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    Elf challenge to create Christmas spirit in Cessnock


    2018 - 09.16

    FESTIVE FUN: Hannah Spears, Stephanie Spears, Chloe Hunt and Ella Hunt are excited about the Great Cessnock Elf Challenge. Photo by Nicole Spears Photography.With the aim to inject a little more Christmas spirit into the city, Project Cessnock is planning a world record attempt in December this year.
    Nanjing Night Net

    All are invited to take part in the ‘Great Cessnock Elf Challenge’ – an attempt to break the world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Christmas elves (which currently stands at 1792, set in Thailand in November last year).

    Following what they considered to be a lack of Christmas spirit in the city last year, Project Cessnock was brainstorming ideas when local mum-of-two Nicole Spears came up with the concept of the Elf Challenge.

    “I wanted to be able to create an event that was family-orientated that both kids and adults could get excited about, something that was easy for people to join in and wasn’t expensive to participate, and an event that showcased Cessnock that people could be proud to be involved in,” Ms. Spears said.

    “I can’t even remember why I was googling Christmas Elves but I came across the story about the current record holders and thought ‘Cessnock could so trump that!’ – and that’s where it came from.

    “So many people are already excited about it; I think it’s such a great thing for the town.

    “The Guinness Book of Records have been contacted, and I’m just waiting to hear back from them exactly what we need to do to break the record.”

    Ms. Spears said she became involved with Project Cessnock because she wanted to do something positive and uplifting to try and change the perception of Cessnock, after reading negative comments about the town on a Newcastle radio station’s Facebook page.

    “It really saddened me as even though Cessnock has its problems, just as many other towns and suburbs in Australia do, I really enjoy living here and I have met some truly wonderful people in the 10 years that I’ve lived here,” she said.

    Project Cessnock campaign organiser Adrian Buckley said the Elf Challenge will be part what the group hopes will be “a month of Christmas cheer” in December 2015.

    The campaign’s Facebook page now has more than 800 likes and Mr. Buckley said quite a large collective of people are sharing ideas.

    “The goal is to elevate people’s expectations in terms of creativity and civic projects,” he said.

    Mr. Buckley said Project Cessnock is in regular dialogue with Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent and state MP Clayton Barr with positive results.

    Along with the Christmas festivities, the campaign will focus on establishing a community park in the Cessnock TAFE grounds and revamping the CBD laneway art project.

    “It’s an awful state of affairs that a town the size of Cessnock doesn’t have a community park,” Mr. Buckley said.

    “Families deserve it – it’s pretty outrageous that they don’t have it.”

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

    Singing fan wins semis tickets


    2018 - 09.16

    BIG FANS: David and Tonia O’Hara of Red Head recently won tickets to the 2015 Asian Cup semi-final between the Australian Socceroos and the United Arab Emirates at Hunter Stadium. To their relief the Socceroos went on to win the Asian Cup.
    Nanjing Night Net

    TWO big-time Socceroos fans were treated to a rare surprise recently when they won a double pass to the 2015 Asian Cup semi-final.

    Tonia and David O’Hara from Red Head (near Hallidays Point) were listening to ABC Newcastle’s morning program when announcer Jill Emberson asked listeners to make up a verse and a chorus to a song which had to be related to the Socceroos and have an Australian tune.

    Surrendering to the challenge, Tonia wrote a song to the tune of Waltzing Matilda before phoning the program and singing it live on air.

    Much to the delight of the O’Haras, the station soon phoned back and notified them that they had won a double pass to the sold-out game between Australia and the United Arab Emirates at Hunter Stadium.

    “It was unbelievable, it was just awesome,” Tonia said.

    “We had spoken about it many times. We are both big Socceroos fans. We’re in our 60s and have had health problems in the past so it was nice for us to have that opportunity.”

    The O’Haras also experienced a random act of kindness when a Newcastle man by the name of Darren King called the station to offer a car space to the couple near the stadium.

    “He said his mate lived near the stadium and was happy for us to park our car in his driveway,” Tonia explained.

    “We met Darren at Kotara and he escorted us over there. We tried to get accommodation for the night but it was completely booked out so it was so nice of him to do that.

    “The goodwill of people is amazing.”

    Tonia’s winning song to the tune of Waltzing Matilda:You are the Socceroos, You are the brilliant Roos, Let’s all sing with our hearts and our might. We are proud and love our brilliant Socceroos. Let’s all sing with our hearts and our mind.

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

    Sleep shearing for a good cause


    2018 - 09.16

    Luke and Lisa Sleep are letting go of vanity and pushing towards selflessness next month when they face the shears.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Mr and Mrs Sleep have opted to shave their hair in support of the Worlds’ Greatest Shave fundraiser to support those affected by a blood cancer.

    Mr Sleep’s grandfather died after a long battle with leukemia many years ago so he had since been a big supporter of both the shave and the Leukemia Foundation.

    “This year we just decided we would do it ourselves,” Mrs Sleep said.

    Mr Sleep has grown out his hair and beard to be shaved for the cause, but he is also offering his eyebrows to be shaved off if he reaches his target of $4000.

    When asked if he was nervous to potentially be facing compete upper body baldness, Mr Sleep said it was no worry.

    “I’m not worried one bit,” he said.

    “It doesn’t bother me, I know it’s all going to be for a good cause.”

    Mrs Sleep, however, is a little more apprehensive.

    “I’m a little nervous, but there are people that lose their hair to illness so I thought ‘hey, it will grow back’,” he said.

    Mr Sleep said the shave would take place at his workplace, pellet plant in OneSteel, but before the big day many fundraisers were planned including bake sales and door knocks.

    Both Mr and Mrs Sleep encouraged the community to rally behind them to support a worthy cause.

    To donate to Mr and Mrs Sleep’s cause click hereand check the Whyalla News for fundraiser dates.

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

    LETTER: TAFE course fees a big worry


    2018 - 09.16

    The Tribune welcomes letters to the editor.Dear Editor,
    Nanjing Night Net

    Students are returning to TAFE this week to a very nasty surprise – massive increases in course fees and fewer courses to enrol in.

    For example, students enrolled in the Certificate III in Agriculture at Goulburn TAFE will be paying $2170 for first qualification or trainee, $2600 for second qualification, and $8850 if the student already holds a certificate IV in another area.

    We are a region that is supporting growth in the aged care industry – students enrolled in Certificate III in Aged Care will be hit with up to $6,100 in fees if they hold another qualification at Certificate IV level.

    We have a national policy that young people must learn or earn. Jobs for untrained young workers are few and far between, and our regional youth unemployment rates are up around 15% well above the national average. In regional NSW, we are trying to encourage our farm hands to have at least a Certificate 2 or Certificate 3, because those courses cover important aspects of Occupational Health and Safety, Use of Pesticides, First Aid and Safe use of Chain Saws Course costs like this are beyond the capacity of most of them, and many farming families.

    For the kids in regional areas who often have to travel long distances, or study online, these course costs are a huge disincentive. Socially and economically it is rural communities that this will hit the hardest by these fees.

    That’s why Labor will invest $100m to help make TAFE affordable and accessible for everyone, by winding back the privatisation of TAFE and stopping the course cuts and fee hikes. We need a strong TAFE system and Labor will start by abolishing the Smart and Skilled “privatisation program, reverse funding cuts, and cap the amount of public funds that can be contestable by private operators at 30%.

    The Baird Liberal government has cut $1.7bn from vocational education and training, and sacked 1100 TAFE teachers across the state. It’s a shemozzle that has made many TAFE Colleges unviable and created a distorted market for private companies and corporations. Our local TAFE College is a victim of these cuts – lost expertise, fewer jobs and fewer training opportunities are the result.

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

    Ted shares some secrets


    2018 - 09.16

    PASSING ON HIS KNOWLEDGE: Graffiti buster Ted Bickford demonstrates the removal of graffiti from a public building in Port Macquarie. Hastings Council is looking at implementing a graffiti program similar to the one Mr Bickford has established here in the Great Lakes. PORT Macquarie-Hastings Council has called on the expertise of local graffiti buster Ted Bickford in a bid to help the region with its ongoing graffiti problem.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Mr Bickford along with Great Lakes Council’s recreation coordinator Kerrie Simmons were invited to meet with Hastings Council representatives last Wednesday to discuss Mr Bickford’s successful Graffiti Busters program.

    Ms Simmons said Port council were interested to know more about how the program worked and how they could introduce something similar in the Hastings.

    “They were particularly interested in removal techniques, the ute, preventative measures and use of volunteers,” Ms Simmons said.

    “Ted also discussed the program running with the local schools and the support he receives from the younger members of the community in reporting and removing graffiti within the Forster Tuncurry area.”

    Mr Bickford said he was more than happy to share his knowledge with the council as he wants to see graffiti eradicated from every town up to the NSW border.

    “I drove around Port when I was up there and it’s a shocker,” Mr Bickford said of the town’s graffiti.

    “My theory is we’ve got something that works so why not let others use it?

    “I cannot see why we’re not trying to eradicate the problem right up to the NSW border.

    “We’ve been able to educate local kids who are now proud of their town. If we can achieve that in other areas too isn’t that a good thing?”

    Port council will take the information from Mr Bickford and Ms Simmons into consideration while they decide what the best options are for the area.

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