Friday, 28 April 2017

Police will be out in force at Groovin' the Moo

BY JESSICA ROUSE

Police will be out in force at Maitland tomorrow with the annual Groovin' The Moo music festival on at Maitland Showground.

Alcohol and drug use is a major concern at the event and has been a serious problem in the past.

Last year a 15-year-old girl was left in a critical condition after a severe drug overdose.

Inspector David Bender from Maitland Police Station is urging music goers to behave and be alert.

"We'll have a drug dog presence there that will be screening people entering the venue at the main entrance and people with prohibited drugs on them can expect to be detected and appropriately dealt with and possibly look at criminal convictions",

 "I'd urge anyone that maybe is thinking of doing that to seriously reconsider," said Inspector David Bender.

Police will be present at the event all day as well.

"Very strong high visibility police presence at the venue and surrounding and there will also be a number of covert police in the area as well so you may think that you're not being watched but you perhaps will be," said Inspector David Bender.

There are temporary road closures in place around the showground for the event from 8am tomorrow until midnight.

For details: http://www.maitland.nsw.gov.au/RoadsandTraffic/EventClosures 

Image Maitland Showground

Tributes for former Hunter student

BY JESSICA ROUSE

Tributes are flowing for former Hunter School of Performing Arts student Ella Knights who tragically died in a motor scooter accident in Bali.

Balinese police say Ella lost control of her scooter she was riding on Wednesday night.

They say the speed of the scooter caused her to loose control, dragging her right around a corner and crashing into a gutter.

She was found in the early hours of Thursday morning and pronounced dead on arrival at Canggu Medical Clinic.


Lake Macquarie's Nine Mile Ocean Classic Postponed

BY DANIELLE RIES

Due to increased shark activity and sightings around the Swansea Channel, the Lake Macquarie Nine Mile Ocean Classic has been postponed until later this year.

A 314kg bull shark was caught near fishing cleaning tables at Blacksmiths earlier in the week, as well as an impending mullet, run as cause a halt to the event.

The annual swimming event was meant to be held at Blacksmiths Beach tomorrow, but organisers felt compelled to postpone it for the safety of everyone involved.

Swansea-Belmont Surf Life Saving Club president Graham Burge says the right decision has been made to protect the public.

"We've postponed it due to the recent bull shark catching in the Swansea Channel and the fact there is other large sharks down there at the moment.

"We're volunteer surf life savers and we've got to put the publics safety first. We dont want to put them in danger, we respect that and we hope everyone else respects our decision as well and we have to think of our volunteers and our sponsers at the club".

Mr Burge also says the event will hopefully run in late 2017.

"Our major concern is with the mullet run season, it'll bring a lot of large sharks through the area. 

"Our organising committee is going to sit down next Wednesday night and hopefully working with the Ocean Swims of NSW, and hopefully, have something in late October or early November".

Image- 314kg Bull Shark caught at Blacksmiths
Credit- TenPlay


V8 Supercar stars hit the Hunter tomorrow

BY JESSICA ROUSE

Some of the biggest starts of the V8 Supercars are hitting Foreshore Park tomorrow in the lead up to the Newcastle 500 in November.

The Community Fun Day being held tomorrow between 10am and 2pm will give the community the opportunity to meet drivers such as Garth Tander, the only full time female driver Simona De Silvestro, and get their hands on some of the first tickets to be sold for the event.

Tickets going on sale tomorrow are at a reduced rate for people who live in the Hunter area.

Supercars Chief Executive James Warburton has made the trip as well, and believes tomorrow will give the community an idea of just what the V8's will bring to the city.

"It gives a taste of what the Supercars event will be in November, but until you've been to a major street race event its very hard to get your head around exactly what we are bringing. I think on the most part through all the research we've seen, the support levels are up in the high 80 per cent plus range."

Many East End residents are still opposing the plan to have the race held in the city, but James Warburton is keen to show just how much money the race can inject into the city's economy.

"These events are actually about making sure hotels, houses are rented out, there's full restaurants and bars and clubs and all those types of things and that's what makes or breaks these types of events and we're obviously excited to be in such an amazing city."

The race in November is expected to see more than 150, 000 spectators flock to the city from local to interstate.

"We know a lot of our interstate fans are already booking and  wanting to come here and that's the absolute focus on what's needed for the economy and people come the the race and often stay on and go to the Hunter and the vineyards and have a good time and enjoy everything the region has to offer," said James Warburton.

Central Hunter Local Area Command receive lowest Police allocation.

BY DANIELLE RIES

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery is calling upon the Police Minister to review the allocation of new police recruits after its been revealed the Central Hunter Local Area Command will receive the lowest allocation in the state.

Out of the 178 new officers graduating today, only two will join the Central Hunter Local Area Command which covers Beresfield, Tarro, Maitland and Cessnock

Ms Hornery says crime is increasing due to the lack of allocated police.

"The problem for us in the western suburbs, and always in the western suburbs of the Central Hunter Command is that people don't see a visibility of police, and the crooks know that the police is invisible.

"Thats not because of the police efforts, it's about the fact that police are under rescourced and overworked".

Crime rates in the local area command have increased dramatically in the last few months, and Ms Hornery encourages people in this local command to always report a crime.

"Please always report crimes. It goes towards statistics, it makes the police aware of where the crooks are and where the patterns of crime are as well.

"If there was an end to all of this, it's about encouraging people to always report crimes. And that can be reported of course anonymously as well".

Image- Hunter Valley News.







Death at Stockton group home

BY IAN CROUCH and JESSICA ROUSE

An investigation has been launched into the death of a disabled woman at a Stockton Group home.

Another resident is in hospital suffering serious health issues just weeks after moving into the group home.

The former centre resident and the severely disabled woman had only just moved into their new home when they experienced health complications believed to be linked to dehydration and feeding issues - the second woman is still recovering in hospital.

The quality of care is being questioned within the group homes with residents moving in from the Stockton Centre which is due to close.

The State Opposition says it highlights the concerns about transferring severely disabled residents out of the Centre, possibly into care which is not up to standard.

Shadow Minister for the Hunter Kate Washington says the government promised the high level of care given to Stockton Centre would continue at Group homes.

"Governments have been providing reassurances for families and advocates that the care will be what it needs to be and we just have very little confidence that government is doing that. The government instead tells us that with giving additional resources to the ombudsman as far as I'm concerned it's all far too late by the time its gone to the ombudsman," said Kate Washington.

Image Newcastle Herald.


Seaham house fire

BY IAN CROUCH and JESSICA ROUSE

A couple in Seaham were awoken by their smoke alarm overnight, as fire took hold of their property.

Rural Fire Service crews were called to the property on Seaham Road just after midnight to find a fire in the roof cavity.

It took more than two hours to extinguish the blaze which caused severe damage to the home.

The couple who live there managed to escape without injury.