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: Hot and humid in Newcastle with showers this afternoon (34 degrees), hot and humid for Raymond Terrace with afternoon showers (39 degrees), Maitland is in for a hot and humid day with afternoon showers (41 degrees) and hot day in Scone with afternoon showers (40 degrees).
Hunter beachwatch by Dave Anderson: Cleaner waves through out the morning and a late afternoon Southerly change.Peaky conditions with swell swinging between S/E and N/E at 1m.Winds moderate North shifting South. The bigger early morning high to suit reef breaks at Flatty and Bar Reef.Banks off Alley,Cliff and Dixon.Try Dudley,Redhead,Frenchmans and Hams to the south.Up at Port Stephens,Buribi and Samurai. Refreshing in for a swim and stick to the flagged areas.Few small bluebottles about and water temp 21C
► THE Hunter’s outgoing tourism boss will push for an events “audit” and strategy he says are needed for Newcastle to aspire to hosting Big Bash League cricket, or the Commonwealth Games. More here.
► Lake Macquarie’s best were honoured on Monday night at the council’s Australia Day Awards. More here.
► A NEWCASTLE woman believes under-staffing at John Hunter Hospital during the New Year holiday period is to blame for her languishing without a diagnosis for an aggressive cancer for a week. More here.
► Stuck on what to do on the weekend? Keen to explore the Hunter? We've got some good tracks for that. Whether it be a day-long bushwalk or a scenic seaside stroll, there are some pretty great tracks to spend some time outdoors enjoying the Hunter’s abundant beauty. More here.
► THE NSW Government must put a much greater cost on air pollution to force the heaviest polluters – coal mining and coal-fired power generators – to “clean up their act”, says Doctors for the Environment. More here.
► NEWCASTLE have suffered their fourth body blow in the space of a cursed week after the club confirmed on Monday that key recruit Rory Kostjasyn was facing surgery and at least 12 weeks on the sidelines. More here.
► HE has played only 16 minutes in the A-League, but Jets rookie Harry Sawyer has already reached rare heights. At 195 centimetres (six foot four inches), the 20-year-old striker signed from Brisbane Roar – who debuted off the bench in Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers at Campbelltown – is close to the tallest player to have pulled on a Newcastle jersey. More here.
► MATT Wilkinson will return next month to defend his Surfest crown after it proved the “perfect” start to his breakout season in 2016. More here.
► COMMERCIAL property in Newcastle is surging on the back of the city’s much-hyped resurgence, with latest figures showing land values are set to reach $1 billion for the first time. More here.
►The Hunter is in for another hot one on Tuesday, with temperatures set to tip 42 degrees in various parts of the region. More here.
► FOOTAGE has emerged of a wild brawl between four people at Sandgate. The video, courtesy of NEW FM, captured wild scenes including flying kicks and body slams at the lights at the beginning of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass. More here.
► Thousands of people are expected to flock to Maitland Park on Thursday for Australia Day celebrations and the announcement of citizen and junior citizen of the year. More here.
► Former Maitland Pumpkin Pickers premiership hero Michael McTernan has been remembered as a man who loved to run fast and lived his life at the same speed. More here.
► A group of Weston residents is hoping good old-fashioned people power can help save its fire station. More here.
► Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison has welcomed the NSW Nationals leader’s stand against council mergers in Maitland and Dungog. More here.
► Things are ticking along nicely for the 2017 wine vintage, with vignerons quietly confident of a spectacular result. More here.
► A wide range in petrol prices has again opened up across the Lower Hunter, with the cost of unleaded fuel differing by about 20c/l within 30km. More here.
► Old fishing boats from Indonesia have found new homes in Australia – as furniture. The rustic-style furniture recycled from fishing boats is popular in the United States and now Dungog is one of the few places in Australia to stock it. More here.
► Parliamentary secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, has praised a state government strategy to sell off $19 million worth of social housing in the Hunter in the last two years despite growing waiting lists of tenants. More here.
► HER love of animals runs deep, but Cherylynn Mellor reckons it’s her customers she’ll miss the most. Ms Mellor closed the doors to her business, Catalina Pets, in Morisset, for the last time on Saturday night. More here.
► WHAT started out as a passion to create something to inspire people has turned into a flourishing business for Nelson Bay sisters Jess and Laura Sharp. More here.
► ONE person caused trouble for Peter Weiss. But, hundreds want to help. The Muswellbrook man gave money to a handyman to set up a carport but, after taking the funds, he never completed the work. More here.
► THERE will be a changing of the guard this year at St Joseph’s High School Aberdeen. Robert Holstein is taking over as acting principal while John O’Brien will serve as his assistant. More here.
► ORGANISERS of The Lucas Appeal are hoping Muswellbrook’s community spirit comes to the fore next month. More here.
State of the nation
Need a national news snapshot first thing – well, we have you covered.
► VIC: The families of Maureen Braddy and Allan Whyte – missing from Bendigo since 1968 – say they want to give them the “burial they deserve”, and urged anyone with information to come forward.
Maureen’s sister Lynne Ireland, and Allan’s brother Kevin Whyte, both spoke at a Victoria Police press conference announcing a $1 million reward for information that leads to a conviction.
The pair have been missing since November 23, 1968. Read more.
► NSW: Linton Krupic was all too aware of the risk.
At just 16, he was given the choice of leaving school after year 10 to focus on dance, or committing to his Higher School Certificate and living in the purgatory of ‘what if?’
“It’s really hard trying to pursue a career in dance so it was always going to be a risk,” he said. “I was scared that I was not going to make it or that I was not good enough. Read more.
► WA: A further three farming families have left or are leaving WA's dairy industry after processors said they did not want their milk.
One is a Brownes Dairy supplier and two are Harvey Fresh suppliers.
Brownes Dairy suppliers Michael and Frances Armstrong, Northcliffe, face termination of their contract in March. Read more.
► TAS: The state’s two major parties believe that sewage contamination of several oyster leases on the East Coast is bad for the state’s image but differ on how the problem should be fixed.
Labor says that the government should unlock $185 million of unallocated infrastructure spending contained in this year’s budget to service water and sewerage upgrades while the government maintains that such upgrades are the responsibility of local government.
Heavy rainfall on Friday caused a sewerage pump at St Helens to overflow into George’s Bay, resulting in a closure of all its shellfish leases. Read more.
► AUSTRALIA DAY: For the last 57 years on Australia Day, Australians around the country have woken to news of the next Australian of the Year.
From cities to country towns, with our families and friends, we discuss the decision and express our opinions on the people chosen to receive this honour.
There's an amazing range of people in the running for 2017 – many from regional and rural areas. Read more.
Horsham retiree “Poison” is thought by tattoo artists to be one of the most inked-up people in the Wimmera.
Poison, who is aged in his late 60s and did not want to use his real name, has collected tattoos for 40 years.
“Back in my youth, you’d see the sailors and blokes in the navy,” he said. See more photos here.
► CHINESE NEW YEAR: Sydney will celebrate a multicultural Australia over 17 days as the Lunar New Year makes way for the Year of the Rooster.
The city's Lunar New Year festival will celebrate its 21st anniversary as the biggest outside of Asia.
"The Chinese New Year will be colourful, it will be noisy, it will be a lively celebration, and I hope Sydney will join us in this wonderful celebration," Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said. Read more.
► POLITICS: The Wire's arch drug lord, Avon Barksdale, was admirably philosophical about a long custodial sentence: "You only serve two days, the day you go in, and the day you get out".
It's a mentality that might readily be grasped by vanquished opposition parties facing another fruitless term in the wilderness. But no. These days, its the winners who seem to feel most hemmed in, constrained at every turn by the crushing pressures of a febrile polity, internal divisions, anaemic growth, and the prospect of more-or-less inevitable failure. Read more.
► EDUCATION: The peak body representing Australian universities has urged the Turnbull government not to pursue a "dramatic overhaul" of the nation's higher education system as it prepares to legislate a new round of university reforms.
Universities Australia, in its submission for the May budget, also urges the government to abandon its proposed $3.2 billion in cuts to university funding because there is "no defensible case" for such a reduction. Read more.
National weather radar
► WASHINGTON: Donald Trump's ego might dwarf Uluru, but he's exceedingly thin-skinned.
However, it would be a mistake to think that drove his bludgeoning of the news media for their accurate reporting on the puny crowd that turned out for his inauguration - maybe just a third of those who poured into the streets of the capital for Saturday's women's protest against his election.
We're familiar with the new President's obsession about any numbers that speak to his sense of his own greatness - rally crowds, polling and TV ratings. And his bilious contempt for those that don't. Read more.
► MOSCOW: Russia's parliament is this week expected to take a step closer toward decriminalising domestic violence that falls short of serious bodily harm or rape.
Battery is a criminal offence in Russia, but nearly 20 per cent of Russians openly say they think it is sometimes OK to hit a spouse or a child. Read more.
On this day
► 1946 – The United Nations General Assembly passes its first resolution to establish the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission.
► 1972 – Japanese Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi is found hiding in a Guam jungle, where he had been since the end of World War II.
► 1984 – Apple Computer places the Macintosh personal computer on sale in the United States.
► 2003 – The United States Department of Homeland Security officially begins operation.
Faces of Australia: Ian ‘Ferg’ Ferguson
AN ERA will come to an end at Wagga Country Club later this month.
After 40 years as club professional, Ian ‘Ferg’ Ferguson will hang up the golf bag at the end of January.
Ferguson has been the face of the Country Club for four decades and has nurtured endless amounts of talent that have made the course their second home over the years.