A year after Black Summer fires there’s progress on pasture recovery for eastern Victorian farmers


Farmers in eastern Victoria are still working to restore lost pastures more than a year on from the Black Summer bushfires.

More than 1.5 million hectares were burnt in the fires, including 6,300 kilometres of fencing. Farmers in East Gippsland and the state’s north-east lost 7,500 head of livestock.

Farmers must now replace the lost stock, but also grow the grass needed to feed them.

Remediating pasture is something Agriculture Victoria Livestock Extension Officer, John Bowman, said could take years.

Mr Bowman talked through pasture management and recovery strategies with farmers at Butchers Ridge, between Buchan and Gelantipy, yesterday as part of a TopSoils farm walk.

The Rogers family hosted the farm walk at their property, where they showed the difference between pastures which were burnt in the bushfires and those left untouched.

Amy Rogers said quick thinking was needed to help alleviate the pressure on the farm.

“One of the first things we did was pretty much quit any (stock) we didn’t need to have here so we sold all our lambs in the first three weeks after the fires,” Ms Rogers said.

“We sent about 160 cows to South Gippsland on agistment as soon as we could, weaned the calves and put them in a feedlot compound and sacrificed one paddock.

“We tried to get as much stock off the paddocks as we could.”

Ms Rogers said getting rid of the stock so quickly “was a big winner”, however even the unburnt paddocks suffered because they were stocked at a higher rate which has slowed recovery.

Mr Bowman toured the property and said it highlighted the absence of some of the normal pasture species in the burnt paddocks.

“There was quite a bit of flat weed and different weeds in there … basically the opportunistic weeds had occupied the bare patches left by the fire and started to infiltrate the pasture,” he said.

Although a higher proportion of weeds set seed after a fire, Mr Bowman said it’s not all detrimental.

“Even some of the weeds are quite nutritious and delicious for stock to eat and they will eat them, but you want the clovers, cocksfoots, phalaris and ryegrasses back in the pasture because they produce all year round.”

The Rogers have also been heartened by the success of a lucerne crop which is helping reduce the need for them to purchase silage.

“We had barley crops in before the fire … but the ryegrass and lucerne is just new,” Julie Rogers said.

“It’s a trial but I think it will become permanent.”

Similar farm walks will be held across other fire affected parts of East Gippsland in coming weeks.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Confirms US Has Cancelled Black Sea Passage of Warships


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Earlier, a source in the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Washington had notified Ankara about the passage of its two warships through the Bosphorus to the Black Sea.



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In Alabama, Black Amazon Workers Vote Their Economic Interest


The political left has a complicated relationship with its black supporters. When blacks vote to help elect Joe Biden, they are celebrated. When they vote to help undermine the progressive agenda, they are in the way.

Smarter Democratic strategists have been warning for some time that the party has been moving steadily to the left of the average black voter on everything from crime and gay rights to school choice and immigration. Progressive politicians and liberal activists may want to ban charter schools, reduce resources for law enforcement and empty out the prisons—“No more policing, incarceration and militarization,” Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted this week—but polling shows that such ideas have little support among the black rank and file.

This growing disconnect between political elites and ordinary blacks was on display again last week when Big Labor’s attempt to organize an Amazon facility in Alabama with a workforce estimated to be 85% black was rebuffed by a vote margin of more than 2 to 1. In what has been described as a major setback for organized labor, 71% of the workers who cast ballots voted against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The union’s president, Stuart Appelbaum, responded by suggesting the workers had somehow been deceived. “Amazon has left no stone unturned in its efforts to gaslight its own employees,” he told reporters after the vote.

The employees themselves offered a different take. They expressed satisfaction with the pay, benefits and working conditions at Amazon and said that paying dues to a union to address any complaints they did have was unnecessary. For years, organized labor has been working to gain a foothold at Amazon, the nation’s second-largest private employer after Walmart . These efforts have failed repeatedly, and no wonder. Amazon offers relatively high pay and good benefits. Blacks and Hispanics are 49.3% of its hourly workers and 20% of managers. And Walmart, which has also been fighting off unionization for years, offers competitive salaries and benefits while having a similarly diverse workforce.

Nationwide, black unionization rates are slightly higher than those of whites. This is in part because a higher percentage of blacks work in the public sector, where unionization overall is more prevalent than it is in private business. Among private-sector workers, however, black unionization has steadily declined over the decades, just as it has among other groups. And contrary to the suggestion of labor officials like Mr. Applebaum, it’s not because black workers are confused or have been hoodwinked. Rather, they are acting in their own economic interests, and they happen to be in good historical company.

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Black History Month: 15 Legendary African American Bodybuilders


Bodybuilders of color have been integral to the development of their sports, and of lifting culture more generally, for decades. There’s no better time than Black History Month to look back and celebrate some of the most iconic African American physique athletes, from the Golden Age of bodybuilding to the present day.

A note on the choices: Our selections are presented in approximate historical order—not in order of importance or achievement. While there are countless impressive and important bodybuilders and physique athletes of color worldwide, we are limiting this list to African Americans. That means some otherwise worthy names—Serge Nubret and Sergio Oliva, for example—aren’t on the list.

You can argue over the exclusions—please do!—but there’s no denying that these inspirational athletes are among the best who ever lived and lifted.

Leroy Colbert

Leroy Colbert was born in 1933 and competed in several top amateur contests in the early 1950s. Among his titles were Mr. New York City in 1952 and the 1953 Mr. Eastern America. But he’s remembered today more for what he accomplished away from the stage. For one, he was among the first men of color to grace the cover of bodybuilding and strength magazines—and this was before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. He is also credited as being the first man ever to achieve 21-inch muscular arms.

Colbert retired after a catastrophic motorcycle accident almost resulted in him losing a foot. He went on to run supplement stores in later years. Colbert passed away in 2015 at the age of 82.

Robby Robinson

With his peerless stomach vacuum and perfectly geometrical afro, Robinson is an indispensable part of the story of bodybuilding’s Golden Age. He may be familiar if you’ve seen the movie “Pumping Iron,” but “The Black Prince” made contributions to bodybuilding far beyond that. He was also nicknamed “Mr. Lifestyle” because of his commitment to bodybuilding, and he’s continued to live up to the title for decades.

Robby Robinson

In 1975, he won the Mr. America, Mr. World, and Mr. Universe pro titles in the same season. In 1979, he was also the first winner of the Night of Champions show, now known as the New York Pro. Amazingly, 15 years later he was still in peak condition and beat out heavily favored Lou Ferrigno to win the first Masters Olympia in 1994 (you can still see video of the show on YouTube).

And now, 50 years into the game, Robinson is still undeniably jacked. Before the gym closures of 2020, he could still be seen in Gold’s Gym Venice every day, training hard at nearly 75 years old.

Chris Dickerson

Throughout its history, the Mr. Olympia title has been held by men of different backgrounds from all over the world. For just a few examples, Sergio Oliva was from Cuba, Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America from Austria, and Samir Bannout hailed from Lebanon.

Chris Dickerson

But it was the 1982 titleholder, Chris Dickerson, who served as the first African American champion. Amazingly, he achieved this milestone just short of his 43rd birthday, when he was 16 years into his impressive competitive career. He broke another major barrier in the sport, as well, as the first openly gay man to win the title.

Lee Haney

Lee Haney was the first completely dominant Olympia competitor of the post-Arnold era. He defeated incumbent Samir Bannout to win the first of his eight consecutive Sandow trophies in 1984. The South Carolina native would become the biggest name in the sport for the rest of that decade, releasing VHS training tapes and even earning coverage in mainstream outlets such as ESPN.

Lee Haney

He also could be seen training with various professional wrestlers from the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), and fortunately for the rest of us, the results have been preserved online. Haney retired after his eighth win in 1991, which broke Schwarzenegger’s record of seven titles. He currently promotes contests and is still active in bodybuilding while living in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lenda Murray

What Haney was to men’s bodybuilding, Lenda Murray was the equivalent on the women’s side of the sport. The eight-time Ms. Olympia winner set a new standard of muscular development and had a tight hold on that title from 1990 through 1995. Her first victory was actually the first time she competed in the contest. No other competitor has won the Olympia in his or her debut appearance since.

Lenda Murray

She won two more titles in 2002 and 2003 before retiring in 2004. She has stayed involved in bodybuilding and fitness both as a promoter and in a media role.

Jim Morris

Want to know what longevity looks like? Morris undertook his first bodybuilding show in 1959, and his final show in 1996, when he won the 60-plus division at the Masters Olympia. In between, he held numerous titles: Mr. America, Mr. USA, and Mr. Universe among them. For 14 years, from 1974-88, the so-called “Nice Guy of Bodybuilding” worked as Elton John’s personal bodyguard, during which time he transitioned into a vegetarian lifestyle—the nutritional approach that fueled his Masters Olympia win.

Later still, Morris became a strict vegan, and at age 78, he even posed nude in a PETA advertisement in support of veganism, mimicking Rodin’s famous sculpture The Thinker. That year, he was also the subject of a 14-minute documentary about his lifestyle, training, and philosophy. Morris died at age 80 in 2016.

Shawn Ray

Shawn Ray was a teen sensation who evolved into one of the top contenders for the Olympia in the 1990s, which is considered by many fans to be the most competitive decade in the sport’s history. The 1991 Arnold Classic Champion placed second at the Olympia twice, but finished in the top 5 an amazing 12 times, a feat never accomplished before or since.

Shawn Ray

His runner-up finish to Dorian Yates in 1996 is considered one of the most controversial results on that stage. The only men he was never able to defeat onstage were Haney and Yates.

Flex Wheeler

Wheeler was another of those top contenders in the 1990s, and is still cited regularly by commentators as perhaps the all-time master of posing. He won four Arnold Classic titles over the course of his career, and finished in second at the Olympia on three different occasions, earning him the nickname, “The Uncrowned Mr. Olympia.”

Flex Wheeler

In recent years, Wheeler has continued to be one of the most inspirational figures in the sport, first because of his comeback in the Classic Physique division in 2017 at more than 50 years old, and later because of his ongoing recovery from losing his foot due to nerve damage in 2020.

Ronnie Coleman

Ronnie Coleman is an unquestionable all-time great, but he was no overnight sensation. He debuted as a pro in 1991 and slowly worked his way up the ranks. He would shock the world by defeating Flex Wheeler for the Mr. Olympia in 1998 at Madison Square Garden. The then full-time police officer from Texas actually kept his day job while being the number one man in bodybuilding for the next few years. His feats of strength, such as bench pressing 500 pounds for 6 reps and squatting 800 pounds for a double, are still talked about to this day, and his catch phrases are an essential part of any serious lifter’s vocabulary.

Ronnie Coleman

Image by B. Stefanov via Shutterstock

In 2004, Coleman competed at the Olympia weighing an astounding 296 pounds onstage. It’s considered the most impressive display of size in the history of the Olympia. He held the title until 2006, when he was finally defeated by Jay Cutler. Back in 2011, Coleman gave Bodybuilding.com an exclusive look into how he lived and trained.

Dexter Jackson

When “The Blade” took the stage at the 2020 Mr. Olympia contest at the age of 51, it was the 21st and final time that he stood on the biggest stage in bodybuilding. He’s the only man to have ever competed at the Olympia in four different decades.

Dexter Jackson

His first appearance was in 1999 where he secured ninth place. He won the title from Cutler in 2008, one of 29 professional victories he has secured, the most of any bodybuilder ever.

Iris Kyle

No competitor in bodybuilding, male or female, has held as many Olympia wins as Iris Kyle. Her dominance of the sport of women’s bodybuilding is something that only has parallels in other sports, like Tiger Woods in golf or Serena Williams in tennis.

Iris Kyle

She is a ten-time Ms. Olympia winner, and retired with the title in her possession after her 2014 win. Her seventeen overall titles as a professional makes her the most successful female pro bodybuilder ever. Amazingly at the age of 47, she still hasn’t ruled out returning to the Olympia stage.

Phil Heath

Heath was the most dominant competitor of the 2010s and made more strides in mainstream markets than many of the previous titleholders before him. He was the first Olympia champion of the social media era, and by appearing offstage on ESPN, WWE, Bloomberg News, and in the film “Generation Iron,” he helped bring more awareness to bodybuilding and fitness.

Phil Heath

He finished third in the 2020 Olympia and sits tied with Schwarzenegger for the second-most wins of all time, behind Haney and Coleman.

Kai Greene

“Mr. Getting it Done” hasn’t competed since 2016, but remains one of the most revered and inspirational bodybuilders of all time. Having had a troubled childhood, Greene embraced bodybuilding as an art form and became a top professional along the way. The three-time Arnold Classic Champion was considered Heath’s greatest rival during his reign as Mr. Olympia, but more than what happened on the stage, he has earned his devoted following with his philosophical personality and positive demeanor.

Candice Lewis-Carter

Candice Lewis-Carter has been a consistent presence on the figure stage for years and is used to her name being considered a favorite in any contest she enters. Among her 13 pro titles are the Figure International title wins in 2017 and 2018.

Candice Lewis-Carter

She placed second at the Olympia in 2018 and retired from competition that same year to start her family. She also focuses on helping mentor and train other women to become successful through her business Next-Level Lifting.

Cydney Gillon

Gillon is one of the top active competitors on the women’s side of the stage, and is right in the midst of her own streak of dominance. She has won the Figure Olympia four times, including 2020, which tied her with Nicole Wilkins for the most wins in that division. Gillon is also a former Ms. International winner at the Arnold Sports Weekend.

Cydney Gillon

A former track star in college, she also showed she could do more than pose when she appeared on the reality TV show “Survivor.” Away from fitness, she has established the Cydney Gillon Scholarship, which helps students in high school successfully transition to college.

Thank you for visiting My Local Pages and checking out this news release regarding Mental Health and related news titled “Black History Month: 15 Legendary African American Bodybuilders”. This news release was posted by My Local Pages Australia as part of our national news services.

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Black History Month: 15 Legendary African American Bodybuilders


Bodybuilders of color have been integral to the development of their sports, and of lifting culture more generally, for decades. There’s no better time than Black History Month to look back and celebrate some of the most iconic African American physique athletes, from the Golden Age of bodybuilding to the present day.

A note on the choices: Our selections are presented in approximate historical order—not in order of importance or achievement. While there are countless impressive and important bodybuilders and physique athletes of color worldwide, we are limiting this list to African Americans. That means some otherwise worthy names—Serge Nubret and Sergio Oliva, for example—aren’t on the list.

You can argue over the exclusions—please do!—but there’s no denying that these inspirational athletes are among the best who ever lived and lifted.

Leroy Colbert

Leroy Colbert was born in 1933 and competed in several top amateur contests in the early 1950s. Among his titles were Mr. New York City in 1952 and the 1953 Mr. Eastern America. But he’s remembered today more for what he accomplished away from the stage. For one, he was among the first men of color to grace the cover of bodybuilding and strength magazines—and this was before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. He is also credited as being the first man ever to achieve 21-inch muscular arms.

Colbert retired after a catastrophic motorcycle accident almost resulted in him losing a foot. He went on to run supplement stores in later years. Colbert passed away in 2015 at the age of 82.

Robby Robinson

With his peerless stomach vacuum and perfectly geometrical afro, Robinson is an indispensable part of the story of bodybuilding’s Golden Age. He may be familiar if you’ve seen the movie “Pumping Iron,” but “The Black Prince” made contributions to bodybuilding far beyond that. He was also nicknamed “Mr. Lifestyle” because of his commitment to bodybuilding, and he’s continued to live up to the title for decades.

Robby Robinson

In 1975, he won the Mr. America, Mr. World, and Mr. Universe pro titles in the same season. In 1979, he was also the first winner of the Night of Champions show, now known as the New York Pro. Amazingly, 15 years later he was still in peak condition and beat out heavily favored Lou Ferrigno to win the first Masters Olympia in 1994 (you can still see video of the show on YouTube).

And now, 50 years into the game, Robinson is still undeniably jacked. Before the gym closures of 2020, he could still be seen in Gold’s Gym Venice every day, training hard at nearly 75 years old.

Chris Dickerson

Throughout its history, the Mr. Olympia title has been held by men of different backgrounds from all over the world. For just a few examples, Sergio Oliva was from Cuba, Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America from Austria, and Samir Bannout hailed from Lebanon.

Chris Dickerson

But it was the 1982 titleholder, Chris Dickerson, who served as the first African American champion. Amazingly, he achieved this milestone just short of his 43rd birthday, when he was 16 years into his impressive competitive career. He broke another major barrier in the sport, as well, as the first openly gay man to win the title.

Lee Haney

Lee Haney was the first completely dominant Olympia competitor of the post-Arnold era. He defeated incumbent Samir Bannout to win the first of his eight consecutive Sandow trophies in 1984. The South Carolina native would become the biggest name in the sport for the rest of that decade, releasing VHS training tapes and even earning coverage in mainstream outlets such as ESPN.

Lee Haney

He also could be seen training with various professional wrestlers from the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), and fortunately for the rest of us, the results have been preserved online. Haney retired after his eighth win in 1991, which broke Schwarzenegger’s record of seven titles. He currently promotes contests and is still active in bodybuilding while living in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lenda Murray

What Haney was to men’s bodybuilding, Lenda Murray was the equivalent on the women’s side of the sport. The eight-time Ms. Olympia winner set a new standard of muscular development and had a tight hold on that title from 1990 through 1995. Her first victory was actually the first time she competed in the contest. No other competitor has won the Olympia in his or her debut appearance since.

Lenda Murray

She won two more titles in 2002 and 2003 before retiring in 2004. She has stayed involved in bodybuilding and fitness both as a promoter and in a media role.

Jim Morris

Want to know what longevity looks like? Morris undertook his first bodybuilding show in 1959, and his final show in 1996, when he won the 60-plus division at the Masters Olympia. In between, he held numerous titles: Mr. America, Mr. USA, and Mr. Universe among them. For 14 years, from 1974-88, the so-called “Nice Guy of Bodybuilding” worked as Elton John’s personal bodyguard, during which time he transitioned into a vegetarian lifestyle—the nutritional approach that fueled his Masters Olympia win.

Later still, Morris became a strict vegan, and at age 78, he even posed nude in a PETA advertisement in support of veganism, mimicking Rodin’s famous sculpture The Thinker. That year, he was also the subject of a 14-minute documentary about his lifestyle, training, and philosophy. Morris died at age 80 in 2016.

Shawn Ray

Shawn Ray was a teen sensation who evolved into one of the top contenders for the Olympia in the 1990s, which is considered by many fans to be the most competitive decade in the sport’s history. The 1991 Arnold Classic Champion placed second at the Olympia twice, but finished in the top 5 an amazing 12 times, a feat never accomplished before or since.

Shawn Ray

His runner-up finish to Dorian Yates in 1996 is considered one of the most controversial results on that stage. The only men he was never able to defeat onstage were Haney and Yates.

Flex Wheeler

Wheeler was another of those top contenders in the 1990s, and is still cited regularly by commentators as perhaps the all-time master of posing. He won four Arnold Classic titles over the course of his career, and finished in second at the Olympia on three different occasions, earning him the nickname, “The Uncrowned Mr. Olympia.”

Flex Wheeler

In recent years, Wheeler has continued to be one of the most inspirational figures in the sport, first because of his comeback in the Classic Physique division in 2017 at more than 50 years old, and later because of his ongoing recovery from losing his foot due to nerve damage in 2020.

Ronnie Coleman

Ronnie Coleman is an unquestionable all-time great, but he was no overnight sensation. He debuted as a pro in 1991 and slowly worked his way up the ranks. He would shock the world by defeating Flex Wheeler for the Mr. Olympia in 1998 at Madison Square Garden. The then full-time police officer from Texas actually kept his day job while being the number one man in bodybuilding for the next few years. His feats of strength, such as bench pressing 500 pounds for 6 reps and squatting 800 pounds for a double, are still talked about to this day, and his catch phrases are an essential part of any serious lifter’s vocabulary.

Ronnie Coleman

Image by B. Stefanov via Shutterstock

In 2004, Coleman competed at the Olympia weighing an astounding 296 pounds onstage. It’s considered the most impressive display of size in the history of the Olympia. He held the title until 2006, when he was finally defeated by Jay Cutler. Back in 2011, Coleman gave Bodybuilding.com an exclusive look into how he lived and trained.

Dexter Jackson

When “The Blade” took the stage at the 2020 Mr. Olympia contest at the age of 51, it was the 21st and final time that he stood on the biggest stage in bodybuilding. He’s the only man to have ever competed at the Olympia in four different decades.

Dexter Jackson

His first appearance was in 1999 where he secured ninth place. He won the title from Cutler in 2008, one of 29 professional victories he has secured, the most of any bodybuilder ever.

Iris Kyle

No competitor in bodybuilding, male or female, has held as many Olympia wins as Iris Kyle. Her dominance of the sport of women’s bodybuilding is something that only has parallels in other sports, like Tiger Woods in golf or Serena Williams in tennis.

Iris Kyle

She is a ten-time Ms. Olympia winner, and retired with the title in her possession after her 2014 win. Her seventeen overall titles as a professional makes her the most successful female pro bodybuilder ever. Amazingly at the age of 47, she still hasn’t ruled out returning to the Olympia stage.

Phil Heath

Heath was the most dominant competitor of the 2010s and made more strides in mainstream markets than many of the previous titleholders before him. He was the first Olympia champion of the social media era, and by appearing offstage on ESPN, WWE, Bloomberg News, and in the film “Generation Iron,” he helped bring more awareness to bodybuilding and fitness.

Phil Heath

He finished third in the 2020 Olympia and sits tied with Schwarzenegger for the second-most wins of all time, behind Haney and Coleman.

Kai Greene

“Mr. Getting it Done” hasn’t competed since 2016, but remains one of the most revered and inspirational bodybuilders of all time. Having had a troubled childhood, Greene embraced bodybuilding as an art form and became a top professional along the way. The three-time Arnold Classic Champion was considered Heath’s greatest rival during his reign as Mr. Olympia, but more than what happened on the stage, he has earned his devoted following with his philosophical personality and positive demeanor.

Candice Lewis-Carter

Candice Lewis-Carter has been a consistent presence on the figure stage for years and is used to her name being considered a favorite in any contest she enters. Among her 13 pro titles are the Figure International title wins in 2017 and 2018.

Candice Lewis-Carter

She placed second at the Olympia in 2018 and retired from competition that same year to start her family. She also focuses on helping mentor and train other women to become successful through her business Next-Level Lifting.

Cydney Gillon

Gillon is one of the top active competitors on the women’s side of the stage, and is right in the midst of her own streak of dominance. She has won the Figure Olympia four times, including 2020, which tied her with Nicole Wilkins for the most wins in that division. Gillon is also a former Ms. International winner at the Arnold Sports Weekend.

Cydney Gillon

A former track star in college, she also showed she could do more than pose when she appeared on the reality TV show “Survivor.” Away from fitness, she has established the Cydney Gillon Scholarship, which helps students in high school successfully transition to college.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post about current Mental Health and related news published as “Black History Month: 15 Legendary African American Bodybuilders”. This news update is brought to you by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our national news services.

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Mobile Black Spot Program expands across regional Victoria with base station rollout


More than 40 regional Victorian areas will have improved access to mobile phone coverage within the next 18 months as the state government continues to roll out the Mobile Black Spot Program.

Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford said the latest towers will be constructed over the next 18 months.

“It has been a seven-year project to get us to 200 and what people across rural and regional Victoria will now see is quite a significant increase in the pace of the program,” Ms Pulford said.

It comes as the 200th station was recently switched on at Knowsley, east of Bendigo.

“We recognise that Victorian communities have had a very tough year and we’ve got some work ahead of us in terms of strong economic recovery. Good digital connectivity is a really important part of that,” Ms Pulford said.

“Part of our big rebuild budget in November included $600 million for better broadband and mobile connectivity so it is certainly part of our strengthening of the Victorian economy.”

Ms Pulford said while there was a strong focus on rebuilding the economy and ensuring communities have the technology to cope, it would also provide increased safety.

“And it is an incredibly important part of the reason that we are doing this as well.”

Bridgewater, near Bendigo, is one of the 41 regions set to benefit from the rollout, and the local caravan park said the upgrades cannot come soon enough.

Rhonda Reilly has been at the park for a year-and-a-half and said the internet connection drops out at least half-a-dozen times per day.

“So, if this happens maybe they might look at putting some wi-fi in the park which would be awesome.”

She said it would be welcome news for the many tourists who visit the park each year.

“Amazing, that is one word. Amazing because the reception drops out all the time. It is ridiculous what we out up with,” Ms Reilly said.

Today’s announcement at a state level comes as Regional Development Australia continues seeking legislative change over mobile coverage at a Commonwealth level.

RDA Grampians chief executive Stuart Benjamin said following the 2019-20 bushfire season, RDA divisions across Australia began advocating for mobile phones to connect to available networks when their home network drops out.

“As an Australian citizen you have a mobile connection with a provider, and that means you can only use their network,” he said.

“If you’re an international tourist you can use any network, but not if you’re an Aussie.

“Over the 2019-20 summer we saw a number of towers burnt out and we got feedback from the CFA saying they could see towers but couldn’t use them even when their network is down.”

Mr Benjamin said the change was needed even with more towers being built to remove black spots.

“One of the issues we have in Australia is the ACCC has not forced providers to provide detailed maps, so we don’t know where the true black spots are,” he said.

“From the work we have undertaken, we think at least 50 per cent of the true black spots that still exist could be rectified by allowing temporary roaming under the network.

Mr Benjamin said discussions with the federal government about the change had so far been positive.

A Department for Communications spokeswoman told the ABC the ACCC reviewed the matter in 2017.

“It determined that mobile roaming would inhibit investment in regional communications infrastructure and would not alleviate mobile black spots,” she said.

“The government will continue to be guided by the ACCC’s advice on this issue.”

Thank you for visiting My Local Pages and checking this news article regarding “What’s On in the Goulburn Murray Region called “Mobile Black Spot Program expands across regional Victoria with base station rollout”. This news update was brought to you by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our local stories aggregator services.

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Sport is very good at black and white, but life is not always so straight forward


Sport is very good at black and white.

We won, you lost is the very heart of the elite sporting contest.

However, sport often struggles with shades of grey — that’s where the ambiguous moral uncertainties lie.

And where sport can get tied in knots is when the moral philosophy stuff intersects with sport’s raison d’etre — the winning and losing bit.

Many sports at the moment are wrestling with the question of whether or not they should allow players to play or fulfil a certain role based on historic “wrongs” or alleged crimes.

This week the Australian cricketer, Steve Smith, let the whole world know that he wanted to captain his country once again.

Smith, of course, sat out of the game for one year for his role in the ball-tampering affair in March 2018 and was banned for two years from holding any captaincy position.

His “crime” was turning a blind eye to the ball-tampering planning that was going on under his nose.

“I don’t want to know about it,” he said later describing his actions.

“That was my failure of leadership.”

David Warner and Steve Smith
This week, Australian cricket coach Justin Langer told ABC there was “no captaincy position available” despite Smith’s desires. (

Reuters: Rogan Ward

)

Now with Tim Paine’s career and hence captaincy seemingly drawing to a close, the Cricket Australia Board need to decide whether Smith has matured enough to be given the responsibility to captain his country again.

The fundamental question the board will have to wrestle with is whether Smith should be forgiven for that historic wrong?

Does he deserve another chance, or is his character permanently tainted by that little bit of mud that’s still sticking from the ball-tampering scandal?

Cricket NSW board considered that question and overlooked Smith in favour of Pat Cummins when it selected a captain for its 50-over team.

That same question is asked repeatedly of the former rugby league and union international, Israel Folau.

Folau had his $5 million Rugby Australia contract ripped up in 2019 for posting on social media that homosexuals would go to hell.

To some Folau’s post warning drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators that hell awaited them unless they repented, was laughable — if you weren’t guilty of at least four or five of those sins, you weren’t trying.

But others argued words counted and found the post deeply homophobic, coupled with Folau’s previous public opposition to same-sex marriage.

At his best, Israel Folau was one of Australia’s finest athletes, who could single-handedly win you a game.

That’s the currency that speaks loudest to club administrators looking for any edge on the competition.

And so, barely a week goes by without the prospect of Folau getting a contract with this club or that competition.

Most recently it was the Queensland Rugby League, and earlier this year St George Illawarra flew the kite but decided it was all too hard.

A rugby player wearing black tackles a players wearing yellow around the hips whilst another player in black watches on.
Folau hasn’t played an elite sporting match since his contract was terminated in May of 2019.(

AAP: Dan Himbrechts

)

So, does Israel Folau deserve a second chance — particularly given he hasn’t made any controversial public statements since 2019?

One senior former rugby league administrator I spoke to recently was adamantly opposed to the idea that the National Rugby League owed Israel Folau anything.

Young men are killing themselves about their sexuality, he told me, noting Folau had never apologised for his posts.

“We’ve done everything for him, but what’s he ever done for us?” he asked.

And yet, the Sydney sports lawyer, Darren Kane, said if any club was serious about signing Folau it would probably succeed.

The NRL could refuse to register Folau, but Kane argued the NRL would likely lose if he took it to the courts.

Kane recently wrote an excellent piece for The Sydney Morning Herald questioning what constituted a “fit and proper person” under the NRL’s rules.

Kane points out the blurring of lines when it comes to judging a player’s past.

The NRL stood down Penrith player Tyrone May in 2019 for recording and distributing sex tapes without consent.

He was charged and convicted of the crime but was allowed to resume playing by the NRL last year and subsequently played for the Panthers in the Grand Final.

This was a player convicted of an actual crime as opposed to a person causing offense — however harmful that offence may have been.

And yet the NRL has drawn widespread praise for bringing in its no-fault stand-down policy that prevents any player charged with a serious crime from playing until their case has been heard and dismissed, or they’ve served their punishment — as was the case with Tyrone May.

The players’ union is vehemently opposed to the rule, arguing a person is innocent until proven guilty.

But the NRL has stuck to its guns, and in doing so has drawn a line of sorts about the moral responsibility of the code and its players, if not for all incidents, at least for some.

Other competitions have taken a different view.

Earlier this year, Australian and South-East Melbourne Phoenix basketballer Mitch Creek, was charged with allegedly assaulting a woman.

He said he intended to contest the charges.

Mitch Creek dribbles the ball with his right hand while playing for the Phoenix in the NBL.
Creek played in Thursday’s 95-63 win over the Illawarra Hawks despite an ongoing investigation.(

AAP: Hamish Blair

)

This week, the National Basketball League announced that Creek was free to continue playing but noted that the decision was not an indication as to his guilt or innocence.

Collingwood AFL footballer Jordan De Goey is facing charges that he indecently assaulted a woman in 2015.

He continues to play.

Unlike the NRL, the AFL hasn’t brought in a blanket no-fault stand-down rule, preferring it says to judge each matter on a case-by-case basis.

These matters used to be easy for sport.

Teams put their best players on the field regardless of their crimes and misdemeanours past or present — “nothing to see here, officer.”

The aim was to win, and that’s all that counted.

Now, each code has to judge a player’s character and weigh up when it is appropriate to let him or her represent them on the field.

It’s not always an easy call.

But whereas before we all may have turned a blind eye, now we’re watching.

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Melody Belle is about to equal Black Caviar. Just don’t compare them


With Winx, Chris Waller craved longevity. She ended up with 25 group 1 wins. Unlike Black Caviar and her enormous stride, Winx had a shorter, but furious gait, where her stride rate left her rivals giddy. When urged for a supreme effort, her lean and athletic frame would pick up the cadence again. Other horses were shortening and slowing stride, and she would just keep the same furious tempo – or increase it if required. On wet tracks, especially, it was a phenomenal sight.

With Melody Belle, there’s little of that. She’s businesslike. The winning margins are often narrow. Wet or dry, it doesn’t usually matter. She’s always had a strong following in New Zealand, more out of respect for her record rather than razzmatazz on the track.

Melody Belle wins the Empire Rose in 2019.Credit:Getty Images

But they can’t see where it really matters with Melody Belle.

“The one thing you can’t tell when you buy a horse is how big the heart is,” says David Ellis, Te Akau principal and the man who bought Melody Belle. “She’s quite remarkable because all the vets in the southern hemisphere would go bankrupt if every horse was as sound as her. She literally never needs a vet to do anything.”

Her young trainer, Richards, reckons she ties up occasionally, so he’ll swim her maybe a little more than others. But apart from that, it’s hard to find fault with a horse so unremarkable she didn’t even make her NZ$60,000 reserve when sold as a yearling.

Even then she was an unspectacular type, a little backwards if anything. Ellis and Richards had gone to $57,500 and her vendor, Haunui Farm, said it would do. As they do with all their prospective buys, Ellis and Richards had done their homework. They like to buy the first foals from a mare, and they knew Melody Belle’s dam, Meleka Belle, could gallop, but was never able to prove it on the track as she battled niggling problems.

“I remember when we first found Avantage I just wrote ‘KM’ [Karaka Million on her catalogue page] and she went on to win that,” Richards says. “But I don’t remember what we said about Melody Belle. Perhaps she was a little backward, but she had these great big ears.

“A lot of people ask [about the ears], it’s a bit of an old wives tale. All the old school boys say they used to love the fillies with big ears. I never forgot that growing up hearing those guys say that. They were good, well respected judges.”

More than a few judges have had their say on Melody Belle since.

Not fit to be Sunline’s travelling companion? Kingston Town, please. How can you even mention her in the same breath as Black Caviar? That all might have a semblance of truth to it, but there has never been a horse that has dominated New Zealand racing for as long, and none before had won the country’s triple crown.

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“People can say what they like about New Zealand racing, but the fact of the matter is she’s still done it and beaten everything here there is to offer,” Richards says.

“When people are comparing her to Sunline – who in our opinion was the mare of the world and won in Hong Kong, won Cox Plates – Melody Belle hasn’t done that. But she’s still performed at the highest level and done a wonderful job for us and her ownership group and everyone involved. She’s still a fantastic mare.”

Yet there is still one more record to be corrected.

Melody Belle has never won a race in Sydney in six attempts (she has won an Australian group 1 in the Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington in 2019 and finished fourth in last year’s Doncaster). She is poised to start favourite in the Tancred Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday, the first time she has tried 2400 metres in her career.

Richards and stable staff put her on a plane on Monday night, unsure if they’ll be there in person to watch her race again during the Queensland winter carnival given the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble is no closer to starting. There were a few tears as she walked out of the yard for the last time, this time through sadness – rather than laughter in the early days.

“We have 37 individual people with shares in her and they’re all over New Zealand, on both the north island and south island,” Galvin says.

“There’s only one from Australia and when he first took the share in Melody Belle, all his mates down at the cricket club who like to have a bet said, ‘you bloody mug, why did you take a share in a Kiwi horse?’

“Well, the last laugh is with him.”

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Black senior adviser quits UK government in wake of racism report


The most senior black adviser to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned, the day after a report on racial disparities concluded that Britain does not have a systemic problem with racism.

Samuel Kasumu will leave his job as a special adviser for civil society and communities next month.

The Prime Minister’s office said Mr Kasumu’s departure had “been his plan for several months”.

Downing Street denied the resignation was related to Wednesday’s publication of a report by the government-appointed Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which concluded that Britain is not a systemically racist country.

But Simon Woolley, a former government equalities adviser and a member of the UK House of Lords, said Mr Kasumu’s exit was connected to the “grubby” and “divisive” report.

He said there was a “crisis at Number 10 when it comes to acknowledging and dealing with persistent race inequality”.

Mr Kasumu considered quitting in February.

He wrote a resignation letter, obtained by the BBC, that accused Mr Johnson’s Conservative Party of pursuing “a politics steeped in division.” He was persuaded to stay in his job temporarily.

Report finds UK not ‘institutionally racist’ or ‘rigged’ 

The Conservative government launched the commission’s inquiry into racial disparities in the wake of anti-racism protests last year.

The panel of experts concluded that while “outright racism” exists in Britain, the country is not “institutionally racist” or “rigged” against ethnic minorities.

Citing strides to close gaps between ethnic groups in educational and economic achievement, the report said race was becoming “less important” as a factor in creating disparities that also are fuelled by class and family backgrounds.

Many anti-racism activists were sceptical of the findings, saying the commission ignored barriers to equality.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted racial fault lines, with Britons from Black African and Black Caribbean backgrounds dying from COVID-19 at more than twice the rate as their white compatriots.

Black people in Britain are three times as likely as white people to be arrested and twice as likely to die in police custody.

A crowd lowers a statue into a harbour
Demonstrators tipped a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol’s harbour during Black Lives Matter protests last year.(

AP: Ben Birchall/PA

)

Like other countries, Britain has faced an uncomfortable reckoning with race since the death of George Floyd, a Black American, at the knee of a US policeman in May 2020 sparked anti-racism protests around the world.

Large crowds at Black Lives Matter protests across the UK last summer called on the government and institutions to face up to the legacy of the British Empire and the country’s extensive profits from the slave trade.

The toppling of a statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston in the city of Bristol in June prompted a pointed debate about how to deal with Britain’s past.

Many felt such statues extol racism and are an affront to Black Britons.

Others, including the Prime Minister, argued that removing them was erasing a piece of history.

AP

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Streaming highlights March 26 to 31 – The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, Black Hands & Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal




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