Work, kids, study: all in a day’s work for Skie

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WORKING MUM: Skie Peterson has managed to fit study around her role as a mum to three young children as well as her work as an integration aide.

WORKING mum of three Skie Peterson overcame her fears of being “too old” and not “being smart enough” to undertake a university degree.

There were also the challenges associated with time management as a mother, along with her part-time work as an integration aide in a prep classroom.

What Skie thought were hurdles proved to be anything but, and she is now entrenched in a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with Swinburne Online.

“Children, families, community have always been my thing. I have been drawn to this type of career for as long as I can remember. It’s who I am,” said Skie, who lives in Ocean Grove, southwest of Melbourne.

“To be honest, even though work colleagues have repeatedly encouraged me to further develop my qualifications, I never thought I was smart enough for uni.

“Recently though, I was thinking about when my children grow up and leave home, (and) I was suddenly overcome with this need to prepare myself so that when they eventually do, I have my own life.

“And teaching is really all I have ever wanted to do in respect to career options.”

Skie completed Year 12 in 1997, went on to gain a Diploma in Child Studies at TAFE and worked as a nanny. Her children are now aged 14, 11 and nine, and she was drawn to Swinburne Online because of convenience.

“It fits around my work, my children, and all the bits and pieces that go along with running a busy household,” Skie said.

“I am quite committed to being around for my children as much as I can, so studying online has afforded me that privilege while increasing qualifications and preparing me for taking on a heavier work load in the future.

“I have enjoyed collaborating (online) with cool, diverse people from all over Australia. I liked taking time to read their thoughts and ideas.

“The course material has truly been engaging and inspiring and enjoyable. I feel that I have gained a great deal of understanding as well as a clearer picture of what type of teacher I hope to be.”

And the secret to being a successful online student? Routine. Skie sets herself a schedule and sticks to it.

“(I have) commitment and resolve to join in and collaborate and interact with my online learning communities so that I don’t feel isolated,” Skie said.

“Having inquisitiveness and a passion for understanding and growth – this kind of attitude allows me to look at my learning as a privilege rather than a chore.”

Find out more about how you can fita university degree into your busy lifestyle athttp://www.swinburneonline.edu.au

* This article was written by an independent journalists and part of a commercial arrangement between Fairfax Media and Swinburne Online.

Canberra Knights fold

The Canbera Knights ice hockey players goal keeper Nick Eckhardt, left, of Downer, and assistant captain Jordie Gavin of Chapman. Photo: Melissa AdamsCanberra Knights on thin ice after 33 years
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It is with a pang of sadness, hitting us like a flying puck in the midriff, that fans of the Canberra Knights ice hockey team – and fans of their crazily intimate, dilapidated, working-class home venue at the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre – learn that the Knights have had to fold.

Always as poor as church mice – match programs used to ask fans if they had some spare furniture they could lend to furnish imported stars’ flats – the club has not been able to afford survival.

Some of us, veteran sportsgoers in this city, will always maintain that the Knights’ matches at Phillip were the best sports events we ever knew here.

Even if the standard was mediocre, there was something already so amazing about the magical skills the players showed in skating so dashingly on ice that made it always seem superb.

Mediocre soccer and mediocre cricket look and feel mediocre, but mediocre ice hockey leaves mere mortals going ”Gosh!” a thousand times a match. The sheer, whooshing, surging, supernatural speed of the play was hair-raisingly exciting and after a match it was an hour or two before one could adjust to the sluggishness of everyday life.

And the venue! Most Canberra sports venues keep the spectator at a detached, academic distance from the action. But at Phillip, the primitive, wooden, bench seating – we learnt to take big cushions – was hard up against the wooden wall of the playing surface so that the play was always under one’s nose and always threatening to be in one’s lap.

Ice hockey is irresponsibly, thrillingly violent, and it was an unlucky fan who went home without having enjoyed at least one moment in the match when, right under his or her nose, a player was crushed against the fence by angry foes.

In recent times the venue was always filled with devotees. This, too, makes for a great sporting occasion. Often, at the far-too-spacious Canberra Stadium, one feels like a lonely laboratory rat.

But a full venue echoes and throbs with noise and you can smell the bogan camaraderie of your fellow fans. At Knights’ games we were all cuddled up together, not just for sheer lack of room but because, in a freezing place, it made so much sense. Parents who brought little children dressed them attractively, in the words of the Christmas song, ”like eskimos”, and the little ones’ wrapped-up cuteness was an element of the fun.

Here comes the Canberra soccer season. Some of us, like shags on rocks at the poorly attended games enlivened sometimes by just one forlorn goal in 90 minutes, will pine for the Knights’ games when there were goals galore and when we weren’t shags on rocks, but shoulder-to-shoulder with well-rugged up brothers and sisters.

Sam Worthington ordered to stay away from photographer

Australian actor Sam Worthington has been ordered to stay away from a photographer whom he is accused of punching in the face while defending his girlfriend Lara Bingle on a New York street.
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The 37-year-old Hollywood star faced Manhattan Criminal Court overnight. He faced two counts of assault in the third degree, attempted assault and harassment and was issued with a restraining order.

During Worthington’s brief court appearance on Wednesday, New York time, Judge Bruna DiBiase ordered the Avatar star to stay away from photographer Sheng Li for six months following their confrontation outside Cubbyhole Bar in West Village on Sunday.

Li has been charged with assault, reckless endangerment and harassment over the incident, in which he is accused of trailing Bingle for four hours on the street before kicking her in the shins. He appeared in court on Monday.

Footage of the scuffle shows Bingle, whom Worthington refers to as his “wife”, attempting to grab the photographer’s camera before Worthington intervenes.

Worthington was represented by high-profile lawyer, Stacey Richman, who told the judge on Wednesday that the actor was being pursued relentlessly by photographers.

“I picked him up this morning and people were standing in front of the car,” said Ms Richman, who has represented rappers Jay Z, Li’l Wayne and Ja Rule.

If convicted of the assault charges, Worthington could face up to a year in jail.

Bingle, who did not accompany her boyfriend to court, alleges that Li had trailed her “on a public street for approximately four hours” before kicking her in the shins, according to court papers.

But Li’s lawyer, Ron Kuby, has accused Bingle of confronting his client and trying to take his camera.

Mr Kuby wants prosecutors to drop the charges against Li and focus on Worthington.

Mr Kuby says the proof is in the paparazzi video footage of Sunday’s altercation, which appears to have begun when Bingle, complaining about being followed by Li, confronts the photographer and allegedly tries to take his camera.

“I think it was outrageous that [Li] was charged at all,” Kuby told the New York Daily News on Wednesday.

“Presumably, once the DA’s office sees the video, they’ll drop the charges.

“Again, it depends on if [New York District Attorney] Cy Vance is a fan of Avatar or not.”

Mr Kuby told Kyle Sandelands and Jackie O on Kiis FM this week that Bingle’s claim that she was kicked “makes no sense”, and suggested Bingle confronted his client because she wasn’t getting paid.

“Maybe she wasn’t getting paid to do it this time? I understand Lara Bingle is a lot like Kim Kardashian; she’s famous for being famous,” he said.

Footage of the scuffle shows Worthington yelling at the photographer: “You f—ing kicked my wife.”

He is accused of hitting the paparazzo “with a closed fist several times on his face, causing a laceration to the bridge of his nose and substantial pain”, according to the criminal complaint.

Police said that Bingle had a bruise on her leg, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Later, to other photographers and onlookers, Worthington yelled: “He kicked the girl, man, he kicked the girl.”

Bingle is seen to yell at the photographers, calling them “parasites” and begging them to leave her alone.

As he spoke to officers, Worthington appears to reveal his fame.

“You know that movie called Avatar?” Worthington is captured in the the footage as saying.

Worthington did not comment when he arrived at Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday.

The case was adjourned until May 8, but Worthington will not have to attend as he will be out of the country filming a movie.

smh爱上海同城论坛m.au with AAP

Double Dribble: Cash-strapped Wollongong Hawks defying the odds in NBL finals hunt

It’s amazing the Wollongong Hawks are in the NBL finals equation after they were 6-13 and on the bottom rung of the ladder a month ago.
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It would be a near miracle if they can win four or perhaps all of their remaining games to sneak into the playoffs.

But for the poor old Hawks, it’s a miracle the NBL’s only surviving foundation club is still in existence.

Throughout the club’s life it has always lived on the smell of an oily rag.

For a relatively short time in the late 1990s and early 2000s when they were owned by a wealthy local businessman, the Hawks were financially sound and it’s no coincidence the team enjoyed its golden era during that time, highlighted by its only championship win – the victory over Townsville for the 2001 title.

In recent years, the Hawks have been close to becoming chicken feed a few times, particularly in 2009 before another local businessman came to the rescue at the last minute with a financial guarantee which got the survival plan championed by club legend Mat Campbell over the line.

As we’ve seen many times in the NBL, rich benefactors are not always as reliable as they appear to be and the Hawks, despite reverting to a community-owned model, are again feeling the financial strain.

Crowds went down following the team’s mid-season slump and the fans haven’t returned despite the four-game winning streak.

Management decided to cut ticket prices for last Friday’s win over the Breakers and the attendance grew to 2444, which is a positive sign but still nowhere near enough to put some much-needed funds in the Hawks’ kitty.

The Hawks have again offered discounted seats for this Friday’s crucial clash with second-placed Adelaide.

The diehard fans will always turn up but there’s no excuse for the fickle fair-weather supporters not to get behind a team which is winning.

Full disclosure here: as a card-carrying member of the Hawks, my desire to see the club survive yet another economic full-court press is not simply a journalistic observation.

But the NBL should be doing as much as possible to ensure its traditional markets are secured before traipsing off into new areas which are unproven or have had one or sometimes more previous incarnations in the league.

With a roster costing a lot less than their playoff rivals, Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod has yet again unearthed diamonds from what many observers in the pre-season predicted would be a pile of gravel.

McLeod’s astute reputation for scouting imports is second to none in the NBL. In recent years he has brought Gary Ervin, Tywain McKee and Lance Hurdle to Australia and they all excelled.

The Hawks had another blue-chip import on their books in the pre-season in the form of Durrell Summers but he was the polar opposite of his namesake, Daryl Somers – he was only in the spotlight briefly and left us wanting more. Summers’ agent tried to jack up his asking price after dominating in his only two trial appearances.

Perhaps McLeod’s best recruit is Wollongong’s current point guard, Rotnei Clarke.

Short for a guard these days and not particularly athletic, Clarke has shown you cannot judge a basketballer by their cover with his lights-out shooting displays and superb play-making skills.

It would not be a big surprise if he pips Perth’s star forward, James Ennis, and Melbourne’s prolific scorer, Chris Goulding, for MVP honours.

If the fifth-placed Hawks can upset the Sixers on Friday night, they face lower-ranked teams Cairns (in Wollongong) and Townsville (away), then what could be a season-defining home game against the Kings  before finishing with a dreaded trip to Perth.

At 10-13, they are only a rough chance to reel in either Sydney (11-11) or Melbourne (12-11) but if history is any guide, the Wollongong Hawks are adept at overcoming the odds.

Taking it to the poll … 

Last week’s NBA poll resulted in a big thumbs-down for the new Slam-Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend with 89% voting for the old system instead of the new freestyle round.

And in the NBL, it appears public opinion is split on the Perth-Adelaide melee with only a slight majority of 54% saying it was a bad look for the league.

‘Drop in the ocean’: drought support package too little, too late

A SMALL HELP: Excel Genetics owner Geoff Steinbeck, of Dungowan, said the low-interest loans were a ‘small help’ – but they still had to be paid off. Photo: Barry Smith 181113BSA06SOURCE: Northern Daily Leader
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North-west NSWfarmers have had a mixed reaction to the federal government’s landmark$320 million drought package releasedon Wednesday.

Under the five-point package, farmers will be able to claim fortnightly income support, get access to low-interest loans and access a raft of other programs.

But Loomberah farmer Rob Haling said even though farmers would be able to access income support from March 3 under the new package, the $2.55m cap on net farm assets to qualify for the support made it unobtainable for many.

He said most people were “well and truly over $2.55 million (so) that’s out for 90 per cent of farmers”.

“Five-hundred acres in the Tamwortharea, if it’s really decent country, you’re looking at $2m – and if you’ve got plant and stock. Well, you’re well over $2.5m, aren’t you?” he said.

Excel Genetics owner Geoff Steinbeck, of Dungowan, said the low-interest loans were a “small help” but they still had to be paid off.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure what this help is going to be in the short term,” Mr Steinbeck said.

On income support, he said: “Possibly the people most in need would have less than $2.55 million in total assets.”

But he said the water and mental health schemes were “absolutely wonderful” and a “great asset”.

From Monday, a farmer with up to $2.55m in net farm assets will be eligible to claim fortnightly income support under the Interim Farm Household Allowance, without the need for a drought declaration.

The Federal government’s$320 million drought package also includes $280 million of drought concessional loans.

Farmers will be able to get a loan at 4 per cent over five years instead of the 7 and up to 10 per cent they’re currently paying, Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said.

He said farmers would be able to borrow up to $1 million “or half of what you owe to the bank – whatever is the lesser” and it would be administered by the NSW Rural Adjustment Authority.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who made the announcement with Mr Joyce, said: “A 4 per cent rate is very, very good”.

But Pilliga farmer Judy Field, of Tympana, disagreed.

“That’s not very low … I think it’s a little bit high, under the circumstances,” Mrs Field said.

Mr Haling said 4 per cent was “very good” but people needed money, not a debt that would have to be paid off over time.

“That is a help but, look, there’s a lot of people who want help now,” he said.“I think a lot of farmers would have been looking for cash up front and interest rates have to be paid, so what they’ve done is of very little help.

“I don’t think it has been properly thought through. I’m very disappointed. I really believe the Liberal Party are totally out of touch and the debt farmers are carrying now is totally out of control.”

The package was brought forward from its initial flagged date of July 1 as more and more areas of NSW and Queensland slip further into drought.

NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson said her organisation estimated more than 60 per cent of NSW was in drought and that she was pleased the government had acted smartly on their request to actquickly.

Wednesday’s announcement also included millions of dollars being made available for pest management ($10m), existing water infrastructure schemes ($12m) and mental health services ($10.7m) within drought-affected areas.