Former Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Kristen Keegan loses battle with brain cancer

Baird leads tributes to Kristen Keegan TweetFacebookfacebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappcommentCommentsMORE GALLERIES

1234567891011121314151617181920212223 – MIKE Baird has joined business and community leaders in paying tribute to the Hunter’s first femalebusiness chamber chief executive Kristen Keegan, who has passed away after a short battle with brain cancer.

The 46-year-old was diagnosed with the aggressive condition midway through last year, and passed away in hospital on Wednesday morning.

Former premier Baird said he was “heartbroken” when he heard of Ms Keegan’s passing.

“All of us who have known her knew she was an incredible woman – passionate and inspiring – and believe she changed the city of Newcastle for the better for a generation to come,” Mr Baird said.

“I was proud to call her a friend and I join with everyone to give our deepest sympathies to her family and friends who are doing it so tough at this time.”

Formerpresident of the Hunter Business Chamber Richard Anicich, who worked closely with Ms Keegan during his three-year term, paid tribute to her passion for the region.

“Kristen was a passionate advocate for the entire Hunter Region through her work with the Property Council and then Hunter Business Chamber and also on the board of the Hunter Infrastructure Fund,” Mr Anicich said.

“Her untimely passing is a great loss to the region”.

Current chamber president Jonathan Vandervoort praised Ms Keegan’s legacy.

“Kristen leaves a strong legacy in the region and I know she will be missed,” he said in a statement to members.

Indicative of her wide reach,Muswellbrook mayor Martin Rush also paid tribute to the “untiring advocate for the Upper Hunter”, who grew up in Denman and attended St Joseph’s at Aberdeen.

“She was instrumental in securing significant project funding for the Upper Hunter and it was council’s great privilege to work closely with her,” Cr Rush said.

TRIBUTES: Former Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Kristen Keegan has lost her battle with brain cancer. She was 46.

“Her influence, advice and passionate advocacy made a material difference to the landscape of the Upper Hunter economy and its liveability.

“Kristen will be very sadly missed. Council extends its deepest sympathies to Kristen’s family and friends.”

Ms Keegan graduated from the University of Newcastle with a bachelor of law/administration and a graduate diploma in industrial relations before working for the university.

She was the regional director of the Hunter Property Council from 2006 to 2011, when she left to become the first female chief executive of the Hunter Business Chamber.

In May 2016she was announced as the chief executive of Dantia, Lake Macquarie City Council’s economic development arm.

Dantia chair Trent Bagnall said Ms Keeganwas a “great people person” and had wonderful insight into how to get people to work together.

“I think the outpouring of love for her since she fell ill shows the regard she is held in by people that have worked and been friends with Kristen,” Mr Bagnall said.

“She was a gun hand, strong, cheeky, funny and smart.

“She instilled great confidence in people.

“She was a great friend and above all irreplaceable.”

Former Hunter Business Chamber presidentKaren Howard said Ms Keeganwas“a fearless warrior” for the region.

“One was never left wondering what she thought,” she said.

“For this forthrightness she and her family paid a heavy toll. I will miss her (and her cheeky messages) greatly.”

Ms Keegan is survived by her daughter, sister and parents.

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Claire DunnDeep and meaningful watering

HIT AND MYTH: Make your watering deep and meaningful. Picture: Erin JonassonSpraying the hose around the garden the other evening, I wondered whether the activity was making me feel better more than the plants. Apart from harvesting, watering has got to be one of the most enjoyable parts of gardening. Recently though I have realised that I’m second guessing how much water the plants need to thrive. Am I force feeding them more than they require? Or is it barely skimming the surface?

Too little water and the roots die from lack of moisture. Too much water and the spaces between soil particles remain filled with water, suffocating roots.

Wilting or rotting plants are obvious signs of extreme over or under watering, but, apart from that, how does one ascertain how much a plant needs?

With rain scarce and hot weather plentiful, the question is even more poignant. There are a few golden rules for watering that gardeners do well to watch. Especially in summer, early morning watering is far preferable than evening.

I originally believed that this was because watering in the middle of a sunny day can cause leaves to burn under the mini magnifying glass of water droplets, but I’ve since learnt that this is an urban myth. The more important reason is that watering in the morning allows the ground to dry out over the day, rather than creating the fungal-friendly conditions of wet feet on a humid night.

Frequency and depth is important too. Rather than a quick fling with the hose, it’s far better to give your plants a deep and meaningful water. As tempting as it is to sprinkle the garden like a magic wand twice daily, it’s far better to take the time to water deeply every other day.

Adding water-saving crystals to the soil can be a lifesaver in hot weather, helping the soil retain the moisture at the root level.

We all know the value of mulch to retain moisture, but it’s not that simple. Many a do-good mulcher can dry plants out without proper preparation.

Horticulturist David Peterson from Heritage Gardens Nursery explained why.

“We certainly recommend mulching heavily this time of year, but the trick is to water the ground first before putting the mulch on. If you don’t do this, the water can end up only going as far as the top layer of mulch – leaving your plants high and dry,” David said.

“Because we haven’t had decent rain for such a long time the subsoil is drying up considerably, so even established trees need deep watering and mulching. You do need to keep the water up to seedlings, as well as liquid feeding them.”

If this all sounds too hard, you could always go with the trend of succulents and cactus that you can forget about for a week or two without much consequence, but you’ll miss out on the joy of nature’s original air-conditioner – a well-loved well-watered tree.

Claire Dunn is the author of My Year Without Matches: Escaping the city in search of the wild. You can contact her at [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训南京性息

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Mayfield’s Emily Jones has captured the clouds on inskygram

Sky snapper: Emily Jones of Mayfield taking a photo of the world above every day for a more than a year. Pictures: Perry DuffinIF you summarise the average Instagram feed in a sentence, chances are it’ll read like the thought process of an overstimulated Bondi resident – coffee, designer dog, beach sunrise, “superfood” smoothie, coffee, music festival, drunk selfie, etc.

But do the same to Inskygram2017 – or Emily Jones as her parents intended – and you’ll struggle to get past the word “sky”.

Emily’s feed is the result of a challenge she set herself late in 2015.

“I had a personal account, with photos of my dogs and whatever, but I kept overloading it with pictures of the sky,” the 28 year-old from Mayfield says. “So I decided to spend a whole year just doing that.”

She started a new account and set herself tworules: #1 The photos can’t have anything attached to the ground, and no trees, no power lines, no buildings – just sky, and #2No editing.

On January 1, 2016, at 7.06am, Jones walked outside of her Mayfield home, looked up and snapped a photo of the moon, tiny and ghostly white, submerged in a vibrant blue sky.

That was almost 400 days and 400 uncompromising images of sky ago. She said she never thought it would get this far.

“It’s changed the way I live,” she says.

“I get beeped at by cars a lot, I tend to walk into the road if the sunset is being too interesting.”

Jones saysshe’s blessed with an over-active imagination and can be a little prone to obsession, which no doubt helped her persist on those overcast days. But staring at the sky for hours each week hasn’t robbed her of perspective.

“[I will] be having a conversation, or walking, or driving and I’ll just stare at the sky because a cloud is being amazing,” she says.

On June 1 last year she snapped a photo from the Anzac Memorial Walk. A long, thin cloud streaked across the golden sky, like the Milky Way had appeared in the fading daylight, the colour of fairy-floss.

“To me, it looked like the cloud was pointing down to a certain spot in Newcastle,” she says.

“And, of course, my imagination got the better of me and I was thinking up all these different scenarios of what the cloud could be directing me to. I was hoping it was buried treasure.

“However logic reigned supreme and I quit daydreaming, or dusk-dreaming as it were, and reminded myself that it was just an accumulation of moisture in the sky.”

Feet still planted firmly on the ground.

Jones sayswhen she scrolls back through her own feed the memories of an entire day can come flooding back from the simple, cloud-flecked shots.

The people, events and geography of the last year are now all linked to the towering columns of vapor she chased each afternoon. The clouds, she says, have helped her notice parts of Newcastle she would otherwise have missed.

New energy: Emily Jones against a cloudy Mayfield skyline.

“I specifically drove over to Stockton to take some photos from the bridge because I knew it was going to be a really awesome sunset,” she says, pointing to an image she took on April 5.

“I was on top of the bridge trying to get photos with my camera and my phone at the same time – while getting beeped at by cars.

“I struggled to hold my phone and camera still in the wind, it gets super windy up there on windy days if you didn’t know.

“But the clouds were not just normal clouds, they were also smoke clouds. There had been a fire out toward Tomago-Raymond Terrace-Williamtown.

“When the sun set the light went through the smoke and made such beautiful colours. It was amazing to see.”

While Inskygram was meant to be a year’s work for the budding photographer and cloud-junkie, Jones saysshe’ll continue for as long as the thrill rains down.

Follow her on Instagram at @inskygram2017Emily Jones

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Nelson Bay looks to higher callingpoll

NEW LOOK: An artist’s impression of a proposed eight-storey apartment building on Church Street, Nelson Bay. It is one of two new apartment developments inspiring confidence in the town after a decade of decline.

THE Nelson Bayproperty market has been “static” for a decadeand the town’s apartment height limitsneeds to be lifted to spur development, a council paper has warned.

As property prices across the Hunter surge, the holiday town’s decade-long backward slide is prompting calls to see building heights in the CBD lifted to encourage development.

In December a council discussion paper about Nelson Bay’s progress suggested increasing building heights by almost 10 metres in some areas to spur development.

“It is well known that the residential unit market in Nelson Bay has been static and has actually declined over the last 10 years,” the discussion paper stated.

“This is due to a number of defaults and abandoned development sites stalling development activity and causing poor development sentiment. It is clear thatcurrent conditions are not allowing for re-development.”

Property data reveals themedian price for units in the Bay has been in decline since 2005, when it reached a high of $445,000.

The market for units in the town has subtracted insixout of the 11 years since, including three years of double-digit subtraction.

And while there are positive signs in the town –the market for units grew by 24 per cent in 2016, and long-vacanteyesores like the abandoned “Milan Towers”development on Church Street are pushing ahead –Port Stephens Mayor Bruce MacKenzie believes heights in the town should be lifted to allow the area to continue to grow.

“If they don’t go up, no one is ever going to spend their money there, that’s the bottom line,” he said.

“Thecouncil has been a bit lax in not dealing with it, to be honest,they seem to worry about the handfulof peoplewho worry about building high-rises in the proper locations.”

The discussion paper comes four years after the Nelson Bay Strategy was first adopted in 2012.

“Unfortunately…we’ve seen limited private investment in the town centre, despite this period being one of significant growth for the …housing industry,” the report states.

The discussion paper says building height rises that maximise “water views” without obstructing views or overshadowing existing developments.

Ryan Palmer, from the Tomaree Business Chamber, said increasing heights “in the right areas” was a smart move.

“It’s about getting the scale right,” he said.

“Business and community confidence in Nelson Bay is turning around [and] even though buildingheights arealways going to be contentious I know that the business chamber is excited about what’s coming.”

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Meet Foghorn’s Shawn Sherlock

GLASS HALF FULL: It’s the mission to create interesting new beers that drives Shawn Sherlock. Picture: Simone De PeakIN ancient Mesopotamia beer was considered a gift from the gods. It was said the porridge-like brew that the Sumeriansconsumed in 6thcentury BC was provided by Ninkasi, the goddess of beer, to “satisfy desire” and “sate the heart.”

More than 2600 years after mankind first discovered the art of mixing grain, water, yeast and hops, brewing beerhas never been more popular. While only the most inebriateddrinker might consider an ale a gift from the gods in 2017, the master brewers within the burgeoning craft beerindustry areviewed with a deep reverence.

One man leading the development and sophistication of craft brewing is Newcastle’s Shawn Sherlock. For the past decade the former Australian history university lecturer has been turning heads and tantalising palates with his creations, firstly at Murray’s Craft Brewing Co at Bobs Farm and now at FogHorn Brewhouse in Newcastle.

“If you were to ask people in the know in the industry they put him right up the top as one of the very best brewers in the country, in the very top handful along with the guys from Feral or BentSpoke,” says James Smith, founder of websiteThe Crafty Pint, a leading authorityon craft beer in Australia.

“He’s one of those guys that is consistently over the years, whether it’s at Murray’s or at his place, makingcracking beers and he does it across a broad range of styles.”

Others share Smith’s opinion. In 2012 theBeer & Brewer Awards crowned Sherlock the best in Australia for his work at Murray’s and just months after opening FogHorn in April 2015, the Sligo Extra Stout was voted the best dark ale at the Australian Craft Brewers Association awards.

James Smith on Shawn Sherlock MASH UP: Sherlock brews three 1800-litre batches of beer per week at the FogHorn. Picture: Simone De Peak

One of Sherlock’s craziest creations, remains arguablyhis most celebrated. In 2012 Smith enlisted Sherlock’s help to enter New Zealand’s Beervana Festival.

In order to blow the minds of the judges, Sherlock concocted a recipe for an imperial stout with Belgian yeast,200 green and blue-lipped mussels and 100 Port Stephens oysters. It was crowned Auld Bulgin’ Boysterous Bicep Imperial Stout and mayhave sounded a tad fishy, but the brew scooped Beervana with a perfect score of 45/45.

Murray’s later put theAuld Bulgin’ Boysterous Bicep Imperial Stout into production.

“That again showed me what a genius brewer he is because he can take all these strange ingredients and he understood how to put them together and make something that worked and was really tasty,” Smith says.

Sherlock’s road to untapping beer’s potential began like mosthome-brewers. The 44-year-old would tinkerwith his father Peter at their Waratah West house in the late ‘80s,attempting to turn Coopers home-brew kitsinto something drinkable.

“I just got bitten by the bug,” he says.“I always enjoyed it. There’s wasn’t much information around back then. It’s not like today where you canstart home brewing and like any hobby around there’s a thousandwebsites dedicated to it.

“Back then it was almost a secret society,” he says.“Someone’s dad or grandpa had been doing it for years and would pass down mysterious bits of information which waseither right or wrong.”

In his formative years brewing wouldremain a hobby. With the industry dominated by the big boys Lion Nathanand Carlton & United, brewing jobs werescarce.

The Broadmeadow High student instead focused on academia, completing degrees in English and history at the University of Newcastleand living overseas in Ireland where he further developed his love of stouts.

The talented drummer also pursued his rock star aspirations by playing inindie bandsVelvetine Dream and Einstein’s Wireless and the Irish-styled Tinker’s Curse. Eventually, Sherlock would complete his honours and a PhD in Australian labour history to become a lecturer and tutor at the university.

Yet the brewing bug was fermenting. Sherlock had long since bypassed the Coopers kits and was designing his own recipes,and in the process, winning competitions.

“I was getting more and more obsessed with the brewing side of it and at that time funding was getting cut from the arts and humanities in the university sector, so a lot of the full-time jobs were becoming harder and harder to get,” Sherlock says.

“I was in between contracts at the uni and an opportunity came up to take a commercial brewery job and my family backed me in.”

It was August 2006 and the brewery job was at little-known Murray’s, then only eight months old and based at Taylors Arm on the NSW mid-north coast. Sherlock was excited by owner Murray Howe’s vision and took the punt, moving north with his wife Karen and their daughters Ellie and Rosie, now 15 and 12.

Within two years Sherlockprogressed to head brewer, a role he excelled atuntil his decision to leave in 2014 and begin plans for his own brew pub with business partner James Garvey.

“From2009 to 2012 we were doing some really good stuff and it was a great experience and special to be a part of,” he says.“It wasn’t an easy decision to leave. There was no issue with Murray or Murray’s, I just wanted to start my own business.”

From the beginning Sherlock had a veryNovocastrian design in mind for FogHorn. Situated in the original Kloster Ford dealership, built in the 1930s, the King Street brew pub has named after the iconic coal ship horns which blastover the CBD and often rattlethe venue’s windows.

Inside the cavernous interior hang three flags commemorating the Newcastle Knights’ 1997 ARL and 2001 NRL premierships and the Jets’ 2007-08 A-League championship. The Knights tragic jokes “I won’t be needing another one for a while.”

However, what really catches the eye, is where the magic happens. The six fermenting tanks, which produce 1800-litre batches of beer three times a week, including porters, stouts, pale ales, IPAs, pilseners, wheat beers andBelgianand English ales.

All beer is produced on site and doesn’t require freight, which allows for a minimum turnover of three weeks from brewing to the customer’s glass. Most bottleshops and pubs stock beer brewed months ago.

Speaking to Sherlock his passion for Newcastle is infectious. He views FogHorn as part of the CBD’s greater renewal.

“In an era when manufacturing is moving out of town and to some extent dying, bringing back a manufacturing trade into the centre of the city was something good, albeit in a new different way to the old days,” he says.

“When we took over the space, it’s a warehouse and light industrial space. We wanted to make it really nice and a comfortable space, but we didn’t want to turn it into Las Vegas. It’s not what Newcastle is and it’s not what this space is.”

However, FogHorn is not purely a Novocastrian story. Last year FogHorn Erina opened on the Central Coast. All beer is brewed in King Street and couriered down the M1.A third FogHorn remains in Sherlock’s final vision.

“We haven’t got any immediate plans and we don’t have a particular location in mind,” he says. “I would hope we can grow. With a brewery this size, we could probably stretch to a third one before we can expand the equipment itself, but there’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge yet.”

One area Sherlock is pushing to help FogHorn realise its full potential is changing the venue’s restaurant liquor license. Under its current license, customers must purchase food to buy alcohol.

Sherlock is a supporter of Newcastle’s lock-out laws and believes the city’s night-time economy has positively changed in the nine years since their introduction.

“We’re all adults here and surely we’re grown up enough in Newcastle that we can have a brewery where people can have a beer without necessarily needing to buy food,” he says.

“I can understand when we first opened people didn’t know what to expect, but I think for venues like us and others around Newcastle, if you freed things up a little, rather than problems coming back, you’ll actually find a more diverse and popular night-time economy.”

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