COROWA is one of three southern Riverina shires showing a dramatic increase in the number of people with diabetes.
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The Australian Diabetes Council ranks the Urana Shire as the sixth fastest growing region for the killer disease, Berrigan at No. 10 and Corowa No. 14 of 131 council areas.

A diabetes council study shows the growth of diabetes is greatest in the country — the NSW top-10 is dominated by regional centres.

Those least affected are likely to be on Sydney’s affluent north shore and northern beaches.

Albury ranked 82 state and Greater Hume, 72.

Diabetes is expected to soon be Australia’s biggest killer disease.

And Berrigan has shown a direct correlation between the increase in diabetes and heart disease.

The Diabetes Council’s research, based on health surveys and the latest census data, shows areas with high rates of diabetes also have some of the highest rates of cardiovascular disease.

Council chief Nicola Stokes said the government and community must act together to curb tackle the disease which has been growing at 8 per cent a year in NSW since 2000.

“About 290 Australians are diagnosed with diabetes every day” she said.

“There is a direct relationship between diabetes and heart disease in our towns and suburbs.

“We must align services in these areas.

“It is also a warning sign that each individual must to pay attention to their own risks and health.

“People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease.

“A US study found diabetes shortened the life expectancy of a 40-year- old by eight years.

“We have to act together to ensure people can live long and healthy lives.”

There were no figures for Victorian councils.

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THE phrase a dime a dozen doesn’t apply when it comes to this box of boxers.
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The litter of 12 came as a surprise to Wodonga couple Chris Matthews and Rae Watkins — they were expecting only three, perhaps four, pups.

“The ultrasound showed three pups three weeks ago, so we thought we were having three, maybe four pups,” a delighted Rae said yesterday .

“But 12 — it definitely was a surprise.”

Click play for video.

Boxers usually have about six pups a litter, but the ultrasound convinced the couple Bella would have fewer.

She was the only dog born to her mother, so Chris and Rae assumed she, too, would have a small litter.

But on Saturday they learnt it doesn’t pay to assume and three turned to 12.

They had taken the swollen Bella to the vet on Friday, hours after stepping off a flight from Perth where they had visited family.

When the ultrasound showed quadruple the number of pups from three weeks ago, Chris rushed to Bunnings for the tools to extend the bed box he had made.

And recent new parents out there who think their gig is tough, try helping out 12 pups.

As of yesterday, neither Chris nor Rae had slept more than five hours since early Friday.

Rae went to the lounge room on one of Chris’ shifts taking care of Bella and the pups, only to find him asleep on the tiles next to her.

“I asked Chris’ boss: ‘What about some parental leave”? Rae said, “His boss said: “well, he is a bit of a mongrel’.”

The couple are braced for more restless nights, for the next few weeks because as Bella doesn’t have enough teats to feed all 12 pups at once, they have to be rotated every two hours.

But that’s OK, the

couple are just happy all’s well with their “super dog” and her dozen pups.

“We’ve never heard of it, never ever heard of it,” Chris said.

The couple will keep an around-the-clock watch on the pups for the next six weeks until they’re ready to wean and move on to other homes.

With the extra mouths to feed, they would appreciate donations of blankets, bottles and formula.

Items can be taken to Hume, Melrose or Allpets animal hospitals in Albury and Wodonga.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

Bella and her 12 pups. PICTURES: Ben Eyles.

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AN out-of-control car ploughed into a Springdale Heights garage last night, startling nearby residents.
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The driver, a 17-year-old Jindera youth, and his three passengers escaped unharmed after crashing into the Kemp Street garage about 8.30pm.

The elderly owner was not at home at the time.

One neighbour, Rob, said the smash reverberated through his home.

“It was like an earthquake, the whole house shook,” he said.

“I was hanging the washing and I didn’t know what was going on, there was no noise, the house just shook.”

He rushed outside to see what was going on and discovered the crash.

He helped the “dazed” driver get out of the squashed Magna and said the passengers managed to get out by themselves.

Albury Central fire station officer Simon Huggett said a steel beam fell on the car after it careered into the garage.

“I don’t know how somebody wasn’t killed in there, they were very lucky,” he said.

Another neighbour, Bruce McWhinnie, said he was making dinner when the crash happened.

“I heard a bang but I didn’t think much of it because I didn’t hear sirens or anything,” he said.

“The next thing I know the cops are on the doorstep saying a car’s gone through next door.”

Police said it was unclear if speed, alcohol or fatigue were factors.

They said the driver had turned right from Strauss Street on to Kemp Street but lost control of his vehicle.

Last night, residents said they were sick of their road being used by hoons.

“This is a race track, they come flying around the corner,” Rob said.

Mr McWhinnie said his wheelie bin had been destroyed several times after being hit by cars.

“I’ve had two cars come up on the lawn, I’ve had one miss the fence and take out all the shrubbery, it’s just ridiculous,” he said.

“We want something done, we need reflectors or something because my house is going to be next.”

Lucky escape: The car is crushed by rubble last night. Picture: TARA ASHWORTH

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A WANGARATTA man who shot dead a friend on a hunting trip broke down in tears yesterday as he made a heartfelt apology to the teenager’s family.
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Stuart Charles Smith briefly took to the witness box in the Supreme Court at Wodonga to tell of the sorrow he had caused Nick Welch’s family.

“To Mike, Debbie, Matt and Jake Welch and your extended family and friends, I am deeply sorry with all my heart for the pain and suffering you have endured,” he said, his words broken only by sobbing.

Smith, 23, was put on a five-year good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

– Click here to read the reaction of Nick Welch’s family.

Mr Welch, 19, of Thurgoona, died when he was shot by Smith with a high-powered rifle in thick bush at Tallangatta South on July 25, 2010.

Smith and Nick and Jake Welch, the teenager’s twin, had been hunting sambar deer.

In sentencing, Justice Bernard Bongiorno noted Smith’s commitment to never go near a gun again.

That was one of the conditions of the bond — that Smith not own, possess or touch a firearm for the next five years.

“Stuart Smith has been and will continue to be haunted by his own realisation of what he has done,” the judge said.

He said he agreed with both the prosecution and defence that what Smith did was at the lower-end of the criminal scale.

But Justice Bongiorno said it nevertheless was characterised by a high degree of negligence and stupidity, the latter a description used by Smith himself.

Smith was otherwise a fine young man who had worked hard at his university studies, and who was respected and loved by many people, he said.

Justice Bongiorno said the court was able to show mercy to Smith because of the extenuating circumstances, his youth, his good record and the fact he had totally rehabilitated himself since the shooting.

Defence barrister Shane Gardiner had appealed to Justice Bongiorno to not convict Smith, arguing that was a serious outcome he would have to deal with “for the rest of his life”.

But the judge declined and attached a conviction to the bond.

In his sentencing submission, Mr Gardiner said Smith was “completely and unequivocally remorseful”.

Mr Gardiner said Smith, of Firbank Drive, Waldara, accepted he was careless in firing the fatal shot.

“It’s significant that he is of good character,” he said.

Mr Gardiner said Smith provided “some co-operation” to the police, drawing them a map to try to explain what happened.

“This was certainly an unintentional criminal act,” he said.

Mr Gardiner said Smith’s guilty plea saved Jake Welch from having to go through the ordeal of giving evidence in the witness box, an outcome Justice Bongiorno later highlighted.

Justice Bongiorno paid tribute to both families.

“I commend the conduct of both families in this case, both of whom have suffered significantly as a result of the events on July 25,” Justice Bongiorno said.

He extended his condolences to the Welch family and commended them on their support for Nick’s twin, Jake, who witnessed his brother’s death.

And he paid equal tribute to those there for Smith — “his partner, his parents and his family”.

In a victim impact statement, Jake Welch told of remembering hearing his brother scream as he was shot, but he still asked the court not to jail Smith.

Stuart Smith with his family leave Wodonga Court yesterday after Smith was sentenced over the manslaughter of his friend Nick Welch.

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I HAVE always believed an independent media is vital to the defence of an egalitarian, pluralist democracy.
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And I have been proud to be part of helping to continue its existence by trying to present actual facts, in black and white, the absolute truth, so that people could interpret them and base an opinion on them.

But to tell the truth, I’ve lost the stomach for it and now believe that fighting for what I believe as a noble cause is a waste of time.

Some years ago R.W. Connell and T.H. Irving wrote an article “Yes Virginia, there is a ruling class”, a parody of a headline dealing with a letter written to the New York Sun by a little girl called Virginia, asking if there really was a Santa Claus.

In reply the paper ran the famous editorial, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”.

In their work Connell and Irving make the claim Australian society is neither egalitarian or pluralist in nature.

I would agree and add that most Australians don’t care either.

A federal Coalition parliamentarian told me recently I shouldn’t worry about being frustrated by comments made by people I know.

“People will believe what they want to believe, facts just don’t matter,” the politician said to me.

Which I reckon is true, given some of the moronic dribble I have heard from drop-kicks masquerading as intelligent people.

Winston Churchill once said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.

But he also said the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

Not that long ago a senior NSW Liberal parliamentarian told me it was not the role of journalists to provide a public service but only to work in such a way as to enrich their employer’s business.

And that the ABC should be scrapped because it was an anachronism.

On a recent edition of Insiders, commentator Andrew Catsaras gave a summary of polls around the nation over the previous month.

The contents of The Lowy Institute Public Opinion Poll for 2012, which he commented on, sent a shiver up my back.

Apparently only 60 per cent of respondents believed that “democracy is preferable to any other kind of government”, 23 per cent believed “in some circumstances a non-democratic government can be preferable” and 15 per cent believed that for “someone like me it doesn’t matter what kind of government we have”.

And, according to the official transcript of the program, only 39 per cent of those aged between 18 and 29 believed democracy is preferable to any other kind of government.

It appears a fair chunk of society is awaiting a new messiah, in the form of a benevolent autocrat.

Good luck with that one.

But you have to ask yourself, why do we make it compulsory for these people to vote?

And what happens if there was no free and independent media to protect the weak, the vulnerable or those who are simply powerless.

Is it beyond belief that agricultural land will give way to mining interests and property developers, that Work Choices will sneak back, that old growth forests will be fair game and aged pensions and subsidies for medical costs for the elderly will be slashed because they are a burden on society while middle-class welfare makes our economy more productive and so on?

Does that sound a bit far-fetched and without any factual basis?

Well, as they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em and if these things do come to pass then don’t come whingeing to me.

I’ll be too busy writing about Clive Palmer’s soft side or why it is logical that Alan Jones wouldn’t be biased just because he worked for Malcolm Fraser but that the ABC’s Barrie Cassidy is because he once worked for Bob Hawke and that left-wing rag, The Border Mail.

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VCE studies forced Chris Young to study up on current affairs and inadvertently catapulted him into a career in journalism.
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The former Wodonga Catholic College student, now in his second year of journalism at Canberra University, was yesterday announced as the first recipient of the Cameron Thompson scholarship.

The self-confessed St Kilda tragic, 19, was judged the best of 30 entrants for the $3000 cash prize and an ongoing internship at The Border Mail.

Mr Young said it was those secondary college studies that piqued his interest in journalism.

“There was no specific moment where it dawned on me that journalism was my future,” he said.

“But there I was reading the news every day and I felt that I wanted to be a part of it.

“Journalism is undergoing such great change but there will always be a need for people to break news stories.”

The toughest challenge was getting a job.

“But with this I’m not only getting some money to help with fees and text books but a foot in the door,” he said.

Mr Thompson, 38, lost his battle with cancer just over four years ago.

The former cadet journalist at The Border Mail had risen to editor before his illness.

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THE intervention of the acting Ovens and Murray Football League chairman will be revisited as part of an appeal by Wodonga into the recent head count game against North Albury.
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The Bulldogs have lodged an appeal with the VCFL against the decision to award the four premiership points to the Hoppers after an investigation into the fact they had 19 players on the ground in their round-10 clash at Bunton Park.

An investigation was carried out by the VCFL’s Kevin Mayhew and the O and M accepted his ruling that the extra North Albury player on the ground didn’t make any “material contribution” to the outcome of the game.

North Albury’s 10-point victory stood but the Bulldogs appeal submitted late last week has cast the result in doubt again.

Following the head count, officiating umpires Warwick Henderson and Ben Greer incorrectly notified the Bulldogs, Hoppers and the official scorers that North Albury’s score would be wiped to zero, leaving Wodonga with a match-winning lead.

But acting league chairman Graeme Patterson was at the game and informed both teams and the official scorers the Hoppers score would not be scrapped.

Wodonga is arguing the incorrect call to wipe North Albury’s score altered the Bulldogs’ players mindset and the umpires’ original decision should have stood.

The rules for an extra player being on the ground have changed in the past 18 months.

Wodonga should have been paid a free kick and 50-metre penalty but was not.

The original investigation established North Albury player Michael Klein-Boonschate was the 19th player on the ground.

Play in the final quarter had not restarted when the Bulldogs called for the head count.

The new appeal will be heard by a panel made up of a VCFL director and two senior staff members following written submissions from both clubs.

The hearing will take place in a fortnight.

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Sarah Baker models an Alannah Hill dress at Liz Wotherspoon’s new Albury business, My Changing Room. Picture: BEN EYLESTHE owner of a new business in Albury believes every woman deserves a Cinderella moment, even if it’s rented.
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My Changing Room specialises in cocktail and evening-dress hire, and pre-loved clothing.

Liz Wotherspoon opened the store, tucked in Temple Court off Dean Street, last month.

“I love seeing girls come in and find something they can feel special in for the night,” Mrs Wotherspoon said.

“It’s all about being Cinderella really — I love that.”

Model Sarah Baker, above, is wearing an Alannah Hill dress. It retails for $280 but can be rented for less than a quarter of that.

Dresses like it and floor-length items can be rented for $50 a night, with some shorter styles $40.

“This way you don’t have to buy a dress, wear it once and then let it hang in the wardrobe,” Mrs Wotherspoon said.

She plans to rent race wear and head pieces, and has debutante and wedding dresses for hire and purchase.

“I’d like to get some unique deb dresses in because that’s something girls wear once and then shove in the cupboard and that is ridiculous,” she said.

“And I have more mature ladies’ garments, and a selection of sizes from size 6 to 18.

“I think that’s important because the average woman is apparently a size 16 to 18.”

Mrs Wotherspoon also sells pre-loved clothing on consignment.

“It’s my passion. I love the idea of a garment that’s been hanging in somebody’s wardrobe going to another home,” she said.

And while some businesses are going online, Mrs Wotherspoon believes in a more hands-on experience.

“I want it to be a nice cosy environment where women can come and try things on,” she said.

My Changing Room, behind Temple Hair in Dean Street, is open Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 4pm and Saturday 11am to 2pm. Contact Mrs Wotherspoon on 0421 334 214.

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AN Albury man accused of punching his de facto in the face after stabbing her son was refused bail yesterday.
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Adam Jay Azzi has been in jail since he was charged in February with five offences, including three of wounding, intending to cause grievous bodily harm.

Solicitor Chris Murnane yesterday applied in Albury Local Court to have Azzi released.

He said Azzi would stay out of Albury by living at Howlong, would abide by a nightly curfew and his father could lodge $5000.

“They are allegations that will be defended,” Mr Murnane said.

But magistrate Tony Murray refused bail, saying community welfare and protection were prime issues.

The court was told in tendered facts that Azzi, 38, has been in a de facto relationship for three years.

His de facto, her children and others were watching television at a unit on February 28.

Azzi took some Xanax, fell asleep and yelled at others when he woke about 11pm.

His de facto tried to calm him and her son intervened and wrestled with Azzi.

They were pulled apart and Azzi went to the kitchen, got a black-handled serrated steak knife and thrust his arm towards his de facto’s son.

Witnesses thought the son had been punched when he collapsed, but they saw blood and Azzi with a knife.

Azzi stabbed another man to the lower back and tried to stab a woman, who fled.

His de facto’s son received more wounds from Azzi — to the lower back, left leg and right thigh.

Azzi’s de facto rang 000 for police assistance and he punched her to the mouth, causing her dentures to fall and break on the floor.

Her daughter managed to get the knife and ran upstairs with it.

Azzi threatened the life of his de facto’s son before leaving in a car which was later found by police with blood stains inside.

A crime scene was established at the unit and the knife was photographed and seized.

Azzi was arrested the following day and was taken to the Albury Base Hospital.

He was found to have consumed numerous medications.

The charges against Azzi have been adjourned until August 13.

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FORMER Corowa-Rutherglen forward Tim McIntyre has laughed off comparisons to Adelaide cult hero Jason Porplyzia after booting two goals on debut for the Crows on Saturday night.
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McIntyre, who was elevated to the club’s senior list last week, said yesterday he was surprised coach Brenton Sanderson likened him to the star small forward after he was the Crows best early in the win against Port Adelaide.

“I don’t know about that (comparison),” McIntyre said.

“It was just a good experience. I played NAB Cup and the intensity was another step up from that.

“I kicked 2.1 and got off to a good start which helped and hopefully I can hold my spot in the team.”

McIntyre, 23, followed in the footsteps of four-time SANFL premiership player Ian Callinan, making his debut for the Crows having spent considerable time proving his worth in the SANFL.

He wasted no time making his mark by turning in a devastating first quarter against the Power.

“I got the nod last Thursday about my debut and it was a nice surprise,” he said.

“I’ll just try to play my role and hold my spot. It’s about forward pressure and creating turnovers for me.”

McIntyre left the John Foord Oval for the 2009 season.

He was picked up by the Crows with pick No. 41 in the AFL rookie draft last December after some outstanding performances for Sturt including an eight-goal haul against Glenelg in round 19.

The former Murray Bushranger was called up by the Crows to cover the loss of fellow small forwards Jared Petrenko (foot) and Callinan (corked calf).

“I guess I was next in line,” he said.

Sanderson was full of praise for McIntyre’s debut.

“He’s like a mini version of Jason Porplyzia,” Sanderson said.

“He knows where the goals are.

“He’s just a great story and another example of the rookie list working, with a player who has been overlooked getting a chance.”

Three cheers for Tim: Tim McIntyre’s Crows teammates show their appreciation after McIntyre starred in his debut on Saturday night. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

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