Monthly Archives: April 2019

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: Heart Open is putting females in Newcastle on the stage

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: Female power in Newcastle | PHOTOS Alex Morris interviewing dancer Jacinta Rose at a Hearts Open event.

Open Mic: Alex Morris interviewing dancer Jacinta Rose at a Hearts Open event. Picture: Lazy Bones

Alex Morris. Picture: Lazy Bones

Poet Laura Kebby at a Heart Open open-mic event. Picture: Justine Cogan

Poet Bastian Fox Phelan at a Heart Open open-mic event. Picture: Lazy Bones

A guest performer at a Heart Open open-mic event. Picture: Lazy Bones

Poet Katy Gray at a Heart Open open-mic event. Picture: Lazy Bones

Poet Rachael Ainsworth at a Heart Open open-mic event. Picture: Lazy Bones

The band Moonsign perform at a Heart Open event. Picture: Justine Cogan

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So, she and friend Chloe Warrenstarted abi-monthly, female-focused open-mic night in Newcastle, called Heart Open.

“I didn’t know Chloe that well [at the time], but I loved her stand-up comedy and thought she and I could be a good team,” Alexsaid.

“We got chatting with our friend and amazing local typographer Sophie Elinor Brown, and she helped us come up with the name and created our logo for us.

“Then we just invited some of the talented women we knew to come and perform in a local pub.”

Chloe’s a scientist, so she wanted to make sure decisions about where to take the event were informed by data.

“We started collecting feedback from our audiences and we hope that each show has been an improvement on the last,” Alex said.

The next event will be held on Fridayat Newcastle Museum’sBHP Gallery to mark International Women’s Day.

The night will feature artists and performers. Aspecial guest will attend to respect the location and its history.

Chloe and AlexwillinterviewJanet Murray, a former BHP chemical engineer and blast furnace operations superintendent.

“Janetworked for nearly 20 years at the Newcastle steelworks. She’s a fascinating woman with so many interesting stories.”

Alex said the event aimed tocreate “a welcoming and encouraging environment where female-identifying and non-binary people feel comfortable expressing themselves”.

“It’s also an open mic nightand we really want to be inclusive, so we encourage all people to sign up for that in between featured performers.”

Heart Open is promoted as a “bi-monthly celebration of creativity”.

Each event features fourartists “sharingthe secrets of their journey, their creative processes and inspiration”.

“We welcome poets, dancers, comedians, musicians, actors, authors, painters, sculptors, air-ukulele players … you get the gist.”

Council needs another $4.6million for Lochinvar intersection to go ahead

Cr Henry MeskauskasMaitland City Council has agreed to chip in another$4.6 milliontowards the construction cost of an intersection at Lochinvar.

As part of its 2015-2016 budget the NSW Government provided anallocation of $11.5 million towards the project through the Housing Acceleration Fund (HAF).

However areport presentedto council last week said at that time the intersection formed part of the work schedules attached to the Lochinvar Section 94 Contributions Plan and the item was subsequently removed from that plan.

“During the time that has lapsed since the funding announcement, a definitive design and costing has been developed by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS)in conjunction with council,” the report said.

“Based on communications with RMS, this process has revealed the ultimate intersection design required to support development in the north eastern catchment of the urban release areawill not be achievable within the HAF funding budget,” the report said.

Councillors were advised that anadditional $4.6 million was needed to cover the cost of the project.

The report said the intersectionis a key strategic access point to the north eastern catchment of the Lochinvar Urban Release Area and is required as a direct result of proposed development within the catchment.

West Ward councillor Henry Meskauskas successfully moved a recommendation to approve the additional $4.6 millionto make up the shortfall in HAF funding by amending the LochinvarSection 94 Contributions Plan.Council will exhibit the draft plan before afinalreport to council.

Fairfax Media has reported how Lochinvar is set to become Maitland’s next boom town with the first of 5000housing lotson public exhibition anda school and shopping precinctto come.

Council has received a development proposal for 146 lots off the New England Highway, behind the Aird’s building. The lots are within the Lochinvar Urban Release Area.

Speed zones cut on busy Newcastle roads

REDUCED speed limits will be introduced between Wallsend and Hamilton on Thomas Street, Newcastle Road and Griffiths Road, the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS)says.

A RMS spokesperson said, after a recent speed zone review, the existing 70km/h speed on the route along Thomas Street, Newcastle Road and Griffiths Road will be reduced to 60km/h, from 460 metres west of Lake Road at Wallsend to 100 metres west of Beaumont Street at Hamilton.

The changes will be introduced on Sunday.

“The safety of motorists and pedestrians is important to the NSW government which is why steps are being taken to improve safety along this very busy stretch of road,” the spokesperson said.

“In the five years between July 2011 and June 2016 there were 382 crashes, including 272 injury crashes along this 8.5 kilometre section road.

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“The injury crash rate per kilometre is almost five times higher than the typical rate for an urban arterial road with a 70km/h speed limit which is why action is needed.

“The reduced speed limit will provide significant road safety benefits to the 40,000 motorists who travel along the route each day.

“In addition to this, the changes will also improve safety near Hamilton North Public School for students and their families, including the Newcastle Showground which becomes very busy when events are on.

“Electronic message signs will be in place to advise motorists of the changes and will remain for at least a week after the new speed limit signs have been installed.

“Motorists are reminded to observe the new speed limit and are advised to drive to conditions.”

More work for women in NSW workforce

Tanya Davies says 37 per cent of senior leadership roles in the NSW public sector are held by women.The number of women in senior leadership and traditionally male-dominated roles across NSW is steadily increasing but there’s still more work to do, according to the NSW minister for women.

The latest snapshot on the status of women in the NSW workforce was released on Tuesday as part of the Then and Now report.

The report, based on NSW workforce profile data, shows women now fill almost 38 per cent of leadership roles in the public sector. The government wants to increase that to 50 per cent by 2025.

But the situation is worse in the private sector where women fill just 26 per cent of board directorship position of ASX 200 companies. That’s up from almost nine per cent in 2009, according to the n Institute of Company Directors.

“At the end of last year in the public sector more than 37 per cent of senior leadership roles were held by women,” NSW Minister for Women Tanya Davies said in a statement on Tuesday.

“While this makes the NSW government more progressive than the private sector there is still more work to do.”

Meanwhile, the number of women working in traditionally male-dominated industries, such as mining and construction, continues to grow at between two and five per cent every year.

However, women are still more likely to be employed in health care, social assistance, education and training, according to the Then and Now report.

Ms Davies noted that in 1973 there was only one female member of the NSW Legislative Assembly but today that figure has increased to 28.

“It’s imperative that women are represented at decision making tables across government and business to ensure the best outcomes for both men and women, in their public and private lives,” she said.

Vic woman strangled with cord, court told

Mehmed Solmaz is charged with murdering Fatma Solmaz, 61, last May at her Sunshine West home.A Melbourne woman was hit on the head with a wooden table leg and strangled with electrical cord by her former husband, a court has heard.

Mehmed Solmaz, 61, has been ordered to stand trial for murdering Fatma Solmaz, 61, at their Sunshine West home last May.

He entered a plea of not guilty, claiming to police his former wife assaulted him with the same wooden table leg and he acted in self-defence.

A forensic examination of Solmaz after his ex-wife’s death found he had minor injuries that were expected to heal.

Despite being divorced, the former couple lived together up until Ms Solmaz’s death.

Their two adult sons were in court for Tuesday’s committal hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Police allege that after Solmaz assaulted his ex-wife with the table leg and strangled her, he fled to Queensland.

He was arrested after Ms Solmaz’s body was found and extradited to Victoria.

An autopsy showed she suffered blunt force trauma injuries to her head, which rendered her unconscious, before she was strangled, forensic pathologist Dr Michael Burke told the court.

The defence suggested Solmaz spoke of noises in his head in the aftermath of Ms Solmaz’s death.

However, detective leading senior constable Joseph Strachan said he had no concerns about Solmaz being unfit for interview and his only complaint was a sore back.

Magistrate Luisa Bazzani said the case against Solmaz was “overwhelmingly strong”.

“Ms Solmaz was in no position to threaten or harm Mr Solmaz at the time she died – she was unconscious,” she said.

“She posted no risk at all to you (Mr Solmaz), according to the evidence.

“It’s an overwhelmingly strong case.”

Ms Bazzani said from the accounts given, Ms Solmaz was a hard working woman devoted to her family.

“Tragically she died in her own home,” she said.

Solmaz, who was aided in court by a Turkish interpreter, was remanded in custody to appear in the Supreme Court for trial directions on Thursday.