Bathurst Gold Bracelet: Michael Formosa looks for lead on Rocknroll Emma

Michael Formosa

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Michael Formosa believes Rocknroll Emma is a genuine chance from gate two in the group 2 Bathurst Gold Bracelet (2260m) on Saturday night.

Rocknroll Emma was second, with a flat tyre, in heats on Monday for herEllalong trainer-driver.

“I think she’s agenuine chance, especially if she can find the front,” Formosa said. “She’s pretty hard to get around when she leads, so we’ll try to get it.”

Also Saturday,Newcastle has a 10-race meeting starting 6.27pm.

At Bathurst, Rocknroll Emma was a $6 chance and second-favourite forthe $52,000three-year-old fillies feature with TAB Fixed Odds. Jason Grimson’s Don’t Think Twice was the odds-on favourite from barrier six.

“There’s a few there that can come out so we’ll have to wind her up and get out as quick as we can,” said Formosa, who won the three-year-old male series at Bathurst with Ultimate Art in 2013.

Ultimate Art, which claimed the group 1 Bathurst Gold Crown for two-year-olds in 2012, was second in the Hondo Grattan Sprint at Bathurst last week to Medowie trainer Darren Reay’s Better Than Max.

They clash again in the Bathurst Mayors Cup on Saturday night in a class field featuring Amanda Turnbull’s Tact Tate, John McCarthy’s Cyclone Kate and Shane and Lauren Tritton’s Yayas Hot Spot.

Ultimate Art was joint second favourite from the second-line draw in 10.

Formosa hoped No.2 My Lucky Belle would push forward early and give him a chance to find a spot close to the pacesetters.

“These are the horses he’s got to race anyway, but he’s just working his way to peak fitness,” he said.

“He should go pretty good and improve off that again.”

Formosa will also driveSeismic for Forbes trainer Phil Thurston in the Gold Tiara consolation. Formosa steered her to fourth in the heats of the group 1 two-year-old fillies series but will have to overcome the extreme outside draw in eight on Saturday night.

“It went good but it’s probably going to struggle from the draw out there,” he said.

Menangle trainer Shane Tritton, who won seven straight Newcastle premierships, will shoot for the group 1, two-year-old double with My Sweetchilliphilly (Tiara) and Divine State (Crown).

Kate calls motherhood a ‘huge challenge’ in rare insight into home life

The Duchess of Cambridge has given a rare insight into her home life, describing motherhood as a “huge challenge”.

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The royal, who has two children, Prince George, three, and Princess Charlotte, 22 months, made the comments during a speech at an event organised by Best Beginnings, a UK children’s health charity on Thursday.

“Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience. However, at times it has also been a huge challenge,” she said.

“Even for me, who has support at home that most mothers do not. Nothing can really prepare you for the sheer, overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother. It’s full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love, and worry, all mixed together.”

Since the birth of Prince George, the Duchess of Cambridge has been assisted by a home help team.

The family’s current nanny, Maria Borrallo, joined the family when Prince George was eight months old. Dressed in a retro brown nurse’s dress, Spanish-born Borrallo travels everywhere with the children.

(Oh, and the dress isn’t just an aesthetic choice: it’s the uniform for graduates of Norland College, a prestigious nannying school in Bath where nannies-to-be are trained in everything from nappy-changing to self-defence.)

“There is no rule book, no right or wrong; you just have to make it up and do the very best you can to care for your family,” the Duchess continued.

“For many mothers, myself included, this can at times lead to a lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance. Sadly, for some mothers, this experience can be made so much harder due to challenges with our very mental health.”

The candour is a rare move from the Duchess, who normally only divulges small tid bits about her private life in conversations with members of the public at charity events she attends (who subsequently tell the tabloids).

She went on to encourage women to seek assistance for their mental health during pregnancy and parenting in the same way as they would treat their physical health.

Along with her husband, Prince William, and his brother, Prince Harry, the Duchess is the founder of Heads Together, a mental health charity initiative that aims to reduce stigmatisation surrounding mental health diagnosis and dialogue. She was invited to speak at Thursday’s event in a partnership between the two charities. Watch The Duchess of Cambridge speak at the launch of the @BestBeginnings ‘Out of the Blue’ film series, with @Heads_Togetherpic.twitter苏州美甲学校/1mMupReocK??? Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 23, 2017

Maitland Gold Cup 2017: Aussie Infrared makes long trip worthwhile with impressive winvideo

CHAMPION: Aussie Infrared. Picture: GRV

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A 26-hour round tripwas made worthwhile for Victorian trainer Rosalyn Hume when Aussie Infrared overcame a slow start to win the group 2 Maitland Gold Cup (450m).

The $2.40 favourite, from box eight,was one of the last to jump on Thursday night but quickly made up ground to catch leader PanteraNera on the turn before powering to a 3/4-length victory in 24.94 seconds.

Aussie Infrared, which will target the Warrnambool Cup, was Hume’s first runner in the Maitland series.

Hume’s partner, Geoff Collins, a part-owner in Aussie Infrared, said the decision to make the 13-14-hour trip from Wattle Flat to Maitland came because of Michael Eberand. The Sydney trainer is also a part-owner of Aussie Infrared, which won its fifth consecutive race to take his record to 18victories and seven placings from 32 starts.

“We’ve never had a runner in it and never targetted it before, but the dog is part-owned with us by Michael,” Collins said while making the drive home on Friday.

“He likes to go to the races and see his dog win, so it was good.

“It was exciting and there was a good crowd. It was a great night put on by the club, so we enjoyed it.

“It was a good win.He was well boxed but you don’t carried away with your chances in that sort of field.

“You’ve got a chance but there are a lot of good dogs and you hope for the best.

“He didn’t come out of the boxes that well but he had room and used it to come down the outside with a good turn of foot, and he was pretty impressive.”

Pantera Nera was second and Cosmic Heir third. Richmond Vale trainer Jason Mackay’s Ando’s Mac was fifth after making a slow start from box two and Sawyers Gully trainer Terry Priest’s Wild Walter was last.

NNSW NPL: Edgeworth understrength for Adamstown test

BIG LOSS: Edgeworth defender Josh Evans holds Wayne Brown in a trial against the Jets last year. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

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Edgeworth coach Damian Zane has issued the challenge to Heritage Cup champions Adamstown after losing three key defenders for their round-three NPL clash on Saturday night.

“The pressure is on them,” Zane said.“If they can’t beat us now, they never will.We’ve got three out who are part of the best back four in the league.”

The two-time defending Northern NSW dual premiers will be missing skipper Josh Evans (work), Dom Bizzarri (away) and Ayden Brice (suspended) for the 6pm game atJack McLaughlan Oval.

Zane, who is also without Kieran Sanders (suspended),said the losses left him with Sam Maxwell, Aaron McLoughlin andPat Wheeler in defence and “more midfielders and attackers we can chop and change”.

“We’vegot eight players out across the top two grades,” he said. “It’s a weekend where pretty football isn’tgoing to count for anything. It’s just grind away.”

Adamstown, rebuilt under new coach Peter McGuinness, shocked Edgeworth to take the inaugural Heritage Cup this month and struck late to draw 4-4 with the Jets Youth in round one. They haveJustin Tannock, Dayne Pawlik and Owen Littlewood back but Robbie Turnbull out suspended. Mitch Hunter (groin) was in doubt.

McGuinness was not taking the Eagles lightly.

“They haven’t gone through two years of what they’ve done without having depth,” he said.“They’ve rotated their squad all the time, so they’d still be confident.”

Also Saturday, a Maitland side missing Matt Thompson, Shane Candsell-Sherriff andRyan Clarke take on the Jets Youth at2.30pm.Broadmeadow host Valentine (7pm).On Sunday, Charlestown welcome Lake Macquarie and Lambton Jaffas travel to Weston (2.30pm).

Despite the losses, Zane was keen to get the game against Adamstown on as rain threatened again on Friday. Only Broadmeadow’s 2-0 win over Weston at Magic Park escaped a washout in round two last weekend.

“Back in the day, this is a game where you used to call it off,” Zane said.

“But we don’t do that because I always felt when you call a game off, you are pretty much saying to the next guys, you’re not going to cut it for us.

“It’s more character-building. When your back’s against the wall and you win, it grows you and builds your team morale and that’s what we’ve done over the past two years.”

Newcastle District Cricket Association: Belmont skipper Mark Littlewood named 2016-2017 player of the year

SILVERWARE: Rival skippers Mark Littlewood and Josh Trappel with the first grade trophy before Friday’s grand final lunch. Picture: Marina NeilFor more thana decadeMark Littlewood has been chasing the prestigious player of the year award.

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But even thoughthe 32-year-old Belmont skipper has now joined the who’s who of Newcastle cricket, including the likes of Gary Gilmour, Greg Geise and Mark Curry, he would give it away in a second to be holding aloft the famed major premiership trophy again after this weekend’s first grade decideragainst Hamilton-Wickham.

“One hundred percent I would swap them,” Littlewood said.

“It [player of the year]has been on the list, it’s nice to be recognised and it’s nice to be in some elite company, but you want the main trophy.

“We had a little photo shoot with it before and it was nice to have a hold, but you want it afterwards. I’ve been lucky enough to do it once before so it would be nice to make it two from two.”

Who was named #NDCA1617 player of the year? #DeCourcyLunch#MerewetherSurfhouse#[email protected]@CtryCric_NSWpic.twitter苏州美甲学校/hgfArWa4fb

— Josh Callinan (@joshuacallinan) March 24, 2017

Littlewood, who won a maiden title as captain in 2008-2009, received the individual prize at the annual DeCourcy Club luncheon which was held at Merewether Surfhouse on Friday.

The Newcastle representative leader and former NSW Country all-rounder finished on 21 points, seven clear of nearest rivals Mark Dries and Ben Woolmer (17), after scoringa competition-high 772 runs at an average of 59.38 and taking 31 wickets at 12.06 apiece.

Counterpart Josh Trappel was also on hand for the presentation along with Hamwicks teammates Sam Webber and Mark Dries, who have collected the same gong a combined four times in the last seven summers.

Former club skipper Darren Herbert attended as well, sporting the Pumas tie, over 10 years since experiencing grand final glory himself on multiple occasions.

“It’s great to have guys like that around the club thatstill get involved and still send you messages saying good luck,” Trappel said.

“I know the young guys really feed off that kind of thing.

“But we have our own experiencetoo with the Webber boys, Drisey and Andrew Maher –it all adds up.”

Both sides are trying to overcome play-offpain –Belmont having lost both the Tom Locker Cup and T20 finals this season while Hamwicks went down by a run in last year’s big dance.

Littlewood has named English import Chris Whittock in the Belmont XI despite him flying home next week, which means he would be missing ifthe game continued into the spare weekend on April 1-2.

Play at No.1 Sportsground is scheduled to start at 10.30am on Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile,Wallsend product Jason Sangha has been named in the Australianunder-19 squad.

The boys in green and gold host Sri Lanka under 19s in a six-matchseries in Tasmania from April 8.

PREDICTIONS: Hamilton-Wickham favourites for grand final

FUTURE: Charlestown crowned under-21 champions

​Elsewhere, the Newcastle fourth grade decider between Hamwicks and Charlestown has been transferred to Hawkins Oval this weekend because Passmore Oval was declared unfit for play.

Second and third grade decidersremain as per program on Saturday and Sunday with Merewether meeting Toronto at Ron Hill Oval and University at University 1 respectively.

Olivia Palermo swears she sometimes wears sweatpants

It is a bracing winter afternoon in Manhattan, and the sun is already setting. Up on the 13th floor of a towering studio complex, I have an uninterrupted view over the mighty Hudson River, to New Jersey beyond and the sky above it, which is currently a swirling ripple of pink, orange and yellow.

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In the studio next door, a fashion shoot is taking place, but such is the security surrounding it that I’m not permitted to observe proceedings, even from a distance.

The subject is not a supermodel or a Hollywood A-lister – though she has starred in campaigns for brands including Salvatore Ferragamo, Rochas and Tommy Hilfiger, and graced myriad magazine covers – and the garments in which she is being photographed are not couture gowns or cutting-edge catwalk collections.

The combination of the woman and what she’s wearing, however – Olivia Palermo, sporting 10 outfits from the new collection by the UK brand Coast for its advertising campaign – does represent something of a coup. The 31-year-old socialite, businesswoman, brand ambassador and all-round style icon is one of the most frequently photographed women in fashion.

Front row at every major show and high on every magazine’s best-dressed list, with 4.7 million Instagram followers, she is considered the ultimate arbiter of sartorial taste.

And, renowned for mixing designer labels and mass-market items, she can influence consumers – and shift high-street stock – more efficiently than any fashion editor. If Palermo is snapped wearing a particular coat, dress, blouse or pair of boots, it’s a race against the clock to bag one before it sells out online.

A few days later, on an equally brisk Monday morning, I meet Palermo for coffee in Dumbo, the well-heeled waterfront district of Brooklyn where she lives with her husband of 2?? years, German model Johannes Huebl, and their Maltese terrier, Mr Butler.

She arrives looking – of course – impeccably groomed, the picture of off-duty glamour. Significantly shorter than the average model at just 168 centimetres, she is sparrow-like in her slimness, with sleek, honey-blonde hair. Even at 11am, her big brown eyes are perfectly made-up, with dusky shadow and immaculate lashes. But if anyone in the coffee shop recognises her, they are too polite to make it obvious.

She tells me she’s had a few days off – unusual, for Palermo is a paragon of industry and focus. “I probably work every day, in some way,” she says. “I like to be productive, and for us New Yorkers, it’s very hard to switch off .”

The digital centrepiece of her daily duties, and of her personal brand, is her blog and website, oliviapalermo苏州美甲学校. It publishes runway reports along with beauty and lifestyle tips, and also serves as an online store, stamped with the Palermo seal of approval. Th e website has a tiny team (“I don’t like too many cooks in the kitchen”), made up of OP, as she is known; her editorial director, Jillian Magenheim; her brother, Grant, 29, a former investment banker who now serves as her business director; and two full-time writers.

But Palermo has also built the business through strategic alliances. Along with her role as the face of Coast, she’s an ambassador for the US clothing chain Banana Republic, has a long-standing partnership with Max & Co, the contemporary offshoot of Italian fashion powerhouse Max Mara, and has spent the past year designing four seasonal collections for Nordstrom, the American chain of luxury department stores. Does she not, I wonder, feel compelled to launch her own label?

“There are so many different aspects of the industry and it’s very important to understand how each one of these companies works, so I can understand and do my job better,” she demurs. “I’m sure it will happen at some point, but I think you should always be learning.”

The daughter of a millionaire realestate developer, Douglas Palermo, and Lyn Hutchings, an interior designer, who divorced when she was a child, Palermo grew up dividing her time between Greenwich, Connecticut, where her father lived, and Manhattan’s old-money Upper East Side, with her mother. Early in her career, she was dubbed the “real-life Gossip Girl”, after the television series set in the area. (Cecily von Ziegesar, who wrote the books on which the series was based, attended the same elite all-girls school as Palermo.)

Hutchings trained her daughter in the practice of fortnightly manicures, and Palermo credits her as a major style inspiration. “I’m sure there’s something in the bloodline,” Palermo says. “I definitely get my sense of style from my mother. Sometimes she’ll call me and we’ll have worn exactly the same outfit that day. My love of blazers and jackets comes from her – she has a beautiful collection.”

Though she is a fan of chain stores like Zara and Topshop, today she’s dressed head to toe in designer labels. There are flat black ankle boots by Isabel Marant, jeans by J Brand. Her “coatigan” is by Italian luxury brand Agnona, and her highly covetable handbag by another Italian label, Analeena. She doesn’t plan outfits in advance, though. “I don’t have the time,” she insists.

A keen equestrian as a child, Palermo was also a lacrosse player, and a figure skater, and – somewhat incongruously for one so dainty – played ice hockey, too. In fact, as a teenager, she was all set to pursue a career in sports commentating.

She enrolled in a media-studies degree at the New School in New York, and spent a year at the American University of Paris, where, at 19, she says her interests “just shifted” towards fashion.

On her return, society photographer Patrick McMullan spotted her at an auction and began taking pictures of her at parties and galas. At 20, she was already being offered front-row seats at fashion-week shows. Was she at all intimidated, sharing such hallowed benches with the likes of Anna Wintour? “No, it was great – any girl would love to go to a fashion show and take in all the beautiful clothes,” she gushes.

At 22, she joined the cast of The City, a “structured reality” (i.e. staged) spin-off from the MTV series The Hills, which followed the lives of its cast members in New York. In it, Palermo worked in the PR department for fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, then at elle苏州美甲学校, and was paid a reported $US12,000 for each episode. Though the exposure undoubtedly launched her global career, she seems eager to put the series behind her. “It was a good learning experience, but I’m happy to move on to other experiences that are in fashion only,” she says, diplomatically.

Palermo and Hanover-born, Dublin-educated Huebl, 39 – alongside whom she has modelled for brands including Tommy Hilfiger and Mango – met through mutual friends almost 10 years ago and married in June 2014 in a lowkey, intimate ceremony in upstate New York. Palermo wore a custom-made Carolina Herrera outfit.

The couple will ski in the French alpine resort of Courchevel this winter, as usual. In summer, they play tennis. She also works out with Tracy Anderson (who famously trains Gwyneth Paltrow, and formerly Madonna) six days a week. “I’m very dedicated,” she adds.

You won’t catch her getting papped in an old tracksuit exiting the gym, though. “My mother taught me at a very young age to look your best at all times,” she says. “So I have great workout and after-workout gear.”

Does she ever wear sweatpants? “Of course,” she claims. “I don’t sit at home in high heels and a ball gown. It’s important to unwind and feel comfy.”

Unwinding at home doesn’t sound a very regular event, however. “I’m home 160, maybe 170 days out of the year,” Palermo says. She spends a lot of time in London and Hamburg, where PMA, the modelling agency to which she and Huebl are signed, is based. “I love travelling; I feel most productive on the road,” she explains. She doesn’t sleep on planes, spending transatlantic flying time working instead.

Perhaps inevitably, given his upbringing, even her dog Mr Butler has launched a modelling career – he featured in an Amazon ad, helping Palermo choose Christmas presents for her friends and family. “He was the star of the show,” she beams.

Having spent her 20s growing her personal style into a global brand, and being a person who thinks long-term, Palermo must, I suggest, have a game plan for her 30s.

“I do,” she says. “But I can’t tell you, because that would defeat the purpose of my plan.” And, with a swish of a mohair sleeve, she heads off to continue building her perfectly polished empire.

Hunter Hurricanes brave harbour’s marine lifephotos

Hurricanes brave harbour’s marine life | photos The Hurricanes’ Eliza Limn and Belle Humby test out the harbour last month. Picture: Marina Neil

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Work starts on assembling the water polo venue at Queens Wharf on Friday.

Work starts on assembling the water polo venue at Queens Wharf on Friday.

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facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappcommentCommentsJellyfish, oysters but hopefully not sharks will be an occupational hazard for the Hunter Hurricanes when they host National Water Polo League games in Newcastle harbour on Saturday.

An inflatable “field”and 120-seat grandstand will transform Queens Wharf into a water polo venue for women’s (3pm) and men’s (4.30pm) games against UTS Balmain Tigers.

Men’s coach Daniel Robinson said running the gauntlet of the local marine life was worth it to promote water polo to a larger audience.

“Everyone’s very excited. We’ve got all the precautions in order to keep us safe. I’m sure if someone catches a jellyfish, they’re going to get a bit excited. Other than that we should be OK,” he said.

“A local scaffolding company is helping us out with a ladder set-up at each end to keep us safe away from those overgrown oysters.We did a test run of the inflatable course the other day and we had to throw a pair of shoes down to get everyone out.

“We have an inflatable field attached to a shark net to keep everyone safe from any creepy crawlies, not just sharks.We might catch a few mullet hopefully by the end of the day.”

Robinson said the bar-side location could attract other interesting animals.

“It’s not a bad time of afternoon, so hopefully we won’t get too many drunken yobbos, but maybe a couple would be funny.”

The harbour pool has passed a water-quality test this week, despite two weeks of rain, and Robinson said the Queens Wharf matches would help motivate both Hunterteams, who are out of finals contention with four games to play.

“Sometimes it’s tough to get out bed to go and fight on when you haven’t got much to fight for, but something like this definitely revsthe boys up.”

OpinionNon-metro stars still Sydney’s support act

Sydney faces a massive challenge in trying to grow by 2 million over the next 20 years. Two thirds of this growth is to be housed in Western Sydney. The race is on to approve greenfields suburbs, erect multi-storey apartment blocks, generate suburban jobs and build transport infrastructure to link it together. The Greater Sydney Commission was formed last year to oversee the task and its plans are on display. It needs a lot of luck.

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CRAMMED: In 2036, NSW will have about 10 million residents, most of them in Sydney.

Not surprisingly the NSW government has become obsessive about Sydney.Meanwhile, the rest of NSWis expected to look after itself, save for the odd planning dibble and dabble here and there.

Sydney has bulldozers, giant cranes and a free-spending treasury to build a 21st century city.The rest of the state makes do with a spanner and an oil can to keep their last-century fitouts functioning.

What is surprising is the silence from the bush. Country folk seemed resigned to out-of-date infrastructure and a sliver of the planning and infrastructure pie.

Maybe the silence comes from a perception that non-metropolitan NSW is losing population and that Sydney deserves all the attention. Yet this is not the case. There were 2.2 million non-Sydneysiders in NSW in 1991, 2.4 million in 2001 and 2.6 million in 2011. Sure, there are some rural and remote regions in NSW where population is declining. But overall the population outside Sydney continues to grow steadily with rising numbers in Newcastle and Wollongong, in regional centres like Dubbo and Wagga Wagga, and in towns up and down the coast.

Yet there are two problems. The first is that jobs growth in non-metropolitan NSW is not keeping pace with population growth. The Bureau of Statistics predicts the non-Sydney portion of NSW will get only 23 per cent of the state’s total jobs growth over the next five years despite having nearly 40 per centof the state’s population. And non-metropolitan jobs growth will most likely be in health and personal services, education and training, and community services – good jobs sure, but not ones that drive economic growth.

Already in Newcastle this trend is unfolding. The Hunter Valley Research Foundation last week reported an upswing in jobs growth in the Hunter in late 2016 after a succession of poor figures since 2013. But the growth is occurring in population services, particularly health care and social assistance, and education and training.

Fortunately, there was also jobs growth in business services where economic multipliers are higher. Without these multipliers a region gets little from population growth, and when population growth stagnates jobs growth ends. The young leave. Cheap housing becomes attractive to low-income retirees and those not in the workforce.

Which leads to the second problem. The Bureau of Statistics says that ageing is becoming a feature of non-metropolitan NSW. Sydney’s growth in the next 20 years will see it maintain a relatively young adult profile with its median age rising only slightly from 36 to 38 years. Away from Sydney, however, the Bureau predicts the median age to rise from 41 to 46 years.

Is this sensible planning: a rising number of older people in jobs deficient non-metropolitan areas while a capital city bursts at the seams? And an endless list of expensive infrastructure projects thrown at the city’s hideous congestion problems?

In 2036 NSW will have almost 10 million residents. Does it make economic, social and environmental sense to have two thirds of them crammed into one city while the rest of the state stagnates?

Phillip O’Neill is professor of economic geography at Western Sydney University.

Sydney’s epic neighbour dispute that began with a staircase

On Sydney’s southern tip at Burraneer, Harry Magiros and Vicki Weeks are engaged in what could be, statistically, Sydney’s most epic neighbourly dispute.

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“We get calls every single day,” said the Mayor of Sutherland Shire Council, Carmelo Pesce.

This is rare understatement in council politics.

“We’ve had 1140 incidents logged with council since [he’s] moved in,” says Ms Weeks.

She can speak precisely because Ms Weeks recently requested a copy of the council’s incident log for the purposes of a court case involving Mr Magiros.

“They said: ‘We can’t possibly give you all that, it’s going to take too long’,” she said.

At that point they had been neighbours for fewer than 18 months.

Aside from routine squabbles about the subtleties of the Dividing Fences Act and thecouncil’s local environment plan, this feud has also been sustained by allegedly poisoned candy canes.

This week has been a milestone in a conflict that began with a staircase.

Ms Weeks felt that her neighbour had moved too quickly to turn jackhammers on a cliff in front of his house, particularly as it had heritage status in an area that the council said had high potential for indigenous archaeological significance.

Mr Magiros’ version of events differs.

He says the jackhammers merely shaved the course of a pre-existing staircase built into the rock, renewing the sandstone and bringing it into line with standards.

This week a visit from state government heritage officers and the local Aboriginal land council found no indigenous heritage had been destroyed.

But the council did find some work on the lower cliff face exceeded development consent and issued fines of $6000.

Mr Magiros says the council has failed to account for the fact that all work had been approved by planners and that he will appeal against that fine and another fine related to alleged river pollution emanating from the building site.

“Keep this out of the newspaper,” he also added. “If you publish anything you’ll be in the middle of [ongoing legal action]”.

But Mr Magiros has complaints of his own, starting with the time he offered to fix what he said was a protruding fence; one, he argues, the council gave him approval to rebuild.

“We offered to build a nice lovely new fence for $50,000. She said: “Don’t touch my f—ing fence!”.

Ms Weeks denies swearing or even speaking to Mr Magiros for at least year because she says confrontations have taken a toll on her and her elderly mother who owns the home.

She has paid lawyers $80,000 to argue her side of the story: that the fence doesn’t need fixing and that she is very annoyed about electricity to her house being cut off in the course of constructing a new one.

Mr Magiros says those cables were 300 millimetres inside his boundary and only garden lights were affected. Ms Weeks said power cuts were extensive.

Mr Magiros says tensions have arisen with a handful of neighbours after he lodged plans for $1.5 million of rebuilding at the $2 million plus property and suspects one of them is seeking to intimidate him. He says he received a flyer depicting the nouveau riche Lebanese family at the centre of the Channel 9 sitcom Here Come the Habibs and a clear subtext.

“It is not about a heritage cliff,” said Mr Magiros, who has Greek heritage. “It is all about the racial hatred and tall poppy syndrome that is so entrenched in the Sutherland Shire.”

Those signals became more pointed, he said, when he discovered dead rats and, later, poisoned birdseed and candy canes on his building site.

Ms Weeks says rats have been more common since her cat died and she does not know how to poison candy canes.

Sutherland Local Court is expected to rule on the fence dispute in coming weeks.

ADVERTISING FEATURE: It’s your life and now it’s your choice

HAPPY AT HOME: Many people would prefer to live independently at home as they get older and the new changes will help people choose their providers.

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The changes to Home Care will give people freedom to choose their service provider and move to a different provider.

For organisations like Novacare the changes mean more people can access their services.

“NovaCare can now provide Home Care Packages across the Hunter especially in the Newcastle, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie areas,” CEO Joseph McCarthy said.

Novacare specialises in supporting people to continue to live at home and be part of their local communities and was named Organisation of the Year by Aged & Community Services NSW/ACT at the State Awards for Excellence 2016.

The award was judged on excellent service, with a focus on innovation and Mr McCarthy says being local matters.

“We are not a call centre – our office is in Broadmeadow.We are independent, flexible, close at hand and know everyone personally.”

Novacare prides itself on thinking outside the square to help people live their way, utilising the “wrap around” approach.

“We look at life from all angles, so no matter who you are and what stage of life you’re at, we’re with you all the way,” Mr McCarthy said.

“I don’t think any other organisation in Newcastle can offer such choice with our home, social and respite services.”

Novacare owns Milpara Centre in Merewether with a full calendar of events and bus trips.

“One 91-year-old lady has house keeping, mowing, garden maintenance, help with shopping and appointments, and is picked up and taken to Milpara for craft, socialising, exercise, and outings,” Mr McCarthy. “Recently they visited Lake Macquarie Art Gallery followed by lunch overlooking the lake.”

Novacarealso owns Respite Cottage in Hamilton which offers guests day, overnight and extended care with private bedrooms and bathrooms. It is the only cottage of it’s kind in Newcastle.

When looking for a service provider Mr McCarthy advises to focus on one who can support your choices, interests, needs and personality.

“It’s your life and it’s your choice,” he said.

For more infoabout Novacare, call 1300 363 654.