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Freed lawyer shocked by focus on her ordeal

Freed lawyer shocked by focus on her ordeal

Happy … Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor, left, arrives at the airport in Rome. Detained in Libya… Melinda Taylor with husband, Geoffrey Roberts, and daughter, Yasmina.
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The parents of previously detained lawyer Melinda Taylor, John and Janelle Taylor, are chilling a bottle of champagne to celebrate when they see her daughter’s face via Skype later today.

Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor leaves jail.

UPDATED

Human rights lawyer Melinda Taylor has been “shocked” by the media attention surrounding her almost month-long detention in Libya, telling her parents she had no idea it was getting any coverage.

Ms Taylor has arrived at her home in the Hague to her husband Geoff Roberts and two-year-old daughter Yasmina after being released. Despite a Skype session with her Brisbane-based parents Janelle and John Taylor, she is yet to go into detail about her ordeal.

Ms Taylor, has been held with three International Criminal Court colleagues since she travelled to Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, on June 7 to help prepare the legal defence of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam.

On Skype today, her mother and father talked to Ms Taylor and Mr Roberts about midday.

Both couples popped a bottle of champagne, though Ms Taylor did not talk about her experience of the past three and half weeks.

‘‘She didn’t [tell me about her experience in jail] she was too excited to be back home with her husband and her daughter,’’ Mrs Taylor said.

Mrs Taylor said her daughter did not think anyone would be interested in her ordeal and had no idea of the extent of the media coverage when she was being held.

‘‘She’s well she’s just looking forward to getting back to her normal life,’’ she said.

‘‘She didn’t know the media attention was happening, she had no idea, she had no idea there had been any media attention whatsoever.

‘‘She was hit with the media in Zintan where she was a little bit shocked that anyone was interested.’’

An “ecstatic” Mrs Taylor heard her daughter say “I love you” in the early hours of this morning when she was first freed.

The lawyer was able to reassure her Brisbane-based mother that she was fine in what Mrs Taylor described as an “emotional” phone call.

Mrs Taylor said she spoke to her daughter after the Libyans handed her over to Australian ambassador David Ritchie.

“She didn’t tell me anything about her experience in the jail because she was in the convoy and the phone call was monitored so the only thing she said was she loved us and looked forward to speaking to us and she’s excited to go home,” Mrs Taylor said.

Mrs Taylor has been in constant contact with her daughter’s husband Geoff Roberts over the past few weeks and arranged to talk to her daughter on Skype so Mrs Taylor and her husband could have a proper celebration.

“We’ve got a bottle of champagne here that our other daughters brought over two weeks ago and the whole time Melinda has been in there we said ‘we have to do something to support Melinda so we went off alcohol’,” she said.

“So the bottle of champagne is now in the fridge and [Melinda’s husband] Geoff said he’d Skype us when she gets home at about midday today and that’s when we’ll drink the champagne.”

“…It will be great, I’ll be very happy to see her face.”

Foreign Minister Bob Carr rang Mrs Taylor in the early hours of this morning to tell her that her daughter had been handed over by Libyan officials ending a “harrowing” few weeks for the parents.

“We are now ecstatic that she’s actually been handed over by them because we were excited when we told she was going to be released but we were ecstatic when we got the email last night to say and a phone call from Bob Carr to say the Libyans had handed her over to the ambassadors,” Mrs Taylor said.

She said Melinda did not have plans to come to Australia until December and her parents had decided it was best to wait until then to see her.

“Melinda said ‘look Mum and Dad I would love you to come over’ and we would be on the next plane but we feel maybe Melinda’s life need to go back to being normal so she can get on with her life,” she said.

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Five things we learnt from Super Rugby

Five things we learnt from Super Rugby

The Reds have two winnable home games to finish the season.1. Beware the Reds. The Brumbies will not be the only ones keeping a close eye on Queensland over the next two weeks. They have two winnable games at home and, more importantly, that priceless ability to switch between styles. Dom Shipperley scored a beautiful, long-range try from turnover ball against the Rebels but their work in tight, with the pick-and-drive, has repeatedly been exceptional. They can hurt any side in this competition, home or away. We have been critical of the wilder aspects of Saia Faingaa’s play in the past but he was great on Friday night – as was Adam Wallace-Harrison – while the durability of Will Genia continues to astound. But is the brilliant No.9 ever going to get a break?
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2. Too many Test players can be bad for your health. A month ago the Crusaders were the form team in the competition. Three Tests and three big injuries later – Kieran Read, Dan Carter and Israel Dagg – the All Blacks-laden Cantabrians simply couldn’t match the spark generated by the admirable Hurricanes on Saturday. Kiwis might want to look away at this point – there is an entirely plausible set of results over the next two weeks that would leave the Crusaders outside the top six – and with just one New Zealand side in the finals.

3. The weaker teams provided a softer landing. While most interest focused on teams with a healthy number of Test players backing up, another story emerged. The games involving the Force, Rebels and Cheetahs – who have few internationals and essentially nothing left to play for – were effectively over by half-time. Rust or lack of appetite? Perhaps a touch of both. There was one telling moment in the Rebels game when James O’Connor made a handy break but found himself isolated at the breakdown. The usual suspects – Gareth Delve and Stirling Mortlock – were among the first to arrive to clean out, but the tight five was conspicuous by its absence. The Rebels have now conceded 457 points in 2012 – 10 per cent higher than the next leakiest side.

4. Berrick Barnes might have some voodoo dolls. For there to have been a stampede for his Wallabies No.10 jersey at the weekend, you first would have had to find someone who could walk. James O’Connor did a hamstring, Kurtley Beale looks like he is playing with shrapnel wedged into his ribs and Quade Cooper’s removal at half-time prompted that dreadful word that no supporter wants to hear: “Precautionary”. In that 40 minutes, however, the Reds No.10 looked a lot better than in his previous game and a half. O’Connor’s injury has opened the door for him, too.

5. Aaron Cruden is nipping at Dan Carter’s heels. Carter will start at five-eighth for New Zealand in The Rugby Championship, unless struck by lightning. But for the first time in a long time there is a player who can change the conversation around the All Blacks No.10 jersey. Cruden is shaping as an alternative, not just the preferred boot-cleaner. He played injured against the Highlanders and still got the job done – he’s a tough, increasingly mature navigator who brings a subtle box of tricks when attacking the gainline.

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The ghost ships that creep across the blue

The ghost ships that creep across the blue

Apparitions at dawn, but the asylum seeker arrivals at Christmas Island are real enough.DAWN on this rocky outcrop in the Indian Ocean brought the sight of two near-identical wooden fishing boats, each painted an almost cheery blue, riding a gentle swell hardly 200 metres offshore, right below the Christmas Island township.
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You needed to blink, for only the evening before, there had been only one of these boats, and its cargo of 53 Tamils from Sri Lanka had been unloaded and driven away to detention.

The sun had not yet risen over the island’s steaming jungle and it was difficult to discern if there was life aboard the second craft. I raised a hand and called a ”hullo” and suddenly a forest of arms appeared above deck.

Some time on Sunday night, as Christmas Island slept off its weekend, another 39 Tamils from Sri Lanka – 37 men and two boys – had slipped in from the Indian Ocean. Appearing as if from nowhere, theirs could have been a ghost ship. Plenty of people on this remote island, as it happens, believe in ghosts.

Next month, on August 17, the ethnic Chinese population, descendants of coolies shipped in and worked like slaves, will celebrate the annual Festival of the Hungry Ghost. Food offerings will be made to keep the spirits of ancestors content and disinclined to enter homes, prayers will be offered for those who suffered and died mining phosphate in the hot sun, and the population will stay indoors at night, fearful that at this moment, the gates of hell are open for those who venture out.

Only this week a sober member of the 72-strong contingent of Australian Federal Police on the island swore to colleagues he had seen the apparition of a ”lady in white” floating among the Islamic and Chinese graves bordering a main road out of the island’s township. The other police were amused, but many of the island’s permanent population claim to have had the same experience.

The Tamils, of course, were not ghosts, and neither was their little boat – though for all the interest shown by the locals, inured to the sudden and regular appearance of asylum seeker vessels from far away, they may as well have been. And soon, the 39 men and boys were barged ashore and removed by bus to the big detention centre far out of sight in a remote valley on the island.

At another time in history, their voyage might have been the stuff of adventure stories. They had endured 21 days at sea, travelling – assuming their helmsman had managed a straight course – about 3400 kilometres beyond sight of land, finding their way to a speck of an island 1500 kilometres west of the nearest mainland Australian coast. Food and water must have been in short supply for these hungry ghosts on such a small and crowded boat, but those of us on the island denied access to the detention centre and the asylum seekers themselves cannot know the depivations they may have suffered.

They were mere apparitions in the dawn, waving, insignificant among the 72 boats that have made it to Christmas Island this year and the 5242 passengers they have carried, including the 18 bodies retrieved from two sinkings in the past 10 days that are believed to have claimed about 100 lives.

Meanwhile, as Australia’s federal parliamentarians take their six-week winter break, having reached no agreement about how to dissuade such perilous voyages, there’s not a person on Christmas Island who does not expect each dawn to reveal more ghostly craft below their township.

The navy will tow the wooden boats out to sea and burn them, and steel craft will be sunk, leaving no sign of their coming.There are now 1475 asylum seekers out of sight in detention on the island.

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Mortimer believes he will be dropped

Mortimer believes he will be dropped

HE’S BACK: Orange’s Daniel Mortimer started for the Roosters in their win over the Rabbitohs on Monday night. Photo: GETTY IMAGESDANIEL Mortimer is not expecting to be in the Roosters’ 17-man squad for their round two NRL clash against the Panthers on Sunday.
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This is despite helping the Roosters to a dramatic come-from-behind 24-20 win over the Rabbitohs on Monday night.

Mortimer was called into the Roosters’ starting line up on Monday morning after captain Braith Anasta was ruled out with a back injury.

The Orange product started the game at five-eighth and also picked up the kicking duties.

The 22-year-old kicked four goals from his four attempts and also made 27 tackles.

Still, he doesn’t expect to be on the field on Sunday when the Roosters play Penrith.

“I doubt I’ll play again this weekend,” Mortimer said.

“I think they want to stick with pretty much the same side. Braith will be back so I think I’ll be 18th man.”

But Mortimer isn’t too worried about that.

He was thrilled to make his return to the NRL after Parramatta relegated him to Wentworth Cup duties for the 2011 season.

“It was good to run out in the NRL again. I felt like I was debuting again,” Mortimer said.

He was originally going to be the 18th man on Monday but Roosters coach Brian Smith called him on Monday morning to tell him he’d be starting at No.6.

He was also handed the kicking duties.

“I was probably more nervous about kicking than playing,” he laughed.

Mortimer conceded the Roosters were lucky to down the Rabbitohs.

“We didn’t play as well as we did in the trials,” he said.

“The Bunnies played well. They smashed it up the middle quite a bit. We did well to hang on.

“Then we scored those late tries to get over them. The boys were pretty rapt to win.

“We probably didn’t deserve to win but we’ll take it.”

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Rot sets in for grape growers

Rot sets in for grape growers

CRUSHING LOSS: Miles Butler, from Missouri, picks out the bird-pecked and brown fruit from the chardonnay grapes at Canobolas-Smith Wines. The vineyard has experienced extensive crop losses due to excessive rain and bird infestation. Photo: MARK LOGAN 0306mlgrapes1HEAVY rainfall across Orange recently has crushed the hopes of many vignerons with extensive crop losses due to water-laden soil.
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Orange recorded 161.6 millimetres of rainfall in just eight days recently with grapes now splitting and subject to infection and mould.

“It’s probably happened at the worst time for grape growers,” Angullong Vineyard owner Ben Crossing said.

“Grapes take up moisture and it transfers up into the berries and they split.”

Mr Crossing said once grapes split they were more susceptible to infection and he estimates he has lost around 20 per cent of his crop.

“It could easily be more than that, it’s quite significant that sort of rain,” he said.

Mr Crossing was thankful Angullong had harvested most of its white varieties prior to the rain, however he is expecting heavy losses in the red varieties.

“It’s be a bit of a salvage operation for the reds,” he said.

It’s the second rain-sodden year for vignerons, Mr Crossing said. The vineyard lost 500 tonnes of grapes due to rain this time last year.

Brangayne of Orange owner David Hoskins said excess moisture in grapes led to reduced sugar levels and flavour.

Infection has become a problem in split grapes across the vineyard, according to Mr Hoskins.

“A few split berries in a bunch can ruin the whole lot … the rot will spread very quickly across the vineyard,” he said.

“We haven’t seen a rainfall event like this in the past and we’re expecting the worst.”

Canobolas-Smith Wines owner Murray Smith said cases of botrytis had led to a drawn-out harvesting process with pickers having to avoid infected grapes.

“It’s making the picking process a lot more expensive,” he said.

Mr Smith said excess rains had also brought a larger bird population to his vineyard. The birds are eating the grapes that are not suffering from infection.

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Pet shops praise new puppy laws

Pet shops praise new puppy laws

RESPONSIBLE SALE: Mullion Produce Pets and Saddlery’s pet shop manager Tegan Boucher says she supports the Pet Industry Association of Australia’s plan to outlaw puppy farming. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0306puppy3ORANGE pet shops have welcomed the introduction of new regulations designed to help eradicate puppy farms.
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Set to be introduced in October, the guidelines allow pet shop members of the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) to only sell puppies from accredited breeders while also committing to re-house abandoned or surrendered dogs.

Mullion Produce Pets and Saddlery pet shop manager Tegan Boucher said while the store wasn’t a member of the PIAA, it supported its code of conduct.

“I think it’s very important to know a dog’s history and know about the temperament of its parents and know what type of environment it’s grown up in,” she said.

Ms Boucher said Mullion Produce had very strict rules about where it sourced its pets from and was even strict about who the animals were sold to.

She said potential puppy buyers were even asked questions designed to see if they were suitable for dog ownership.

The questions cover everything from the person’s ability to pay vet bills to how much time they’re able to spend walking and caring for their dog.

“I’ve refused to sell to a few people,” Ms Boucher said.

Having worked in the pet shop and boarding kennel industry for some time Ms Boucher said she’d seen the “nasty” results of puppy farming.

Orange Pet Barn manager Jonathan Cantrill said he was also against puppy farming and supported the PIAA initiative.

“A lot of the puppies we sell are not from puppy farms, just from people whose dogs have had a litter because they haven’t desexed their dog,” he said.

“As long as the dogs haven’t been mistreated I don’t see a problem.”

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Forbes braces for major flood peak

Forbes braces for major flood peak

INUNDATED(above): The swollen Lachlan River spreads out over cropping and grazing country upstream from Forbes. This photo was taken by SES officers at 2pm on Sunday.EVACUATION orders for a major flood peak are expected to be rolled out around Forbes from today.
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The flood peak is predicted to hit Forbes between tomorrow night and Thursday morning at a height of 10.65 metres at the Iron Bridge – equivalent to the August 1990 floods.

“There are procedures in place for evacuation warnings to get people out of their homes,” Forbes State Emergency Service (SES) controller Robert Walshaw said.

“People should be preparing themselves for the flood now. The people who were here in 1990 know who was affected. Those who got their feet wet then will get their feet wet again.”

Although evacuation warnings for areas in the north, south, south-west and eastern residential areas were released on Sunday, Mr Walshaw said residents must not confuse a warning with an evacuation order.

The warnings rolled out on Sunday were to give residents time to prepare for an evacuation.

By 3.30pm yesterday afternoon all primary and secondary schools in Forbes were closed until further notice.

Two men rescued from floodwaters in two days

At about 10am on Sunday a man was rescued from rising waters 45km east of Forbes on the Cowra Road.

The driver entered the floodwaters and became trapped, with the water level reaching the vehicle’s doors.

The rescue helicopter and Forbes and Gooloogong SES crews responded to the incident.

On arrival at the scene they found the driver had managed to climb onto the roof of the vehicle.

At 12.20pm yesterday Forbes SES together with Forbes police were called to a second incident where a vehicle had entered floodwaters.

The male driver attempted to dodge debris on Old Grenfell Road and ended up just off the edge of the road.

Forbes SES deputy controller Jordon L’Estrange urged residents to use commonsense near floodwater.

“Do not walk, drive or enter floodwater,” he said.

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BAD PATCH: Repairing potholes council’s never-ending challenge

BAD PATCH: Repairing potholes council’s never-ending challenge

WORK WATCH: Orange City Council general manager Garry Styles and mayor John Davis inspect work to patch potholes in Coronation Drive caused by recent rain. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0305potholeWORK to repair Orange’s roads is a never-ending challenge for Orange City Council according to mayor John Davis.
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“It’s a bit like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you’re sort of chasing your tail,” he said.

“We’ll never have them [the roads] fixed. They’ll never be brand new and we’ll never have them perfect.”

Cr Davis and general manager Garry Styles inspected work to repair potholes in Coronation Drive yesterday, just one of the many roads that took a battering from recent wet weather.

Cr Davis said patching work around town would not survive ongoing downpours and was only a temporary measure to fix the roads.

“We’ll certainly do a lot of patching,” he said.

“There’s potholes on good roads … however I don’t think anyone would begrudge the rain.”

Before the wet weather, the council began a $3.1million program of road repairs six months ago.

Since December, $2 million has been spent on patching and resurfacing an area equivalent to 60 city blocks.

Mr Styles said wet weather may mean minor delays to work on the Northern Distributor Road.

“We might have to look at hot mix instead of some of the bitumen seal,” he said.

“It would certainly add a bit to the price but fortunately we’ve sealed a fair bit of it already so its unlikely to be a huge impact.”

Scheduled roadwork will be prioritised to take the storm damage into account.

“The contractors will be hard to come by and the weather forecast for the next month is certainly not suitable for doing major works,” Cr Davis said.

“We’ve got to make sure we spend the money wisely in the best places.”

Council crews began work to patch potholes on the weekend, using about 12 tonnes of ‘cold-mix’ since last week.

Rain has delayed work in Endsleigh and Lone Pine Avenues while work in Moulder, Anson, Prince and Byng streets has been completed.

Details and locations of potholes and potential road problems can be reported to the council’s customer hotline on 1300 650 511, or by email to [email protected]

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Or Catra a deadset winner

Or Catra a deadset winner

TOP DOG: Cameron (left) and Damien Hallinan (right) with 2011 NSW Greyhounds Brood Bitch of the Year Or Catra. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0305brood1ORANGE owner-breeder Martin Hallinan describes his recent success at the 2011 Betfair NSW Greyhound Of The Year gala event as a “deadset honour.”
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Hallinan, along with wife Fiona, cleaned up at the annual event, taking home the 2011 Brood Bitch of the Year award thanks to Or Catra, the 2011 Stayer of the Year gong with Zipping Lad, a dog which then went on to win the coveted NSW Greyhound of the Year prize.

The victory gives Zipping Lad’s trainer, the Central Coast-based Jason Mackay, his third NSW Greyhound of the Year award having trained previous winners Texas Gold (2005) and Big Sam Banner (2002).

The gong cements Mackay’s status as one of the country’s best trainers.

But for Hallinan, taking home the award at a lavish ceremony at the Sydney Hilton on Friday night was a massive surprise.

“It’s a deadset honour,” Hallinan said.

“It’s an achievement. There’s no money involved, it’s just the achievement of it all.

“It’s an accolade awarded by seven or eight pressmen. You just don’t know who they’re picking until his name is called out. It was a big relief. I was very excited.”

Zipping Lad out-polled the two other nominees, He Knows Uno and Oaks Road, for the major honour.

Based at Mackay’s kennels, Zipping Lad’s first start was in April 2011.

Nicknamed the ‘Super Stayer’, Zipping Lad put together six straight wins over 600 metres, including a fantastic come-from-behind victory in the NSW Distance Championship at Wentworth Park in August.

He then contested the Group One National Distance Championship at Albion Park before returning to Wentworth Park in October where he came second in the Group Three Sydney Cup.

Zipping Lad ran in the final of the Group One Bold Trease Cup at Sandown before finally being rewarded for his terrific form with a brilliant win in the Group Three Summer Cup in December.

He then returned to Victoria in the last week of the year, finishing second in the Group One Sale Cup, a race Hallinan admits Zipping Lad probably should have won.

“But since April he has been very consistent,” he said.

If his success at group level was not enough, Zipping Lad also broke the 618 metre track record at Richmond and the 715 metre record at The Gardens.

The Hallinan’s award-winning brood bitch Or Catra also drew praise on the night.

“It’s a really big honour for us. She has produced great dogs,” Hallinan said.

In another coup for the region, Cudal breeders Dennis and Anne Barnes’ former sprinter Fancy Dean won the 2011 Sprinter of the Year.

Fancy Dean is now part-owned by Socceroo Tim Cahill.

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Calare puts its hand up for out of school care

Calare puts its hand up for out of school care

OOSH MOVES: Orange City Council will move its out of school hours (OOSH) care at Kenna Hall to Calare Public School from term two in a bid to cut costs. Pictured are OOSH users Annalea, Jose, Hamish and Arabella. 0305mloosh1FAMILIES using Orange City Council’s out of school hours (OOSH) care services in March Street and Kenna Hall will be forced to use a new service at Calare Public School under changes to the scheme starting from term two.
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Council will roll over the two services to one location in a bid to cut costs and meet federal government regulations.

Council’s corporate and community relations manager Nick Redmond said Kenna Hall in Hill Street did not meet the minimum outdoor space requirements.

Calare Public School will receive $5000 annually from council for the next three years to pay for the refurbishment of two vacant classrooms and a new kitchen and wet area for the OOSH service.

Principal Chris Cundy said the school had “killed two birds with the one stone” as the rooms had been earmarked as “lifestyle rooms” for the students to use for cooking activities.

“We can use it for that and for after school care,” he said.

“The reason we offered was because we had the space.

“We’ve got a big green oval and an undercover area … it’s a total package.”

Mr Cundy said OOSH users from Calare would benefit from having it based at their school with around 10 per cent using the service.

“Some parents [with children at other schools] will say why is it at Calare, but it’s not a big place Orange,” he said.

“The inconvenience will be forgotten when they see the new facility.”

The new arrangement will see council save money by cutting one staff member and reducing rent costs which totalled $31,424 last financial year.

Although the 50 OOSH spaces are currently filled with a waiting list, Mr Redmond said there were no plans to increase the amount of places available.

He said the council chose Calare as other schools had space limitations.

Parents were kept informed of the changes.

Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School principal Michael Croke said the Kenna Hall OOSH service was run by the parish and the council.

While he admitted having the service based at the school was “handy” he was uncertain whether parents would be inconvenienced by the move.

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Cargo residents push for change

Cargo residents push for change

CARGO residents want to see a 100km/h speed limit returned to the Cargo Road under a review by the state government.
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Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is in the early stages of a review on Cargo Road after it was identified as one of the top 100 routes in NSW needing a speed review.

The road between Cargo and Orange was reduced from 100km/h to 80km/h and 90km/h in 2010 after the poor state of the road raised safety concerns.

Since then 4.03 kilometres of wire rope safety barriers have been installed in 14 locations, through $1 million worth of government grants.

Cargo resident Mick Donnelly wants the speed limit returned to 100km/h.

“I just believe it’s time to bring it back to the original speed,” he said. “The road’s been upgraded with safety barriers and now [Nashdale] Bridge work,” he said.

Mr Donnelly regularly sees impatient motorists banked up behind drivers who sit under the speed limit in the interchanging 80km/h and 90km/h speed zones.

“You see more cars travelling through Cargo in packs because many people are driving slower and sitting under the speed limit because they don’t want to get pinged by the police,” he said.

“It just makes it riskier with more people wanting to overtake.”

Several Cargo Road residents said funds used for wire rope safety barriers would have been better spent on improving the road’s surface.

RMS expects the review to be completed by the end of March. The review will be carried out in accordance with the NSW speed zoning guidelines and will assess factors including road environment, traffic characteristics and crash profiles. Any change will be determined by the results of the review.

The Central Western Daily was unable to contact Roads Minister Duncan Gay for comment.

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Bid to increase speed limit divides village

Bid to increase speed limit divides village

SPEED SPLIT: Kerry Condon from Darcy’s Old Wares has labelled a move to increase the speed limit through Lucknow to 60km/h as “ludicrous”. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0305speedA MOVE by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to increase the speed limit through Lucknow to 60km/h has been slammed by a business owner who believes pedestrians would be put at risk by the “ludicrous” proposal.
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The increase has divided residents and businesses in the village who say they have been kept in the dark, with only one resident aware of the proposal when contacted by the Central Western Daily.

RMS earmarked the 1.2km stretch of the Mitchell Highway for a speed limit increase following a review of roads across the state, according to documents obtained by the CWD.

Kerry Condon from Darcy’s Old Wares says few drivers stick to the current 50km/h limit.

“If the speed limit is 50 they do 60 and if it’s 60 they’ll do 70,” he said.

“Anyone who visits Lucknow walks across the road.”

The Mitchell Highway came in at number 25 on a list of 100 roads for review, receiving 15 submissions, nine regarding Lucknow’s speed limit.

RMS will continue discussions with Orange City Council and the eight submissions in favour of a speed limit increase, a spokesperson said.

“The reviews are carried out in accordance with the NSW speed zoning guidelines and assess a number of factors including road environment, traffic characteristics and crash profiles,” the spokesperson said.

Orange City Council was only notified of the proposal last week, according to corporate and community relations manager Nick Redmond, with councillors wanting to keep the 50km/h speed limit for the safety of residents.

“It wouldn’t have a big impact on trip times and … it would create confusion,” he said.

“One of the issues we had was the broader Lucknow community didn’t have the opportunity to voice their opinion.”

Mr Condon says he often sees pedestrians involved in near-misses with vehicles and is concerned about the dangers for children crossing the road from school buses.

“If they’re going to up the ante in Lucknow why don’t they up the ante in Orange?” he said.

“People in Lucknow are just as important as the people in Orange.”

But resident Laurie Chapman disagreed, saying he rarely saw pedestrians cross the busy highway.

“Lucknow is a very small village … there are bus stops on both sides,” he said.

“Bathurst has 60 on its highway.”

Helen Livingstone from 2 Fat Ladies agreed.

“I like it at 50 because it slows people down for my business … but I’m quite happy for it to be 60,” she said.

“Driving myself, I think it’s a more reasonable speed.”

Resident Bruce Heinrich said the speed limit debate had been ongoing.

“In the past people have said we need a pedestrian crossing,” he said.

“But I think 50 km/h is quite OK.”

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Orange Gold Cup attracts bumper nominations

Orange Gold Cup attracts bumper nominations

IF there was any doubt the 2012 Orange Gold Cup was going to be the biggest race in the Central West this year, yesterday’s nominations for the jewel event in the Racing Orange crown put the doubters to bed.
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A massive 182 horses have nominated across the eight-race program for this Friday’s Racing Orange meeting.

It’s the largest number of nominations the club has received since taking over the running of thoroughbred racing in Orange, with 21 horses nominating for Friday’s main race, the $50,000 John Davis Motors Orange Gold Cup (1600m).

“We’re delighted with both the number and quality of entries,” Racing Orange chairperson Ellie Brown said.

“We’re also delighted that Orange is drawing interest from far afield and indicates we are taking steps in re-establishing Orange as an important racing centre.”

Among the leading trainers heading to Towac Park on Friday, Randwick’s Graeme Rogerson has nominated impressive eight-year-old Barlagarney as well as Rockin Rocket which has a handy five wins from 26 starts record for $184,150 prize money.

The metropolitan performed Slick Sniper (Tracey Bartley), A Real Prince (Bjorn Baker), Delago Star (Kim Waugh) as well as Nothin’ Like Luca (Con Karakatsanis) are among the other strong chances entered.

Mudgee-based trainer Brett Thompson has top country miler Hewentwhoosh nominated for the Gold Cup following successive wins in Mudgee and Bathurst.

Bathurst trainer Sarah Murray-Leslie has Moment Of Clarity nominated, with the lively eight-year-old gelding a last-start winner at Towac Park over the 1600 metre distance in early February.

Among the other featured races, the $20,000 Coates Hire The Pinnacle (1000m) has attracted 21 entries and is headed by the Peter Nestor-trained Lockers, while the $15,000 Sky Racing Gold Banjo Patterson (1300m) has drawn 28 nominations headed by recent Orange winner, the Brett Thompson-trained Chatterchic.

Orange has received a touch over 81 millimetres of rain since the start of the month.

Brown said despite cool temperatures predicted over the next three days as well as a chance of a shower in the lead up to Friday’s meeting, the track at Towac Park would be in pristine condition come race one.

Gates open at 11.45am with the first race to be run at 1.10pm. The Orange Gold Cup is scheduled for race seven on the eight race program.

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