Monthly Archives: August 2018

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Late bloomer stands out from the crowd

DOMINANT: Hunter United’s Sabina Gamboso shoots over two Illawarra defenders during a Metro League game last season. Sabina Gamboso has come from the clouds.
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The towering goal shooter did not start playing netball until she was 13,after a brief and “honestly terrible” soccer career, and confesses to being uncoordinatedcompared with her teammates.

But the 20-year-old has become a dominant force for Hunter United in their unbeaten start to the Metro League division-one season.

Gamboso started playing netball when she entered her teens. She was already six-foot-two (188cm) when she began as a goal keeper for Valentine-Eleebana in the Belmont competition.

“Most of the other girls started at a young age, like fiveor six, whereas I started when I was 13,” she said.“I was in the lowest grade. Everyone always jokes that I was absolutely terrible.I moved to Charlestown, and they saw potential in me, I guess, because I was so tall. I went into the under-15s team and just started from there.

“I started off at soccer just before I did netball, and I was also in the lowest grade. It wentfrom like grade A to grade M, and I was in grade M.I played for three years. I didn’t improve and I did not score one goal. I was honestly terrible.Probably the best decision ever to stop playing that and try something new.”

Sabine Gamboso, left, and her teammates celebrate after last year’s grand final victory over Illawarra.

Gamboso joined Newcastle club Forsythes when she was 17 under coach Traci Baber, who coaches Hunter United, and has blossomed in the Metro League.

“A couple of years ago, I was very unfit, a little bit overweight, and I just decided I didn’t want to be that person who was coming last when we were warming up and struggling behind.I really told myself to start eating better andtraining heaps. I think from that my elevation, speed, catching and strength and passing have improved.”

Hunter United, promoted from division two, are unbeaten on top of the Metro League ladder after three games, and Gamboso is loving every minute of it.

“Everyone’s just supportive. After every quarter we always high-five and put our hands in the circle and scream, ‘Hunter!’

“I never really thought that I would get to this. My whole family is surprised that I ended up being the sporty one.They always joke that probably the first year and a half of me playing netball I could hardly catch. Probably about 50 per cent. The rest I’d drop.”

Gamboso works full-time as a building cadet at a Central Coast construction company and is studying construction management at Newcastle University.

She enjoys the social side of playing for Hunter but, like her teammates, is determined to help the club achieve its aim of playing in the elite NSW Premier League next year.

“Everyone loves netball and wants to do that next year. We’ve got to division one, which is amazing. If we could get to Premier League, it will make everyone want to train harder, faster, get fitter.”

Hunter play fourth-placed St George in Sydney on Thursday night.

The club’s new division-four side stayed unbeaten by downing St George 47-35 on Monday night.

Arrested Aussie pictured with drugs

Cassandra Sainsbury was photographed beside her luggage. Photo: Colombian National Police
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Colombian police have released new photographsof Australian woman Cassandra Sainsbury wearing handcuffs and standing in front of what authoritiesallege are 18 packages of cocaine wrapped in black plastic.

The images of the 22-year-old Adelaide woman were taken by police shortlyafter she was arrested for alleged drug traffickingatEl Dorado International Airport, in Colombia’s capital Bogota, on April 11.

According to Colombian police, an X-ray machine at the airport detected 5.8 kilograms of cocaine hidden in Ms Sainsbury’s luggage as she prepared to board a flight to London, on her way back to Australia.

Ms Sainsbury, from Moana in Adelaide’s south,is now facing up to 25 years in jail in Colombiafor a crime her family alleges “she did not commit”.

The cocaine was allegedly hidden inside 15 pairs of headphones Ms Sainsbury had bought before her departure, and which she planned to give as gifts to people in her bridal party and to friends, her family says.

She did not open the headphone packages,and had no idea the cocaine was hidden inside, Ms Sainsbury’s sister Khala said.

“She put them straight in her suitcase,” Khala said.

In the new photographs, which Colombian police released early on Tuesday morning, Ms Sainsbury is grim-faced as she is handcuffed and stands in front of a table covered in the alleged drugs.

Police also released images of Ms Sainsbury standing beside a green suitcase, along with images of Daiku-branded headphones. The same brand of headphones can be purchased for about$20 each online.

Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Triana, the head of the antinarcotics police at the airport, told Colombia’s W Radio station that Ms Sainsbury’s claim that she was deceived was probably untrue,and in any case it did not excuse her actions.

“Everyone who is caught says exactly the same thing,” he said. He claimedmany foreigners were lured by promises of fast fortunes. “But they know what they’re doing,” he said.

Ms Sainsbury’s family in Adelaide this week started anonline campaignto raise $15,000 for Ms Sainsbury’s legal fees, but soon faced a backlash from many who doubted her story and questioned why they should contribute.

Ms Sainsbury’s fiance, Scotty Broadbridge, defended heron the fundraising page, which had raised just over $4000 by Tuesday morning.

“Unfortunately it’s very easy for tourists to get targeted, especially in Colombia. If you don’t know Cassie, and the respectful, loving, caring person that she is, don’t be so negative,” Mr Broadbridge wrote.

“If this happened to your family is this how you’d want people responding to your situation. Just be respectful, we’re trying to get an innocent girl back home where she belongs.”

He said his fiancee had been working as a manager for a cleaning business in Australia. She no longer worked as a personal trainer, as had been previously reported, he said.

Mr Broadbridge’s comments appear to have since been deleted from the fundraising page.

The page claims Ms Sainsbury “would never do anything like what she has been accused off [sic]. Anyone that knows her, would say she is a kind, loving, happy kind of girl. She would help anyone out in need, Cassie is also a volunteer for the CFS [Country Fire Service].”

The Country Fire Service, however, said Ms Sainsbury had not been a volunteer since she served for a brigade on the Yorke Peninsula three years ago.

Khala said in the days prior to her flight home, her sister “was with somebody she had met that could speak English and she was sightseeing”.

“He was showing her around,” Khala said.

She saw some headphones she was going to buy for gifts, and, according to Khala, he told her he knew a man that could get them cheaper.

“She did that and got them handed to her Wednesday morning before she left. She just put them straight into her suitcase,” Khala said.

Italian spirit fuels success

FINE HERITAGE: D’Aquino Group managing director Rex D’Aquino samples a Highland Heritage 2015 Patrono red that celebrates 71 years of family winemaking at Orange.THE now-booming Orange wine area’sfirst vineyards were planted in the 1980s, but the distinction of producing the first wine in the area 71 years ago almost certainly belongs to Italian migrant grocer Carmelo D’Aquino.
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The six barrels of wine Carmelo made in 1946 in an old tin shed came from grapes bought in from Molong and today that venture has grown into a remarkably diverse family-owned, Orange-based wine and spirits business.

The D’Aquino Group crushes 5000 tonnes of grapes a year, operates three bottling lines with a four-million-bottles output and is a major exporter with some of the biggest sales in the Russian market. It has its own 16-hectare vineyard, draws fruit from up to 20 wine areas, including Orange, the Hunter Valley, Hilltops and Mudgee, for its own brands and for contract winemaking for other vignerons.

The wines are made by veteran Hunter winemaker John Hordern at the affiliated Hunter Wine Services winery in what was the Muswellbrook Oak dairy factory.

Now headed by managing director Rex D’Aquino, Carmelo’s grandson and a Roseworthy College-graduate winemaker, the D’Aquino Group has a chain of liquor stores in Orange, Bathurst,Parkes and Wellington, a wholesale wine and spirits division, an expansive cellar door, restaurant and 130-seat function centre and a helicopter charter service.

The group has recently released two special Highland Heritage reds, which are tagged Patrono to honour Carmelo D’Aquino’s inaugural vintage. The wines are available ondaquinogroup南京夜网419论坛, in bottle shops and at the Mitchell Highway cellar door.

Carmelo’s family had vineyards and made wine in his native Italy but, when he came to Australia, he set himself up as a grocer in Sydney’s Crows Nest. Noting that there were numerous Italian migrants running orchards in the NSW Central West, Carmelo and his wife Nina moved to Orange and set up a grocery and delicatessen.There waskeen demand for their imported Italian, Dutch and German delicacies and this prompted Carmelo to try winemaking and producing liqueurs from local fruit.

Rex D’Aquino says his grandfather was “somewhat of a wine negotiant” sourcing grapes from NSW and SA for wine styles reminiscent of his homeland.

In the 1980s the group turned its grape sourcing closer to home, taking fruit from Cowra and then in 1985 planting its cool-climate Highland Heritage chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot noir, merlot and shiraz vineyard at an average elevation of 900 metres above sea level.

Words are their bond

DOUBLE UP: Singer-songwriters Lisa Mitchell and Dustin Tebbutt will perform together at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle on June 11.LISA Mitchell is expecting some robust negotiations ahead of her first-ever collaborative shows with Dustin Tebbutt this winter.
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Not disagreementsover dressing rooms, riders or who closes the show. Instead, Mitchell expects she will be arguing with Tebbutt over which songs of his she gets to cover.

“It’s really difficult because Dustin will be like,‘I want to do this song’ and I’m like‘Damn I wanted to play that one’,” Mitchell said from London.

“It’s a really great, annoying problem to have.”

The two indie folk musicians, known for their ethereal voices, won’t be merely playing back-to-back sets. The pair will share the band and perform their own and each other’s material.

The idea was formed when Tebbutt and Mitchell were performing in Amsterdam and using the same keyboard player.

“I think at one point we were joking that they could just stay on stage for both of our sets, and then the idea to share a band started making more sense,” Tebbutt said.

They also share country backgrounds. Tebbutt grew up on a property near Armidale and launched his music career in 2013 with the haunting EPThe Breach.He released his debut albumFirst Lightlast year.

Mitchell’s family owned a farm near Albury. She rose to fame in 2006 onAustralian Idol. The 27-year-old has since developed a following through her singlesNeopolitan DreamsandCoin LaundryandalbumsWonder(2009),Bless This Mess(2012) andThe Warrior(2016).

Mitchell said the collaboration with Tebbutt will hopefullyextend beyond the tour and into the studio.

“We were hoping to do some collaborating before the tour, but because I’ve been over here [in England]it got tricky,” she said.

“We haven’t tried to write together before, but I’m definitely interested in that for sure. I think he’s someone it would work with.

“Songwriting can be really scary.

“I often find co-writing almost safe to allow you to explore your own psyche.”

Lisa Mitchell and Dustin Tebbutt perform together at the Cambridge Hotel on June 11.

Shock US allies catch fire for rising Phoenix

FUN IN THE SUN: Valentine’s American imports Alec Faulkner and Jalon Brown at Cahill Oval on Saturday before the 1-0 win over the Newcastle Jets Youth. Picture: Marina Neil
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VALENTINEdefenderAlec Faulkner came to Australia in January not sure if he would be back home in Virginia in a month or in a year.

After a friend put out feelers before making the 15,000-kilometre trip to play NPL football in Brisbane, Faulkner decided to have a crack himself.

Faulkner sent his “soccer resume and highlight reel to almost every club in Australia” but hadno guarantees of gaining a deal that would help him spend more than a few weeks Down Under.

Now Faulkner, hisgood friend Jalon Brown and Valentineare reaping the rewards.

“It was a real gamble,” Faulkner said. “I literally packed enough that if soccer didn’t work out, I’d be able to travel around for a month.

“I’ve been living off the same clothes for a few months now,” he laughed.

“It was weird saying goodbye to family because it was like, ‘see you in a couple of months, or in a year’.It was a weird experience, but thank God it worked out because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else right now.”

Brown added:“I’d say it’s worked out great.”

Faulkner was trialling with a club in Brisbane but came to Newcastle aftera call from Valentine coach Darren Sills, who was alsosearching for a striker.Faulkner was quick to offer a suggestion.

“Heasked if I knew anyone, and sure enough I asked Jalon,” he said.“He had a job in DC doing government contract work, but he dropped everything in the US to come out.”

Brown and Faulkner, both 24,have been friends since the age of nine and have“played on the same team pretty much our whole lives”.That included while at Christopher Newport University, where they finished in 2015.

The pair have been key players for Phoenix, who have risen from eighth last year in the Northern NSW Premier League to second after eight rounds in 2017.

Brown has been one of the standout playersof the league but had scored only one goal before a doublein a 4-0 win over Maitland in round seven.

“There was an expectation from the start on the whole goals thing, but getting used to the big centre-backs and me playing in the nine role, it’s definitely been a learning curve,” Brown said. “I was just getting used to the hits, but I think I’m starting to find my stride.”

After falling short of professional deals at home, Brownand Faulknerwere keen to further their footballas well experience everything Australia has to offer.

“The whole goal coming over was just to try a different system we hadn’t seen before and hopefully it’sa good stepping stone,” Faulkner said.“Whether it’s to play in the A-League or venture on to Asia or whatever–just to something more long term.”

He said the NPL was not well known in the US, where there were limited opportunities to earn money playing semi-professional soccer,but they were keen to show the way for others back home.

“We’re looking at it as a great opportunity to maybe have this as a feeder program for our old teammates and visa versa,” he said. “That would be awesome.”

The pair work part-time as car detailers in Cardiff while living in Jesmond and they hope to extend their stay past this season.

“We’d love to spend a few more summer months here,” Faulkner said.

“We’d both liketo surf but we can’t and we’d love for someone to teach us.”

He said the NPL was a better standardthan the semi-pro league in Virginia where they last played, and there was “more consistent quality in this league”.

They believedValentine, who are yet to play Hamilton and Edgeworth, could build on their strong start to the season.

“Our style of play, we’re starting to figure that out,” Brown said.

“We’vegot good tactics, we’re playing the same players, withnot a lot of injuries, so that’s helped us and hopefully we can keep that going.”

Homeowners cracking under the wait

Homeowners cracking under the wait ‘OUR HOUSES ARE GETTING WORSE’: Kelvin and Marion Gillespie’s home is one of an untold number in the Hunter damaged by expanding road mix. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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DAMAGE: An engineer’s investigation of Kelvin Gillespie’s house found the pillars cracked, dislodged and slipped. Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

DAMAGE: An engineer’s investigation of the Gillespies’ house found the pillars cracked, dislodged and slipped. Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

RELENTLESS: Even after repairs to the front of the Gillespies’ house, their pavement and driveway continue to buckle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

BENDING: Ocean Street resident John Walshe on a kerb displaced by expanding road mix, and covered in remedial tar repairs. Property owners in the street have engaged lawyers over the widespread damage. Pictures: Simone De Peak

LEAN TIMES: Ocean Street resident John Walshe with a leaning power pole in the street. A spreading road mix, he said, has pushed against several poles.

CRACKS APPEARING: A crack that has formed in the backyard pool of Ocean Street resident Sue Anderson. Ms Anderson said the tiles were laid 18 months earlier.

BUCKLING: Damage to a brick driveway in Ocean Street, Dudley.

WARPED: A receded gutter and exposed water pipe in Ocean Street, Dudley.

DAMAGE: A warped gutter in Ocean Street, Dudley.

GRIEF: Phil O’Neill has been waiting four years on his claim about damage to his Wangi Wangi house caused by the road base spreading. His wife, Beverley, died at the start of this year. Pictures: Marina Neil

DAMAGE: The concrete slab under Phil O’Neill’s house in Wangi Wangi has shifted and caused $30,000 worth of damage, after the street’s road base expanded.

DAMAGE: The concrete slab under Phil O’Neill’s house in Wangi Wangi has shifted and caused $30,000 worth of damage, after the street’s road base expanded.

CRUMBLING: Brickwork inside Phil O’Neill’s garage on Dobell Drive has expanded vertically and sheered away, following cracks appearing on the garage floor.

REPAIR JOB: Tar repairs on a driveway in Dobell Drive, Wangi Wangi, to cushion a house’s underlying concrete slab from being moved by the expanding road base.

DAMAGE: The concrete slab under Phil O’Neill’s house in Wangi Wangi has shifted and caused $30,000 worth of damage, after the street’s road base expanded.

DAMAGE: The concrete slab under Phil O’Neill’s house in Wangi Wangi has shifted and caused $30,000 worth of damage, after the street’s road base expanded.

TweetFacebookNewcastle Heraldunderstands, at least 22 years ago.

The Gillespies are among a growing class of homeowners who have lodgedinsurance claims with Lake Macquarie council.

Their damage billis estimated at up to $45,000.

Like other claimants theHeraldhas interviewed in Wangi and Dudley, the Gillespiesare in a legal crossfire between the council and South Coast Equipment (SCE),the supplier of Mix 3.

SCE won’tcomment publicly,deniesthere is a fault with its product and refuses to accept liability.

The council has told the Gillespies that, with SCE denying liability, it “cannot engage in discussions with you at this time as to the resolution of your claim”.

“It’s been hard. It’s affected Kelvin more than me. He’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and he gets upset about all this,” Mrs Gillespie said, of her 80-year-old husband.

“We’ve been ratepayers for 50years. It’s getting worse; our houses are getting worse.”

The council’s advice to residents with property affected by Steelstone Mix 3 is to seek legal advice, and it has no plans to repair damage to private property.

Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser re-statedher frustration with the standoff.

“It’s in the hands of our legal team. We want to get it resolved as fast as we can,” Cr Fraser said.

“The people who produced that material aren’t taking responsibility for it.”

Builders hub blossoms from warehouse reno

Team building: Certified Solutions owners Chris and Keirra Rushford and MacFox owners Sophie and Damien McIntosh. Picture: Penelope Green TWO young Newcastle couples have repurposed a run-down Maryville warehouseto open a “one-stop-shop” in building and design.
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Building company MacFox, run by Damien and Sophie McIntosh, and Certified Solutions, run by Chris and Keirra Rushford, who also own Development Solutions, are under one roof in Harrison Street.

The McIntoshes founded MacFox –the Mac refers totheir name, Fox to their pooch –in late 2014, after doing a home renovation.

“Ithelped us understand what it was like working together and we just thought ‘why can’t we do this in real life,” says self-described organisational whiz Mrs McIntosh.

“When we started it was just Damo and the dog in the ute and me lugging the timber –now we have nine employees.”

Mr McIntosh, a carpenter for a decade before he got his builder’s licence and worked in supervisory roles, had been keen to go it alone and found the admin backup and support he needed at home:“He’s structural, I’m all design, interiors and organising,” sums up Mrs McIntosh.

The same small business team work applies to the Rushfords, with carpenter turned qualified certifier Chris starting his company before his wife, an executive assistant who also founded her own home improvement and professional organisingcompany, came on board to take over administration.

The Maryville hub concept came about when Mrs McIntosh met Mrs Rushford at a local Crossfit gym and realised the different but related skillsetsin the building sector that they and their hubbies shared, and the potential to collaborate.

Mrs McIntosh says the MacFox and Certifying Solutions headquarters –which has nine staff, a meeting room,boardroom and various offices –was the “ultimate hub” that offered clients building servicesfrom concept to completion.

The hub specialises in the “alts and adds” home renovation market and can refer each other to clients as well as use their network to find related building services, for example a heritage consultant or draughtsman.

While MacFox does the build, Certified Solutions and Development Solutions take care of all the required paperwork and quality controls to get projects from development to construction.

“We are young with fresh ideas and drive and we really do take the stress and confusion out of the building process,” says Mrs McIntosh.

The couples say it is rare to find a builder and certifier under one roof:the end result isa seamless service and convenience for customers.

There is also a small office in the warehouse that is up for lease to a “likeminded” building sector operator.

Thousands of oysters stolen

Thousands of oysters stolen THEFT: More than 350 dozen oysters were stolen from Richard Farley’s business on the Karuah River on Saturday in the latest targeted attack on farmers. Picture: Marina Neil.
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THEFT: More than 350 dozen oysters were stolen from Richard Farley’s business on the Karuah River on Saturday in the latest targeted attack on farmers. Picture: Marina Neil.

THEFT: More than 350 dozen oysters were stolen from Richard Farley’s business on the Karuah River on Saturday in the latest targeted attack on farmers. Picture: Marina Neil.

THEFT: More than 350 dozen oysters were stolen from Richard Farley’s business on the Karuah River on Saturday in the latest targeted attack on farmers. Picture: Marina Neil.

THEFT: More than 350 dozen oysters were stolen from Richard Farley’s business on the Karuah River on Saturday in the latest targeted attack on farmers. Picture: Marina Neil.

THEFT: More than 350 dozen oysters were stolen from Richard Farley’s business on the Karuah River on Saturday in the latest targeted attack on farmers. Picture: Marina Neil.

THEFT: More than 350 dozen oysters were stolen from Richard Farley’s business on the Karuah River on Saturday in the latest targeted attack on farmers. Picture: Marina Neil.

THEFT: More than 350 dozen oysters were stolen from Richard Farley’s business on the Karuah River on Saturday in the latest targeted attack on farmers. Picture: Marina Neil.

THEFT: More than 350 dozen oysters were stolen from Richard Farley’s business on the Karuah River on Saturday in the latest targeted attack on farmers. Picture: Marina Neil.

TweetFacebook Karuah River oyster theftVICTIMS of the latest mass Port Stephens oyster theft suspect those responsible have an intimate knowledge of the industry and a ready-made supply chain to offload their loot.

More than 350 dozen oysters were stolen from two Karuah River farmers on Saturday night at a time when the delicacies are in short supply.

Third generation farmer Richard Farley said he would be forced to upgrade security at his oyster shed, including closed circuit television cameras.

“Oysters are pretty scarce at the moment because we lost so many in the [2015] April floods, that cut our baby oysters in half,’’ Mr Farley said.

“Every river has fat oysters at a certain time and that is us now.

“They are begging for oysters, the processors in Sydney and I reckon it’s someone who has worked on oysters –I don’t think it’s other farmers but someone with the knowledge –who has done this.’’

Mr Farley, who lives just 50 metres from his oyster shed,said he heard his dog bark on Saturday night but “thought it was just possums”.

He believed the thieves hit between 10pm and midnight.

They targeted his shed and a neighbour’s business, with about 350 dozen oysters taken from both sheds.

The thieves would have almost certainly arrived by boat, with the loss estimated at more than $4000, he said.

They also stole two chainsaws and wet weather gear.

Dean Cole, of Cole Brothers oysters also at Karuah, said he also suspected people with good knowledge of the industry was responsible for taking the 60 trays of oysters–more than 1500 dozen–from leases between Christmas and February.

Mr Cole said there had also been significant thefts from leases at Tea Gardens and Oyster Cove.

“They have been strategically targeted, there is no doubt about it,’’ Mr Cole said.

He said the thieves would not abide by strict quality control standards and would be offloading the oysters to ready-made markets.

“If anyone gets sick eating an oyster then the whole industry suffers,’’ Mr Colesaid.

Homeowners organise in face of fight

Homeowners organise in face of fight ‘A UNITED VOICE’: Phil O’Neill has suffered severe damage to his house and spent years in a legal crossfire between Lake Macquarie council and South Coast Equipment. Picture: Marina Neil
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DAMAGE: The concrete slab under Phil O’Neill’s house in Wangi Wangi has shifted and caused $30,000 worth of damage, after the street’s road base expanded.

LEAN TIMES: Ocean Street resident John Walshe with a leaning power pole in the street. A spreading road mix, he said, has pushed against several poles.

BENDING: Ocean Street resident John Walshe on a kerb displaced by expanding road mix, and covered in remedial tar repairs. Property owners in the street have engaged lawyers over the widespread damage. Pictures: Simone De Peak

CRACKS APPEARING: A crack that has formed in the backyard pool of Ocean Street resident Sue Anderson. Ms Anderson said the tiles were laid 18 months earlier.

BUCKLING: Damage to a brick driveway in Ocean Street, Dudley.

WARPED: A receded gutter and exposed water pipe in Ocean Street, Dudley.

DAMAGE: A warped gutter in Ocean Street, Dudley.

GRIEF: Phil O’Neill has been waiting four years on his claim about damage to his Wangi Wangi house caused by the road base spreading. His wife, Beverley, died at the start of this year. Pictures: Marina Neil

DAMAGE: The concrete slab under Phil O’Neill’s house in Wangi Wangi has shifted and caused $30,000 worth of damage, after the street’s road base expanded.

CRUMBLING: Brickwork inside Phil O’Neill’s garage on Dobell Drive has expanded vertically and sheered away, following cracks appearing on the garage floor.

REPAIR JOB: Tar repairs on a driveway in Dobell Drive, Wangi Wangi, to cushion a house’s underlying concrete slab from being moved by the expanding road base.

DAMAGE: The concrete slab under Phil O’Neill’s house in Wangi Wangi has shifted and caused $30,000 worth of damage, after the street’s road base expanded.

DAMAGE: The concrete slab under Phil O’Neill’s house in Wangi Wangi has shifted and caused $30,000 worth of damage, after the street’s road base expanded.

TweetFacebookHomeowners cracking under the waitLake casts off SteelstoneDudley’s road to ruinHow roads are wrecking homesDriven mad by a bump in the roadHunter roads in ruinsLAKE Macquariehomeownersaffected by damage fromspreading road baseare organisingfor alegal fight in which they say the local council is shirking its responsibility to them.

Phil O’Neill, of Wangi Wangi,is lockedin a four-year stalematewith Lake Macquarie council over $30,000 worth of damage to hishouse found to have beencaused bySteelstone Mix 3, a road base previously used by councils and the NSW government but since discontinued.

Still waiting on hisinsurance claim as South Coast Equipment (SCE), the supplier ofthe material, refuses to indemnify the council, Mr O’Neillis reaching out toaffected residents beyond his neighbours in Dobell Drive.

The council’s stance ofrefusing to pay for repairsto residents’property pending a likely legal showdown with SCE, Mr O’Neill said, places an “unconscionable” burden on the victims of the damage.

“I am prepared to help initiate a public campaign using our local memberas a focal point to apply pressure where it will be most effective,” Mr O’Neill, 81, said.

“This is really a case of the people versus the establishment, and only a united voice will stand a chance of success.”

Mr O’Neill has met Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper and other representatives who“to a man” have received his argument thatthe council should repair the damage and seek its own redress, he said.

The council has repeatedlyexpressed regret and frustration atthe standoff, saying it iscaughtin a bind not of its making.

Lake Macquarie councillorsvotedlast month to drop SCEa supplier.The companywon’tcomment publicly and deniesfault with its product.

Several other road base-affected homeowners in Ocean Street, Dudley have also engaged lawyers and areconsidering their options as a collective.

Resident John Walshesaid many of his neighbours were waiting to hear back from a Sydney-based law firm, Lake Macquarie council and its insurer Jardine Lloyd Thompson.

“The biggest issue for some people is if I’ve got $5,000 worth of damage, do I go, or do I not?” Mr Walshe said.

Santel plans to eat through Newcastle

FLEX: One of the world’s top competitive eaters Randy Santel is headed to Newcastle. RANDY Santel – the mad-munching, muscle-flexing, baseball cap-wearing, world famous competitive eater –is headed to Newcastle as part of a tour of Australia and New Zealand and has his sights set on destroying some of the city’s food challenges.
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Our resident bottomless pit, Jamie “Lemon Blossom” Miller, gave us the heads up about Santel’s impending arrival as well as a bit of a rundown of some of the massive meals he and the big American might look to take down.

If you haven’t heard of Santel, he’s essentially made a living out of eating by travelling around the world taking on food challenges and promoting restaurants.

He’s got more than 300,000 subscribers on YouTube, where he posts videos of himself tearing into massive burgers or vanquishing huge steaks, pizzas or burritos.

Lemon and Santel have communicated online for years and talked eating tips, but this will be the first time the pair will meet.

And it sounds like Lemon will be putting him up for a few days, as Santel tries to make it around the country and across the ditch without breaking the bank.

Among the current challenges in Newcastle that Lemon and Santel would be looking at defeating include:

Adams Ribs & Pizza’sRibs Challenge Lone Star Kotara’s Dallas DogOutback Jacks’ Steak Challenge Soho on Darby’s 3kg Blazing Wing ChallengeBelmore Hotel 1kg Schnitzel Challenge Restaurant 616’s 616 Burger ChallengeGoodtime Burgers Newcastle’sMan vs Burger Challenge Newy Burger Co’sBiggest Burger Challenge Lemon grove Hotel’sDude vs Food 5 Schnitzel StackCrinitis Kotara’s Metro Mania Pizza Challenge (1 metre 1 person, or 2 mates 2 metre pizza challenge) Lemon has got his eye on that final one after he andIsaac Harding-Davis got through the”2 Mates 2 Metre PizzaChallenge” last year, earning them both a VIP cardto eat free at the restaurant once a week for a year.

“Randy could earn money on the competitive eating circuit if he signed with Major League Eating, but he doesn’t want to do that,” Lemon Blossom explains.

“If you sign then you can’t do food challenges at restaurants, you can only do competitions through Major League Eating.

“And Randy always likes to go to restaurants to promote them and try their challenges.“Having him here would be great publicity for some of the restaurants in Newcastle.“All of a sudden you’ve got people from all over the world looking at places like Adam’s Pizza and Ribs.”

If you’ve got any ideas for places for Santel and Blossom to eat then you should hit Santel up on one of his many social media platforms.

BIG EATER: Lemon Blossom with the spoils from one of his challenges.

DREAMS DO COME TRUE ZZZZ: Chad Kelly waited so long to be drafted he needed a snooze.

DON’T sleep on Chad Kelly in the NFL next season.

Not like Kelly did while he was waiting for his name to be called at the NFL draft over the weekend.Poor bloke, he had to sit on the couch with his family through three days of televised coverage to hear his name called last overall –a pick traditionallyreferred to as “Mr Irrelevant”.

At one point ESPN cut to his family home and there he was fast asleep on the couch with some sort of blanket over him.

Then apparently he woke up andafter watching 250 college players go before him, Kelly barked at his family to turn off the TV andstormed out with three picks still unannounced.Kelly declared the draft over.

His own grandfather had grown tired of waiting and had been long gone. Then he got the call from the Denver Broncos.Dreams do come true.