Angela’s Kitchen cooks up a family story

Paul Capsis, the star of Angela’s Kitchen.In one of the highlights of the theatrical year, Paul Capsis is coming to Wollongong with his sell-out solo show.
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Even Capsis – who is no stranger to success on the stage – has been overwhelmed by the reaction to Angela’s Kitchen.

The show tell the story of how his beloved grandmother migrated to Australia from war-torn Malta.

He plays a number of characters, including his grandmother, who was a formative figure in his life.

‘‘I hear my grandmother’s voice,’’ Capsis said.

‘‘Even though I am doing it, I am hearing her.

‘‘My grandmother is with me all the time.

‘‘She likes that I am telling the stories, but doesn’t know why people would be interested.’’

The show has attracted large numbers of migrants and their descendants, and Capsis is hopeful that the Illawarra will prove a fertile market.

‘‘People say things like: ’You brought my mother and father back to life in an hour and 20’,’’ he said.

‘‘They say: ’I’m bringing my children because they need to understand who I am, or who their grandparents are’.’’

Angela’s Kitchen plays at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre from August 28 to September 1.

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Miracle mum celebrates milestone

Vicki Haddon (formerly Vicki Poulton) with her children, daughter Jorja Haddon, 8, and son Jackson Haddon, 11, at Lake Illawarra. Picture: DAVE TEASE Her struggle documented in the Mercury.
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Twenty-two years ago, Vicki Haddon didn’t know whether she would live or die.

However, thanks to the generosity of hundreds of strangers who donated $40,000 to send her to the United States for a life-saving brain operation, she celebrated her 40th birthday yesterday.

Surrounded by her family at her Lake Illawarra home, Mrs Haddon reflected on the tumultuous months when her life hung in the balance due to a massive brain haemorrhage.

Then named Vicki Poulton and living in Nowra, Mrs Haddon was 18 in October 1990 when a congenital brain abnormality caused a vessel to rupture in her brain.

After two months in hospital, doctors said she would need an operation but conventional surgery was too risky.

The only option was a $40,000 laser operation not available in Australia at the time.

“I was about to do my HSC and then all of a sudden I had a brain haemorrhage and a 90 per cent chance of coming out of a brain operation in Sydney without proper brain function,” Mrs Haddon said.

“Back then I didn’t ever think I would turn 40.”

But, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Illawarra and Shoalhaven residents, Mrs Haddon went on to thrive.

The campaign to raise $40,000 for her operation started at the Shoalhaven Paper Mill, where her father Graeme Poulton worked.

Then Illawarra Mercury editor Peter Cullen heard of Mrs Haddon’s plight and ran dozens of stories celebrating the grassroots fund-raising efforts, including barbecues, cake drives and bucket collections all over the region.

He also got behind a fund-raising dinner held at the Lagoon restaurant.

Within five weeks the Save Vicki Poulton Fund had raised more than enough to send her to the US for surgery.

Looking back yesterday, Mrs Haddon said she owed everything to people who got behind her campaign.

“I have had two beautiful children since then – Jackson who is 11 and Jorja who is eight – so I’ve been able to start a family and enjoy seeing my children grow up,” she said.

“I’ve been travelling, we’ve purchased a home here in the Illawarra and I’ve got a great husband.

“It’s basically a whole life I never expected to have.”

Mrs Haddon said she was also grateful to have been able to use her experience to help others, because leftover funds from her trust were donated to Wollongong Hospital children’s ward in 2003.

“I was so happy that people got behind me and helped with my situation, and I’m so glad that with the leftover money I was able to give back to the community.”

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A great day out

OPERATION 19:14 was the success of the weekend.
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More people showed up than the committee expected – both in children attending and volunteers helping.

It was great to see so many people supporting the event. Going along, there were activities as far as one could see.

For the active kids, there was bungee jumping, footy skills practice, rock-climbing, pony rides and zorb ball action — with most gaining massive lines as people queued for a go.

For others, there was face-painting, biscuit decorating, arts and craft, and play dough sculpting.

The event has clearly grown since it started last year, with more than 200 more people attending this year. Organiser Yolande Grosser said the committee would consider even more activities for next year – they already added five more to the list for this year’s extravaganza.

There are few things like Operation 19:14 in the Wimmera, and for it to be a free event is even more rare.

People should continue to support the festival to ensure it continues for many years to come.

After all, one only had to see the smiles on the painted faces of children yesterday to know it was a success in their eyes as well.

Cassandra Dalgleish, journalist

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Shammies drop to third spot after points docked

Tech Waratahs will meet Shamrocks today: (left to right) Tim Olsen, Aaron Kelly, Trevor Longbottom, Rory Waterfall and James Bartlett. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERThe Woonona Shamrocks’ top-three plans have nosedived after this week’s loss of valuable competition points.
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Illawarra Rugby Union officials docked four points from the Rocks after the club unwittingly fielded two ineligible players in a recent game against Camden.

Third-placed Shammies are now on 43 points, just a single point ahead of Shoalhaven and University.

Camden picked up a maximum five points for Shamrocks’ indiscretion but still remain out of finals contention.

The Rocks have copped the ruling on the chin and hope it doesn’t impact on their top three prospects.

But they have a tough ask against Tech Waratahs today and finish the season with next weekend’s game against Vikings.

“We can actually get pushed right out if we’re not careful, but we’ve spoken to the playing group and the boys are all cool with it. They just want to get on with it,” Shamrocks co-coach Dion Miller said.

“We had a paperwork error with the registration and we thought the transfer was done. We thought we’d covered everything but we hadn’t.

“We just have to push on. We’re a bit disappointed, but we’re not going to chase it up or appeal it. It’s given us a bit more pride in our pocket and a little more incentive.”

The Rocks are coming off last week’s 40-36 home loss to Avondale, a highly entertaining game which will probably go down as the best of the season.

Despite watching their side let a 24-5 half-time lead slip, Miller and co-coach Richard Thompson were full of praise for referee Craig Conway.

“Richard and I really wanted to commend the refereeing of Craig Conway, because that was a really good game,” Miller said.

“High quality, high scoring … the wind was a factor but in the end it was two teams allowed to play. It was the first time I’ve watched a game of rugby down here where everyone’s watching the rugby.

“Craig Conway had the best game. He really made the game what it was and let it flow. It was top-notch reffing for that type of game.”

Tech Waratahs suffered a rare loss last week, going down by a point to Shoalhaven.

“This is our last game and you want to start building toward the semi-finals. Hopefully we’ll play well and win,” Tahs coach Sean Filan said.

“We were up 30-0 by half-time the last time we played Shamrocks. They’ve got some different players in there from then. They’ve got their Country five-eighth back, they picked up Chris Miller.

“Realistically, I’m expecting similar things, but obviously a few new players might add something different.”

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DRAGONS BLOG: Forget about the finals

This round I find myself in a very strange place.
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It’s a place I haven’t been to for years. Well, since 2007 anyway.

That was the last time the Dragons didn’t make the finals. That season was worse than 2012 – we were in the top eight just once (after round one) and even spent two straight weeks in last place. And I knew a least a month out from the finals that we wouldn’t be there.

As far as 2012 is concerned, this is the first round where I’ll be watching my side playing knowing that there’s no finals in their future.

Sure, there is a mathematical chance the Dragons will be there but that’s only if we win all our games by big margins and other teams above us lose once or twice in the last three weeks. As much as I try to remain optimistic about such things, I find it too hard to convince myself that this is possible.

Especially when, a week or so ago, we were in charge of our own destiny and we blew it with a loss to the Roosters.

Taking this view is also a way of preparing myself for the end of the season. This way, I already know that round 26 is the end of the year for me and footy and I can grow used to that (yes, I know that sounds melodramatic but other footy fans will understand the sadness that comes with bidding farewell to your team for another season).

Were we to be in with a shot of the finals going into the last round I reckon it’d be a major bummer for us to botch things.

All that doesn’t mean that I won’t care whether we win or loss this Monday. I’m still as excited as always to see them play in the hated Monday night football. Will still be riding the emotional rollercoaster that is the Dragons’ on-field efforts in 2012.

And I’ll be hoping plenty of the as yet tryless Dragons players get across the stripe, if only to avoid the dreaded end of season nudie run.

Serving as an indicator of the Dragons attacking woes this season, we’ve got 12 tryless Dragons facing the threat of sprinting across the WIN Stadium grass starkers.

Top of the list is Dead Young who hasn’t scored in 20 games. Others with plenty of games but no meat pies are Jack De Belin with 16 and Jeremy Latimore on 14.

The rest of the players in question are Leeson Ah Mau (eight games), Chase Stanley (eight), Josh Miller (six), Cameron King (five), Nathan Green (five), Will Matthews (three), David Gower (two), Atelea Vea (two) and Jack Stockwell (two).

Unless we can improve our attacking record quickly, then there will be an awful lot of nudity at WIN Stadium in a few weeks.

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Home owners save by building up

Jack O’Kane in the attic bedroom his father, Jamie, built recently. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER Textile artist and teacher Fiona McKay in the artspace that was once an unused area under her Mangerton home. Picture: ROBERT PEET
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A house under construction at Keiraville that has a multi-purpose garage with a room on top. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Home owners could help their bank balance and the environment by using existing space around the house rather than extending or moving, a Wollongong architect said yesterday.

Architect Andrew Conacher said creating rooms in roof and foundation cavities or garages saved money, and had the potential to minimise the urban sprawl that was robbing cities like Wollongong and Sydney of productive farming land.

“Using this type of space is a growing trend and should be encouraged,” Mr Conacher said.

“It’s one of the ways to reduce the housing footprint that is already encroaching on previously good farming land at places like West Dapto and Gerringong.

“I cringe when I travel through Gerringong and see the urban sprawl, which makes me wonder what artist Lloyd Rees would think of the landscape he once painted.”

Mr Conacher said many major cities – Wollongong included – knew land was running out 25 years ago, and it was time they started using existing residential developments more creatively.

He converted the empty space under his house at Mangerton into an art room for his wife four years ago. It was a success, and as a spare bedroom saved “significantly” on an extension.

Jamie O’Kane from Corrimal recently turned roof space in his duplex into a third bedroom for his two-year-old son, Jack.

“My wife, Bree, is having our second baby, so I was lying awake at night worrying about either moving or putting on an extra room, and we can’t really afford either at the moment,” he said.

He built a bedroom, a small office for his wife and a set of permanent stairs to safety specifications for his young son.

“We are really pleased because it came in at about $6000 compared to a major renovation of about $100,000 or the cost involved in moving to a bigger house,” Mr O’Kane said.

A Wollongong City Council spokesman said any conversion of roof or underfloor space would need to comply with the Building Code of Australia in terms of issues such as head clearance, light, ventilation, access and exits.

Development applications would be needed in some but not all conversions of this type.

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Pair found guilty of Matthew Digby kidnap and murder

Matthew Digby.A jury has found two people guilty of kidnapping and murdering Wollongong man Matthew Digby.
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Richard James Walsh, of Dapto, and Lauren Mae Batcheldor, of Albion Park Rail, will be sentenced on November 2 after the NSW Supreme Court handed down guilty verdicts today at 12.20pm.

They had been deliberating since 1.15pm Wednesday.

The body of 35-year-old Digby was found inside a smouldering car at Mount Murray on January 25, 2010.

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Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 Grand Finals

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield. Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.
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Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

Warwick & District Junior Rugby League 2012 grand finals in Tenterfield.

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Wollongong: Man charged over drug and cash stash

A man will face court next month after police allegedly discovered cannabis and more than $15,000 in cash, believed to be the proceeds of crime, at a Wollongong home.
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An investigation into drug supply in the Illawarra led police to a Market Street property about 9pm last night.

Inside the home, they allegedly found cannabis and the cash, which is believed to be the proceeds of crime.

A 40-year-old man was arrested and later charged with supplying cannabis and dealing with the proceeds of crime.

He was granted bail to appear in Wollongong Local Court on September 5.

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Children threatened with knife: police

Police are appealing for information after a man approached two teenage boys at Lake Heights.
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About 2.30pm yesterday, two boys aged 12 and 14, were walking along the cycleway between the Warrawong and Berkeley.

Officers have been told a man approached the boys and produced a knife.

After a short conversation, both boys ran east along the cycleway and spoke to a cyclist.

Investigators from Lake Illawarra Local Area Command are investigating the incident but have not yet spoken with this cyclist.

Police are appealing for the cyclist to contact them to help with their investigation.

Detectives also want to speak to a man who may be able to assist with their inquiries.

He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, 20-30 years old, 180 centimetres tall, with a thin build. At the time he was wearing a white hooded jumper with the hood over his head, a dark baseball cap and sunglasses and grey coloured tracksuit pants.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Lake Illawarra Police Station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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