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Homeward bound for passionate flight lieutenant

Flight Lieutenant David Mann, 25, made the trip home to Dubbo to take part in the city’s Anzac Day services.
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A pilot for the Royal Australian Air Force’s 34 squadron, Lieutenant Mann (pictured right) is stationed in Canberra.

“It’s great to come home and be a part of how Dubbo commemorates Anzac Day,” Lieutenant Mann said.

“The number of people that have turned up this morning for the dawn service shows that it’s still important to Australian society.”

The former St John’s College student has been in the Air Force for eight years.

“I was based in Richmond, Tamworth, and Pearce in Western Australia before heading to Canberra,” Lieutenant Mann said.

He hopes to serve overseas in years to come.

“That’s why I signed on the dotted line,” he said.

“The defence force is a great thing to be part of, especially for the mateship and the opportunity it offers.”

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Meehan wins chance to rule world – with help from King

When Don King promises a boxer a shot at a world title, they are just as likely to end up on the scrap heap as in the square ring.In the case of former Sydney garbage collector Kali Meehan, it appears the flamboyant promoter has kept his word.After seven cancelled fights, two inactive years and one outrageous home-town decision, Kali ”Mean Hands” Meehan has a genuine shot at becoming the heavyweight champion of the world.About the time Danny Green was reading the last rites to Roy Jones jnr, another Australian was given the chance to become a world champion.At King’s prompting, the World Boxing Association has ordered that Meehan must fight Russian giant Ruslan Chagaev in an interim championship bout.Should the Central Coast slugger prevail, he then has a shot at the winner of the bout between newly crowned WBA champion David Haye and challenger John Ruiz for the belt.The development means an Aussie is just two good right hands away from being the biggest thing in boxing.”I really believe this is what God put me on the earth to do,” Meehan told The Sun-Herald. ”I really do believe that.”Once I get that crack, nothing’s going to stop me. I could fight 10 people at the same time, it won’t matter. It’s been that long that it’s only going to drive me that much harder.”I’m doing this for my wife, my kids and my trainer, Mark Janssen, who is the best-kept secret in Australian boxing.”It has been an agonising wait for Meehan. The 39-year-old last fought a serious bout in October 2007, when he upset American DaVarryl Williamson in a stunning TKO. Since then, seven planned fights have fallen through, including a fight with former two-time WBA heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev.The latest opportunity is a fitting reward. For years Meehan patiently waited for his shot at the title, working as a garbage collector, a painter, a road worker, bouncer – anything to make ends meet. When the opportunity finally arrived in 2004, he pummelled WBO champ Lamon Brewster, but lost in a controversial points decision. Even Brewster’s father admitted his boy should ”give the belt to that Aussie next door”.”When I lost that title fight in 2004, a lot of people asked me, ‘were you angry about the decision?’ ” said Meehan, who has won his past six fights. ”I’ve always said ‘no’ because I believe my time will come. I will be the champ. I really believe that.”That plays a big part in motivating me, driving me and pushing me. I’m doing it for my wife and my kids and my coach.”Opportunities have been scarce. The Kiwi-born Australian lost to former champ Hasim Rahman a month after the Brewster fight.That’s as close as Meehan got to the big time.Now King is pushing Meehan’s barrow. Asked about the promoter, Meehan said: ”He’s the man who can make things happen.”When it’s good, it’s very good. When it’s bad, it’s very bad. If you’re the man of the moment, it can happen big.”Don King is Don King. There’s 100 things I feel could have been done better. I was fighting [in Australia] and I fought one guy four times and another guy three times.”Then I went over there, fought one guy and the next thing I’m fighting for the heavyweight championship. It is a business and people aren’t in it to make people happy, they’re in it to make money. If you’re the person bringing in the money, you’re going to make money, too.”The former footballer had a tough upbringing in Auckland. He was part of a gang, and his first fights were on the streets rather than the ring.”Sometimes bad things happened – we weren’t the choir boys, put it that way,” he said. ”Boys are boys. But in all seriousness, boxing did keep me off the wrong side of the tracks.”Meehan fell into boxing at 13. He went into an Auckland gym, only to be told he had to pay $30 a month to use the facilities. ”It may as well have been $2 million,” he said.The only way to avoid the fee was to box in the gymnasium tournament. The sport has been his life – for the most part – ever since.A decade ago he came to Australia to work on a Perth prawn trawler. A friend offered him $2000 for a fight on a day’s notice, and he took it and knocked out the highly rated James Grima in the fourth round.Since then he’s been fighting for Australia under the moniker ”Checkmate”, although in recent times he reverted to his preferred nickname of ”Mean Hands”.”My first trainer in New Zealand was like a father to me and he called me ‘Mean Hands’,” Meehan recalled. ”I changed it to Checkmate because I liked black and white shorts.”After a while, about two years ago, I thought, ‘that’s a weird name’. I asked my son what he reckoned and he said it was ‘girlie’.”After that my first trainer passed away. So I decided to take back the name Mean Hands. Everyone will know it when I take out the title.”
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Dentist treated 25 teeth too many

A DENTIST who reconstructed a patient’s mouth when the man required work to only three teeth has been ordered to pay more than $345,000 in compensation and interest.Todd Dean had been working as an apprentice tree lopper when a small log struck him on the chin at a job in Bexley in December 2001.He rinsed his bleeding mouth with salty water, ”spat out a few chips of teeth” and returned to work for the rest of the day, only later complaining to his boss about the continuing pain to his mouth and teeth.Dr Mark Phung, who treated Mr Dean on numerous occasions in 2002 and 2003, charged his employer’s insurance company $73,645 to perform root canals on each of his 28 teeth. In one bill, Dr Phung charged the insurer $28,740 for work performed on two occasions. In another, he charged $10,000 for one session.One dental expert who reviewed Mr Dean’s mouth said the work was ”a complete case of fraud … by the dentist” and an ”extremely poor dentistry job”.Another specialist, Dr Neil Peppitt, said Dr Phung’s fees were well over the state and national average for general dental charges and that 25 of Mr Dean’s teeth had been ”over-treated”.”[It] is my opinion that worst-case treatment scenario for Mr Dean following his initial workplace injury would have been root canal therapy to three teeth,” Dr Peppitt said.”Mr Dean had every nerve, artery and vein within every tooth in his head amputated.”Mr Dean’s employer, Advanced Arbor Services, sued Dr Phung in the Supreme Court, claiming it was ”unjust, unfair and unconscionable” for him to retain the money after performing unnecessary dental work.In his judgment handed down last week, Justice Peter Hall found Dr Phung’s actions were ”a clear case of unjust enrichment” and that he had been ”misleading and deceptive” by claiming to be a competent dentist.Justice Hall was satisfied that Mr Dean’s treatment was unnecessary and that the workmanship ”fell so far below proper professional standards as to be grossly negligent”.He ordered Dr Phung pay the money he had retained, plus other costs, including those to rectify the ”largely destructive” work done by him.Mr Dean has started a separate Supreme Court action against Dr Phung.A spokeswoman for the Dental Board of NSW said it was ”probable” that the case would be referred to the Health Care Complaints Commission for investigation into whether Dr Phung’s registration should be cancelled.
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Stakes high as ‘Raging Bull’ aims to answer critics

AMERICAN boxing fans will watch today to see whether Australia’s world champion, Vic Darchinyan, can bounce back from his last-start loss to reclaim his mantle as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters.Darchinyan’s manager, Elias Nasser, said from California that there was widespread interest to see if Darchinyan still had ”it” after his failed July bid to move up a weight division to take the International Boxing Federation’s bantamweight title from Ghana’s Joseph Agbeko.Their interest has also been piqued by the suggestion the Mexican challenger Tomas Rojas is determined to send Darchinyan tumbling into retirement.”Vic is a true champion,” Nasser said. ”The worst thing you can ever do to Vic Darchinyan is to doubt him – it always brings out his very best. And this is a huge fight.”He knows everyone wants to see if he’ll rebound and he’s also aware there is a lot at stake, including the possibility of a rematch with Nonito Donaire. The belief here is that would rival the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout as the biggest of 2010.”Donaire, a Filipino, knocked Darchinyan out in the fifth round of their IBO world title fight in 2007. It was the first time Darchinyan had tasted defeat as a professional.Darchinyan’s trainer, Angelo Hyder, said Australia’s ”Raging Bull” was showing the signs of a winner. His preparation included sparring against former Kostya Tszyu opponent Zab Judah, who weighs 15 kilograms more than the Aussie.”It’s also the first time Vic has made weight the night before the weigh-in, so all is good,” Hyder said. ”He knows not to get obsessed by the KO and to work for the win.”
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Dubbo youth charged with stabbing appears in court

A youth will appear in court today charged with the alleged stabbing of a man in Dubbo yesterday morning.
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Police report two males attended a house in Aldrin Avenue and knocked on the door of the premises at about 2.15am on Sunday April 24.

Then a 22-year-old woman opened the door where she was allegedly threatened by one of the males who held a knife to her throat. The woman was able to push the male away and close the door, police say.

In court police alleged the male then went to the rear yard where he stabbed a 54-year-old man before fleeing the scene.

He was chased from the premises by a number of people and allegedly struck another man over the head with a bottle before he was subdued.

The 54-year-old man was treated at the scene by paramedics and taken to Dubbo Base Hospital for treatment of a stab wound to his shoulder which had fractured a vertebra.

He was later airlifted to the Royal North Shore Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Police attended the scene where they arrested the 17-year-old male and took him to Dubbo Police Station.

He was refused bail to appear in Parramatta Children’s Court today.

Full court results in tomorrow’s Daily Liberal.

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Historical decision for city’s future

Picture Dubbo in 2036.
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A pristine city on the cusp of the state’s west, an important regional capital where everyone comes to get whatever it is they need.

The council will be run by a heady mix of people, of pure heart and sound social conscience, who are guided on their way by a visionary community plan put into place some 25 years previously. Say, about September 2011.

It was a great plan, really, which asked the people what they themselves wanted, how they themselves saw the city’s future.

It is a matter of historical fate that a decision on the Centrelink bunfight, to go back to council again for consideration tomorrow, will not quite scrape into the enveloping arms of the widely touted community strategic plan. A shame, really.

Because, if the community alone had its say on this matter, it would never have ventured this far.

The owners, lessees and prospective developer of the Wingewarra site have done what is required for this venture to go ahead. But nobody, it seems, asked the neighbours before this proposal moved to development application stage. In the future, in a fair world with a robust integrated community strategy in place, a bit of chat about such things will not be out of order. Right at the start.

The wheels of business must turn in this town, and council has its job to do. So far, in this angst-ridden issue, there have been no winners.

Tomorrow night, let’s hope it’s sorted out.

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Green closing in on his date with Executioner

DANNY GREEN’S dream bout with superstar Bernard Hopkins appears to be a significant step closer, with Hopkins revealing not only is he angry the Australian ”derailed” his multimillion-dollar rematch with Roy Jones jnr, but he’s also prepared to fight in Australia.Hopkins dismissed Green’s credentials before he beat Jones in Sydney by asking who the world IBO cruiserweight champion was, also demanding to know who of any note he’d fought. However, the man known as ”the Executioner” changed tack when the referee saved Jones from serious harm after he was belted for 122 violent seconds.”Me and Roy Jones were going to have a clash, somewhere in March and that got derailed,” Hopkins told website Boxden南京夜网. ”The guy who derailed me from my opportunity is reaching out to me so I think it’s a no-brainer for anybody with a promotional bone in his body.”From a TV, marketing point of view, this is the best fight that can happen. I would have a lot of people wondering if I would fall to the fate of Roy Jones, or will I conquer another giant. I’m not talking size, even though this guy is bigger and cruiserweights are 200 pounds [90kg], I’m talking stature and popularity. Danny Green is who he is over there. He fills the place up and they have the budget to satisfy me.”Green was ecstatic, saying it was his goal to continue to provide Australian fans with quality fights.”This is great,” he said yesterday before leaving for America to support Vic Darchinyan in today’s world title defence against Mexico’s Tomas Rojas in California. ”I want to fight Hopkins in Australia … it could be huge, and I’m very keen to discuss this [with Hopkins] while in America.”The fact he’s talking about fighting in Australia is very, very exciting.”Hopkins has not fought outside the US since 1994 when his world middleweight title fight with Segundo Mercado in Ecuador finished in a draw. He highlighted a distinct lack of geography, though, after learning of Jones’s fate in Australia, saying that’s what happens when an American fights in ”Europe”.Hopkins, who at 44 is still one of American boxing’s biggest drawcards, revealed the money he stood to make against Green was far greater than what he would make against American hot shot Chad Dawson.”I would make more money fighting Danny Green over there in a whole new situation, than any three or four fights that have been brought to me,” he said.”Not only Chad Dawson, let’s not just talk about him – every fight that was mentioned to me, the risk was 10 times higher than the reward … The Chad Dawson offer wasn’t respecting my legacy. I’m going where the money is at and for me that seems to be not in America.”Hopkins confirmed he’d received the message Green left on his answering machine last week demanding they go to toe-to-toe.”It is absolutely true. I didn’t recognise their number, but now that the communication has begun, I’m always excited whenever somebody wants to fight Bernard Hopkins and treat me with respect, something I’m not getting from the networks over here.”I’m always up for a challenge and as far as I’m concerned Danny Green took food out of my mouth. So now, I’m willing to take food out of his mouth and I can already say they’re talking the right language.”
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Pacific swimmer to be message in a bottle

AS IF swimming 9000 kilometres from Japan to the US is not enough of a challenge, Richard Pain is also planning to plough through the middle of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating mass of plastic junk almost the size of the Northern Territory.”I realise it’s completely mad,” said the filmmaker, 45, who is selling his Randwick home to raise some of the money needed for the project.”But I’m aware there is a lot of green fatigue in the broader population. This is a way to try and raise awareness by doing something more compelling. It’s like trying to do an environmental version of Super Size Me.”Mr Pain, a keen ocean swimmer and environmentalist, said he was unfazed by the fact no one had ever managed to swim across the Pacific.He said he had inherited his athletic build and determination from his father, a bronze medal- winning rower at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games.Mr Pain is planning to swim inside a six-metre-long bottle made from thousands of used water bottles, which will act as a shark cage and a reminder of the plastic waste that is threatening the Pacific Ocean.The bottle will be towed by a boat with his fiancee, Natasha, pregnant with their first child, on board.”I want to create that iconic media image that everybody picks up and says, ‘Oh my God, there’s a man in the middle of the ocean in a gigantic water bottle,’ ” he said.He is also making a documentary about the attempt.Mr Pain has been obsessed for years with the massive garbage patch that is trapped by currents in the North Pacific. “You look down into it and it’s nightmarish,” he said. “All these birds are eating it and dying, and now it’s entering the food chain.”He is training daily but expects it will be up to 18 months before he is strong enough to set off on his record-breaking attempt, which will take up to 45 weeks. It will be critical for him to ride the Kuroshio current to have any hope of completing the task.As well as increasing awareness about pollution, Mr Pain wants to raise $1 million for research into the North Pacific Gyre, the body of water filling with plastic rubbish.”The ideal would be for me to walk in the water in Japan, the land of plastic, start swimming and emerge months later on Santa Monica Beach with Richard Branson handing me a cheque and looking at his watch and saying, ‘You made it with five minutes to spare.'”
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Poetry a means of reflection for former recruit

Ron Stevens, 85, (pictured left) was just 18-years-old when he joined the Royal Australian Air Force in Richmond, NSW.
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At the end of World War II he joined the Royal Australian Navy and had his first overseas posting to Japan when the country was occupied by the Allies, led by the United States with contributions from Australia, India, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

“I served on various tribal class destroyers like HMAS Arunta and HMAS Bataan,” Mr Stevens said.

Although not completed in time to see combat service during World War II, HMAS Bataan was present in Tokyo Bay for the official Japanese surrender and made four deployments to

the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. HMAS Arunta underwent two deployments to Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force.

In the 1960s Mr Stevens served with the navy in the Malaysia and Borneo conflict.

These days he uses poetry to express his feelings of war, yesterday delivering one of his poems called Second Thoughts at the Dubbo dawn service.

Anzac Day is a time to reflect on those whose war experience was more severe, he said.

“I was fortunate because I was never involved in any terrible situations that a lot of other troops suffered in,” Mr Stevens said.

“War can be a horrible experience but when you are young you don’t think about that.”

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Puzzle finishes first much to top trainer’s surprise

Victorian trainer Noel Massina with Prairie Puzzle after the dog’s win at Dawson Park on Thursday. Photo: BELINDA SOOLEBendigo’s Noel Massina is one of the top trainers in the greyhound industry.
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After close to 40 years in the sport he is well-regarded among his peers.

But even the best can make a mistake.

On Thursday at Dawson Park, Massina’s bitch Prairie Puzzle lined up in the Sean Clarkson Concreting Stakes (318m).

But Massina got the shock of his life when the dogs got on the track and started heading for the 318m boxes.

“I thought I had nominated her for a 400m race but when I walked out on the track they said it was a 318m,” he said.

“I trialled her over the 400m as well and she is better over those kind of distances.

“I gave a bloke a couple of hundred to have on for me but when he told me I said not to bother because it’s the wrong distance.”

It’s history that Prairie Puzzle went on to win the race regardless of the trainer’s blunder.

The win was the third of the Solve The Puzzle x Oceanic Tycoon bitch’s short career after she won her first two starts at Horsham in February

Massina has been a regular at the Dubbo club’s Anzac carnival for more than a decade now and says the week of racing is right up there with the best in the industry.

“I’ve been training greyhounds for 40-odd years and coming to Dubbo for the last 10 or 14 years,” he said.

“I went to the big carnival at Grafton for about 20 years straight and always said I would come here.

“Here in Dubbo it’s a great track, great atmosphere and great people so I’m really glad to be here.”

Massina’s wife Robyn is usually his travelling companion but with a big carnival on in Bendigo at the moment he is travelling solo.

“Between us we generally have about 30 dogs in work and usually bring 10 or 12 to Dubbo,” Noel said.

“I’m on my own this year and the carnival is on at home so I only have six with me.

“But you can still get good results with a small team. I remember we won 117 races one year with six dogs, about 10 or 12 years ago.”

Massina has won numerous big races at Dubbo and other carnivals during his career as a trainer but it’s easy to see that his heart lies in Victoria.

“It’s very competitive here at carnival time when the better dogs get here,” he said.

“But down at home this is what the racing is like most of the time.

“I believe the best dogs in the world are in Australia and the best dogs in Australia in Victoria.

“But we will take a winner wherever we can get one and the Dubbo carnival has been really good to us over the past few years.

“We’ve won the Cup a couple of times and the feature maiden as well. It’s 10 hours from home but it’s well worth it.”

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