Flood watch renewed

Flood watch renewed

A RENEWED flood watch has been issued for the Macquarie, Bell and Belubula Rivers and Molong and Mandagery Creeks in the Macquarie and Lachlan River valleys.
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The Bureau of Meteorology renewed the flood watch which is an alert for possible future flooding and is not a flood warning.

A Severe Weather Warning for the Central Tablelands and Central West Slopes and Plains remains current.

A large rain band has formed over the western and southern parts of NSW that has brought heavy rain to the central and southern areas of the state and is expected to cause further heavy falls until Saturday.

The rainband with embedded thunderstorms extends across much of southern and north-western NSW producing very heavy rain likely to cause localised flash flooding over the coming days.

There is a greater than 70 per cent chance of minor to moderate flooding developing over the rest of this week for the following creeks and rivers:

· Molong Creek at Molong.

· Blackmans Swamp Creek at Orange and along the Bell River catchment.

· Belubula River at Canowindra.

· Mandagery Creek at Manildra and Eugowra.

· Macquarie River. A minor flood warning remains current for Bathurst.

This flood watch means that people should monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings, this is especially important for people living, camping or working along local rivers and creeks and their tributaries.

If heavy rainfall does occur, local roads may close and driving conditions could become dangerous.

Creeks and streams may break their banks placing livestock and equipment in low-lying paddocks at risk.

If flooding occurs:

· Farmers and other landholders should consider moving livestock, pumps, farm equipment and chemicals to higher ground, and

· Never enter flood water. This includes walking, driving, riding or playing. Entering floodwater is the leading cause of death during floods.

Information on the weather in the catchment of the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers can be obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology website at www.bom.gov.au alternatively you may phone 1300 659 218.

If you need emergency assistance as a result of flooding, contact your local State Emergency Service Unit by calling 132 500. FloodSafe information is available at www.ses.nsw.gov.au

The SES is closely monitoring the situation.

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Putting trust in showground

Putting trust in showground

SHOWGROUND SPEND: Orange City Councillor Sam Romano wants the council to spend $250,000 per year to bring the “deteriorated” showground back into working order before moving to Towac Park within the next five years. THE Orange Show Society could have less input into the management of the showground if a new show trust proposed by Orange City Council is formed, according to the president.
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Council general manager Garry Styles suggested a Crown land trust agreement similar to other council areas such as Bathurst at a meeting with the showground’s stakeholders on Monday night.

The agreement would replace the deed of covenant with the show society that the council controversially decided to scrap last year.

While the show society was open to establishing a trust, president Peter Naylor said no commitment would be made until the details were finalised.

“The way the deed was put up years ago the society had some say in it,” he said.

“We really don’t want to hand the deed back but the society and the users walked in with an open mind.”

Council will research similar showground trusts and ask all stakeholders for feedback before adopting the changes, according to spokesperson Nick Redmond.

Mr Naylor said the show society would also look into the situation in other areas.

“We’ll contact the other [show] societies and see the problems they’re having where they’ve got no say,” he said.

While council was aware that some stakeholders wanted to retain the existing deed, Mr Redmond said the council’s position had not changed.

Orange Showground Action Group (OSAG) president Ron Gander said the group would get legal advice before accepting or rejecting the agreement.

“We got a good hearing for the first time in three years,” he said.

Councillor Sam Romano said he was surprised by the new proposal.

He wants council to spend $250,000 per year to bring the “deteriorated” showground back into working order before moving to Towac Park within the next five years.

“I’ve change my views slightly,” he said. “I do support that we get it operational but I won’t do a backflip on the best outcome to relocate to Towac Park.”

But councillor Jeff Whitton said Cr Romano was “shooting from the hip”.

“We need to sit down with the user groups rather than throw money at it,” he said.

“It’s not good management.”

Councillor Glenn Taylor agreed, saying he was open to the new trust agreement.

“Why would you spend $1.25million if you’ve going to move it out to Towac?” he said.

“The users have indicated they’re not interested in Towac Park.

“All this will do is provoke more bad blood.”

Cr Whitton will continue his push for a showground management committee – with representatives from council and users – at next week’s council meeting in a bid to avoid an ongoing “slanging match”.

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Hill confident of conquering steep learning curve

Hill confident of conquering steep learning curve

BACK IN BLUE: Orange’s Nick Hill is hoping to earn selection in the NSW Under 21 men’s hockey team after being named in the squad.NICK Hill was surprised to be named in the NSW Under 21 men’s hockey squad last week.
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Hill, along with fellow Orange player Nick Milne, had already been chosen in the NSW Under 18s team to contest the national championships in April.

Now there’s a chance Hill could contest the under 21s national event in July as well.

“I’ve jumped up a couple of age groups,” Hill said of his 21s selection.

“I didn’t expect it. I thought I’d be under 18s and that would be it. They’ve shown some faith in me.”

Hill’s selection has come after a busy off-season.

Rather than taking a break during the warmer months, Hill has continued training and trialled for the state 18s side in January.

The 18-year-old is also making the most of his second year with a NSW Institute of Sport scholarship.

“It’s helped heaps. You get the state’s best coaches,” Hill said of the NSWIS program.

“One of the coaches has been involved at the national level so I’ve picked up so much.”

His NSWIS scholarship means he is in Sydney every Thursday and Friday and this year has to also balance his Higher School Certificate studies at Kinross Wolaroi School.

He’ll also be in Sydney on Saturday’s to play first grade for Burwood Briars.

This will allow Hill to join with former Orange player Keiran Gentles.

Hill will have his last chances to earn a place in the NSW 21s team on March 18 and 25 at the final selection trials.

“I think I’ve got a pretty good chance (of selection). I got good feedback,” Hill said.

“I have to perform at our trials and I should have a chance. You never know if you’re there for experience. An 18-year-old making the 21s doesn’t happen often.”

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State stars to play in Orange

State stars to play in Orange

NEW South Wales guns and former Mitchell stars Chris Tremain and Trent Copeland could return to Orange next week to play in the Orange District Cricket Association’s centenary match at Wade Park.
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Tremain, a former Orange District Cricket Association player of the year, and Copeland, a Bathurst product, are a chance of returning to the region after the State Cup match between Bathurst and Orange was rescheduled for next Wednesday.

And both sides will benefit from having two state cricketers each in their ranks for the 40-over day-night clash.

Both Tremain and Copeland wrap up their NSW commitments at the latest on Sunday, with the Blues taking on Victoria in the final Sheffield Shield match of the regular season at the MCG this week.

The possibility of both quicks being back to bolster their old team’s respective ranks are strong.

ODCA president Mark Frecklington said the match, originally scheduled to be played at the start of the 2011-12 season, was an important one considering it marked 100 years of cricket in Orange.

He believes the fact state players are set to line-up for either side is a massive boost.

And now the timing was right.

“I guess we were always trying to get this match up and going being a State Cup match with a couple of state players coming out to play, but with Wade Park being out of action we didn’t really try too hard,” he said.

The match will give Orange players the chance to shine after what has been a dismal representative season.

SCG Country Cup Western Zone champions last summer, Orange could only muster the one win in 2011-12 – a one-run triumph over Cowra in the final rep fixture of the season – to finish the year with a record of one win and five losses.

But Frecklington was confident Orange’s best players would be available for the centenary game in seven days time.

“I think we’ll look to play our strongest 11 but that’s up to the selectors,” he said.

“I think our strongest side would be the way to go with it being a game being an important one to mark the centenary of cricket in Orange.”

Frecklington said he’d know just which state players would be available for the game later in the week.

Next Wednesday’s match begins at 5.30pm at Wade Park.

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Wighton’s NRL debut hinges on judiciary hearing

Wighton’s NRL debut hinges on judiciary hearing

BOOM Orange junior Jack Wighton has been named to make his National Rugby League debut for the Canberra Raiders.
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A former Australian Schoolboys representative, the 19-year-old will get his first taste of the big time on the wing in the Green Machine’s clash with the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday night at Skilled Park.

However, Wighton was hit with a grade two dangerous tackle charge out of his under 20s clash with the Melbourne Storm last weekend in Canberra, which could rub the classy five-eighth out for two weeks.

The Raiders have signalled their intention to fight the charge at a judiciary hearing tonight.

If Wighton has the charge down graded, he will be free to take on the Titans.

But if the Raiders are unsuccessful in their bid to see the former CYMS and Bloomfield junior debut, Wighton could be sitting on the sidelines for three weeks.

Wighton impressed Raiders coaching staff during his elevation to the NRL squad in the pre-season.

Canberra coach David Furner named Wighton to replace injured winger Reece Robinson, who will miss up to five weeks of football with a depressed fracture of the cheekbone suffered in the Raiders’ 24-19 loss to the Storm.

Furner believes Wighton will be up to the challenge.

“He played a pretty aggressive type of football last week, so he’s earned himself an opportunity,” Furner said.

“We feel that we’ve got some grounds there that it can be downgraded. Hopefully, that does happen so he gets his debut.”

Should the appeal fail, Furner said he has a contingency plan.

“We’ve got Dimitri Pelo in that sort of position so there is a (Plan) B and C,” he said.

Raiders: 1 Josh Dugan, 2 Blake Ferguson, 3 Jarrod Croker, 4 Shaun Berrigan, 5 Jack Wighton, 6 Terry Campese, 7 Josh McCrone, 8 David Shillington, 9 Travis Waddell, 10 Brett White, 11 Josh Papalii, 12 Bronson Harrison, 13 Shaun Fensom. Interchange: 14 Glen Buttriss, 15 Joel Thompson, 16 Dane Tilse, 17 Trevor Thurling.

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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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