Crakanthorp cranky oversnapshot: voter

The advertising trailer in a prominent position across the road from the pre-poll station. Picture: Peter StoopA HEATED exchange involving Newcastle Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp on one side and Liberal booth workers and a retired “swinging voter” on the other has been investigated by the police and the NSW Electoral Commission.
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Tempers flared at the Newcastle pre-polling station in Darby Street on Tuesday over the way that Mr Crakanthorp had parked an advertising trailer with his photos on it, hitched to a station wagon, in a prominent position across the road from the pre-poll station.

While Mr Crakanthorp says he had checked with Newcastle City Council compliance officers before leaving the vehicle parked for extended periods of time, his Liberal challenger, Karen Howard, disagrees.

“The council compliance officer told everyone that cars with advertising trailers could only stay parked like that when the driver for the day was in the vicinity,” Ms Howard said.

The disturbance began when one of Ms Howard’s campaign workers tried to photograph Mr Crakanthorp, apparently as he was about to leave in another vehicle, which could show he was “not in the vicinity”.

Mr Crakanthorp said: “Yesterday as I was leaving pre-poll, I was approached by a Liberal volunteer seeking to photograph me.

“Another man got involved, there was an exchange of words and I have reported the matter to the Newcastle returning officer, the police and parliamentary security.”

Ms Howard declined to say what happened, saying she was not there at the time, but the person Mr Crakanthorp referred to, Honeysuckle resident Tim Lees, alleged Mr Crakanthorp had “an aggressive and threatening attitude towards the young volunteer”.

Mr Lees, who describes himself as a 65-year-old swinging voter who moved to Newcastle a few years ago from Sydney’s northern beaches, said he intervened to tell Mr Crakanthorp to calm down.

He said Mr Crakanthorp then “turned his venom” on him, and that at one stage the pair were “nose to nose” in conflict.

“Seems the pressure may be getting to the member for Newcastle,” Mr Lees said.

Mr Crakanthorp disputed Mr Lees’ account and alleged that the voter had been the aggressor.

He said the council’s senior compliance officer had verified there was “no issue with the campaign car being parked where it was”.

“Polling booths can involve some rough and tumble, however it will be the people of Newcastle who decide who will represent them,” Mr Crakanthorp said. “Until then, everyone should act respectfully.”

Newcastle returning officer Ashley Cooper confirmed he had written a report about the incident and sent it to the electoral commission’s Sydney head office.

A commission spokesman confirmed the report had been received but said he was unable to release it or to detail its contents.

Ms Howard said she, too, had contacted police, having received “very third-hand information” about what had happened at the pre-poll station.

Police said said officers investigated a “verbal altercation” on Darby Street but on the information they received they believed no offence had been committed and so no formal action was taken.

Police confirmed the argument began over “the taking of photographs” and said extra patrols were being sent past the pre-poll station.

Extra patrols were also sent past one candidate’s home, as requested by the candidate.

$25m kick-start for new Lower Hunter hospital

An artist’s impression of the proposed new hospital.EDITORIAL: Money for Maitland hospital
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CONSTRUCTION of the Lower Hunter’s new hospital will start in the next term of a re-elected Baird government, with $25million pledged to kick-start the project worth more than $400million.

In the Liberal Party’s strongest pitch yet to hang on to the seat of Maitland, Health Minister Jillian Skinner will join candidate Steve Thomson to announce on Thursday that $25million has been set aside from the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund to start ground works at the Metford site for the new hospital.

It will also spend $3.8million on a new ambulance station in the area, which could be built either near the new hospital or as a major upgrade of the existing Rutherford station.

Ms Skinner said residents would soon be able to see work start on the project.

It is needed because of the mounting pressure the region’s growing population is putting on the existing Maitland Hospital, and to reduce the need for Lower Hunter residents to go to the John Hunter Hospital, freeing up capacity there, she said.

‘‘To say the [new] Maitland Hospital will be a game changer for this region doesn’t even scratch the surface of how important this project is,’’ Mrs Skinner said.

‘‘It will transform healthcare for this rapidly growing region.’’

The new hospital’s location on the former PGH bricks site will include an emergency department, cancer services, more inpatient beds, and other services. Exactly when work will start depends on the company CSR finishing the site’s remediation.

But unlike a number of government infrastructure promises, the hospital is not contingent on the leasing of the state’s poles and wires.

However, the government says it is yet to determine whether it will be a wholly government-built project, a public-private partnership or privately built and managed, leaving voters in the dark before they cast their vote.

Mrs Skinner said the decision would be made after the final business case is handed to NSW Treasury mid year.

Its planners have also been considering whether to sell the existing hospital site and Morisset hospital to help fund the project.

But the minister said the new hospital would cater for public patients regardless of the procurement model, and only the government could be trusted to deliver the project.

‘‘The Baird government has made its commitment to delivering a new hospital for Maitland clear – we chose the site, started the remediation, progressed the master planning and have worked with the clinicians and the community to determine the clinical services needs,’’ she said.

Mr Thomson said it would ensure residents were able to receive more complex clinical care closer to home.

Premier Mike Baird will be campaigning in Newcastle on Thursday.

Herald Breakfast – March 19 2015

Morning Shot: Instagram’s @mickloxleyphotography shared this sunrise on Thursday. Weather:Mostly sunny in Newcastle (27 degrees) and Maitland (33 degrees) with sunshine in Scone (35 degrees).
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Trains:Passengers travelling on the 5:45am Central to Hamilton train were advised to allow an additional 20 minutes travel time due to the train requiring mechanical repairs at Thornleigh earlier.

Traffic: No major incidents reported on Hunter roads.

Beachwatch:It’s going to be warm and partly cloudy today so another goodpretty day beachside. The wind will be south-west to south-east with the swell from the east around half to one metre. Mostopen beaches will be feeling the effects of the wind with thesouthern ends being the better value.

Morning Shot:Instagram’s @mickloxleyphotography shared this sunrise on Thursday.

Ten penalised in widespreaduni cheating scandal:THE University of Newcastle has expelled two students and suspended a further eight after its investigation into a widespread cheating scandal centred onan online essay writing company.

Massive medical costs in the Hunter:THE Hunter is home to some of the biggest medical bills for people who visit their family doctor 12 or more times per year in Australia.

Crakanthorp cranky over snapshot, voter claims: A HEATED exchange involving Newcastle Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp on one side and Liberal booth workers and a retired “swinging voter” on the other has been investigated by the police and the NSW Electoral Commission.

Kade Snowden’s push for pack leadership:His role is uncomplicated and unglamorous but should never be underestimated.

Thurston shocked at Newcastle tackle: The Queensland playmakerfeared he might have suffered a neck injury after a dangerous tackle by Newcastle players and believes they should have known better considering the injury suffered by Alex McKinnon.

Herald Half-Time: Do the Jets have anything left to play for?ONLINE SHOWJoin the panel as theydiscuss the 4-0 thumping against Melbourne City and where the Jets go from here.

Entertainment from when radio was king

Film stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were also popular radio performers in the 1950s.Radio has been around for almost 200 years but podcasting is a relatively recent form of communication. The Boxcars711 Old Time Radio Pod combines media, taking recordings of radio programs created between 1930 and 1970 and making them available as podcasts.
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The podcast originates from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is hosted by veteran radio DJ Bob Camardella, although his recorded input here is mostly limited to occasional episode introductions. According to hosting site Podomatic, Boxcars711 pushes out more than 4.2 million downloads a year.

It’s amazing that so many shows have been preserved, and for the most part sound quality is good to excellent. At worst, some programs sound as if you’re listening to a scratchy old phonograph record. Several shows are released each day; I’ve been listening for several years and am still hearing new material. The Old Time Radio Radio Researchers Group database lists more than 212,000 individual episodes of about 2250 series that were produced.

If you’re old enough to remember a time before television, when radio was a vital part of the average family’s home entertainment, you’ll enjoy renewing the experience. For children of the 1950s and early ’60s, it’s fun discovering the roots of many of popular TV shows of the time. But if you just want to listen to some great stories, without being tied to a screen, and let your imagination run, you’ll love these podcasts. Most were recorded in studios and distributed to affiliated stations for rebroadcast, but many – especially comedy programs – were performed and recorded in front of audiences and you can hear their reactions and even, occasionally, actors flubbing their lines.

They were broadcast on commercial radio networks and most of the preserved recordings have had the advertising content removed. But when the ads have been left in, it’s a real eye-opener for how attitudes have changed. Children’s shows such as the western Wild Bill Hickok were sponsored by breakfast cereals whose claim to fame was the huge amount of sugar they contained, and children were encouraged to snack on them all day long (childhood obesity, anyone?). Cigarette companies were also big sponsors (doctors attest that one brand is less irritating to your throat).

Most of the programs are about 30 minutes long and they include drama, western, comedy, crime, horror, medical and science fiction. There are even programs in which the main characters are newspaper journalists. By far the most popular genre was detective and police stories. The best-known of those making the transition from books to radio include Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes, but there were others such as The Falcon, The Whisperer, The Blue Beetle, The Shadow and Boston Blackie. Westerns were also popular, and familiar titles include Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, and Have Gun, Will Travel. As for comedy, shows by Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, George Burns and Milton Berle are as funny today as they were 60 years ago.

Radio had its very own star performers, many of whom, such as Jack Webb, were able to move over to television as the little screen gradually consumed the home audience, but several film stars also worked in radio. Frank Sinatra featured as an adventurer named Rocky Fortune, James Stewart played a cowboy known as The Six Shooter, and Vincent Price was The Saint. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall starred in a show called Bold Venture that lasted for more than 50 episodes.

Most of the shows originated on American radio networks but the collection includes series from Britain, South Africa and, from Australia, the Caltex Theatre.

Boxcars711 is available via iTunes or from http://boxcars711.podomatic上海龙凤419m/

Old Time Radio Radio Researchers Group: http://www.otrr上海龙凤419/pg02_otrdb.htm

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Uni cheats kicked out

THE University of Newcastle has expelled two students and suspended a further eight after its investigation into a widespread cheating scandal centred on an online essay writing company.
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About 70 other students from four other NSW universities are also facing severe penalties, including expulsion, after being identified in connection with the Sydney-based My Master company.

The students were identified using data provided by Fairfax Media, following an investigation last year that revealed up to 1000 students from 16 universities had hired the Sydney-based My Master company to ghost-write their assignments and sit online tests.

The data, which was insecurely stored on the now-defunct My Master website, included copies of the purchased assignments, bank receipts showing proof of payment, and in some instances suspected names and student numbers of those involved. The website was written in Chinese and was marketed to international students studying at universities in NSW.

The University of Newcastle – the only institution to have mostly finalised its internal investigation into the scandal – confirmed it had expelled two students and suspended a further eight for using the My Master service.

A total of 31 students were found to have breached the university’s academic misconduct protocol, deputy vice-chancellor Andrew Parfitt said.

All of them were international students based at the University of Newcastle’s Sydney campus.

When the cheating allegations were put to them, ‘‘the vast majority of students’’ admitted to buying their assignments and ‘‘expressed regret,’’ Professor Parfitt said.

Among them, 24 students received a fail grade for courses completed in 2014 – a penalty which was applied 51 times, indicating some students had bought their assignments for multiple courses.

Those students were suspended or expelled.

The two expelled students had used the My Master service four or five times, or had previous misconduct breaches on their record, he said.

‘‘I think we’ve always known there are various forms students use for cheating. But we have a very strong process in place here.’’

Professor Parfitt said the university was still pursuing a number of former students who had not responded to the cheating allegations.

Those who graduated last year risked having their degrees revoked.

Four months after the cheating scandal was uncovered, the four other worst-affected universities – Macquarie University, University of Technology Sydney, University of Sydney, University of NSW – have told Fairfax Media that their internal investigations are still under way, but a number of students had been identified.

All universities, except UNSW, listed expulsion as the maximum possible penalty for students found to have breached academic protocol in their dealings with My Master.

At UNSW, the maximum penalty is 18 months’ suspension from the university. All universities contacted by Fairfax Media said no penalties would be imposed until all appeal processes had been exhausted.

Macquarie University – the worst-affected university with students logging 128 requests for work in 2014 – confirmed 43 ‘‘current and former students’’ had been asked to attend disciplinary committee hearings to explain how their names were among the files held on the My Master website.

Professor John Simons, deputy Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University, said the university had commissioned an independent investigation to audit the data provided by Fairfax Media and would ‘‘leave no stone unturned in establishing whether or not cheating had occurred’’.

‘‘Some of these students may be completely innocently mentioned [in the Fairfax data]. This is for the disciplinary process to uncover,’’ he said.

A spokeswoman for the University of NSW said 19 students had been issued with ‘‘notices of allegation’’ in relation to 18 assignments, after plagiarism detection software had matched copies of the purchased assignments with those handed in by the students last year.

A further 11 students are under investigation at the University of Technology, Sydney, deputy vice-chancellor Shirley Alexander confirmed.

Attempts were also being made to identify students in connection with 53 assignment that had been purchased using fake names.

Three students at the University of Sydney are also being investigated.

During the course of Fairfax Media’s investigation, it was revealed that the My Master company had received more than 700 requests for work from NSW university students and turned over more than $160,000 in 2014, with some students paying up to $1000 for an assignment.