Monday, 18 December 2017

Seige had a Peaceful End at Lemon Tree Passage

BY JESSICA ROUSE

A siege was over as quickly as it had started at Lemon Tree Passage yesterday.

Police say a 48-year-old man barricaded himself in his home threatening self-harm.

A unit of tactical police arrived at the home at around 2pm, and the man calmly walked out.

He was taken to hospital for a mental health assessment.

If you, or anyone you know needs help or support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14


Lead and Cyanide found on former Waratah Gasworks site

BY JESSICA ROUSE

It's the last thing you'd want to know is in the soil of your property, but dangerous substances including lead and cyanide have been found on properties above the Waratah gasworks.

An 11-month investigation was undertaken by Newcastle City Council with a report based on an "independent cohesive review" is expected to be released in the coming weeks. It will be subject to a review by the Site Auditor, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD).

It's understood about 20 properties bound by Turton, Georgetown and Ellis Roads could be affected.

The investigations were announced earlier this year by council. The plan was to take approximately 200 soil, vapour and groundwater samples which were tested for a wide range of substances associated with the former gasworks.

The Waratah gasworks operated in the late 19th and early 20th century. There isn't thought to be an airborne risk when it comes to the chemicals because the site has been decommissioned since the 1920s.

In the meantime, residents can minimise their risk of coming into contact with the substances by avoiding direct contact with shallow soil.

Image newcastle.nsw.gov.au



Police Track Down Driver who was Caught on Camera Driving Dangerously

BY JESSICA ROUSE

Police say they've arrested the driver who was seen driving erratically at Gillieston Heights over the weekend.

Just after 11:35 yesterday morning, a member of the public filmed a Nissan Skyline GTR allegedly driving dangerously on Cessnock Road. The car is seen driving onto the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic.

The footage was posted online and quickly went viral.

Police became aware of the footage and commenced inquiries. They located the car on Maitland Road at Cessnock at about 12:40pm.

The 39-year-old driver was arrested and taken to Cessnock Hospital to undergo blood and urine testing.

He was taken to Cessnock Police Station where he was charged with drive manner dangerous; negligent driving; overtake to left of vehicle; and not keep left of dividing line.

The man was given bail to appear at Kurri Kurri Local Court on January 11, 2018.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Lovedale Fire Still Burning, but Under Control

BY JESSICA ROUSE

Fire crews are still on the ground in Lovedale working on the bushfire on Lovedale Road.

It's burnt through more than 260 hectares of land and came perilously close to properties yesterday afternoon.

Around 70 firefighters from RFS and National Parks are still on the fire ground this afternoon.

RFS Inspector Ben Shepherd said crews are conducting backburning this afternoon to keep the fire under control.

"Thankfully conditions are more favourable today and crews will be doing some backburning on both the southern and western sides in an effort to try and bring it under control."

"So residents are likely to see some smoke and possible flames as a result of that, but thankfully the conditions are in our favour and we're hopeful we will have the fire contained either today or tomorrow."

"It's a lot cooler, and we've got more southerly winds."

Victims Still Waiting for Redress Scheme

BY TYLER FARDELL

The Federal Government is looking to right the wrongs of the past, and provide support and compensation to victims of sexual abuse as a child.

However, many are concerned about the delays of introducing the Redress scheme, which was originally planned to be ready by this year, but now looks like to be implemented next year at the earliest.

The Redress scheme will provide some form of compensation to victims of abuse, be it monetary compensation or support through services like counselling.

Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon has been appointed to a parliamentary committee which will oversee the scheme, and ensure it benefits all victims of abuse.

Mrs Claydon said it was a privilege to sit on the committee and help those who need it.

"The terrible shameful cases of child sexual abuse that were uncovered in our region were a key catalyst in the formation of the Royal commission four years ago", she said.

However, Ms Claydon said there is still much work to be done before a national scheme is in place.

"We were supposed to have a redress scheme in place by July this year, but here we are on the cusp of 2018 and the legislation is yet to pass the parliament and the Government still hasn't secured the agreement of the states".

Sharon Claydon MP

Stop It, or Cop It on the Hunter's Roads

BY JESSICA ROUSE

Stop it or cop it.

That's the message to drivers during the Christmas period to deter them from taking risks and encourage greater responsibility for their behaviour on the road.

The new campaign from the Sate Government comes as the state's largest high visibility road safety Police Operation: Safe Arrival gets underway. Safe Arrival started last night at midnight and will continue until 11:59pm on New Years Day.

In addition double demerits are also in place from next Friday (22nd December 2017) until Monday 1st January for all speeding, mobile phone, seatbelt and motorcycle-helmet offencers and officers will be out in large numbers during that period targeting all types of dangerous driving behavious.

Chief Inspector Gerard Lawson said the key thing over the Christmas period on the road is to be patient.

"We know you've got to get there, don't rush to get there and be patient with yourself and your own timings and also be patient with other road users. Occasionally people make mistakes, let's not let those mistakes be fatal."

"While everybody else is getting ready to go away, our highway patrol and general duties police aren't on holidays, they're staying at work just to make sure everyone is safe and there will be plenty of police on the road doing speed enforcement and alcohol enforcement and all of our regular activity at this time of the year," said Chief Inspector Lawson.

Chief Inspector Lawson believes that while the double demerits during Operation Safe Arrival are a good deterrent for drivers to stay safe, we shouldn't need them, and should just remember that our actions on the road can affect more than just ourselves.

"But that shouldn't be the focus, you know it should be about doing the right thing and being patient with your neighbours and other road users so that everyone gets to where they need to go."

Minister for Police Troy Grant said motorists are continuing to take risks despite the number of fatalities this year and despite the number of police out on the roads.

"There will be more police tackling risky behaviour on our roads this Christmas as a part of Operation Safe Arrival and the message to motorists is clear - you're responsible for your own actions, you can either Stop it... Or cop it," said Troy Grant.

School Playgrounds Open for the Summer Holidays.

BY DANIELLE RIES

Schools in the Hunter region will participate in a new trial program which sees their playgrounds, ovals and sports courts be open to the public during the summer holidays.

More than 40 schools across NSW will also take part as it encourages people to use the facilities to exercise and have a fun time during the holidays.

Schools participating from the HUNTER include:
  • Kurri Kurri Public School
  • Maitland Public School
  • Redhead Public School
  • Lambton Public School
  • Muswellbrook Public School
  • Wangi Wangi Public School
  • Belmont High School
  • Hunter School of Performing Arts
The participating schools will receive a bonus grant of $15,000 to help upgrade and improve their facilities for the communities, and the schools, use. 

These schools will be open between the hours of 8am and 6pm from the 23rd December and will finish late January when school goes back for 2018.

Maitland Primary School Playground
Credit- The Land.