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    Chris’ carefree character

    2019 - 01.16

    THEN AND NOW: Twenty-two-year-old Chris McMahon said although being born with Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD) and requiring the use of a prosthetic leg, he has never let it weigh him down in life. Whyalla News covered a story on Chris when he was 14 years old, before he had his short leg amputated. Chris was always smiling despite his disability.Living with a disability for his entire life, Chris McMahon has had to overcome more than the average 22-year-old.

    Those who meet Chris for the first time might not get past his happy-go-lucky smile and carefree attitude to realise that he has a prosthetic leg.

    “So many times people have said to me ‘wow I had no idea’ – it’s probably because I don’t let it hold me back,” he said.

    Diagnosed as Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD), a rare non-hereditary condition, Chris was born with his right leg significantly shorter than the left.

    When he was born, his parents, Julia and Ian, were given two options; either to have the leg amputated or try the only treatment that was available at the time, bone lengthening therapy.

    Julia and Ian wanted to give Chris the best start to life as possible, so at just two-years-old he had his first bone lengthening operation.

    Using an external frame, called the Ilizarov frame, pins are secured through the skin and muscle into the bone while the bone is broken and the frame is gradually extended as the bone heals.

    An incredibly painful procedure, Chris’ parents received negative comments from those around them, labelling it as ‘cruel’.

    “It’s easy to judge from the outside without being in the situation yourself,” he said.

    “I’m incredibly thankful of my parents, without them I really don’t think I would be the guy I am today.”

    Chris was in and out of surgery growing up, from a second bone lengthening surgery, a full knee reconstruction, repairing a growth plate in his right leg and the removal of a pin from his hip, as well as breaking his leg twice after lengthening surgery.

    “I could walk, just not for long distance, so I got a prosthetic leg,” he said.

    The prosthetics helped Chris learn to walk more efficiently and to make sure he would not develop curvature of the spine.

    Chris said having a prosthetic helped him become more active, however, the fact that his foot sat inches above the ground and his prosthetic, did get him down.

    “I’d get that sixth sort of sense where I felt like someone was looking at me, could see people gawking,” he said.

    “I’ve always had friends and family and a lot of support behind me, just as much as I got picked on for it I got a lot more support about it too.”

    Although it did have its downsides, Chris said it never held him back from life.

    “I learnt how to skateboard, ride my bike, I jetty jumped and played hockey all through school,” he said.

    “In my teenage years, when I became more active I broke a few prosthetics, one time I went through three legs.”

    Amputation had always been an option for Chris, his parents welcomed any decision he wanted to make.

    “Once I got old enough and could understand what was going on, I weighed up the good and bad sides of the operation,” he said.

    So two years ago, at 20-years-old, Chris decided it was time to have the leg removed.

    Before his surgery, Chris was required to lose weight to help with his recovery time.

    He joined a gym, and lost more than 10 kilograms – since then has lost another 20 kilograms and is at the gym at least twice a week.

    “Ever since I’ve had it it’s just all been up hill, I haven’t looked back, life has just been better ever since,” he said.

    With the new prosthetic Chris has more movement in his leg and has been able to access higher quality prosthetics – currently his everyday leg has synthetic skin to appear more realistic.

    “That’s all thanks to the Whyalla orthotics department, they are really good at what they do,” he said.

    Currently working at Bureau Veritas, Chris said he had difficulties initially getting a job in the mining industry, which he believes was due to his leg.

    “It’s probably one of the first things I would mention during interviews just to get it out of the way,” he said.

    “It keeps up with the rest of my body and hasn’t been a problem at work whatsoever which to be honest is a surprise.”

    Chris’ life with one leg is no different to that of anyone else his age; he loves to attend the occasional music festival and have a good time with friends.

    He enjoys having a swing at golf, have quality family time, and is looking forward to soon moving in with his girlfriend Claudia.

    “Me and Claudia definitely want to see the world, so that’s something I really want to achieve,” he said.

    Always the joker, Chris said he had a joking nature about his leg, often having a laugh about it.

    “There’s been a few times I’ve taken it off in public and placed it next to someone and see them freak out, just to make fun of it – not to take it too seriously,” he said.

    “If you can’t make fun of it what’s the point.”

    Chris said he admired others who had disabilities that overcame adversity.

    “I reckon it’s really cool when I see someone else with a disability doing it just as good, or even better than people without disabilities,” he said.

    “It’s good to see it doesn’t let anyone else down, or set them back, like it doesn’t me.”

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    Southern Sevens football tournament

    2019 - 01.16

    Southern Branch committee member Ken Park, Southern under 17 women’s players Lexi Carter and Paris Ford, Southern women’s Kellie Brown and Southern Sevens creator Jim Ford are excited about the prospect of the inaugural competition.ISON Park will welcome teams from across the state in March when is hosts the inaugural Southern Sevens football tournament.

    The competition is the brainchild of Southern Branch ladies coach Jim Ford who is working in conjunction with Southern Branch committee member Ken Park and a host of other organisers as they prepare for the competition they believe could revolutionise football in the area.

    Ford is currently Director of Navy Football and his idea stemmed from an already established competition that he has been involved in for a number of years.

    “We [Navy Football] used to go up to Forster every year to play in the Viking Challenge, which is a six-a-side tournament that has been running for a while and attracts over 100 teams,” said Ford.

    “With all the facilities we have here at Ison Park, I thought, why are we going all the way up there if we can have one right here?”

    Ford and fellow Navy Football operations officer, Kellie Brown, used what they know about the competition at Forster to develop what has lead to the creation of Southern Sevens.

    “We took the idea to Ken [Park] and Southern Branch and they said yes, then we went to Shoalhaven Football and they said yes… they thought it was a great idea so we began organising,” said Ford.

    The development of the competition has only been in the works since November, giving them limited time to get the tournament up and running before it takes place on March 7 and 8.

    The organisers have been working with Southern Branch and also Shoalhaven District Football, whose referees and grounds at Ison Park will facilitate the running of the competition.

    “The first year is always going to be the hardest but we see this as being something that can be sustainable and something that we can run annually.

    “There will be lessons learnt this year but we want to develop something that we can build on and ultimately improve next year,” said Ford.

    Southern Branch committee member Ken Park said that further down the track, this tournament is something he hopes will grow exponentially and that can incorporate different parts of the community.

    “We hope that down the track we can get Shoalhaven City Council involved and make them recognise the huge benefits it can have on local tourism and the financial side of things,” he said.

    “We’ve seen what it is like in Forster and if we can make it as big as it is there, here in Nowra, then it will be a huge success,” said Ford.

    However before they reach that point, they need to attract the interest from players and individuals to register teams for the competition.

    The competition will run over two days with two separate competitions for ladies and men.

    It will be an open aged, seven-a-side tournament with similar rules to those of the local summer soccer competition which includes roughly 12 minute halves and half size fields.

    Ford is encouraging local teams to get around the new idea and register teams to take part in the competition.

    “We’ve already had interest shown from a number of local clubs including Illaroo, Shoalhaven United, Shoalhaven Heads and a number of Southern Branch ladies,” he said.

    Despite being a local event, the emphasis has been put on teams from outside the region to come and compete in the Southern Sevens.

    “I’ve received emails from teams in the ACT and around Sydney who are interested in taking part in the tournament which has been great and we hope for many more,” said Park.

    So why should teams register in the Southern Sevens?

    Kellie Brown said that the competition is perfect timing in the lead up to the football season and clubs and teams who are interested in some match practise should get involved.

    “It’s the perfect pre-season build up, making it the ideal time for teams and players to have a hit out before the season starts… and there are a number of cash prizes on offer for teams who win,” she said.

    Jim Ford said that they are actively trying to seek out sponsors for the competition so they can name the fields at Ison Park based on a businesses or groups in the community.

    “North Nowra Tavern has generously come on board as a sponsor of the competition and will be the place all teams and competitors go back to after each day to see where and who they will play the following day,” said Ford.

    Registration is $500 per team and Ford stressed that you don’t have to be apart of an organised club to register.

    “Some clubs may enter teams but if you are apart of a club and want to be in a team with your mates, that is fine too… Registration works out to be about $50 a player for a squad of ten,” he said.

    Ford’s vision is for a ‘good quality, well run and sociable’ competition which can be further developed and improved in future years.

    “Wouldn’t it be great, five years down the track to look back at this competition and think, this is a real bumper thing for the area.

    “It’s bringing people to the area, it’s financially sustainable and there some great football happening,” said Ford.

    For more information or to register a team to take part in the Southern Sevens, email [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校

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    Floods: Call for better drainage in West Cessnock, video

    2019 - 01.16

    WORRIED: James Street resident Bill Thompson has concerns about a proposed rezoning at the end of his street.Last week’s rainfall highlighted concerns from James Street, Cessnock residents about flash flooding occurring at the end of the street after periods of heavy downpour.

    Video footage showed the flow of rain created a strong torrent that flowed into the paddock at the end of the street – where a 25-lot rezoning is proposed.

    The water completely submerged the gutter and ran onto the footpaths and up the driveways in the street.

    Bill Thompson, who has lived in James Street with wife Barbara for 57 years, said he has requested a proper drainage system for the water to flow into the creek behind his house to prevent the bank up of water that currently floods the end of the street after rainfall.

    He has also put in requests to council three weeks ago after the last storm and then Mayor Bob Pynsent himself last week for the gutters to be cleared out and the potholes to be fixed.

    Mr. Thompson said that the rain runs so badly that, residents have to park their cars with the right wheels on the road and the left wheels on top of the gutter to try and restrict overflow into properties.

    He said it has been an ongoing battle to get council to resolve the issue.

    “We can’t get it through to them,” he said.

    Mr. Thompson also demonstrated concern about the overflow of sewage in their backyard each time it rains.

    He said their manhole rises and seeps sewage into their backyard on occasion, meaning the couple cannot even use their own toilet.

    His neighbour Andrew McGrath said along with the rain flooding the road and gutters, it also rises into his yard as far as his garage each time there is heavy rain.

    The residents also raised concerns about the proposed rezoning, which is is located between the edge of the existing built up area of Cessnock and Black Creek.

    Mr. Thompson said he is strongly opposed to this development and has even had petitions after housing was proposed for the area.

    “It’s wrong, you just don’t need it,” he said.

    “I feel sorry for the people who are going to build in there.”

    A council spokesperson said most of the area to be rezoned is above the one per cent (annual exceedance probability) flood planning level.

    “Those few proposed lots which are marginally below the one per cent (AEP) flood planning level have areas free from flooding to accommodate a building,” the spokesperson said.

    “The rezoning will not impact on the height or extent of existing flooding within the area—this conclusion is supported by appropriate flood study and assessments.

    “In addition to flooding from Black Creek, localised overland flow issues can arise during storm events. Existing underground drainage is limited in the existing urban area and stormwater flows generally occur as overland flows.

    “If the rezoning is approved, works associated with the development may provide limited improvement of the current local drainage issues, however, additional capital upgrade works would be considered by council to address stormwater drainage issues in the existing urban area.”

    See Mr. McGrath’s video below (mild language warning).

    James Street, West Cessnock

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    Horsham’s Holy Trinity Lutheran School $2.4m building project underway

    2019 - 01.16

    DEVELOPMENT: The design plans for Horsham’s Holy Trinity Lutheran School middle school project.WORK on a $2.4-million building project at Horsham’s Holy Trinity Lutheran School is due to be completed by term three.

    The middle school stage 1b project is being funded by a $1.6-million business loan from the Lutheran Laypersons League and $800,000 from the Federal Government.

    The middle school includes years seven and eight this year and will grow to years seven to nine next year.

    Horsham builders R A Plazzer Builders won the contract for the stage 1b project, designed by Brand Architects.

    Middle school head Jason Przibilla said concrete slabs had been poured for the classrooms, teachers’ area and the outdoor play area, which included two TigerTurf hard courts.

    On Monday, builders started work on steel frames for the new rooms.

    Mr Przibilla said the project was due to be finished by July, in time for term three.

    ‘‘We’re really looking forward to the buildings,’’ he said.

    ‘‘There are plenty of rooms including four extra general learning areas, along with open learning areas where we can have a chapel, meetings and assemblies.

    ‘‘We’ve also got a seminar room, storage and teachers’ office area. When that’s all finished we’ll be able to house all the students.’’

    The upgrade will allow the school to have specialised subject rooms for mathematics, English and humanities, along with multi-purpose rooms.

    Mr Przibilla said the specialised teaching areas would give staff the opportunity to tailor how they taught subjects.

    ‘‘We want to keep the traditional approach, but also make sure we’re allowing the capacity to be flexible.’’

    He said middle school students would also have a courtyard after the completion of building works.

    ‘‘There’ll be some outdoor landscaping and gardening, which will provide a place for students to sit, relax and talk,’’ he said.

    Mr Przibilla said students were excited by the prospect of moving into the rooms.

    ‘‘The new year sevens are adjusting to secondary school at the moment – they’re asking lots of questions and are keen to get into the new building.’’

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    OPINION: Election contest good for Yass

    2019 - 01.16

    Michael Pilbrow shares his views on the 2015 State Election.The Queensland election result last weekend has showed that no government or political party can take anything for granted.

    Three years ago, who would’ve thought that a Labor Party that won only seven seats out of 89 would be on the verge of getting back into government after only one term in Opposition?

    Or that a Liberal National Party that won the biggest majority in Australian history could be thrown out after one term?

    I’ll leave the analysis of the Queensland result to others, but I mention it to point out that it would be a mistake to assume that the upcoming NSW election is a foregone conclusion.

    New Labor leader Luke Foley has made a very strong start in his new role and is winning support for clear and pragmatic policies in areas like horse racing taxes, privatisation and newsagents.

    The situation facing newsagents is a good example. Luke Foley has made it clear that Labor is on the side of small business and will not allow the big supermarket chains to sell lottery tickets.

    Across NSW, this election will be much closer and more interesting than many would have predicted four years ago.

    Here in the new seat of Goulburn, of which Yass is a part, things are certainly hotting up.

    Labor’s outstanding candidate, Ursula Stephens, has been active doing community meetings across the electorate, including one in Yass just before Christmas. The Yass meeting was very positive, with locals coming along to raise issues and test out the candidate – it was great to see grassroots politics in action.

    There was another great example of grassroots campaigning recently in Goulburn, when candidates were invited to discuss renewable energy at a “Politics in the Pub” event.

    Ursula listened and spoke with conviction – and was the only major party candidate who turned up. The Greens, Christian Democrat and Outdoor Recreation candidates all attended and passionately articulated their positions. Other speakers also participated, including a representative from the National Party who spoke very well and highlighted to many the shame that there is not a Nationals candidate in the race.

    Disappointingly, no one from the Liberal Party attended Politics in the Pub, so there wasn’t the opportunity to compare all the candidates – but this didn’t seem to worry the others who were prepared to subject themselves to a raucous night in a room packed with people who care about energy, the environment and local jobs.

    Being part of the new seat of Goulburn is good for Yass. There is no sitting member, no Nationals candidate and a very strong Labor candidate, so this is a great opportunity for the issues important to Yass to get noticed. Make the most of it.

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