ALBURY-WODONGA LADY BANDITS: Horror season has star out of answers

Martha Harmon with her daughter Emilee and husband Larry. Emilee is the star U.S. import for the Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits. Picture: DAVID THORPEIF there is a solution to the Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits’ woeful starts, star player Emilee Harmon has yet to find it.

An already abysmal season somehow got worse for the Lady Bandits in a nightmare first quarter against a rampant Kilsyth last Friday night.

Were it not for a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Rachel Maenpaa, Albury-Wodonga would have scored just four points for the period.

Seven didn’t really cut the mustard either, but regardless, it was emblematic of the Border outfit’s troubles this year.

“I wish I had words for that, I wish I had answers,” Harmon said.

“If I did, I would’ve tried to change it.

“When you come out and get beat by the opposition and yourself, that’s what that start (against Kilsyth) was.

“We just can’t come out like that, we have to take it quarter by quarter.

“If we can do that, maybe we can chip away.”

While there have been very few shining lights in this SEABL campaign, Harmon has been the one constant, consistent presence for the Lady Bandits.

Averaging 19.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, the Ohio State University product has been a tower of strength, constantly overpowering taller and stronger opponents in a valiant attempt to keep her team afloat.

Despite the losing streak — 13 — the ever-cheerful Harmon has enjoyed herself immensely.

“I have my routine down, really comfortable now,” she said.

“So, yeah, settled in and I’m really enjoying myself.

“I’m here to play basketball, so everything else aside, that’s (the losing) been very frustrating.

“But you can’t let it get to you; if you let it, it’s going to play mind games with you.

“So you have to come and work every day and try to get better and take all you can from it.”

For the second time in as many weeks, the Lady Bandits have a Friday night game, hosting the Brisbane Lady Spartans tonight at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre.

They back up and head down the Hume Freeway to Frankston to take on the Lady Blues tomorrow night, a home-road double that will be a huge test for a team which has tasted victory just once this season.

Harmon was cautiously hopeful not only of some success this weekend but perhaps a return to the Border next year, although she admitted it was “early days, nothing official” in talks with the club.

“I come in optimistic and I think that’s the mindset we all have to have,” Harmon said.

“There’s always a chance for us because all the pieces are there.

“It’s just a matter of getting those pieces to all fit together.

“There’s six weeks left in the season and I don’t want to write it off yet.

“We’ve talked and I have told the club I’m interested; I do like it here but we just need to get more of a winning attitude going.”

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

Refugee policy must change

I AM sure many Christians are repelled by the treatment successive governments have handed out to genuine asylum seekers and refugees fleeing persecution.

What is happening in our off-shore detention centres and now on the high seas in our name must give those of us with a Christian social conscience a lot of unease.

As a follower of Jesus of Nazareth who himself had to seek asylum in Egypt with his family, I am a little perplexed why there are not more Christians and churches speaking out in the face of this cruel and heartless policy. Thankfully there are notable exceptions.

The policy of secrecy about asylum seekers’ treatment in detention (especially families and children) is an obvious ploy not to awaken Australia’s compassionate heart.

If we really knew what is going on in our name, then people would be shouting that “enough is enough”.

The government eventually listens to the voice of the people.

Call me a bleeding heart or whatever but my conscience will not allow me to remain silent any longer.

It is my belief a regional solution with Australia processing a certain percentage of asylum seekers “on shore” is worth another look.

We need a more humane approach to refugees that is much more transparent.

So it’s up to all of us to let our MPs know we are not happy.

We did not give our government a mandate to act in such a cruel and inhumane way.



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

Cathy McGowan going a little too far

CATHY McGowan ever the populist, fresh from beating up on the North Eastern passenger rail service, is now attacking the federal government’s plan to revise university fees (ABC Country Hour, July 8).

Firstly she exaggerates the likely cost of obtaining agricultural qualifications concentrating her attack on the cost of higher degrees; a small segment of the market and arguably one where the student should pay significantly more given the remuneration.

On the same program a caller reported he had completed his degree in agriculture last year, costing $28,000 overall.

Even if this was to escalate by 20per cent, a level which Education Minister Christopher Pyne argues will be restrained by competition between universities; surely this cost relative to the lifelong value of a degree in agriculture, is relatively insignificant.

It is disingenuous to imply the long suffering taxpayer should pick up the tab for those with great potential for an income much higher than average.

Secondly, Ms McGowan suggested those studying agriculture in New Zealand, where degrees are somewhat less costly, would be unlikely to return to their local area.

The dean of the renowned Lincoln University, in welcoming students from Australia, indicated it was common for students to return to work in Australia and he foresaw no impediment to this occurring.

Ms McGowan, in aiming to provide a semblance of relevance is overreaching and clearly failing to provide the quality of representation the electors of Indi have experienced over many decades.



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

Foster carers’ fresh new approach to growing challenge

Challenge’s regional manager Stephen Doley, Murrumbidgee Family and Community Services director Glynis Ingram, Challenge chairman Ted Wilkinson, chief Barry Murphy and Connecting Carers NSW’s Jill De-Ath at the opening. Picture: TARA GOONANTHE preschool-aged children were paraded for Jill De-Ath and her husband and they were told to pick one.

“A boy or a girl?” the children’s home matron asked flatly.

The 1964 incident was the couple’s first experience of fostering a child — or inmate, as the government termed them at that time.

They took home a two-year-old girl, who stayed each weekend for six months.

When they applied to care for her full-time, the authorities hastily agreed — there was no formal agreement, no training and no police checks.

That is how it was done.

Mrs De-Ath, now the western regional co-ordinator of Connecting Carers NSW, shared her story with 50 foster carers, support workers and children yesterday, at the launch of Challenge Children’s Services in Englehardt Street, Albury.

Her tale was a fitting illustration of how much the NSW system had changed since the 1960s — change that was still occurring.

EDITORIAL:Help offeredin foster care

Challenge Albury is the region’s second private sector out-of-home care provider, next to Anglicare. It is already working with 35 children and their carers.

Part of Challenge Disability Care, Challenge Children’s Services has grown since 2012 when the state government outsourced foster care to non-government organisations to free up Community Services Department case workers.

Its staff help foster carers and find places for children in need.

Selection and follow-up is a lot more stringent than Mrs De-Ath experienced in 1964.

Challenge manager Stephen Doley said the organisation had helped 460 children since it started.

He said demand for carers often outweighed supply, and the organisation was keen to hear from local people interested in fostering.

The Albury office was opened by Family and Community Services Murrumbidgee district director Glynis Ingram.

She said government changes had allowed support services to keep caseloads at a manageable level, as opposed to the “quite high” workloads of DOCS workers.

“Rural and regional children need the best services we can give them,” Mrs Ingram said.

Albury mayor Kevin Mack reflected on his work as a police officer with youth and the need for quality foster care.

“These young people are not statistics — they’re people,” he said.

“Getting them out of the residential care system is critical, they’re the gatekeeper to jail.

“The council will work to continue this journey and to help recruit many more foster carers.”

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