Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes to play in Wine Country Masters basketball tournament at Cessnock Toyota Stadium

Political Points: Nuatali Nelmes scores for the Opals against the US.
Political Points: Nuatali Nelmes scores for the Opals against the US.

Bet you didn’t know Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes was a star basketball player.

Here she is playing for the Opals, doing a slam dunk in a match against the USA.

It’s good to see her smiling, too. She looks so calm and happy.

Our multi-talented mayor, nicknamed “Nua the Doer” by some, will be pulling on the gym shoes at the weekend at the inaugural Wine Country Masters basketball tournament.

She’ll be playing in the “Green Team” alongside former Newcastle, Maitland and Cessnock greats.

We’re not so sure Nuatali will be happy to play for the Green Team.

Wouldn’t she prefer the “Red Team”. After all, red is the colour of the ALP.

Topics will have a word to the organisers – see if something can’t be done about this.

The mayor’s first game will be at 11am on Saturday against a Sydney team called Boomers.

We expect the mayor to think about all the money Sydney gets from the state government [which we should be getting] when playing this match.

We want to see her channel that anger into her performance. And most of all, we want to see her perform a slam dunk again.

The event will take place at Cessnock Toyota Stadium.

Ratepayers are welcome to attend to cheer [not jeer] the mayor.

Entry is free and there’s even a bar and barbecue, not to mention a canteen. We’ll be looking forward to a pie with sauce.

Wedding Photobomb

A magpie crashes the wedding photo of newlyweds Sara and Phillip Maria.

A magpie crashes the wedding photo of newlyweds Sara and Phillip Maria.

We had heard of doves being released at weddings, but never had we heard of a magpie being involved.

Sara and Phillip Maria were having wedding photos taken near Armidale.

The magpie wasn’t actually invited but managed to photobomb the occasion, while swooping them repeatedly.

“From the moment we got there, the magpie kept us in his sights and we were continually getting swooped for two hours whilst we got our photos done,” Mrs Maria told the Armidale Express.

“By the end, our best man and maid of honour got given the job of magpie spotting.”

Photographer Karen Parr had never experienced such a wedding shoot.

“We started getting swooped straight away – the magpie was pretty relentless," she said.

“We had people on the look out and luckily nobody was hurt.”

Shopping Safari

Could shopping centres one day become theme-park hybrids?

A youngster having a safari ride at Westfield Tuggerah.

A youngster having a safari ride at Westfield Tuggerah.

This shift may already be occurring.

We noticed kids riding round on mechanical animals at Westfield Tuggerah.

We’re not sure if this new trend has made its way to Westfield Kotara or Charlestown Square.

The little business, called “Safari Rides”, was charging $10 for 15 minutes.

This could be just the start. With online shopping eating into the profits of shopping malls, keep an eye out for new ways to keep shoppers shopping in real stores.

Take for example Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The 48-storey twin towers, which are 203 metres high, include a shopping mall, hotel, condominium and indoor amusement park.

We doubt Newcastle City Council would allow high-rise at Westfield Kotara, but they might allow a roller coaster inside the mall.

How about an indoor ski resort? The Mall of Emirates in Dubai has one of those.

The West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, has a pirate ship and water park.

Would you fancy taking a gondola ride to your store of choice? You can do this at The Grand Canal Shoppes in Las Vegas.