Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Williamtown Locals Seek Answers in Canberra

Williamtown residents have traveled to Canberra today seeking government action on environmental contamination caused by the area's RAAF Base.

Warnings about eating local produce and the potential drop in property prices are some matters they want answers about, with politicians motioning for a Senate Inquiry.

Greens Senator, Lee Rhiannon says residents are speaking up about what needs to be done.

"This is just unacceptable in any country, but in Australia and in 2015 the Department of Defense have questions to answer as they haven't been forthcoming and now we need this inquiry."

18 Williamtown residents will meet with the Assistant Minister for Defense Darren Chester, along with other members of the Labor party, such as treasurer Chris Bowen. The residents, including Lee Rhiannon, are hoping to get answers from the government along with a move for a Senate inquiry into how the contamination originally occurred.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Newcastle's Victoria Theatre Set For Restoration

Newcastle's historic Victoria Theatre was due to go to auction today but was snapped up yesterday for an undisclosed sum.

The Sydney-based Century Venues group, which operates the popular Enmore Theatre and The Metro among others, plans to restore the Perkins Street building into a grand entertainment hub which would compliment the Civic Playhouse and Civic Theatre.

The Vic was built in 1890 and is the oldest theatre in NSW. The final curtain went down on its last performance in 1996 and the building has been boarded up since 1999.

Veteran hotelier Arthur Laundy bought the building in 2004 for $1.1 million and decided to put it up for auction with a reserve price of just $1, saying it was a philanthropic gesture in the hope of attracting a buyer with enough money to restore the theatre to its former glory.

Shane Bransdon from the Revive The Victoria Theatre Newcastle Group posted on Facebook saying he was "very pleased that the new owners have a track record of restoring old theatres and operating them as live performance venues".

The heritage-listed Victoria Theatre in Perkins Street

Inside the Victoria Theatre (photo courtesy ABC and Peter Bower)

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Thornton Shopkeeper Bravely Chases Off Armed Robber

The owner of the Thornton news agency says he's seriously thinking about giving the game away after another robbery attempt on his shop.

A man entered the Railway Avenue business at about 4.00pm yesterday armed with a knife, however before he could make any demands, shop owner Wayne Hackett picked up a baseball bat and prepared to swing and the would-be bandit fled empty-handed.

It's the third time in 12 months the shop has been the target of armed thieves.

This time there were two customers in the shop and kids outside on the footpath heading home from school.

One of the customers gave chase, but the bandit jumped into a waiting silver coloured ute which sped off in a cloud of dust.

Mr Hacket told 2NUR-FM news, "It shakes you up a bit, definitely. You're sort of looking over your shoulder all the time. 4 o'clock in the afternoon you don't expect someone to come in with a damn knife after you".

Maitland Police say the man was wearing a navy blue hoodie, beige shorts and a white face covering.

Officers are examining CCTV footage of the incident and are appealing for anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Shop Owner Wayne Hackett Photo Courtesy Newcastle Herald

Newcastle City Council Says No To Merger

Newcastle City councilors are taking a defiant stand against the state government's push to merge the city with Lake Macquarie, with the deadline for submissions closing today.

Councilors last night passed a five point motion tabled by Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes after three hours of discussion.

The motion expressed council's desire to stand alone; described the state government's assessment of its ability to do so as flawed; asked the government to keep its $20 million sweetener for any potential merger on the table; and stated that the only merger it would consider would be one with Port Stephens.

However, the move could backfire, with the government threatening to sack councils which refuse to amalgamate in line with the pricing regulator's recommendations.

Newcastle Greens councilors want a poll of residents conducted if the government was to go ahead with a forced merger of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie councils, saying the government should pick up the $400,000 price tag for such a move.

Port Stephens Mayor, Bruce MacKenzie is less than impressed with talk of a marriage with Newcastle, describing the council as a 'second rate' and 'basket case' council which he 'wouldn't let near' his ratepayers.

Unlike Newcastle, Port Stephens Council has been assessed as fit to stand alone.

Newcastle councilors prepare to discuss the proposed merger with Lake Macquarie last night

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

New Theory on Newbery Murder Mystery

Detectives investigating the 2007 murder of Cooks Hill grocer, Frank Newbery now believe he may have been the victim of a targeted attack.

The 87-year-old was found lying on the floor of his Frank's Ham & Beef shop on Union Street at about 4.30pm on Monday 12 March 2007.

He'd been savagely bashed and later died in hospital.

Initially, detectives believed Mr Newbery had been the victim of a robbery-gone-wrong.

An inquest in 2012 delivered an open finding and failed to identify any suspects in the case.

Officers from Strike Force Rynan have renewed their appeal for help in solving the Mr Newbery's murder and are now not ruling out the incident could have been a deliberate attack on him.

The state government issued a $100,000 reward in October 2007 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible - to date no-one has come forward.

Anyone with information is being urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Frank Newbery

Monday, 8 December 2014

Attempted Stabbing at Rathmines

A woman is due to front Toronto Local Court accused of attempting to stab her husband in the neck with a pair of scissors.

Police were called to reports of a domestic dispute at a house on Harborne Avenue at Rathmines last night, arriving to find the man with cuts to his neck.

He was treated for non life-threatening injuries at the scene by paramedics.

A 44-year-old woman was arrested - she's been granted bail to face court today charged with assault and breaching an Apprehended Violence Order.

Body Discovered at Lorn

Police are trying to determine the identity of a body found floating in the Hunter Rover at Lorn near Maitland.

The body of the woman, believed to be middle-aged or an older person, was discovered by a kayaker at about 11.30 on Sunday morning.

Police say the body appears to have been in the water for several days.