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Policeman facing domestic violence assault charge arrested

The arrest of a policeman who is expected to be charged for a brutal attack on a woman has undermined Chief Commissioner Ken Lay’s public campaign against domestic violence.
Nanjing Night Net

The senior constable from Belgrave allegedly punched the woman, believed to be his partner, after wedding celebrations in Victoria’s high country turned ugly.  The policeman was only suspended on Friday, a day after Victoria Police was contacted by Fairfax Media.

The couple had returned to a Mansfield motel in the early hours of Sunday morning following a wedding at the base of Mount Buller.

Security footage captured the couple with up to eight other intoxicated wedding guests, “crowded around” in the Alzburg Resort carpark at 2am, a resort employee said.

The CCTV footage, which has been handed to police, allegedly shows the off-duty officer punching the woman to the face and several members of the group seizing the man and restraining him until local police arrived.

The woman was taken to hospital for observation while the policeman was arrested and held overnight at the Mansfield police station.

He was released pending charges on summons, but on Thursday Victoria Police had confirmed he was not yet suspended from the police force.  However, on Friday a police spokeswoman said he had been suspended with pay.

In a statement to Fairfax Media, the spokeswoman said it would be “inappropriate” to comment as a Professional Standards Command investigation was under way.

“Any offences alleged to have been committed by police members are taken extremely seriously and investigated thoroughly,” the spokeswoman said.

The senior constable is one of four Victorian police officers who are facing recent assault charges.

In August, a sergeant was suspended without pay after he was charged on summons with serious assault offences for allegedly bashing a woman known to him in Rutherglen in the state’s north-east.

Last week, a  senior constable was suspended with pay pending his court appearance for an assault in Rosebud and a senior constable was “directed to take leave” in September for an assault at a licensed venue in Lakes Entrance.

Fairfax Media requested statistics from the police force on how many of its officers have been charged for domestic violence-related assaults in the past year, but was told a Freedom of Information request would be needed to access those figures.

The incidents – particularly the alleged Mansfield and Rutherglen assaults – contradicts recent attempts by the police force to clamp-down on domestic violence of which the most recent occurred just days before White Ribbon Day.

In his speech on Tuesday that marked the national day of action against domestic violence, Chief Commissioner Lay promised to provide the leadership “so desperately” needed on violence against women.

“All of us would do well to believe women’s stories…for too many years, violence against women has been one of Australia’s dark, dark secrets,” he said.

“We will work hard to make our organisations and communities safer for women and children.”

Chief Commissioner Lay has been a vocal opponent of violence against women since he took the top job in 2011, calling domestic violence one of the most significant law and order problems in the state.

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

Melbourne families embrace city living

Dentist Lina Okada and financial planner Anthony Lee moved into their Collins Street apartment four years ago. Photo: Patrick Scala Ivan Constable and his partner, Lisa Bakes, with their daughter, Hope Constable, in their CBD apartment. Photo: Luis Ascui
Nanjing Night Net

Ivan Constable and his partner, Lisa Bakes, with their daughter, Hope Constable, in their CBD apartment. Photo: Luis Ascui

Ivan Constable and his partner, Lisa Bakes, with their daughter, Hope Constable, in their CBD apartment. Photo: Luis Ascui

Ivan Constable and his partner, Lisa Bakes, with their daughter, Hope Constable, in their CBD apartment. Photo: Luis Ascui

The suburban life with big backyards and trees is not for everybody.

Ivan Constable, 52, and partner Lisa Bakes are among a growing number of families feeling the pull of the CBD.

They moved into their two-bedroom apartment in Presgrave Place 18 years ago to be closer to work, and have no plans to leave the home where they have raised their 13-year-old daughter, Hope.

“People are realising that as a family, you can grow up in the city just as well as you can in the suburbs and there’s no reason why you can’t,” said Mr Constable, who co-owns a hair salon in nearby Russell Place.

“In some ways it’s even easier.”

Families have long preferred to raise their children in the suburbs as there is a shortage of quality schools and amenities in the heart of the city. But Mr Constable believes families don’t have to look far for everything they need.

Over the years, his daughter has attended childcare centres in A’Beckett Street and East Melbourne, Carlton North Primary School and University High School.

“We can go to ACMI and the museum … it’s a regular occurrence,” he added. “We don’t have to make big trips of it.”

While proximity to work and amenities continue to be a major attraction for professional couples, empty-nesters and students living in the CBD, statistics reveal the number of families with children moving into the city is growing.

Census data shows families with children made up 21.4 per cent of households in the CBD in the 2011 compared with 17.4 per cent in the 2006.

Lina Okada and her husband, Anthony Lee, moved into their four-bedroom apartment at 192 Little Collins Street four years ago and have seen more amenities – such as supermarkets – pop up in the area.

She said she had also discovered existing ones since becoming a mother.

“I think a lot of people don’t realise there are actually a lot of facilities in the CBD,” said the 29-year-old dentist, who leaves her 14-month-old daughter in QV Children’s Centre one day a week.

Ms Okada and her family, like many living in the CBD, shopped at the Queen Victoria Market and has the Royal Botanic Gardens as their backyard.

With another baby due in March, the couple are now looking to upsize in the suburbs and pass on their home with hopes of more than $1.75 million.

Dingles Partners managing director Anton Wongtrakun said there had been a trend of families moving into the city over the past decade rather than moving out, and there had been a greater diversity of accommodation designed with families in mind.

“There have been a number of large apartments developed in the city as opposed to some of the smaller ones, and that allows for people to have a bit more space,” he said.

Yet BIS Shrapnel senior manager Angie Zigomanis said many of the new developments in the CBD continue to target investors.

“If you look at any of the high-rise towers, they’re concentrated towards one and two-bedroom homes,” he said.

“It might accommodate a young family who have a small child or a baby, but once that child starts to crawl around and eventually walk, the majority of that new product that is being offered isn’t family friendly.”

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

Unusual illness has Ken mystified

Ken Thurbon is sick of waiting for answers to what he says is a mystery medical condition. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSONA BENALLA man says he just wants answers after suffering a mystery illness for years.
Nanjing Night Net

Ken Thurbon, 81, got out of bed one morning in September 2011 and collapsed.

More than three years and countless doctor and hospital visits later, he still doesn’t know what’s causing the problem.

Mr Thurbon said he regularly had problems with his legs, which included walking troubles, pins and needles and issues balancing, and had passed out several times. He has also had stomach problems.

His fear is he could end up in wheelchair.

“It’s a medical mystery as far as I’m concerned,” Mr Thurbon said.

“I’m a bit annoyed.

“They don’t tell me much.”

Mr Thurbon has been diagnosed with a copper deficiency but his body is not responding to treatments and the cause remains unknown.

There is little research and information on the problem, and even less knowledge among the local medical fraternity, he said.

Mr Thurbon has been encouraged to eat certain foods to boost his copper levels, including oysters, but his condition is not improving.

“They just don’t seem interested,” he said.

“I’ve been surfing the net and reading books to find out something about it, but there’s absolutely no local information.”

Mr Thurbon said the illness had had a drastic impact on his life and kept him from his love of exploring the outdoors.

“It’s virtually shut my life down and it’s driving me around the bloody twist,” he said.

“I just want my life back. I’ve exhausted the internet.”

He hopes by talking about it, more information and a solution will come to light.

“I’ve tried everything from pills to oysters,” he said.

“I get upset, I get depressed, I shut the place up, take the phone off the hook and hibernate.”

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

Rivers ready for cod opening

G’DAY fishos.
Nanjing Night Net

Righto, now it’s only two sleeps until cod opening, we’ve had a little freshen up from some rain and everything’s looking perfect, so where are you going to wet a line?

I don’t think it will really matter.

The Ovens, King, Buffalo and Kiewa rivers all look great and that drop of rain won’t hurt.

The Upper Murray, Lower Murray, Murray in between, Edward’s, Bong, Bidgee, etc might be carrying a bit of water but should fish great, as should Lake Mulwala.

I’d say the Mitta’s the only one running a little too hard at the moment but I suppose if you’ve got a line in the water you’ve got a chance.

Blowering and Burrinjuck are both shaping up really well too so instead of writing up predictions as we have been the past couple of weeks, new report should be all about results.

Good ones we hope.

One thing I’d like to bring up about cod opening though would be that rather than having the season open mid-week most of the time, Monday this year, why can’t we have a weekend opening?

At the moment it’s great for those that are retired or those in a position to take a day off when they like to be able to fish that much anticipated first day but for the bulk of fishos the season’s going to be open for five days before they get their chance.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard for both NSW and Vic Fisheries boys and girls to get together and organise a change to the Saturday closest to the December 1 as an opening date.

The first open weekend is always huge for cod fishos but I’m sure it would become even bigger if it was always the actual opening weekend, food for thought maybe?

The streams are definitely on the improve.

While not going gangbusters there’s enough small trout being caught to indicate things are getting better.

There’s an odd decent fish about too.

I saw a brown of about 1½kilograms in the Snowy above Mitta last Sunday, never caught him mind you.

It’s one of the bigger fish I’ve seen up there for a long, long time.

I fished for only a couple of hours but managed two little blokes and spotted another half a dozen or so.

There was the odd fish rising and I’ve heard similar reports from the Kiewa and Buffalo.

They’re not back to normal just yet but they’re certainly picking up.

It seems there’s a few yellas about anywhere you want to talk about too.

Eildon, Burrinjuck and all the rivers in between have been fishing well for goldens by reports we’re getting at Compleat Angler.

The river around Albury is no exception.

We’ve had numerous reports of yellas on both bait and lure so it’d be worth a shot going out even if you’ve only got that hour or two.

We’re still getting reasonable reports on reddies in Lake Hume too.

When I say “reasonable” I mean some great reports and some not so great.

One bloke nailed more than 50 in a session with 30 of those being more than 500grams, while we still get reports of bugger all and lots of reports of four, 10, 15, etc.

It’s the same old story, right spot, right time.

While there’s quite a few nice fish being trolled, the bigger numbers seem to be coming in on bait, yabbies in particular and try and keep in that 10-metre mark.

Anyhow, have a good one, catch ya next week.

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

Police arrest man over headbutt

A MAN has been hospitalised after being headbutted in a fight at the Birallee Tavern.
Nanjing Night Net

Police arrested a 22-year-old Wodonga man last night.

Leading Sen-Constable Chris Grimmett said while police were yet to determine exactly what had occurred, officers had been told the man had headbutted another man.

“Any injuries sustained are believed to have been caused by bodily force,” he said.

“There was a disturbance at the hotel and a man has been assaulted by another man.

“That person is in custody pending interview.”

Sen-Constable Grimmett said multiple people had been involved in the incident, with early indications some had been at the Wodonga Gold Cup during the day.

The incident occurred about 7pm last night and police will review security footage to determine exactly what occurred.

“It’s not a common occurrence,” he said.

“Any act of violence, especially where a person has to go to hospital, is of concern to us.

“Acts of violence involving alcohol at and around licenced premises are always concerning.”

Sen-Constable Grimmett urged witnesses to contact police.

‘This one’s for dad,’ emotional Brian Cox saysCox choked back tears after Minnie Downs handed him his first Wodonga Cup success without his father and long-time mentor, Ollie, by his side.

Public holiday a gold winner for Wodonga CupRacegoershave made the most of a new public holiday, with crowd numbers doubling at yesterday’s Wodonga Gold Cup.

Police arrest man over headbuttA man has been hospitalised after being headbutted in a fight at the Birallee Tavern. The man was believed to have come from the races.

Cav rues Wodonga bad luck as Pedro retiresWodonga Gold Cup day is fast proving to be a nightmare for Albury trainer Brett Cavanough.

“I’m a bit like the Albury Football Club. You lose two but you just go and find another two to replace them.”

Wilscott holds off challengeWilscottfinally delivered on his promise in landing the feature sprint on Wodonga Gold Cup Day for premier trainer Brian Cox.

“Hopefully the drought is well and truly over.”

Aalbers in exclusive companyVeteran horsewoman Liz Aalbers has been made a life member of the Wodonga Turf Club.

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

IVF brings dreams of a family life to reality

Josh and Jaclyn Muntz with their children Isabelle, 4, Victoria, 2, and newborn twins Grace and Elizabeth, two weeks. All four children have been conceived through the IVF program. Picture: JOHN RUSSELLAN Albury couple who endured seven failed IVF cycles over almost five years have this week brought home identical twins to meet their older siblings.
Nanjing Night Net

Josh, a carpenter, and Jaclyn Muntz, a secretary with a law firm, feared they would never have children after spending thousands of dollars on fertility treatment.

“We thought for a while we weren’t going to have kids, but we never gave up hope,” Mr Muntz said.

Now they have four children aged four and under.

Isabelle, 4, Victoria, 2, Grace and Elizabeth, both two weeks old, were all conceived from the one batch of eggs taken from Mrs Muntz.

Mrs Muntz, now 32, was 22 when the couple started trying to conceive naturally.

They began treatment at Reproductive Medicine Albury in 2006 and moved to Perth for a year in 2008 to pursue a work opportunity.

During their time in Perth they continued treatment but were unsuccessful.

“When we came back to Albury the (eggs) were shipped across the Nullarbor,” Mr Muntz said.

“The girls are all from that one batch of fertilised embryos from Perth.

“They took 16 out in one batch, fertilised 13 and 12 survived.”

After seven failed IVF attempts over five years, Isabelle was born in 2010.

Mrs Muntz described her first daughter as a miracle but said they had wanted more children.

Two years later they tried their luck again with their remaining embryos and Victoria was born following the first cycle of treatment.

But they didn’t stop there and identical twins were born two weeks ago following a second cycle of treatment.

Mr Muntz said family and friends had asked them if they would consider adoption.

“We had never discussed it as we always wanted to have kids of our own,” he said.

Now with four healthy children conceived through IVF, the couple want to share their story and tell others to never give up hope.

Mr Muntz said if couples could not conceive naturally, there were other options.

“Just be careful because you may get more than you bargained for, like us,” he joked.

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

Cav rues Wodonga bad luck as Pedro retires

WODONGA Gold Cup day is fast proving to be a nightmare for Albury trainer Brett Cavanough.
Nanjing Night Net

Sadly for Cavanough, talented gelding Prince Pedro has run his last race after he was found to be bleeding from both nostrils for the second time after finishing sixth in yesterday’s cup.

Only 12 months ago the Cavanough-trained Scatcat failed to finish in the Wodonga feature when jockey Jake Duffy eased the galloper out of the race at the top of the home straight.

“I’ll just head back over the Border with my tail between my legs for the second year in a row,” Cavanough said.

“It’s disappointing because Jake (Duffy) said he felt he was a winning chance turning for home and then the bleeding attack must have happened.

“He was a talented galloper who went through the grades quickly and had his fair share of ability.

“But unfortunately he is a bleeder, which is just a statistic of racing.”

BRETT CAVANOUGH’This one’s for dad,’ emotional Brian Cox saysCox choked back tears after Minnie Downs handed him his first Wodonga Cup success without his father and long-time mentor, Ollie, by his side.

Public holiday a gold winner for Wodonga CupRacegoershave made the most of a new public holiday, with crowd numbers doubling at yesterday’s Wodonga Gold Cup.

Police arrest man over headbuttA man has been hospitalised after being headbutted in a fight at the Birallee Tavern. The man was believed to have come from the races.

Cav rues Wodonga bad luck as Pedro retiresWodonga Gold Cup day is fast proving to be a nightmare for Albury trainer Brett Cavanough.

“I’m a bit like the Albury Football Club. You lose two but you just go and find another two to replace them.”

Wilscott holds off challengeWilscottfinally delivered on his promise in landing the feature sprint on Wodonga Gold Cup Day for premier trainer Brian Cox.

“Hopefully the drought is well and truly over.”

Aalbers in exclusive companyVeteran horsewoman Liz Aalbers has been made a life member of the Wodonga Turf Club.

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

Cod season to open Monday

ANGLERS in both NSW and Victoria will be able to target Murray cod when the season opens on Monday.
Nanjing Night Net

It follows the annual three-month breeding closure for cod in the streams.

There is a change in size limit for the coming year in both Victorian and NSW, with a minimum of 55centimetres and maximum of 75centimetres.

“Recent changes now mean that while catch and release is allowed, it is a requirement to release all cod caught outside the slot limit with the least possible harm,” NSW Department of Primary Industries inland fisheries manager Cameron Westaway said yesterday.

“The new rules should increase the number of larger cod in the system, improving both the long term sustainability of this great recreational fishery as well as increasing the chance of catching that fish of a lifetime.”

DPI acting director fisheries compliance, Patrick Tully, said fisheries officers would continue to monitor inland waterways, particularly during the holiday season, to ensure anglers followed all recreational fishing rules.

“A daily bag limit of two cod per person per day and a total possession limit of four applies when fishing in any inland waters,” Mr Tully said.

But Victorian anglers also have new catch limits this season.

Fisheries Victoria executive director Ross McGowan said the new limits would improve the sustainability of the cod fishery.

Mr McGowan said the new “slot limit” of 55 to 75centimetres applied to all lakes and rivers throughout Victoria and had been mirrored in NSW waters, including the Murray River, for simplicity.

Mr McGowan said there were changes to the bag limit for cod.

“In rivers, the daily bag limit had been reduced from two to one,” he said.

“This excludes the Murray River, which is a NSW waterway for fisheries management.

“This enables Victorian anglers to take one smaller fish for the table, while ensuring all large breeders are returned to the water and contribute to future generations.

“In Victorian lakes, the daily bag limit of two cod remains unchanged because most lake fisheries are stocked populations where harvest by anglers poses no threat to sustainability.”

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

Working together to fight spread

Property owner David Elder has worked hard to tackle blackberries in the district, with great success; Picture: Dylan RobinsonEVERY valley needs a catalyst to champion the battle against blackberries. In Bethanga, it’s been David Elder.
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A couple of years ago the grazier recognised that something really needed to be done in the district to combat a spreading blackberry problem.

He approached Mitta to Murray Blackberry Action Group president Jim de Hennin, who encouraged him to gather some neighbours together, rather than taking an ad hoc approach.

So Mr Elder put together his own expression of interest form, visited a stack of landholders and had about 12 of them sign up.

Mr de Hennin was impressed with the result and encouraged the action group to help Bethanga. There are now 20 properties involved, covering 378 hectares.

“There are a lot of small properties but with a common problem,” Mr de Hennin said.

Mr Elder, who farms about 222ha of his own and leased country, said he could see the blackberries were getting worse at Bethanga and that the landholders needed help.

The result is that the Bethanga Landcare group has come out of recess and there’s a whole new interest in working together on land management issues.

In the middle of this resurgence, Mr Elder had a serious four-wheel-bike accident in April 2013 when he suffered seven fractures and a brain injury.

He spent three months in hospital and rehabilitation in Melbourne, and a further six weeks of rehabilitation in Albury.

The accident has not deterred Mr Elder from running his beef cattle and clawing productive land back from the invasive blackberries.

Last week he had Paton Air put out 12 loads of chemical on his steep country, while he also puts in a big effort spot spraying.

Scans growing in popularity

Brad Scott says now is the time to organise your sheep preg-test scanning. Picture: JOHN RUSSELLBRAD Scott reckons sheep farmers who leave it to the last moment to organise pregnancy scans for their sheep are like Christmas shoppers who leave their gift buying to the last minute.
Nanjing Night Net

And that’s because there’s a fair chance they are going to be disappointed.

“After all, you wouldn’t leave it to a day or two before the event to hire a shearing team,” said Mr Scott, the principal of Scott’s Scanning Service at Burrumbuttock.

“There’s a few of us who do scanning around the district but between now and August things get very busy.

“And you do not want to be scanning a ewe to see if she is carrying twins, after 100 days of her gestation period, using the ultrasound method we operate, because it is just too hard to be accurate.

“So the time to book in with anybody who is doing your pregnancy scanning for your flock is now.”

Although scanning for sheep has been available in this district for about 20 years and is growing in popularity, Mr Scott, who also runs a mixed farming operation at Burrumbuttock, estimated only about two thirds of farmers were using the system.

“There are two options available to farmers, ‘wet/dry’ and ‘twinning’ and they decide which best suits their needs,” he said.

“The first is the most simple and straight-forward operation as its purpose is to test whether a ewe is in lamb or empty.

“The other tells farmers whether the ewe is carrying twins or not, but involves a more detailed use of the equipment and longer scan of the screen we use.

“At the moment I would say that 70per cent of the work I do is wet/dry but I would expect in the future — possibly within about five years — the reverse will be true.

“The ones which carry twins are the ones you keep breeding from and in this way you gradually build up the fertility of the flocks.

“It can also be used to monitor the performance of your rams.”

Mr Scott operates from a mobile structure, sitting on a seat positioned low to the ground and operates the ultrasound instrument, which also involves the use of water on the part of the sheep being scanned, its belly, and interprets the image that projects onto a small screen in front of him.

Bungowannah farmer Michael Dunn said pregnancy scanning was very important to his operation because of its value as a management tool.

“It determines how I manage my sheep for the next six months,” he said.

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