands 2, I feel that more than ever.”

Pitchford also briefly touched on Gearbox’s desire to create more content. “We have begun development for some [story] DLC for Borderlands 2. We haven’t announced anything yet, we’re still figuring out our plans.”

Borderlands 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s not trying to. Gearbox is intent on delivering the same experience that made the original game a cult classic but with far more content and a desire to improve nearly every aspect of gameplay. With the inevitable DLC on its way and a vast wealth of content available to players at launch, it’s easy to see why Pitchford is so confident.

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

On-field stars shine brighter than the desk jockeys

IF the ARL Commission was prepared to pay $1.5 million for AFL deputy Gillon McLachlan to become chief executive, how much are the game’s biggest stars worth?
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Not just those playing in the NRL now, but others who could be enticed from rival codes.

A CEO doesn’t put bums on seats or inspire kids to play the game but Buddy Franklin playing for the Storm would – especially in Melbourne.

Imagine the interest next season if Penrith also signed Kurtley Beale, Wests Tigers lured Kieran Jack from Sydney Swans, the Warriors poached All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg and the Broncos snared Quade Cooper.

Sonny Bill Williams’s impending return to the NRL has sparked a season long campaign by the Bulldogs to host Sydney Roosters in the opening but the Kiwi superstar won’t receive an extra cent for helping to fill ANZ Stadium.

In AFL players with drawing power have a “marketing” component of their contract paid by the code’s governing body, while each club is allowed a salary cap exemption to sign one player from another sport.

It is why GWS’s Israel Folau and Tom Scully, Gold Coast Suns pair Karmichael Hunt and Gary Ablett and Carlton captain Chris Judd are all paid $1 million or more per season to play AFL.

While there has been criticism of Folau’s performances in his first season with GWS, the Herald reported last Saturday  that three in every four numbered Giants jerseys sold have his No.4 on the back.

According to salary estimates contained in the same article, Folau earns $1.5 million, Scully is paid $1.8 million, Ablett receives $1.7 million and Hunt and Judd are on $1 million contracts.

Unfortunately, details of player contracts are not publicly listed as they are in US sports – a concept that shows kids what they can aspire to and reduces salary cap cheating – but there is no doubt that NRL stars are the poor cousins of Australia’s four football codes.

At a time when the A-League is trumpeting Sydney FC’s signing of Italian star Alessandro Del Piero on a two-year deal worth $4 millon, NRL headlines are focused on the race between Greg Inglis and Johnathan Thurston to become the code’s first $1 million player.

But surely after the ARLC’s new $1 billion broadcast deal, which is set to be topped up by a further $200 million from New Zealand television and online and mobile rights, the players should be earning more.

After all, those figures equate to $240 million per year – a virtual tripling of the previous $500 million, six-year deal which expires at the end of this season.

In comparison, the salary cap is set to rise from $4.3 million to $5 million next season and there is speculation it could then increase to $6 million in 2014 and up to $7.2 million by the end of the five-year broadcast deal.

That represents a 60 per cent increase, meaning the likes of Inglis and Thurston could expect to be earning little more than $1.1 million in 2017 if their current $700,000 per season contracts were to rise by the same percentage.

Yet at the same time, the ARLC is believed to have been prepared to more than double the salary of the game’s chief executive from David Gallop’s $700,000 per year contract to lure McLaughlin from the AFL.

Such a move would put the ARLC at odds with most major sporting competitions around the world such as the NFL, NBA and EPL, in which adminstrators earn far less than stars such as Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant and Fernando Torres.

Instead, the ARLC would be better served by encouraging clubs to raid the ranks of AFL and rugby union through a similar salary cap expemption that last month prompted West Coast Eagles to consider recruiting Australian Boomers star Mark Worthington.

Folau, Hunt, Setanta O’hAilpin (hurling), Lachlan Keeffe (football) and Mark Blicavs (athletics) were all recruited under the rule that allows clubs to sign athletes outside the salary cap if they have not played in any AFL-affiliated competition for more than three years.

Cashed up from the new broadcast deal, the ARLC could not only hit back at AFL but potentially decimate rugby union by introducing such as rule as the likes of Beale, Cooper, James O’Connor and Berrick Barnes all have league backgrounds and are known to be keen to play in the NRL.

A possible list of recruits from rival codes would be:

* Buddy Franklin (Storm): big, fast and athletic Hawthorn forward who has been compared to Jamal Idris.

* Quade Cooper (Broncos): Wallabies five-eighth with Benji Marshall-type skills.

* Israel Folau (Eels): former Storm and Broncos star who grew up alongside Jarryd Hayne.

* Kurtley Beale (Panthers): Wallablies fullback and former Souths junior raised in Penrith.

* Keiran Jack (Tigers): son of Balmain great Garry Jack and a league junior.

* Digby Ioane (Titans): Wallabies winger who came through the Melbourne Storm junior ranks before moving to Queensland.

* Karmichael Hunt (Knights): played his league under Wayne Bennett at the Broncos before becoming first NRL star to switch to AFL.

* Berrick Barnes (Cowboys): only left the Broncos to bide his time until Darren Lockyer retired but became a Wallabies star.

* Israel Dagg (Warriors): All Blacks and Crusaders fullback who has become New Zealand’s latest pin-up boy.

* James O’Connor (Dragons): Electrifying Wallabies back who would be ideally suited to the NRL

* Liam Messam (Rabbitohs): All Blacks forward who previously attracted interest from Wests Tigers and is considered similar to Glenn Stewart.

* David Pocock (Raiders): Wallabies captain and the only Australian forward likely to make the transition to the NRL.

* Owen Farrell (Sea Eagles): the 20-year-old son of former Wigan captain Andy Farrell plays in the centres for England’s rugby union team.

* Rene Ranger (Bulldogs): Blues winger whose strength and speed has many believing he would be the best suited New Zealander for a code switch.

* Chris Ashton (Sharks): prolific try-scorer for England rugby union team who began his career at fullback or wing with Wigan.

* Sonny Bill Williams (Roosters): will return to the NRL next season after proving himself to be one of the best rugby union in the world.

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

Police confident Sydney protests won’t be emulated in Victoria

Victoria Police believe Melbourne will not witness the sort of Islamic protests that were held in Sydney at the weekend, but has formed a contingency plan to ensure police are ready.
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Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright said police intelligence suggested there was little reason for authorities to believe trouble could happen within Victoria’s Muslim population.

But he conceded police command had large numbers of officers at the ready round the clock.

“We’re quite confident what we’ve seen there won’t occur in Victoria,” he said.

“Any sort of violent behaviour of this nature, any sort of violent protest, we’re prepared to deal with and we’ve demonstrated quite recently that we can get numbers to the ball quite quickly.

“Make no mistake, if people do intend on taking on this sort of action we’ll be acting quickly and firmly.”

Mr Cartwright said police were in regular discussions with Islamic leaders across Melbourne and was confident that they would notify authorities if they sensed any trouble.

He said Victoria had a long history of community involvement with policing and was a world leader on multicultural issues.

But Mr Cartwright conceded there was a risk that the events in Sydney – where Islamic protesters rioted against police – could prompt incidents of violence against Muslims elsewhere.

He said Victoria police would continue to monitor events in Sydney but was unaware of any looming protests in Melbourne.

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

Camberwell’s mixed fortunes in hockey grand finals

CAMBERWELL Hockey Club claimed two premierships at the weekend, but not the one it most coveted, going down to Greensborough in men’s state league 1.
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Camberwell went down 6-4 to the minor premiers at the State Netball Hockey Centre.

Camberwell got off to a good start, creating plenty of opportunities to take an early 2-0 lead. ButGreensborough was always going to come back and scored five goals in seven minutes.

Camberwell’s men’s thirds won Pennant B against Footscray. The women’s Pennant B side won its grand final against Greensborough.

Roosters ramble on

There was more action at the Spinners and Weavers Club than at the football in a lack-lustre preliminary final at Mannum.
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It was knit one, pearl one, that got the blood flowing because the footy didn’t.

The late withdrawal of gun defender “Harry” Wait who failed a fitness test on the morning of the game rocked the Imperial camp who went into a knockout final with a depleted side.

No Wait, no Davey, no Kowald and all of a sudden it was no hope.

Four under 17.5 players in Lui DeMichele, Jacob Rance, Dylan Hollitt and Braydon Dalitz all played and they elevated Justin Sumner and it was probably the most inexperienced Imperial team that has ever been fielded in a major final.

The Blues had a crack in the first half but it was only a matter of time before the Roosters cracked them open and they went through into the grand final with a comfortable 43-point win.

The upside of this loss is the steak sandwiches on Saturday will the best ever as Imperials have plenty of staff to cook them.

Matthew Thompson has been the catalyst for the Rambler revival in recent weeks.

Coach Mark Dougall has moved him from the back half and he now has a more attacking role and penetrates deep into the forward zone and with Ben Gogel, Mathew Altmann and the run and carry of Patrick O’Neil it gives the Roosters a multi-pronged attack and they had to many scoring options available compared to Imperials.

Imperials had three goal on the board at half-time with Jamie Honnor and Luke Harrowfield their only forwards who looked like scoring.

Ramblers just strangled them and for Imperials to close to within four goals at the halfway point of the last term gave their supporters a glimmer of hope, but the Roosters piled on a couple of quick goals to snuff out that challenge.

If you can’t get your best on the park at the business end of the season you pay the price and unfortunately this happened with Imperials.

Ramblers got the money but how impressive were they.

They need to improve 10 goals to test the Tigers who are hungry for success having not drank from the premiership cup since 1994.

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

Transformation celebration for VERTO

LOCAL dignitaries, members of the business community and staff have come together to celebrate the transformation of Central West Community Collage into VERTO.
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“We have been apart of the Lithgow Community for a long time and it was great to be able to celebrate this change with the people who have worked with and supported our organisation over the years,” Team leader Jodie Meek said.

The official celebration was held at the VERTO Lithgow office September 6.

Vice President of the VERTO Board of Directors Sue Graves spoke about the transformation of the organisation over the last 30 years and how it had grown from being a small regional evening college located in Bathurst to a much larger and more diverse organisation which has more then 240 staff and 26 sites across NSW.

And according to VERTO CEO Bernadett O’Connor the organisation continues to grow.

“It’s been a big year for us.

“Along with the name change, we were awarded expanded contracts to provide more employment and apprenticeship services across our existing footprint and also won a new contract to deliver apprenticeship services in Sydney Market.”

In Lithgow the not-for-profit organisation supports thousands of people and businesses every year though its employment, apprenticeships, training, disability support and tenancy advice services.

Senior staff and board members got together for the relaunch

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Boroondara stars in squad for NZ

THE VAFA U18 squad for the tour of New Zealand has been announced with several Boroondara players selected. The team travels to New Zealand on October 6.
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A full list of the team, coached by Old Xaverians U19 coach Tom Maule, can be viewed at