Crown St restaurateur disarms knife-wielding attacker

Turkish Delights in Crown St. Turkish restaurant owner Aydemir Gungor (left) had more on the menu than patrons bargained for on Wednesday. Pictures: KIRK GILMOUR
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A Wollongong restaurateur dished up an unexpected floor show when he successfully disarmed a would-be robber in between cooking for a busy crowd.Aydemir Gungor, who owns Turkish Delights in Crown St, risked injury by whisking a 20cm knife from the man’s hand in front of about 15 stunned diners on Wednesday night.To make an eventful night even more dramatic, a nearby table of patrons then rushed to Mr Gungor’s aid and elbowed the offender out the door into the arms of police who were patrolling nearby.”The customers who helped out are regulars who just got up from the table and got rid of this guy before things got too out of hand,” Mr Gungor said. It was a busy but uneventful night until the man burst in at 8.30pm.”He made some obscene threats and demanded I pay him $500 every week in return for I don’t know what,” Mr Gungor said. “If it had been a normal robbery I would have just handed over the money but his demands didn’t make sense.”Mr Gungor said he became fearful when the man started to unzip his black jacket.”I figured out he was going to pull something out like a gun or a knife.”When I saw the knife I just made a grab for it and got it off him.”He said 17 years of night work had made him street smart.”You learn to read all types of people by their body language but nothing has ever happened like this before.”He said he was worried but more so for the people around him.”Everybody was great – they all co-operated with police and seemed happy to give witness statements. When it was over everything went back to normal, and the guys who helped me stayed on until late.”Mr Gungor said yesterday he had put the incident out of his head. “I haven’t really given it much thought today … it’s business as usual.”A 36-year-old Carrs Park man appeared in Wollongong Local Court charged with demand money with menaces and armed with intent to commit an indictable offence. He was refused bail to appear on video link on August 13.

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No slacking off for Dragons in finals

St George Illawarra Dragons prop Dan Hunt promises he and his team-mates will maintain their intensity during the NRL finals. Picture: ROBERT PEETSt George Illawarra prop Dan Hunt has revealed the players have formed a pact not to die wondering in this year’s NRL finals series.Having based their season on the rock-solid defence which was again on show in Sunday’s victory over the Warriors, Hunt said the Dragons have already discussed a determination to maintain the intensity during the play-offs.While the Dragons recent history is littered with big-game disappointment, Hunt said team-mates did not want to let their opportunity slip this time.”We just don’t want to let our mates down,” he said.”And that means always turning up on the inside (in defence), working that extra bit harder and it has obviously paid off.”They didn’t get across the line – Darius (Boyd) did that great try-saver – but everyone is just doing their job and we’re going great.”Fullback Boyd made a stunning try-saving tackle last weekend to deny the Warriors during a period where the New Zealanders had a glut of possession on the Dragons line.As a result of St George Illawarra continually repelling the Warriors advances, they took an 18-4 lead into half-time before running away with a 29-4 victory.The Dragons are presented with a golden opportunity to prove their premiership credentials in the finals-type atmosphere against the Storm at Kogarah tomorrow night.A minor premiership this season would be the first step in erasing the memories of the Dragons 1999 grand final loss to Melbourne, or the 2005 and 2006 preliminary final losses. Former Illawarra Steelers coach Graham Murray, who took North Queensland and the Roosters to grand finals in 2005 and 2000 respectively, said the Dragons’ simple game plan will help them cope with the play-off pressure.Murray believes St George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett is the master of handling big games.”From a coaching point of view, leaving the players in their positions this year has reaped huge rewards for them,” Murray said.”He didn’t mess with their positions or structure. “A lot of coaches have been guilty of that – I’ve been guilty of that.”But he hasn’t wavered one bit and he would be pleased with where they are at.”In the past they’ve often been worried about using their superstar backline before creating a forward platform or trying to come up with something special to win games.”But Wayne has come with a simple philosophy and it’s something each and every player believes in, which makes a big difference to a team.” Full coverage of The St George Illawarra Dragons
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Launceston Show pleas ready soon

URGENCY: Steven HernykMr Hernyk said that by the end of the week, he would have submissions in to the State and federal governments and the Launceston City Council for funding and support to pay off the Royal Agricultural and Pastoral Society’s $200,000 debt and place the society on a viable financial footing so that the 133-year-old show could continue.
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This needed to happen before the next creditors’ meeting in early January, when a decision would be made on whether to liquidate the troubled operation.

The show society directors called in Mr Hernyk as administrator nearly a fortnight ago to take over in an attempt to save the historic Northern show and set it up for the future.

He said that after he had talked with all levels of government and examined the business of the society, it was clear that the agricultural event had missed out on the promised initial infrastructure funding that would have kept it viable at Inveresk.

“The show society was in financial difficulty before it left Elphin because harness racing had left the site and that revenue had dried up,” Mr Hernyk said.

“One of the options presented to it was to sell Elphin and be part of the Better Cities programme.”

Under the Federal Government-funded Better Cities programme, the show society’s Elphin site was to be sold to make way for the Newstead College development and the residential sub-division that now exists. The society was to be part of the redevelopment of the old Northern railyards at Inveresk.

Mr Hernyk said he had written agreement from 1998 that the society would receive $1.7 million to build the infrastructure needed at Inveresk to run the annual Launceston Show.

“For whatever reason, that money was never forthcoming,” he said.

Instead, the society has spent from $20,000 to $80,000 each year providing power, toilets, temporary fencing, lighting and other basic facilities before financing each year’s event.

“No other show in Australia has those initial annual costs,” Mr Hernyk said.

Despite this, the show had made a profit every year except one since the move to Inveresk.

Mr Hernyk wants an immediate injection of funds from the State Government to pay off the debt and support from both the Launceston City Council and the Federal Government to provide the sustainability to maintain the show as an ongoing event.

He has received written confirmation this week from the Showman’s Guild that it will pull out of Tasmania if Launceston – the State’s biggest show – doesn’t continue.

The society is not bankrupt and creditors would be paid 100 cents in the dollar if it was wound up, Mr Hernyk said.

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The Ashes: No more singing at Edgbaston in Test

The scoreboard said it all after Australia fell just short of England’s total in the Edgbaston Test during the 2005 Ashes series.Most Australian cricket fans can remember sitting in front of the telly willing a victory against all odds on the second Sunday of August in 2005. But Edgbaston itself, filled with partygoers, had more morbid air by the time Michael Kasprowicz was given out to end one of the greatest Test matches.It was a remarkable experience from the time I heard Glenn McGrath was injured outside the ground on the Thursday morning until the Barmy Army burst into “You’re not singing anymore” minutes after England had levelled the Ashes at 1-all. The four days had provided the ebb and flow that only Test cricket can provide and almost the perfect ending for Australia. DAY ONE The drama began before a ball was bowled with McGrath doing his ankle and Ricky Ponting winning the toss and bowling. Why he did that I still don’t know.England got off to a great start, making 100 before losing their first wicket, with Marcus Trescothick belting his way to 90. England slumped to 4-187 after an Australian fightback. And then it was the Kevin Pietersen (71) and Andrew Flintoff Show, as they made the ugliest 68 in Test history including six fours and five sixes.The first day finished with the English tail wagging, taking their total to 407. DAY TWO Tight security, a problem for the whole Test, meant I missed Matt Hayden’s early dismissal.Edgbaston, which holds only 22,000, has a reputation for having the loudest crowd in England, one which was in full voice as Australia were bowled out for 308 – 99 short of the home side’s first-innings score.The crowd rubbed it in by singing “God Save Your Queen”, seemingly every five minutes. A Shane Warne special got rid of Strauss and there was hope for Australia, though it had lost every session on the first two days. DAY THREE The third morning belonged to Australia as Brett Lee silenced the crowd by ripping through the top order and Warne followed up, eventually taking six wickets.He missed a hat-trick when England were 9-138, allowing Flintoff to explode. He finished on 73 after some huge hitting and England had 182 and a 281 lead.It was a total that was enough to scare but surely not enough to win – especially when we were 0-47.Enter Flintoff. Langer and Ponting were gone in one over.Edgbaston rocked for the afternoon session, which finished with the wicket of Michael Clarke, bowled for 30, and Australia 8-175. DAY FOUR The Poms are great winners and the stands were full well before play started on Sunday. With 107 runs needed on the fourth morning, the walk to the ground was more of a funeral march for the Aussie fans. “It would be great if we can hang on for an hour and give them a scare,” said one of the fans. “That would be great,” I replied with all the enthusiasm of a boxer behind on the cards and facing the final round.The Fanatics started the countdown from ball one and soon it was “99 to go, 99 to go,” which was no good for one of the guys in front of me dressed as a convict.He had taken England to win without a run being scored in a sweep run by 20 men dressed in black and white. Believing in the impossible is hard but supporting your country is easy, and at the end of each over, myself and other Australians in the crowd got to their feet to show support for Warne and Brett Lee’s (43 not out) efforts.Warne stood on his stumps to make it 9-220, and a feeling of relief came over the ground. But as the target went below 50, then 30 and 20, my convict mates started with “I can’t believe we are going to lose.”Every run was a dagger as it got into single figures. But then Steve Harmison got one to rear and it appeared to come off the glove of poor old Kasper, who made 20.Bedlam. England by two runs. I bowed my head. I had believed but reality had caught up with me.”What’s the matter, mate?” The broad English accent didn’t help my humour as one of the convicts gloated.It was then the Fanatics turned to cop some humble pie. “You’re not singing anymore,” came the chant.
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Corrimal CBD revitalisation revs up

A pedestrian link has been proposed for Memorial Park. Picture: ROBERT PEET An artist’s impression of the six-storey Corrimal development.
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A six-storey retail and residential development would be encouraged in Corrimal’s town centre under a revitalisation strategy due to go on public exhibition.The strategy has taken Wollongong City Council two years to prepare and will go before administrators tonight for a decision on whether it should go on exhibition for public feedback.The key recommendation is for more intensive development in the existing town centre, between Short and Collins streets.Should six-storey buildings be allowed in Corrimal’s town centre? Post a comment belowCorrimal Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Peter Leiner had not yet seen the draft strategy, but was glad to hear of progress after two years.”We as a chamber would like to see things happening up and down the main street,” he said.”We would like to see those areas around Underwood St and the Coles centre developed.”Building height limits in the Corrimal town centre were reduced from 20m to 15m in the draft Wollongong Local Environmental Plan (LEP) adopted in May.But the revitalisation strategy still recommends buildings of up to 20m, or six storeys, be allowed.Ground and first floors would be designed for retail and commercial use, with residential levels above.If the revitalisation strategy is adopted, the LEP would need to be amended to reflect the increased height limits.The strategy does not support the alternative option to extend the town centre north and south along the Princes Hwy.That option would have maintained building heights of three to four storeys, but there were concerns the town centre would move away from the Princes Hwy and Railway St intersection and would not be pedestrian friendly.Under the preferred strategy, Corrimal Memorial Park will be dissected by a new road linking Wilga St to Railway St. An extension to Short St could also encroach into Ziems Park to link to Hall and Gilbert streets.Stockland’s hopes of extending its existing shopping centre to the south would be ruled out. Instead, the retail giant would be encouraged to extend to the east.Developing the vacant Underwood St car park is supported with buildings to front Underwood, Russell and Railway streets and the Princes Hwy. Car parking would be concealed within the block, while the strategy proposes a pedestrian link to Corrimal Memorial Park.Valad Group has submitted a development application for the site, which is yet to be decided.Mr Leiner was interested to see what the public had to say on the revitalisation.”We are all for anything that will boost Corrimal and make it the hub of the northern suburbs.”

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