Monthly Archives: April 2019

EDITORIAL: Alarms and other devices not working with broadband

FROM any angle, Australia’s National Broadband Network is a massive technological and engineering undertaking.

Given the sheer complexity of the task, it is a testament to all involved that things are running as smoothly as they are. While things are not perfect, most of the problems brought to the Newcastle Herald’s attention in recent times have concerned delays to connection, or problems with intermittent or difficult-to-solve faults.

Buta situation brought to light by Eleebana retiree Ida Harris highlights a potentially major problem with the compatibility of equipment. Mrs Harris has a back-to-base alarm fitted with a medical distress button, neither of which have worked since the NBN was connected to her Eleebana house last month.

It has cost Mrs Harris $600 to fix the problem, and she is speaking out not because of the expense,but because she is concerned that other people –especially older people like herself –may have no idea of the problems they are about to encounter when the NBN comes their way.

In its response to the Herald, the NBN says it has been working with the medical alarm industry for six years about “the introduction of new technology which may not be compatible with some of their existing devices”.

Or, to put it more simply, older analogue alarms do not work on a digital broadband system. The fact that a major alarm manufacturer like Chubb is recommending to its customers that they use mobile phone technology –rather than the NBN –in connection with their back-to-base and medical alarms indicates that the problem appears to have been sidestepped rather than solved outright.

The important issue here is not that old devices do not work on new systems: that is hardly a surprise. But all players in this field need to be upfront about the challenges of a technology that is being introduced to the general public as a mandatory improvement.

After all, wireless and satellite solutions were only supposed to be needed in areas where the NBN cables could not be economically rolled out. To find that something as basic as a home alarm or a personal medical alert needs a mobile phone to operate in the middle of a city is not the sort of outcome that most people would expect from an $80 billion broadband network.

ISSUE: 38,384

Queanbeyan teen charged over death of 10-year-old brother

A teenager has been charged over the death of his 10 year old brotherA 15-year-old Queanbeyan boy has been charged with assault causing the death of his brother.

The incident allegedly occurred earlier this year, about 2pm on May 23. In the 15-year-old’s version of events, he said he was woken by two of his siblings, aged 10 and 3, playing. He heard his mother rousing on the playing pair, and he “had some words” with them.

Court documents allege the 15-year-old was cranky. He grabbed hold of the 10-year-old’s wrist and punched him in the ribs. The younger boy attempted to get away when the 15-year-old allegedly pushed him, causing the boy to hit his head on the corner of the door frame.

Their mother called Triple 0 after coming out of the bathroom to find her son unresponsive on the floor. She and the 15-year-old commenced CPR. The ambulance arrived and paramedics said the child was unresponsive, without a pulse and not breathing. They took over CPR from the mother and about 25 minutes later managed to recover a weak, intermittent pulse but the child was still not able to breathe without assistance.

The boy was taken to Canberra Hospital and police were informed that his condition was serious and suspected a poor prognosis. Court documents state police observed visible injuries on the 10-year-old.

Two days later, the boy’s life support system was turned off and he was pronounced dead.

According to court documents, the 15-year-old initially lied to police about his version events, telling police his siblings were playing on the table in the kitchen when the 10-year-old slipped and fell.

Two days after the boy’s life support system was turned off, the 15-year-old admitted to assaulting his brother causing his death, police documents stated.

He was arrested and charged, and appeared in court for the first time in May. He was granted bail on strict conditions and has not entered a plea.

Police documents state the young person appeared to be remorseful and was grieving the loss of his brother. The young boy explained he lied on the first occasion because he was fearful of the ramifications.

He is due to reappear before the Queanbeyan Children’s Court in December.

The young boy appeared in court on Tuesday on an unrelated matter.

World Cup of Golf: Graeme McDowell tips Adam Scott, Marc Leishman to star

Graeme McDowell is hoping for plenty of Irish support. Photo: Sebastian CostanzoGraeme McDowell believes Adam Scott and Marc Leishman can ride a wave of homegrown support to a World Cup of Golf crown but says the extra noise from the galleries could lead to added expectation on the fairways of Kingston Heath.

The Ulsterman will partner with Shane Lowry for the teams event in Melbourne starting on November 24 and won’t be surprised if a generous helping of Irish supporters come out of the woodwork to cheer them around the famous sandbelt course.

Even so, the 37-year-old knows Scott and Leishman will get the lion’s share of the backing in the 56-player field, although that could be a double-edged sword in the mixed format event that features pairs from 28 nations.

He remembers fan group “the Fanatics” from the 2013 event at Royal Melbourne, won by the Australian pairing of Scott and Jason Day, and wants to make sure he and Lowry are in the mix on Sunday to try and leverage the atmosphere for themselves.

“I think if we get a chance to play with the Aussie boys, it’ll obviously be great fun, great bit of banter. We’ll probably get a pretty good turnout with the Irish down there, as well. Certainly the few times I’ve been down, plenty of Irish in Melbourne,” McDowell said.

“I think Shane and I will probably get quite a lot of support, but again, nothing compared to what Scottie and Leishman will get. There is no doubt the home support and the home crowds can obviously give you the energy and buoy you a little bit, but it can also bring the expectation levels, as well.

“It’s always a tough balancing act when you’re playing at home. Scottie is obviously well used to it, plays a lot of golf down there, and one of the best players in the world. One of my favourite golf swings in the world.

“Like I say, hopefully we can get a chance to play with the boys late on Sunday and have some fun out there with the crowds.”

McDowell hasn’t won since the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico, where he returns this week to defend his title before his swing Down Under later in the month. Leishman will also line up in that field.

His drop in form has seen him slip to 81 in the world (he was as high as four in 2011) but he firmly believes the turnaround is near and expects much bigger returns in 2017, perhaps using the World Cup as a springboard back to shape.

And the recent win of 47-year-old Queenslander Rod Pampling, who broke a decade-long run of PGA Tour outs with victory in Las Vegas, has shown him it’s not just a young man’s game, even if he concedes to feeling like an elder statesman as the twenty-somethings dominate the top 10 rankings.

“In their early to mid-20s these guys are great athletes and are really prepared to win the best tournaments in the world so perhaps the mid-30s isn’t the prime of your career any more,” McDowell said.

“Then you look at guys like Rod Pampling and you see guys playing well into their 40s and even into their 50s.

“Golf is one of those sports where if you stay healthy and, even more importantly, if you stay mentally hungry and fresh and motivated, you can play well for as long as you want.”

Pampling will be part of the field for the Australian Open in Sydney from November 17 but defending champion Matt Jones has withdrawn in an effort to retain his PGA Tour card in the US.

Scott (world No.6) and American Jordan Spieth (world No.5) headline the open field at Royal Sydney, while Scott and Pampling will also head to Royal Pines for the Australian PGA Championship after the World Cup.

Super Netball: Sam Poolman takes Giant leap into the unknown

SHINING LIGHT: Newcastle’s only Super Netball representative, Sam Poolman, at National Park netball courts on Tuesday afternoon. Picture: Michael ParrisNewcastle netballer Sam Poolman will step into the unknown in February when her fledgling Giants side take on Sydney rivals the Swifts in the first round of the new Super Netball competition.

The 25-year-old defender will be the only Hunter player inAustralia’s new domestic league, and she is unsure what to expect of the eight franchises who make up the competition.

The five Australian teams from the defunct trans-Tasman league, the Adelaide Thunderbirds, Melbourne Vixens, NSW Swifts, Queensland Firebirds and West Coast Fever, will join new sides the GWS-backed Giants, Collingwood Magpies and Melbourne Storm-linked Sunshine Coast Lightning in the competition.

“Our main goal is to make the grand final, and we will work hard to make that happen, but I guess, in terms of the league, it’s a new league,” Poolman said on Tuesday during a visit to her old stomping ground at National Park.

“Obviously in the off-season, with those three new teams, there was a lot of player movement. Now the teams that were stronger in the past, it’s all unknown now.

“You could take a bit of a guess on paper, but in terms of people clicking, combinations, and doing everything right and winning a netball game, it’s a little bit different, so that’s exciting.”

Collingwood have been among the most high-profile recruiters, signing Australian Diamonds representatives April Brandley,Ash Brazill,Sharni Layton,Kim Ravaillion,Madison RobinsonandCaitlin Thwaites.

The Giants have secured former Swiftscoach Julie Fitzgerald, Swifts stalwarts Kimberlee Green andSusan Pettittand English internationals Jo Harten and Serena Guthrie.

“There’s a lot of talk and a lot of media about Collingwood and their recruiting, but at the end of the day it’s proven in sport that you have a great team on paper, how you gel and your culture is completely different,” Poolman said.

“The Sunshine Coast look strong, and the Firebirds have been strong for the past few years and a lot of their players are the same.”

Poolman, who has played the past four years forAdelaide, joined the Giants to be closer to her family and her boyfriend, Jets goalkeeper Ben Kennedy. She has spent theoff-season in Newcastle andhas started commuting to trainingfive days a weekbut will move to Sydney this month.

“I don’t think it hit me until last week when I went to Sydney and turned up to training. I think it all sunk in that I wasn’t going away any more, and this was my home and this was who I was playing for,” she said.

“We’ve hit the ground running. It’s a new club, so we’re building that culture. Everything’s new.”

The Giants and Swifts, who are both owned by Netball NSW, launch the 14-round season on February 18 at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre then play the first of two double-headers a week later at the 20,000-seat Sydney Super Dome.

Black Diamond AFL: Newcastle City, Terrigal-Avoca restricted on player signings

RESTRICTIONS: The likes of Riverina ruckman Chris Jackson won’t be able to sign with Newcastle City next season. Picture: Marina Neil.Premiership-winning Newcastle City player-coach Mitchell Knight said the Blues will remain focused on claiming back-to-back flags despite restrictions being placed on the clubrecruiting players next season.

Knight said he was disappointed with the decision, which was one of the key changes implemented for 2017 followingthe Black Diamond AFL annual general meeting at Belmont 16s on Sunday.

Newcastle City and Terrigal-Avoca, who between them have shared top grade grand final success the last nine years, will not be allowed to sign any existing or former players from anywhereunless they are returning to the club.

“More or less the BDAFL are trying to even up the competition,” Knight said.

“But from a Newcastle City perspective we feel as though instead of trying to help teams who might need assistance, they are punishing people that have had a bit of success on and off field.

“It’s something we have to deal with and it’ssomething we don’t agree with, but it’s not going to change our focus on what we want to achieve next year. Our ultimate aim is to win a premiership.”

Black Diamond AFL operations manager Garry Burkinshaw said it was about making a level playing field because the Blues and Panthers, outside fixtures against each other, had dropped just 10 games in the last four seasons and produced an average winning margin of 97 points.

“It’s not just a knee jerk reaction because of something that’s happened this year,” Burkinshaw said. “They have been dominant across the grades for a while now and have phenomenal depth. The wheels don’t seem to be turning and unless other clubs have a significant influx of players they won’t compete for a whole season.”

The two-year trialwill be reviewed after 12 months.

Another major move at the weekend’sAGM was introducing a Black Diamond Plate for clubs likeMaitland and Singleton as a stepping stone to the main competition. Reserve grade now falls below that in the pecking order. Team nominations are due next Friday.

Meanwhile, Killarney Vale have reappointed former Collingwood forward Scott Reed as coach for next season and he is set to take the field more ina playing role after afoot injury sidelined his first year at the Bombers.

In other player movements Warners Bay will be without rising star Jack Hardman who has relocated to Sydney to finish school and continue his career with the Swans while Cardiff’s Max Hillier has returned home to the Wagga Wagga region after finishing fourth in the Elliott Davey Medal count this season.

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