Hunter Valley Breakfast Blog

Good morning people of the Hunter Valley and welcome to Tuesday. Settle back and find out what's happening in your world. Be informed.

8.48am: ​ You're welcome . . . 

8.43am: Quick weather check and it's 21 degrees.

8.34am: Seemed like a good idea at the time . . . 

8.30am: A cattle production trial that compared steers grazed on rehabilitated mine land and unmined land was described as an outstanding success despite harsh seasonal conditions. Read more here.

8.29am: The dressing room at the Moulin Rouge, 1924 . . . 

8.17am: The Department of Planning and Environment is asking for feedback on a proposal to allow for water recycling facilities and a sustainable energy system to support the future Huntlee Town Centre. Read more here.

8.12am: Highway Ford and Highway Hyundai Maitland dealer principal Greg Armstrong has challenged other businesses to give back to the community leading up to the holiday season. Read more here.

8.08am: The Fair Work Ombudsman will again return to the hunter region in January for the annual wine harvest, after investigations revealed that 68 grape pickers were underpaid $14,120 last season. Read more here.

8.07am: Weston’s Cassandra Battle has been crowned Miss Cessnock City 2014 after a spectacular ceremony held at Cessnock Ex-Services Club last week. Read more here.

8.06am: Dedicated volunteers from the Maitland Cancer Appeal Committee will hand over $200,000 they raised for cancer research tomorrow night. Read more here.

8.03am: Maitland Hospital’s parking woes could be solved if it receives a share of money left over from the new hospital’s planning budget. Read more here.

8.02am: Science rocks . . .

7.55am: Rail supporters from across the Hunter put their heads together in Newcastle yesterday determined not to let the state government cut the Hunter line at Wickham. Read more here.

7.53am: Just because . . . 

7.51am: A Maitland man who crashed a car into a set of traffic lights at East Maitland and fled the scene was suspended from driving and allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time. Read more here.

7.46am: A piece by former Maitland Mercury sports writer Andrew Webster.

7.36am: In an age where those of the cloth are rare and fledgling priests even more so, David Battrick and Will Johnston stand alone. Read their story here.

Deacon Will Johnston and Father David Battrick

Deacon Will Johnston and Father David Battrick

7.35am: Maitland Pickers’ first step toward the 2015 Newcastle Rugby League season will get under way when the club’s pre-season training starts tonight at Maitland Sportsground. Read more here.

7.29am: Maitland has experienced a solid week of storm activity the likes of which are rarely seen. Read more here.

7.23am: Maitland has experienced a mixed start to their football campaign on the opening day of competition at the International Children’s Games in Lake Macquarie. Read more in sport.

7.21am:  The brain really cares . . .

7.18am: In case you missed this one yesterday. RIP Stella.

Stella Young

Stella Young

7.10am: Police expect to have a formal ­identification this afternoon of the woman whose body was found in the Hunter River near Sempill Street, Maitland, on Sunday. Read more here.

7.09am: A quick weather check to get the ball rolling and it's 20 degrees in Maitland. 

Good morning everyone. Get your weather update and national news snapshot here.


► BUNBURY:  A Bunbury woman who sold unsuspecting mothers fake ultrasound photos of their unborn children will face prosecution.  Read more

 BATHURST:  Resurfacing work on the famous Mount Panorama circuit went like clockwork on the weekend. The circuit famously broke up in a couple of places during this year’s Bathurst 1000, causing the event to temporarily come to a halt for almost an hour. Read more 

► BENDIGO:  Victoria Police believe there are people who know what happened to murdered Bendigo mother Vicki Jacobs and have urged people with information to contact them. Read more

Murdered Bendigo mother Vicki Jacobs

Murdered Bendigo mother Vicki Jacobs

► BALLARAT:   Ballarat Wildlife Park's wombat joey is just starting to leave its mother's pouch.  The wombat joey is estimated to have been born seven to eight months ago, but only fully emerged from its pouch for the first time last week.  Read more

► QUEENSLAND: The tiny outback Queensland town of Bedorie has been swallowed by a dust storm, with incredible photos of the event going viral.  Read more

► NEWCASTLE: A Melbourne man, 27, was in hospital in a serious condition with suspected spinal injuries after his dive into the surf at Newcastle beach went wrong on Monday.  Read more

► LAUNCESTON: Detectives expect to arrest more people as part of Operation Courier, which aims to smash the importation of ice into Tasmania. It follows a number of high-profile drug busts in Launceston where significant amounts of cash and ice were seized. 

► Australians will be blocked from accessing popular overseas websites hosting pirated movies and TV shows but would escape punishment for downloading illicit content under copyright law proposals being presented to federal cabinet on Tuesday. Read more

► An increased risk of bushfires is being cited by the electricity industry as it starts its campaign against cuts recommended for  power prices in NSW.  The industry is challenging a key component of the Australian Energy Regulator's decision amid warnings the power companies may be forced to slice spending on trimming  undergrowth near power lines. Read more 

► Victoria's ombudsman has launched a major inquiry into the bungling of sex abuse allegations involving Yooralla amid new allegations the disability services provider may have also engaged in financial misconduct. The new allegations are being separately probed by the Victorian government and Yooralla and involve claims that senior managers exaggerated the severity of their clients' disabilities in order to extract more taxpayer funding. Read more 

►The treaty to sell uranium to India will face tough scrutiny after the former chief atomic watchdog warned the deal lacked safeguards to ensure Australia did not inadvertently fuel India's nuclear bombs. Read more

► A massive fire at an apartment complex has shut down parts of two major freeways in downtown Los Angeles. The LA Times has reported that the fire broke out in an apartment complex that was under construction. Read more

► An executive jet crashed into a neighbourhood near a Maryland airport on Monday, killing at least three people aboard the aircraft and setting several houses on fire, a fire department spokesman said. Australia is the worst-performing developed nation when it comes to climate-change action, with the Abbott government's scrapping of the carbon price cementing its lowly ranking, a survey by European non-government organisations shows.

Australia ranked 57 out of 58 nations reviewed by the survey, which has been done each year since 2005 by Climate Action Network Europe and Germanwatch. Only Saudi Arabia fared worse.  Read more

► An executive jet crashed into a neighbourhood near a Maryland airport on Monday, killing at least three people aboard the aircraft and setting several houses on fire, a fire department spokesman said.  Read more 

MANDURAH: Throughout all his volunteer work, Ray Pember has never asked for any recognition.

On Friday, December 5 he was named the 2014 Peel Volunteer of the Year on International Volunteer Day.

The 89-year-old is still going strong and helps out at Coolibah Total Caring.

Mr Pember was given his award by his son and City of Mandurah councillor Don Pember.

He said he had volunteered for a wide range of organisations over the years and started 64 years ago at Carey Park in Bunbury.

“You don’t do it to be recognised, you do it because you like doing it,” he said.

He was one of six people nominated for the Volunteer of the Year award presented at a breakfast at the Mandurah Offshore Fishing club in front of about 100.

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