Stay alert, it’s snake season

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SNAKE SEASON: Local snake catcher Mick Froud should be cautious as snakes are coming out of hibernation and have already been spotted around town. He is pictured with his pet Albino Darwin.carpet snake.

PORT Augusta residents are already seeing brown snakes in town after a long winter of hibernation.

Local snake catcher Mick Froud said he knows of at least four brown snakes spotted in the past week.

“On the west side there has already been one dog that’s got bitten,” he said.

“Unfortunately it passed.”

Brown snakes tend to hide in gardens under corrugated iron, bits of wood or in long grass looking for prey.

“If you’ve got mice in your yard, chances are you’ll have snakes,” Mr Froud said.

It is recommended you keep your yards as tidy as possible and keep your doors shut.

Mr Froud said 25 to 30 per cent of calls over the past few years were snakes trapped inside people’s houses.

“They keep close to the side of the house, because they don’t like to be out in the open,” he said.

“Then they will feel the cool of the open door and end up in the laundry.

“Because they don’t know where they are, they will immediately be on the defensive.

“Brown snakes are very aggressive when they feel threatened or are confronted.

It is best to move away from them and to call the council who will then give you the contact for an available snake catcher.

During peak snake season either Mick Froud or Tony Edmonds will remove snakes from properties.

So far this year paramedics and ambulance officers have responded to 23 snake bites in South Australia.

In the event of a snake bite, you should immediately call triple zero.SA Ambulance Service intensive care paramedic Chris Cotton said people are using tourniquets to treat snakebites, which often can cause more damage than the bite itself.

“A firm bandage should be applied along the whole bitten limb, including over the bite site,” he said.

“By keeping the limb as still as possible the venom is prevented from moving as quickly into the bloodstream.

In many cases emergency call operators will assist you perform first aid over the phone.

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No date set on Whyalla overtaking lanes

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Federal MP for Grey Rowan Ramsey recently upon news of the Whyalla-Port Augusta road upgrade.IT IS not yet known when work on the overtaking lanes between Port Augusta and Whyalla will begin.

Funding of $4 million for the construction of overtaking lanes was committed by the federal government in June this year.

At the same time, $3.11 million for works between Port Augusta and Adelaide was allocated.

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the state government will undertake the work and was positive about contributing to vital safety improvements on these roads.

“The federal government continues to undertake productive discussions with the South Australian Government to deliver these projects as soon as possible with a state contribution,” Mr Ramsey said.

“The Australian Government makes payments for roads projects as funds are required, typically as it reaches an agreed milestone.

“The agreed milestones for these projects will be finalised during negotiations with the South Australian Government.”

Mr Ramsey said it is expected these negotiations will run smoothly and work will begin on these projects as soon as possible.

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New application process for community grants

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PORT Augusta City Council is changing the way community grant applications can be submitted.

Currently groups can apply for a Community Grant at any point throughout the year, as long as their application is received six weeks before the event.

PACC said applications would now be called and advertised from the council twice a year, in April and October.

“Applications will be approved depending on their level of compliance with the selection criteria, the funds available, and the number of applications received,” they said.

Community grants are annually allocated to the council’s budget, with $35,000 being approved for the 2015/16 financial year.

This amount is split into two to allow $15,000 for Individual/Group Active Community Achievements and $20,000 for Community Grants.

The council said the Community Grants scheme is designed to promote the active participation of local residents in community initiatives and to build on local partnerships, support community leadership and skill development.

A maximum grant of $1500 will be available for those applying for Community Grants under the new guidelines.

The Individual/Group Active Community Achievements support those who are pursuing achievements in sports and recreation, arts and culture and group activities.

Individuals can receive grants from $200-$400 depending on the event.

Currently seven groups are waiting to have their Community Grants approved, with funding of $7,640 set to be handed out by the council.

The groups applying for funding before the changes will be made are – Kenny Buckskin Golf Memorial $1,400, RFDS Port Augusta Auxiliary $2,000, SA Aboriginal Sporting Festival $3,000, Christmas Party for Special Children $1,540, Friends of Daffodil Day Port Augusta $1,000, Whyte Yarcowie Vaudeville Dance Troupe $1,300 and Brand South Australia – 2015 Regional Awards $1,320.

An additional $400 respectively to the Policy Charity Golf Day and the Port Augusta Pistol Club has also been recommended by the council for approval.

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Port Augusta fuel prices skyrocket

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FUEL PRICE OUTRAGE: Locals are being hit by fuel retailers where it hurts most, their wallets. TheTranscontinental sales manager Hannah Smith said she has to travel to surrounding towns for work and hascertainly noticed people in Port Augusta are being left short changed. PHOTO: Kara JohnsonPORT Augusta residents are being hit hard when it comes to buying fuel.

Local retailers have failed to pass on any savings over the month of August, making consumers fork out at least 15 cents more per litre on average.

The Transcontinental sales manager Hannah Smith said through her travel to surrounding towns for works, she’s definitely noticed the difference in price.

“I won’t fill up in Port Augusta any more, I’ll just fill up in Port Pirie or Whyalla,” she said.

“Going back to October last year it would have been the opposite, but now Port Augusta is 10 cents dearer.”

RAA senior analyst Chris West said most of regional South Australia has failed to drop in line with falling wholesale prices.

He said the overall rating fell from 3.3 to 2.7, representing the largest month-to-month drop since November last year.

“Of most concern this month was Port Augusta, who had the largest drop in our ratings since July, as the local fuel industry failed to pass on any recent reductions in cost price,” he said.

“Country motorists are not only missing out on crude oil price reductions, they’re also beginning to see the gap between city and country prices grow again.

Port Augusta’s current weekly average price (week of September 6) is 139 cents per litre, a far cry from Whyalla’s 122 c/pl, and closely followed by Port Pirie’s 129 c/pl.

Comparatively, in Adelaide the average weekly price is 126.3 c/pl, with the current cheapest price being 112.7 c/pl.

From the end of August to the beginning of September the average price in the Adelaide was even lower at around 115-117 c/pl

Mr West said Ceduna is currently lower than Port Augusta at 131 c/pl too, with an average of 133 for the month of August.

“If Ceduna can do it then there’s no reason why Port Augusta can’t too,” he said.

“When the ratings started in mid-2013 Port Augusta was the lead, and it’s now shifted to Whyalla.

“From previous retailer behaviour, at the end of August we would have expected Port Augusta’s prices to dive below the mid-120s by now.

“There are other towns elsewhere getting very good prices, they’re suffering unnecessarily.”

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Flint joins Bendigo Spirit

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ONE of Bendigo basketball’s favourite sons is back.

Bendigo Braves great David Flint has joined the Bendigo Spirit as an assistant coach.

Flint, who played 319 games for the Braves and coached the club to its first title in 1988, has most recently been involved with basketball in Ballarat.

HOOPS FANATIC: Bendigo basketball great David Flint has joined the Bendigo Spirit coaching staff.

He was coach of the Ballarat Miners in the SEABL and next year will coach the Ballarat Rush in the women’s SEABL competition. He also spent six years coaching Victoria Country teams at national junior championships.

“I am really looking forward to the being involved with the Bendigo Bank Spirit this seasonand having the opportunity to work with both (head coach) Simon Pritchard and (assistantcoach) Andrea Walsh,” Flint said.

“The vibe around the players is very positive at the moment and no doubt I would like tokeep that momentum going.I am keen to work with the players individually and assist with their ongoing developmenton an individual level that will no doubt transfer over to our training sessions and our WNBLgames.

“I see this coaching opportunity as a direct link between the Spirit and the Rush, with theability to give all country Victorian players a clear pathway to the national league.”

Pritchard said Flint’s reputation was second to none.

“Anyone who has played with him or under him cannot give him enough accolades,” he said. “His ability to get the best out of players individually will be a great asset to this club and toBendigo basketball in general. He is a legend of the game and a legend of this city. He is also a legend of a bloke.”

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Dead women should not be political pawns

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PAWN: Tony Abbott used domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty to boost his flagging image, while still cutting vital women’s services, according to Jenna Price.It’s January 2015. Tony Abbott is in deep hot water.This time it’s about announcing Prince Philip – that renowned old bigot – as a knight. The pushback from ordinary Australians is huge.

It even surprised me. I assumed it was only me furious with a scion of privilege for reintroducing these honours. Turns out it was everyone, even in Abbott’s own party.He turned to the one person he thought could redeem him. He turned to Rosie Batty.

A few days earlier, Batty had been named Australian of the Year. No one had heard of this Victorian mother until her son Luke was murdered in February 2013. Her extreme poise and resilience blew Australians away. For eight months, she campaigned hard on family violence and, for once, Australia seemed to be sitting up and taking notice.

The then prime minister had a meeting with Batty on Christmas Eve 2014. Peta Credlin, his chief of staff, was also there. He asked Batty what she thought might be a solution to the poisonous problem of violence against women and children.From that moment, there was little contact. Until Abbott was in deep trouble with the electorate. His decision to turn the focus away from his grovelling desire to suck up to royalty was done at the last possible minute.

Some have even described what happened in those few days as an ambush.The prime minister’s office rang Batty at the height of the public relations disaster that was the garlanding of the Duke of Edinburgh; and sources say she was summoned to a press conference possibly even as late as the morning of his announcement about the advisory panel on violence against women.He used Batty to deflect attention from his own incompetence.

Since that moment, Abbottoversawthe deepest cuts to essential legal services for women trying to escape family violence. He oversawobscene cuts to Indigenous funding. Heglibly responded to each and every discussion about the rate of family violence in Australia by suggesting real men don’t hit.

Just to make this very clear to all politicians across all parties, Australians are devastated by the level of violence directed towards women. This year alone, Destroy The Joint’s campaign Counting Dead Women counts the toll at 62 – and in the vast majority of those deaths, the woman knew her accused killer. Last week alone, three women were killed in 24 hours.

Abbott wasthe one who was weak and gutless, allowing his ministers to slice, slice, slice from services that protect those women he pretends to want to protect.

Last week, Our Watch, funded by the federal government and some state and territory governmentsto drive cultural change in the behaviours and attitudes that lead to violence against women and children, handed out inaugural awards on exemplary reporting covering those issues.

I’m proud to say that Counting Dead Women and Fairfax’s Shine A Light campaign were both given awards – and I’m honoured to be part of both of those teams. But I was utterly appalled at Senator Michaelia Cash’s speech beforehand where she said that Australia had turned a corner on the issue of domestic violence.

She said that at the end of 24 hours during which three women had lost their lives to violence. She said the media had a responsibility when it came to reporting on violence against women.

Yes, Senator Cash, we do. But governments have the money and the power.Don’t use dead women and children as a pawn in your bid to hold power.

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Mounties set sights on Grand Final glory

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Mounties v Auburn in the Ron Massey CupMOUNTIES will be hoping for a black and gold Grand Finals quinella when their Ron Massey and NSW Cup teams line up in preliminary finals this weekend.

The Ron Massey Cup team booked their spot in the decider with a comfortable 36-4 win against Auburn on Saturday.

After suffering consecutive losses for the first time this year, the minor premiers battled early before heading to the break leading 14-0. The second half was more Mounties-like as they demonstrated why they ended the regular season with the best attack and defence in the competition with a clinical showing that yielded four tries.

They face Wentworthville for a spot in the decider on Sunday at Leichhardt Oval. The Magpies have dominated the third-tier competition, winning four of the last six premierships. On the other hand, Mounties have lost three of the past four Grand Finals. In their last meeting, Mounties beat Wentworthville 30-14.

Mounties v Auburn in the Ron Massey Cup

In the NSW Cup, Mounties will play the Newcastle Knights for a Grand Final spot.

NSW Cup player of the year Mitch Barnett will lead an experienced Mounties team guided by veterans Josh McCrone and Glen Buttriss.

Their opponents enter the game off the back of a thumping win against last year’s premiers Penrith 44-12. Flyer Jake Mamo scored a hat-trick in the win and will again be the player to watch on Sunday.

In their last meeting Newcastle defeated Mounties 34-22.

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Joy Baluch AM Bridge back on the agenda

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MORE CLOSURES: Port Augusta’s mayor SamJohnson has expressed concern over the number oflane blockages which could occur due to windturbines coming though Port Augusta next year. Theconcern came after liberal leader Steven Marshallsaid it could be closed more than 200 times nextyear. PHOTO: Kara Johnson

LAST week’s discussion on the Joy Baluch AM Bridge raised new concerns with Port Augusta’s mayor.

When Liberal leader Steven Marshall spoke about the state government’s need to contribute funds to upgrading the Greater Western Bridge, he said they are already aware the Joy Baluch Bridge will have to close more than 200 times next year.

Mayor Sam Johnson said the Department of Transport doesn’t classify the listings as closures as there would still be one lane open, but he said it is a definite concern.

“In essence you’re looking at bringing some large wind turbines across the bridge, but because the traffic is still moving in one direction as the turbine is travelling across they say it’s still open,” Mr Johnson said.

“Something like a blown tyre only has to happen for the bridge to be properly closed.”

Mr Johnson said if these with the number of turbines coming across, the emergency services vehicles may have to be stationed on the west side two-three times a day, or at least a few times a week.

“I know they talk about how they have emergency services plans in place, and that’s great but are they going to make sure each time there’s a wind turbine coming across they’ll have a police car, ambulance and MFS truck on the other side?”

He also said Yorkeys Crossing was not an acceptable alternative for the wind turbines to be transported as some sections of the road were too narrow.

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Cooinda Club to close

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FIRST BUILT: The hall, billiard room andadministration office was the stage of the ANInstitute complex built in 1967. PHOTO:SuppliedSEPTEMBER 30 will be the end of an era for what once was one of Port Augusta’s main event venues.

Cooinda Club has sustained losses in the past few years and the Australian National Institute Board of Directors recognised the need for a significant upgrade to the club premises to match modern expectations for a licensed club.

The age of the building and its design made the renovations required to bring premises up to patrons expectations difficult to achieve.It was decided the most practical solution was to construct a new premises.

The AN Institute Board has been in discussions with developers about possible options for the site at the corner of Commercial Road and Flinders Terrace to achieve this outcome.

A necessary decision was made to close the licensed club area of the Cooinda complex pending the possible redevelopment of the site.

The AN Institute office will remain open in the short term to manage other Institute activities such as Seafield Tower Holiday House in Glenelg.

The AN Institute complex was built in three stages, starting with the hall, billiard room and administration office in 1967, Cooinda Club in 1972 and dining room extension in 1984.

Since the complex was built, it has hosted a number of weddings, community events and exhibitions.

The Cooinda Club will be closing its doors at the end of the month but is trading as normal until then.

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King Park Public School places in aerobics Nationals

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Members from the King Park Public School aerobics team that have just come back from a Nationals event. Picture: Simon BennettKING Park Public School is celebrating 10 years of competing in aerobics. The school has just returned from the national level of Schoolaerobics, an international aerobics competition which is the largest of its kind for primary and secondary students.

Participants had to learn set choreography very quickly and perform before judges. In the primary audition section Simona Sankovic won the title of national champion.

Coach Michelle Joester said despite not gaining a place in the primary aerobics section, the experience in competing at a national level gave the girls an opportunity of a lifetime that they will cherish.

Simona Sankovic a member from the King Park Public School aerobics team that has just come back from a Nationals event and won a medal. Picture: Simon Bennett

“Every one of our girls performed their best and that makes us all extremely proud,” she said. “I’d like to thank the parents, families and friends for supporting the girls in their dedication to training, competing at the preliminary and state competitions and then travelling to the Gold Coast to compete.

“The friendships between the girls will be lasting lifelong memories.”

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