Drink-drive device order Four-year penalty first for region

A WARRNAMBOOL man yesterday became the first district driver ordered to have an alcohol interlock device fitted on his car for four years.Joseph Charles Collis, of Fairy Street, was one of 10 south-west people in court yesterday going through the process of getting their driver’s licence back after drink-driving.Nine people had their applications to restore their licence approved although six of those must have one of the devices, known as an AID, fitted to any vehicle they drive.Under changes to legislation Mr Collis, 51, is understood to be the first Warrnambool district driver required to breathe into the device before he can start his car for the maximum four-year period.A combination of two prior drink-driving convictions and high readings led to Mr Collis receiving the maximum period.It costs drivers to have the devices fitted and removed from their vehicle and about $100 a month to have records kept of all attempts to start their vehicles.One driver yesterday successfully applied to have a device removed from his car after computer records showed he had not tested positive to alcohol when starting his car.Drivers are also regularly warned not to eat before blowing into an AID.It has been reported that a wide range of foodstuffs can trigger positive alcohol readings such as toothpaste, mouthwash, pizza and Cherry Ripe chocolate bars. Under legislation introduced into State Parliament and strengthened in recent years, any P-plater or anyone under 26 who records an alcohol reading of .07, or anyone who blows above .15, has to have an alcohol interlock device fitted to their car for at least six months.Prior offences lead to the devices having to be fitted for periods of up to four years. A driver has to blow a sample of breath into the device for a vehicle to start. Having to blow into the device becomes a condition of holding a driver’s licence. It’s illegal for such drivers to drive a vehicle not fitted with an AID.Readings from the devices are printed out when drivers go to court to have the AID removed.Magistrates regularly refuse to remove AIDs when drivers have recorded positive readings when trying to start their cars.
HangZhou Night Net

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Update: Check out the blogs sections

NOW that the silly season is over, our blogs department has finally caught up with the blog backlog.Head here to read:*the latest offering from Warrnambool’s own Triple J star Tom Ballard,*more nonsense from The Doctor & The Colonel, including an extended version of their end-of-year clip-show not seen in The Standard,*all the rumours and gossip courtesy of T&T,*some tips for saving your cents with our money expert Sara Morrison,*Matt Neal’s picks for the best and worst films of 2008,*and more.
HangZhou Night Net

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Horse trading runs wild on the net

AT: Santa appears to have been very generous this year but one Warrnambool car salesman got a present he didn’t expect and had to promptly return. TA: Got any names?AT: I’ve been sworn to secrecy but there will be enough clues for everyone to work it out. Seems that the salesman’s young teenage son had his eyes on a very well-bred thoroughbred yearling. The youngster started email correspondence to connections of the yearling and after a few messages back and forth a price was agreed upon. Which was all fine until an invoice was sent to his old man. Now, Tim, you’re said to be knowledgeable about racing. What’s a handy yearling worth?TA: Well, you could get something pretty well-bred for $30,000 to $50,000.AT: Well, I’m told the for-eyes-only invoice was for $500,000.TA: That’s half a million dollars!AT: Yes, Tim. Thanks for the help with the maths. Needless to say the car salesman quickly threw the process in reverse and had to explain his 14-year-old had signed him up. Apparently all has been sorted out but I’m tipping the son’s internet use will be closely monitored from now on.TA: Appears Brian “Nut” McMahon has copped plenty of flak after last week’s column revealed the former South Warrnambool and St Kilda footballer had lost his house keys twice in one day after a few Christmas drinks – as well as losing his new mobile telephone the next day.AT: Don’t go dragging any more gossip up on poor old Nut.TA: I’ve got to mention that Nut had a greyhound which ran at the Warrnambool dogs on New Year’s Eve. Nut was hoping the debuting dishlicker would help him end 2008 on a high. The dog named Nuts Fawn Suit was heavily backed all around Australia and started a hot favourite.AT: Before you go any further, how could he call a dog Nuts Fawn Suit?TA: Story goes Nut went to the Darwin Cup this year. He got all dressed up and thought a fawn suit he had especially bought looked a million dollars. The barflies tell me he could not take the suit off. They said after a few days of wearing the lovely suit in the hot sweaty sun the suit appeared to turn into a different brownie colour. Apparently that is how the dog got its name. The sad thing for Nut is the dog dead-heated for first.AT: At least Nut and his mates would have got something out of the wreck .TA: The dog paid one dollar for a win – so punters only got their money back. I see that a pup you previously had an interest in won again this week – Neon Leon Davis.AT: Yes, Tim, that’s three wins from three starts. Keep rubbing it in. But let’s move along. Before I continue, I want to mention a mate who works at D. J. Bell. I’m told his two young daughters were very surprised that Santa would get them a Playstation sprintcar racing game. Seems their dad Darren has hardly been off the Playstation this week. Now, you being a property owner in Port Fairy, how have things been over in the seaside village during the holiday break?TA: Many of the shopkeepers would be delighted. There have not been many beach days so the holidaymakers have been spending their money in the cafes and shops. Port Fairy has been full of sporting celebrities over the past few days.AT: Timmy the name dropper. Give us a few names.TA: Well, as you may may know, Footy Show personality and Kangaroos chairman James Brayshaw has a holiday house in the village. His good mate John “Sammy” Newman was spotted in Port Fairy for a few days. So was Kangaroos footy manager Donald McDonald, who has a property in the town. Former Essendon and Hawthorn player Paul Salmon has been spotted along with Channel Seven boundary rider and former Essendon premiership player Ricky Olarenshaw. Brayshaw’s brother Mark, who also played with the Roos before taking over as CEO of the Tigers, was also in town. Kangaroos assistant coach Darren Crocker and former teammate Peter German have been spotted along with former Australian Test cricketers Darren Lehmann and Greg Blewett.AT: No sightings of Eddie? Is there any truth in the rumour that Eddie Maguire has a property in the seaside village? TA: No sightings of Eddie. I don’t think he has a property in town. I reckon he would be too busy trying to sort out the Travis Cloke issue. The young forward got in a patch of trouble up on the Sunshine Coast on New Year’s Eve.AT: If we weren’t writing stories about footballers getting into trouble there would be some very boring newspapers produced. I can’t wait for the footy to start again. The cricket has been very depressing. I’m pleased that a few new blokes will get a run in the Sydney Test. Fair enough South Africa has flogged us but they did need to post a near record run chase to win the first Test and then stage a remarkable comeback to win in Melbourne. Australia’s not far away but we need to start playing some young cricketers. TA: Before we finish up, we should offer a special thank-you to the organisers of Port Fairy’s Moyneyana Festival. They do a super job. AT: I was stunned how many people were at the Terang races on Thursday. It was a sensational crowd especially considering the cold weather and the club would have to be delighted with how the locals supported the race day. As for those people who went to the speedway and sat on Mount Max. You should get a medal as I’m told the windchill factor took the temperature well below zero. Until next week, hooroo.
HangZhou Night Net

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Best and worst films of 2008

THE BESTCloverfield THE well-worn monster movie hit new territory, overcoming it’s Godzilla home video gimmick to produce some real thrills and truly terrifying moments.There Will Be BloodANOTHER stunning turn from Oscar-winner Daniel Day Lewis as a heartless oil baron, but he’s matched by young Paul Dano as a fire-and-brimstone preacher in this battle between greed and religion where no one wins.JunoTHE quirky indie-hit of the year, which struck a chord like a smarter, more pregnant Napoleon Dynamite. Ellen Page’s up-the-duff teen of the title was one of the most cleverly drawn and lovable characters of 2008.No Country For Old MenTHE Coen brothers outdid themselves with this dark opus about an everyman (James Brolin) who finds a huge stash of cash but ends up with the devil (personified by Javier Bardem’s oddly coiffured hitman) on his tail as a result.SuperbadTHE makers of Knocked Up notched up another winner in this contemporary and clever update of the old coming-of-age quest to lose your virginity. Michael Cera (also good in Juno) and Jonah Hill make a great duo.Grindhouse: Death Proof/Planet TerrorQUENTIN Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez run wild with their love of ’70s B-movies in this old-school double-feature. Kurt Russell adds a new iconic role to his list with Death Proof’s Stuntman Mike, while Rodriguez’s Planet Terror is riotous zombie fun.ControlTHE brief life of tormented Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis is painted in suitably sombre black and white by former rock photographer Anton Corbjin in his first film as director. Sam Riley is a revelation as Curtis. Death At A FuneralFORMER Yoda and Fozzie Bear puppeteer Frank Oz delivers his best film in years with this charmingly dark comedy about funerals, family secrets, gay dwarfs, and bad acid trips.Iron ManTHE second-best superhero movie of the year, with Robert Downey jnr taking to the high-tech suit like a duck to water. Action-packed, well-scripted and aided by a healthy sense of humour that many comic book adaptations lack.The Darjeeling LimitedWES Anderson takes the family dysfunction of his Royal Tenenbaums and sends it on a trans-Indian rail trip. Brothers Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwarzman take the quirkiness and turmoil in their stride.I’m Not ThereBOB Dylan, the man, the messiah, the myth, is brought to life with a pitch-perfect collection of cryptic vignettes. Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Ben Wishaw and Marcus Carl Franklin are all great as the man who isn’t there. Kung Fu PandaJACK Black gives his all as the computer-generated Po, the clumsy panda pre-destined to save his village from evil. A colourful CG barrage of kiddie-friendly comedy and kung fu.Across The UniverseLIKE Mamma Mia! but with better songs and a more inventive alternative approach. Or maybe I’m just letting my Beatles bias show.The Dark KnightTHE best superhero movie of the year. Possibly ever. Christian Bale’s Batman is overshadowed by Heath Ledger’s Joker but who cares when there’s so much going on and The Joker is so good. Ledger for Best Supporting Oscar.Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox StoryHILARIOUSLY skewering musical biopics, John C Reilly sinks his teeth into Cox as he invents rock’n’roll, takes LSD with The Beatles, and goes through a Brian Wilson phase, all the while haunted by a machete accident that killed his brother.Gone Baby GoneBEN Affleck’s directorial debut gives his little brother Casey his best role to date as the young Boston detective in search of a missing girl. A gritty story with a thought-provoking twist.Wall-E IT seemed impossible for Pixar to top The Incredibles but then there’s Wall-E, a mostly word-free animated family film that was one of the most beautiful, thoughtful and enjoyable movies in recent years. Lars And The Real GirlIT’S about a man in love with a sex doll, yet somehow this is one of the most touching love stories of the year. Never rude, crude or lewd, this unique film has a subtle and endearing script but hinges on Ryan Gosling’s incredible performance.Burn After ReadingTHE Coen brothers are on a hot streak, following up No Country For Old Men with this tale of stupid people over their heads in blackmail, espionage and murder. One of the best ensemble casts of the year too – Pitt, Clooney, Malkovich, Swinton and McDormand, all in top form.The King Of KongA BATTLE between good and evil that will have you standing up and cheering by the end, despite the fact it’s a documentary about a man trying to set a world record on a Donkey Kong arcade video game.HONOURABLE MENTIONSGonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr Hunter S Thompson – a great example of how to sum up an icon. Be Kind Rewind – Michel Gondry’s warmly funny ode to the magic and power of film. Horton Hears A Who – a wonderfully Seussical adventure for all ages. Rescue Dawn – Christian Bale stepped out of the Batsuit and slimmed down for Wim Wenders’ gripping POW saga. Mongol – a powerful portrayal of the rise of Genghis Khan. In Bruges – a black-comedy assassin thriller and sleeper-hit of the year. Shine A Light – proof The Rolling Stones (and Martin Scorsese) still rock. Atonement – James McEvoy and Keira Knightley shine as star-crossed lovers torn apart by accusations and war. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button – a late addition that confirms director David Fincher and Brad Pitt are a winning combination….AND THE WORST10,000 BC – in which mammoths built the pyramids and that’s not even the dumbest thing in this movie. Southland Tales – Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly disappears up his own apocalypse. Rogue Assassin – action movies don’t get much lamer than this blight on Jet Li and Jason Statham’s CVs. Prom Night – every bad horror movie cliche of the ’80s in one place (and not in a good way). The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor – even Indiana Jones IV was better.
HangZhou Night Net

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

School Holidays on a Budget

AFTER seeing in the Christmas and New Year period, you’d be starting to see the expenses back off and regain some normality in your spending habits? Maybe not the case if you’ve got children who still have a few weeks’ school holidays up their sleeves. How do you go about making this school holidays economically viable for the whole family? Of course there a plenty of school holiday activities around town this time of year, but many are expensive and chew up your hard earned cash, especially when there’s a few heads to pay for, and mouths to feed. Try having ‘stay in and play’ days at home. Surely with all the Christmas presents unwrapped in the last few weeks, children can’t possibly claim they’re bored. Make a day where you stay home all day – eat in, and play with all those new board games, playstations, toys, books, bikes and other gadgets they were spoilt with. You’ll find even making your own sandwiches and a fruit platter for lunch will save you money, rather than taking the whole family out to eat. On days where you do go out, how about getting together at a friends place who has children a similar age? Again – it doesn’t have to be an expensive day out on the town; the kids will appreciate getting out of the house and playing with other kids, while you can catch up with a friend. Then alternate the activity next week and have your friend and children over to play at your house.With the favourable weather this time of year, why not get outside and get active. A bike ride, long walk, or picnic down at the beach will allow the kids to burn some energy, while providing a cost effective activity. Still got cleaning up to do around the house to recover from Christmas? How about writing a list of jobs the kids can do to help, and offer some pocket money in return. Giving children the opportunity to earn money will teach them the importance of working for the things they want. It’s then up to them whether they spend it on something they really want, use it towards a activity during the holidays like going to the movies, or save it towards a bigger ticket item. You’ll soon find when it’s their hard earned cash getting spent; children will develop a better understanding of the cost of things, and begin to compromise with expensive activities.
HangZhou Night Net

*Sara Morrison is the business development manager at South West Credit.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

New year, new approach

WE all make them, there’s no denying it. But do we keep them? I’m talking about new year’s resolutions. Whether it’s to lose a few pounds, be a better citizen, give up chocolate or walk the dog more often, how do we ensure we keep the promise we make when the clockstrikes 12 and we see in the New Year?When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, saving money and spending less is on the top of most people’s wish list. A good way to start, and perhaps figure out where you’ve gone wrong in the past, is to keep a record ofwhere your money goes. Often referred to as ‘spending leaks’, this tracking process lets you see where your money leaks to and,much like a leaking tap, allows you to fix it.Undoubtedly, the Christmas and New Year period is one of the busiest and most expensive times of the year. So, although this tracking process might seem time consuming, starting now is a good idea. Small things like an extra drink at a social event can add up to a large amount before you know it. It’s also worthwhile considering your social activities thistime of year and whether you attend because of necessity or goodwill. We all know too well the dread of buying a new outfit, the expense of meals and drinks, a taxi home and before you know it, there’s no money left in your back pocket! Start by asking yourself some questions: ”Do I really want to go to another party?” Ask yourself, too, whether buying presents every year is really about giving or a sense of obligation.Consider whether you can simplify your list and swap your Christmas guilt for good tidings.When it comes to parties and celebrations, try to be organised. Realistically estimate how many events you can afford toattend and be firm about saying no to last-minute invitations. Often spending can be likened to drinking: you canoverindulge and feel terrible by the end of the night or you can alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water. You don’t have to deny yourself fun, just water down your spending a little. Hopefully these tips will help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions and achieve your ‘spend less and save more’ goals!
HangZhou Night Net

*Sara Morrison is the business development manager at South West Credit.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Flippin’ job change suits bean counter

Torquay-based accountant John Doherty enjoys his occasional stint flipping burgers at Kermond’s Snack Bar. 090104GW43Picture: GLEN WATSONJOHN Doherty is one man who is happy to swap a suit and tie for a greasy apron.For the past 20 years the former Warrnambool man has travelled back to his home town to flip burgers at Kermond’s Snack Bar.Working in Torquay as an accountant, Mr Doherty said he did not mind the drive back to the ‘Bool.”It’s great. I’m an old Warrnambool boy so it’s a good way to catch up with old mates,” Mr Doherty told The Standard.He started working at the well-known hamburger bar as a 15-year-old back in 1986. The then high school student used to peel and cut onions out the back.”That’s where everyone starts. I did that for about two years . . . there were a few tears. “But it was a lot of fun.”Mr Doherty then progressed to the grill and it wasn’t too long before he learnt the art of cooking the perfect hamburger, for which Kermond’s has become famous. He said what started as an after-school job helped pay his way while studying for a degree at Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus.Although work took him to Melbourne after graduating, he found it hard to hang up his apron. So he would do the odd shift at the snack bar, filling in for owners Robert Kermond and Brett Healey or helping train up-and-coming hamburger chefs.”It just sort of went on from there. Then in 2001 I moved back to Warrnambool for a while and I would work there on Monday nights,” he said.Accounting took him away from Warrnambool 18 months ago but his flexible arrangements with management means he still flips the odd burger on weekends.”I probably do a shift about once a month. It’s not overly regular. I really enjoy it. It’s very relaxing and you get to see so many old faces walk through the door,” he said.Kermond’s co-owner Mr Healey heaped praise on Mr Doherty, describing him as “one of Warrnambool’s most eligible bachelors”.”He is a top bloke. He does everything out of the kindness of his heart,” Mr Healey said.”You just throw him the keys and you can go away and spend some time with your family.”Mr Doherty plans to move back to Warrnambool later this month.
HangZhou Night Net

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Traders’ dark day: Blackout costs business

A POWER blackout that lasted two-and-a-half hours in Port Fairy on Saturday afternoon cost a restaurant more than $5000 in lost trade.Other outlets in the busy holiday town were forced to serve lukewarm food and drinks in dimly-lit shops after a high-voltage cable on the town’s main line failed.Movie fans hoping to see The Dark Knight in the Riordan Theatre had to be content with only daylight while electronic doors and cash registers across town fell silent. The power outage affected 2877 customers extending from Yambuk to Dennington.Merrijig Inn owner Kirstyn White said all evening reservations had to be cancelled because of the duration of the blackout.”It was horrendous, very disappointing,” Ms White told The Standard yesterday. “We lost between $5000 and $6000 because we had to cancel our reservations. We lost a lot of food.”Because of the blackout we weren’t able to prepare our food to meet our usual high standards,” she said.”Our staff went home by 8.30pm.”We will be seeking compensation for the loss of restaurant income,” she said.At the busy Rebecca’s eatery, staff had to rely on honesty and memory after the ordering system went down.”It was a nightmare,” a spokesman said. “We’ll have to take a few losses.”Powercor said a cable in the 22-kilowatt feeder line failed just before 3pm. By 4.15pm there were still 1300 customers without power who had to wait until 5.30pm for electricity to flow again. Repair work continued until yesterday afternoon.”Powercor apologises for the blackout,” a spokesman said.Port Fairy hospital continued its normal routine with a back-up generator. Visitor information centre manager Andrea Lowenthal said the blackout caused a problem in closing the centre’s electronic doors.
HangZhou Night Net

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Lifesavers issue beach safety warning

LIFESAVERS are on high alert as warmer weather lures thousands of swimmers to south-west Victorian beaches. As the fourth anniversary of the multiple Stingray Bay drownings passes, Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club president Stephen Kerr urged beachgoers to heed safety warnings.He said it was always a risk that newcomers to the region would be unaware of the treacherous rocks and currents that swept five people to their deaths near Middle Island on January 2, 2005.Mr Kerr suggested that locals and regular visitors could advise newcomers who waded into the danger area.”Obey the signs and steer clear of the islands. The water changes very quickly,” he said. “If locals are there and know the area they could warn visitors.”Steel fencing erected on Middle Island for a penguin protection program should be a disincentive to cross the sea channel, Mr Kerr said.Trespassers face a fine of up to $500.”We ask that people respect penguins and observe the signs,” he said. Warrnambool’s main beach is patrolled daily by two professional lifeguards between 10am and 6pm while the weekend has extra patrols of 10 volunteers.Mr Kerr advised swimmers to heed warning flags indicating the safest beach sections away from rips and sandbars.”We realise swimmers chasing the surf will be outside these flags, but urge them to go with someone else,” he said.”We do roving patrols of these areas on foot and in our inflatable rescue boat.”The only drama so far this year was on Saturday morning when a boy fell off his board in the surf club Nippers program and was taken to hospital for examination.Surf club captain Rebel Noter said yesterday the boy was not injured. “It was a precautionary measure,” he said.
HangZhou Night Net

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Heeding the Celtic call, musicians blow in

The Belfrage family jams together at the Koroit Caravan Park yesterday. Niall Quiery (left) and Mary, Jane, Lucy and Abigail Belfrage and children (front) Dervla, Mabel, Angie and Laura Belfrage are taking part in the Lake School of Celtic Music, Song and Dance. 090104GW26 Pictures: GLEN WATSON Adelaide’s Jack Brennan and Nick Martin practise their uilleann pipes, the national bagpipes of Irelan The Belfrage family jams together at the Koroit Caravan Park yesterday. Niall Quiery (left) and Mary, Jane, Lucy and Abigail Belfrage and children (front) Dervla, Mabel, Angie and Laura Belfrage are taking part in the Lake School of Celtic Music, Song and Dance. 090104GW26 Pictures: GLEN WATSON Adelaide’s Jack Brennan and Nick Martin practise their uilleann pipes, the national bagpipes of Irelan
HangZhou Night Net

THE pipes are calling . . . and so are the mandolins, guitars, fiddles and flutes.About 150 people have heeded the call of the Lake School of Celtic Music, Song and Dance which began yesterday in Koroit for its 10th year.The week-long event teaches people of all ages everything from uilleann pipes and tin whistles to songwriting and bodhran (Irish drum).Event director Felix Meagher said there were about 150 students in town for the week of classes and concerts.”The town has really embraced the Lake School,” Meagher said yesterday.Participants will come from as far afield as Darwin this year and there’s “normally a good spread of people from Geelong, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney,” he said.For its 10th birthday, the Lake School had broadened its focus, Meagher explained.”We’ve tended over the years to concentrate on beginners but now we’re also concentrating on experienced players.”We’ve got a master class on Irish music being taught by Danny Bourke on Friday, whose grandfather was a previous mayor of Koroit.”Other tutors involved include Ted Egan, Paddy Fitzgerald, Ewen Baker, Vince Brophy, Maria Forde, Tommy Carty and Dennis O’Keeffe.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.