Sunday was a particularly special Mothers' Day for one of the region's mums.
Adina - the Australian Reptile Park's resident female dingo - spent the day with her two-and-a-half week old puppies, who have opened their eyes for the first time in recent days. Staff at the Central Coast wildlife sanctuary say the pups have also just started to take their first wobbly steps.
"In my time of looking after dingoes and their pups I have never seen such a caring and wonderful mum like Adina," dingo keeper Erica said. "She's so sweet and gentle with her babies and now that they have opened their eyes, it's amazing to see them look at her with such adoration."
The Australian Reptile Park breeds dingoes to educate people about the importance of the species in the eco-system, to protect them from extinction and dispel the myth that the dingo is a dangerous pest.
"As cute as our gorgeous puppies are, they're actually already working as an ambassador to raise positive species awareness for dingoes," Erica said. "The dingo plays a very important role in the Australian eco-system and sadly they're facing being hunted and baited in the wild, when in fact we need them to balance out the feral fox and cat population which is contributing to the rate of mammal extinction."
You can see Adina and her pups inside the dingo enclosure at the Somersby park.
Study targets back pain
Most people know someone with a bad back. And although it's a common ailment, Topics reckons that's no consolation for the discomfort it can cause.
Depending on who you speak to, there are a range of ways to treat the problem.
Sean Sadler, a PHD candidate from the University of Newcastle, is conducting a clinical trial into the effectiveness of some common allied health treatments for chronic lower back pain.
He's looking for volunteers to help with the study - both lower back pain sufferers as well as people who aren't afflicted.
"Something isn't working and we want to try and help improve function and reduce pain of sufferers in the community," he said.
Volunteers - aged between 18 and 65 - will be asked to visit either the uni's Ourimbah campus or Wyong Hospital for one to two hours on three occasions.
It will involve short surveys and several non-invasive clinical measurements.
Anyone who can help out should contact Sean at email@example.com or 4349 4655.
LICENCE PLATE THEFTS
Meanwhile, there's been some mischief up the valley in recent weeks with a spike in cases of thefts from motor vehicles.
Police say there were 50 instances across Cessnock (34), Singleton (11) and Muswellbrook (5) in April alone.
It wasn't only valuables left in the car that were taken - almost half these cases (42 per cent) were instances of number plates being stolen.