Hunter roads: All Hunter roads are clear this morning.
Hunter trains: There is a good service on the Central Coast and Newcastle line and the Hunter line.
Hunter weather: Partly cloudy with a medium chance of afternoon showers in Newcastle (26 degrees), a partly cloudy day with possible afternoon showers for Raymond Terrace (26 degrees), a partly cloudy day with a medium chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms in Maitland (32 degrees) and a partly cloudy day with a possible chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms (33 degrees).
Hunter beachwatch: It’ll be warm and partly cloudy today but you will need to be a bit cautious if you’re heading beachside. The wind will be from the north early before heading east to north-east with the swell from the south-east around 1.5 to 2 metres. Wave conditions will be a bit lumpy with the northern ends the picks. Newcastle has the best sand bank in town but will be busy. Also try Flatrock, the reef breaks at Nobbys, The Cliff and Merewether. To the south try Hams, Catho and Soldiers. To the north try Samurai and Birubi. There will be some heavy edges and a few rips so be extra careful if swimming. There’s also the chance of bluebottles so watch out for them. The water temperature is 20 degrees.
► THE Hunter Valley is a seismic hot zone, with data showing earthquakes have become more frequent in recent decades. While there is no conclusive link, some believe the impact of open-cut mining has destabilised millions of tonnes of pressure in the earth’s crust. More here.
► AUSTRALIA’S criminal justice system is “almost entirely incapable” of dealing with people who protected child sex offenders, a Hunter champion of children “thrown to the wolves” will tell the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday. More here.
► It started small, just a handful of embers hiding in the hollow of a scribbly gum tree. Twelve metres high and perhaps 60 years old, the tree stood amid thick bush south of Lake Macquarie, on the NSW Central Coast, burled and knotty and gnawed by time. More here.
► POST traumatic stress disorder. Memory loss. Severe bouts of depression. It has been a difficult few years for former emergency services worker Sharran Makin, of Redhead, who so many times thought about giving up. Times are still tough – but Ms Makin found solace in her artwork. More here.
► THERE was foam. There was laughter. And there was exhaustion. Billed as the “world’s largest inflatable obstacle course”, the Rebound Race didn’t disappoint when it bounced its way into Newcastle. More here.
► AN ELDERLY Maryland man was in a serious but stable condition in Royal North Shore Hospital on Friday night, after a fire broke out in the backyard of his house, destroying a new motorhome, a caravan, a shed, and scorching three surrounding properties. More here.
► MORE than 1200 Santa Clauses of all ages, shapes and sizes have come to town and transformed Newcastle’s foreshore into a sea of red to help Hunter children with rare illnesses. More here.
► THEY have not won in six games and have a crippling injury toll, but Newcastle Jets coach Mark Jones has urged fans not to give up on his embattled side. More here.
► It took four hours, three fire trucks, a boat, a team of people and an excavator to rescue a bull from the river in Glen Oak on Thursday. More here.
► FRUSTRATED coach Mark Jones warned the Jets cannot afford to “switch off” if they want to compete with the top teams in the A-League. More here.
► The sun shone and the tunes were sweet at Hope Estate on Saturday for Hope Rocks. Just over 6000 people listened to great Aussie rock by Baby Animals, The Screaming Jets, Choirboys, Dragon, The Superjesus, Richard Clapton and Ian Moss. More here.
► OPPONENTS of the plush Trinity Point development in Lake Macquarie say a proposal to build a helipad on the lake is a blight on the environment and insulting to everyone who won’t be able to use it. More here.
► Seven fire trucks, two HAZMAT units, an aerial appliance and police attended a fire on High Street opposite Maitland City Hall on Sunday night. Firefighters worked to contain a fire at Father Reilly’s Op Shop after a 000 call was placed at 10pm by Morpeth’s Sarah Worthington. More here.
► Early intervention programs that keep young people on the straight and narrow are key to reducing crime in the Woodberry and Beresfield areas, Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison says. More here.
► WHITE Ribbon Day ambassador Roger Yeo has urged people to speak out if they hear or see evidence of domestic violence. Mr Yeo spoke after the inaugural Port Stephens White Ribbon Day march through Raymond Terrace on Friday about the need for community wide action. More here.
► Hunter TAFE student Dylan Bolch has been selected to join an elite international team, known as the Skills Squad, after his successful performance at the recent WorldSkills National Competition in Melbourne, where he picked up a silver medal in the welding competition. More here.
► THE oldest school in Lake Macquarie has celebrated its 155th anniversary with news of a growth spurt. Enrolments at Cooranbong Public School are expected to exceed 216 next year. More here.
State of the nation
Need a national news snapshot first thing? Well, we have you covered.
► TAMWORTH, NSW: One of Tamworth’s newest surgeons has a vision to stem a common and blinding disease by bringing a very rare operation to the country. Ophthalmic surgeon, Dr Deric De Wit has worked in Berlin, Belfast and London, and now he has brought his unique skillset to the New England North West – treating glaucoma with viscocanaloplasty. Read more.
► BALLARAT, VIC: The chair of Commerce Ballarat David Wright has accused the state government of trying to play “Santa Claus” at the cost of local businesses. His words come in the wake of the government announcing it has reversed its decision not to declare Christmas Day a public holiday after conceding it made the wrong call. Read more.
► PORT PIRIE, SA: It could have been a rallying cry at a union stopwork meeting. “It is not another ‘sickie’,” thundered Australian Workers Union state secretary Peter Lamps over the microphone. He was responding to criticism that has been levelled against a new proposal to give workplace leave to domestic violence victims. Read more.
► ILLAWARRA, NSW: A monkey stolen from a Helensburgh wildlife park at the weekend has been found alive, but two others remain missing. Police were called to Symbio Wildlife Park about 8am Saturday, after staff discovered three Pygmy Marmoset monkeys missing, including a four-week-old baby. Read more.
► ALLANSFORD, VIC: Allansford’s Andrew Freeman fears the region’s crumbling roads are a tragic crash waiting to happen. He and his family had a terrifying experience after hitting a divot, aquaplaning and crashing into a ditch. Mr Freeman, his wife Annmaree and 11-month-old daughter escaped injury – but he worries others may not be so lucky. Read more.
► ALBURY, NSW: A Snapchat image of what appears to be two people urinating on Monument Hill has left Albury's Council and RSL representatives angry. The photograph, taken from behind the culprits, shows two males facing the structure. The wording reads “taking a piss on monument”. Read more.
► BUNBURY, WA: When you see the size of the crayfish these blokes are catching, it's a wonder they didn't sink their boat on the way back. A group of divers fishing off Bunbury have posted video footage of them plucking enormous western rock lobsters from the sea bed - some so big they barely fit inside their catch bags. Read more.
► All Australian schools would reach their appropriate funding levels within seven years under a bold plan to cut taxpayer support for over-funded schools and ramp up support for disadvantaged schools. The report from the respected Grattan Institute says that, five years after the Gonski review was completed, Australia's school funding system remains a "mess" with big disparities between different states, schools and sectors. Read more.
► Tony Abbott has urged Malcolm Turnbull to revisit some of the aspects of the 2014 budget and toughen up his message on power prices in some end-of-year advice that will hover over the Turnbull government as it enters into the final parliamentary week for the year. Read more.
► So popular are weekend penalty rates that a startling 76 per cent Australians who don't get them want them to stay. A ReachTEL poll of 3273 households conducted on Friday night found that, even among Coalition supporters, the proportion supporting penalty rates was 58 per cent. Among Labor voters it was 90 per cent and Greens voters 89 per cent. Read more.
National weather radar
► The Australian embassy in Cambodia granted Australian passports to at least five babies born to surrogate mothers after being presented falsified documents, Cambodian authorities say. Read more.
► Bill Shorten will ramp up his foreign worker fight as the Turnbull government tries to push its signature industrial relations legislation past a cranky crossbench during the final week of Parliament. The Labor leader will introduce a private member's bill seeking to crack down on the 457 visa program on Monday, in a bid to set the agenda and embarrass the government over the issue. The Migration Amendment (Putting Local Workers First) Bill 2016 would introduce stronger labour market testing and tougher criteria for licensing 457 workers, and give ministers more power to grant and revoke labour agreements. It would also impose tougher restrictions on employers. Read more.
On this day
November 28, 1811: 205 years ago today, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, also known as the Emperor Concerto, was performed for the first time in Leipzig, Germany. It was Ludwig van Beethoven's last piano concerto. Listen to all three movements of the concerto here:
The faces of Australia: Sharran Makin
POST traumatic stress disorder. Memory loss. Severe bouts of depression.
It has been a difficult few years for former emergency services worker Sharran Makin, of Redhead, who so many times thought about giving up.
Times are still tough – but Ms Makin found solace in her artwork.
And she has reason to smile after just winning a national photographic competition, organised by the Macular Disease Foundation, for her photograph of a team of horses majestically running through water on the Central Coast.
It is in stark contrast to two years ago when the mother-of-two wasn’t able to pick out her own art.
She couldn’t remember.
“I was at an exhibition and I turned to a friend and said, ‘That’s a great piece, whose is it?’” Ms Makin said.
“She turned back to me and said, ‘It’s yours’. I didn’t even notice my own artwork on the wall. That’s how bad it was.” Read more.