Watch this face: Cale Fletcher hopes to enjoy both dance and medicine long-term. “They’re not mutually exclusive.” Picture: Simone De PeakCALE Fletcher thought he had closed the door on his passion for dance.
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Mr Fletcher, 24, had spent more than 15 years relishing learning, teaching and competing in tap and jazz, yet had pushed it aside for two years to focus on his medicine degree.

Butthe night before the world-famous Moulin Rogue held its biennial auditions in Sydney last year, he felt something inside him ignite.

“I thought it would be a big regret if I didn’t give it one last attempt while I was still fit enough and flexible enough to make an impression,” he said. “I had a lot of doubts but went in with no expectations, which meant I had a clear head and could pick up the choreography quickly.”

Mr Fletcher will fly to Paris on Monday to take up a 12-month contract with the cabaret. He will spend up to four weeks rehearsing, before his stage debut in May.

“It feels unreal and hasn’t hit me yet,” he said. “I’m waiting for a tonne of weight to drop any second now.

“Just the historical weight of it and the legacy behind it – it’s the most well-known cabaret show in the world. It seemsother-worldly, like a far off fantastical place.”

The University of Newcastle has granted Mr Fletcher a leave of absence that will allow him at the end of the year to pursue six month rolling contracts.

“I’m happy to just go with the flow and see what opens up and what paths Igo down,” he said. “Who knows, I might end up at a dance company in Berlin. Medicine is an amazing fallback and I certainly want to graduate, but it will be there waiting for a little while.”

Mr Fletcher, who is six foot, five inches tall, auditioned for the cabaret six and four years ago, but was unsuccessful.

“I never thought I’d get to the third strike – but somehow it’s paid off.”

He was six when he accompanied his sister to lessons at Dance ‘n Dazzle at Medowie. He started tap, but soon added jazz to his repertoire. He moved to England Purton Dance Academy when he was 12 and competed across the state.

After finishing high school he spent one year working and another year studying physiotherapy before switching to medicine.

Mr Fletcher also started teaching tap and studying jazz at the n Dance and Talent Centre in Cardiff.

But as the demands of his medicine degree grew, his time for dance decreased.

“It fizzled out and I thought that would be the end of it,” he said. “I was really happy to throw myself into the degree and tackle that with as much rigour as I could.”

Mr Fletcher is now considering how to be able to marry his two passions, which he said may include organising hospital revues.

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At some point in your life, most of us will have a seismic break-up. They’re brutal and crushing but they can also transform us. is currently breaking up with its old coal-fired generators.
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South ’s last coal plant closed last year and Victoria’s Hazelwood closed in March. Hazelwood’s owners needed to refurbish the 40-year-old plant, and decided it wasn’t worth the cost.

It’s like that moment when you find out it’s going to cost $5000 to replace the engine on your 15-year-old Toyota.

Investors don’t want to build new coal-fired generators. Wind generators are cheaper and no one wants to waste millions on a plant that could be closed in a few years.

Like any break-up, the first thing that people do is freak out. Hazelwood provided up to 1,600 Megawatts of electricity, supplying up to five per cent of ’s annual energy use and 25 per cent of Victoria’s average demand. How will we survive without it?

Easily. There is a bunch of idle generators that can ramp up to fill the gap. But more importantly, we have a huge energy resource in every home and business in .

Energy efficiency is already ’s biggest ‘baseload’ power station. Minimum standards and efficiency labels for fridges alone save around 900 Megawatts of electricity, 24 hours a day. Even better, these programs save consumers more than $1 billion a year.

We have barely started to tap the potential for energy efficiency. We could easily cut our energy use by five per cent a year orHazelwood’s national output, and if we got serious we could save more than 25 per cent.

Break-ups teach us that we have more power inside us than we thought possible. With the right programs, every home and business can fight back, cut their bills and make our energy system more reliable.

Rob Murray-Leach ishead of policy at theEnergy Efficiency Council

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A new species of funnel-web spider has been discovered in Tasmania. It is enough to make your skin crawl.
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A new species of funnel-web spider has been discovered hiding in a wet forest near Weldborough, Tasmania.

Tasmania is home to several hundred species of spiders, including spitting spiders, jumpingspiders, peacock spiders, and a whole army of other arachnids.

QVMAG collections officer Simon Fearn collected a funnel-web spider from a forestnear Weldborough, which QVMAG Honorary Research Associate John Douglas says is a new species.

He has dubbed it the Blue Tier funnel web.

Mr Douglas said the most common question was are these spiders venomous?

“The answer is yes, but we don’t know how venomous because this is a new species and we don’tknow if anyone has been bitten before,” he said.

Nearly 30 species of unidentified Tasmanian spiders have been found by researchers at theQueen Victoria Museum in the past 18 months, highlighting the diversity of the state’s arachnidpopulation and the fact that Tasmania is literally crawling with spiders.

Queen Victoria Museum Curator of Natural Sciences David Maynard said the museum received alot of spiders from the public through the museum’s inquiries program.

“Anyone can drop in a specimen to have it identified and — if it’s unique — they can donated the specimen to the collection,” he said.

“We also go out into the field to try to find new species and our collection is the envy of museum’sacross .

This year between 20 and 30 undescribed species of spider have been discovered.

That will probably freaka few people out, because it’s 2017 and many people think we are quite familiar with the animalsand insects that live in Tasmania,” Mr Maynard added.

“What it shows is that Tasmania has a huge diversity of species among its spider inhabitants, andwhat’s clear is that there is still much more to be discovered.

“Our next step is to liaise with spider taxonomists across the world to have these species properlydescribed.”

Mr Maynard said the museum was exploring the introduction of a new ‘scientist in residence’ program, similar to the artist in residence program the council has run for many years.

“There are many researchers across the world who would love to examine our collections, andthere would be great benefit for us as a museum, as well to be able to tap into that globalexpertise,” he added.

Mr Douglas said while the female Blue Tier funnel-webspiders were likely to stay hidden underlogs the majority of the time, the males were more likely to wander about.

“If you do see one, don’t just stick your foot on it,” Mr Douglas said.

“The museum would be very interested in seeing them, I would be very interested in seeing them, to promote the science and for people to really appreciate these creatures.

“They are beautiful — they might be gruesome — but they are beautiful creatures and we shouldlook after them.”

The Examiner

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Athena goddess of wisdom.
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Spurred on by the reporting of deletion of all references to climate change from the White House website, a world-wide movement for scientists to speak out for science was sparked in the USin January 2017.

At last count, about 481 cities, including Sydney, will hold a March for Science on April 22.In Newcastle we are hosting a Forum for Science “Science not Silence” on April 20 at Newcastle Museum before taking part in the Sydney march on Saturday. Join us in a public discussion about the importance of science in decision-making, public policy, job creation and future prosperity.

The forum and the March for Science demonstrates our passion for science and sounds a call to support and safeguard the scientific community and the value of evidence over opinion, intuition and assertion.

We marvel at the practical inventions that have evolved from n scientific research – Wi-Fi, plastic bank notes, cochlear implants, Google maps, black box flight recorder, permaculture, world’s first anti-cancer vaccine, to name but a few – and yet we are facing political denial of scientific facts, the abolition of key science-focused national bodies such as the Climate Commission and the National Water Commission, and record low government funding for research and development, including deep cuts to CSIRO.

It’stime for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.The relationship between science and democracy must not continue to erode.The Newcastle Forum for Science will takescience out of the laboratory and share it with the public in an effort to encourage political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in the interest of the presentpublic, and thefuture public – our grandchildren.

Professor Tim Roberts is the director of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, University of NewcastleRead More →

FISH OF THE WEEK: Declan Vandeven (with happy uncle Glenn Cork) wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 90cm mulloway hooked in Newcastle Harbour this week.With the freshwater in the system and the amount of mullet making their way up the coast, fishing is looking good this Easter.
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In fact, in keeping with the religious nature of this long weekend, the weather gods have smiled too, providing the perfect backdrop to get out and wet a line.

The pros have been busy hauling at Stockton and Blacksmiths as the mullet made a break for it.

A lot of predatorial fish had already been lining up at the mouth of estuaries to feed on what was being flushed down by recent rains.

The addition of the mullet has only added to the attraction.

Sean from Fisherman’s Warehouse at Marks Point reportedan army of anglers gearing up at the shop yesterday in preparation for the break and reports the prospects were good.

“There’s a heap of mullet coming off Blacksmith at the moment and lots of jew lurking around underneath,” he said.

“Thebreakwall on Swansea Channel has been very productive for bream.

“Tailor and bonito have been lurking off the breakwall too, and a few small salmon.

“They’re calling the salmon‘jellybeans’because they’rereal small.

“But they’re looking to feed, and as is nature’s way, there’s other fish looking to feed on them.”

Happy haulsPaul Philpott, from Stockton Tackle and Bait,agrees that with the colour in the water and the mullet running, there is a good bite going in and around Newcastle.

“The pros are hauling at the moment as each mullet run goes throughand I can tell you there’s a fair few things feeding off them.

“Guys are getting a lot of jew, bream, the odd tailor and some handy flathead.”

Paul has an Easter competition running Sunday and Monday with lots of great prizes on offer.

Competitors can enter anytime from Sundayand fish anywhere so long as they’re back at the shop by 5pm for the weigh-in.

Entry is $5 and is compulsory so that Paul knows who’s legit.

“I’ll have prizes for the biggest fish by weight, most unusual fish and a general kids section under 12,” he said.

Shop rebornThe shop Paul is referring to is of course Stockton Tackle and Bait whichis up and running at224 Fullerton Street, supplying you with all your fishing needs north of the harbour.

The actual bait shop has been there forever and used to be known as Stockton Bait and Tackle.

When the opportunity came up to get involved last October, Paul wanted to put his stamp on the business, soStockton Tackle and Bait it is.

“You gotta be individual in this world,” Paul joked this week.“Actually, the name change suited my signage.

”I’ve always wanted to run my own shop and I love my fishing and it’s going really well.”.

Stockton Tackle and Bait stocks a full range of frozen and vacuum-packed fresh and as all anglers know, it’shandy to have a shop nearby if you get down to the water and found you’ve left something at home.

And if the fishing’s no good, you can also pick up a coffee and a burger.

Stockton Tackle and Bait also does a fine line in coffee and takeway, and being a butcher by trade, Paul takes great pride in his burgers.

“Everyone raves about my works burger,” he said.“At 750g it’s hard to finish. I’m toying with a 1.5kg version.”

Hooded heroIt’s a well known fact that fishing brings out the best in the individual under pressure and the following story illustrates that.

Glenn Cork has been hosting nephew Declan Vandeven (aged 12) in Newcastle for the school holidays from Brisbane.

Declan is fishing crazy and ever since seeing photos of uncle Glenn with mulloway “he’s done nothin but dream of catching one,” according to Uncle Glenn.

He was only down for five days and Wednesday this week was the only day they could get out due to the generally average weather.

It wasn’t that crash hot Wednesday, either, but seeing as Declan was leaving next day, they went out any way.

“Bait was hard to find but after an hour and a half we were able to get 10 livies in total, herring andyellowtail,” Uncle Glenn reported.

They then headed up to Stockton breakwall to set up.

After an hour, zzzzzzzz, Declan’s line starts screaming.

With one arm in a cast from breaking his wrist last week falling off his BMX, he starts out fighting the fisht.

“Then he says ‘oh noo’,” Uncle Glenn said.

”I’m like ‘what?’

Declan was wearing a hooded jumper and the pullcord from the hoodie got wound into the overhead reel’s handle anddrag system, jamming the reel up. Panic stations!!

“We couldn’t get it out so we frantically cut the cord and got it free, crisis over,” Uncle Glenn said.

“Five minutes later Declan lands his first ever mulloway [90cm]. Happiest kid in the world. Happy Uncle too.”

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