Hunter roads: All Hunter roads are clear.
Hunter trains: There is a good service on the Hunter line and the Central Coast and Newcastle line.
Hunter weather: Mostly sunny day with a slight chance of a coastal shower in Newcastle (23 degrees), Raymond Terrace is in for a mostly sunny day with a possible coastal shower (23 degrees), mostly sunny day for Maitland (25 degrees) and a mostly sunny day in Scone with some areas of fog (25 degrees).
Hunter beachwatch: Whichever way you look at it, it’s going to be a Good Friday to start off the Easter break. It’ll be fine and mainly sunny with a few okay waves. The wind will be gusty south-west to south for starters but they will back off during the day. The swell is from the south around 1 to 2 metres with the occasional sneaker set. Wave conditions will be a bit lumpy and there will be a few close-outs. Around town try Nobbys, Flatrock, Merewether and Dudley. Down south try Blacksmiths, Caves and Catho. At Port Stephens try Fingal and One Mile. There will be a few rips and some heavy edges so only swim in the flagged areas. The water temperature is 20 degrees.
► BRANDY Hill residents took it in turns to sit in a car last week and film the intersection of Clarence Town Road and Brandy Hill Drive for nearly 16 hours over two days. More here.
► There’s plenty to do in the Hunter this Easter long weekend. More here.
► A COMPUTER glitch is being blamed for the incorrect reporting of transport statistics for Newcastle buses, with a state government performance document showing the fleet travelled a million more kilometres than it actually did. More here.
► THE Knights have been dealt a shattering blow after back-rower Jamie Buhrer suffered a fractured foot in a training accident on Thursday. More here.
► KEN Jordan is the latest former Liberal state candidate to consider a tilt at replacing former police minister Mike Gallacher in the NSW upper house. More here.
► Two of Newcastle City Council’s most senior managers are departing the organisation, fuelling rumours of discontent among staff ranks. More here.
► Newcastle Knights are expected to turn their attention to luring Kieran Foran with one of the biggest deals in NRL history after missing out on Broncos signing Jack Bird. More here.
► A MAN has been killed in a two-vehicle crash at a rural intersection at Brandy Hill, north-west of Raymond Terrace. The crash occurred about 6am on Thursday at the intersection of Clarence Town Road and Brandy Hill Drive. More here.
► IT has taken four weeks, but the Newcastle Knights have finally copped it on the chin – just as fullback Brendan Elliot did in their round-three loss to South Sydney. More here.
► Flooding at Testers Hollow has been a major issue for generations. But, at long last, there is a commitment from the federal and state governments to fix the road. More here.
► Extra highway patrol police will be watching Hunter roads during the double-demerits period this weekend. Double demerits will be in force for speeding, drink and drug-driving, mobile phone use, and not wearing seatbelts from 12.01am Thursday through to 11.59pm on Monday. More here.
► Thousands of tourists are expected to flock to the Dungog Shire this weekend in one of the most action-packed long weekends in recent times. More here.
► FIRSTLY Singleton, then Aberdeen and now Murrurundi – it seems flying foxes are determined to make their home in the Upper Hunter. More here.
►THERE were plenty of laughs at Muswellbrook Day VIEW Club’s Easter hat parade. For their celebrations at Muswellbrook Worker's Club on Thursday, members brought in decorated hats. More here.
► Instead of traditional parade, Mount Pleasant Public School held their ‘Eggstravaganza’ last Friday. The Student Representative Council (SRC) runs the event annually. More here.
► A GROUP of Morisset High School students is set to become part of the next generation of a vital Lake Macquarie volunteer organisation. The students recently graduated as State Emergency Service (SES) cadets. More here.
► Stephen and Jane Williams of Jane’s Pet Resort will pay fines of $2000 and $500 respectively after they entered guilty pleas to cruelty and failure to seek vet treatment. More here.
► THIS weekend’s Lake Mac Heritage Festival at Toronto promises to be a treat for the senses. While classic boats and vintage and veteran cars will again be the stars of the show, this year’s festival will also feature buskers and a feast of dining options. More here.
State of the Nation
►LAUNCTESTON, TAS: We asked and you answered. It was a “bun” fight right until the end with Launceston readers voting three establishments as the best places to buy Easter buns. More here.
► PORT STEPHENS: A HUNTER fisherman has earned a story worthy of his craft off Port Stephens after recording what may be the area’s first human encounter with a whale shark. More here.
► BURNIE, TAS: Tasmania’s unemployment rate has dipped below the national rate for the first time in more than seven years. The March improvement in the state’s jobless rate from 5.9 per cent to 5.8 per cent was built on jobs growth of 300, rather than people dropping out of the labour force. More here.
►BENDIGO, VIC: In metropolitan Melbourne, $310,000 can get you a storage warehouse in Northcote complete with a bathroom. In East Bendigo, a three-bedroom house with a large backyard and floorboards throughout could set you back less than $300,000. A shed in the backyard almost has as much floor space as the Northcote warehouse. More here.
►BALLARAT, VIC: Two kittens rescued from a Sebastopol house fire and resuscitated by firefighters came within a whisker of death, the nurses who worked to save them said. More here.
► GOULBURN, NSW: Goulburn man John Ings is the first Australian to have a tooth inserted into his eye in an attempt to fix his blindness. More here.
► ILLAWARRA, NSW: The ability to add services on the South Coast line is severely limited – if not impossible – according to the NSW Auditor-General. More here.
► GRIFFITH, NSW: A pregnant Griffith mother who fought to keep her son safe, has suffered a callous attack at the hands of her partner who faced Griffith Local Court last month. More here.
► MOUNT DRUITT, NSW: A a three-day-old girl and two teenagers who left Nepean Hospital on Thursday morning were found safe late Thursday afternoon. More here.
► BEAUDESERT, QLD: A BEAUDESERT business has collected more than 330 Easter eggs to donate to underprivileged children in the Scenic Rim. More here.
► NORTH QLD: The clean up to restore Rockhampton continues after the flooding of the Fitzroy River, Cyclone Debbie aftermath. More here.
► KATHERINE, NT: It is an eight-hour round trip if Wyatt McDonald can convince his parents to take him to buy a Happy Meal from McDonald’s. Wyatt, from Timber Creek which is 600km south of Darwin, would need to ask his mum to tackle a 14 hour drive if he wants to wrap his lips around some KFC chicken. More here.
► MANDURAH, WA: Emergency crews were called to North Dandalup on Thursday afternoon following reports of a collision between a vehicle and the Australind train. More here.
► BUNBURY, WA: A man who pleaded guilty to holding a woman against her will and indecently assaulting her will be sentenced in Bunbury District Court later this year. More here.
► MURRAY BRIDGE, SA: The South Eastern Freeway was closed at White Hill, just west of Murray Bridge, due to a five-car crash. One person has been airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital as a result of the pile-up, which occurred just before 7am, but their injuries are not life-threatening. More here.
► KINGSTON, SA: A woman has been rescued from a cliff fall in the State's South East on Thursday afternoon. Just after 1pm, Thursday 13 April, police and emergency services were called to "Rainbow Rock" on Cape Buffon Drive at South End after reports a woman had lost her footing and fallen from a cliff while taking photographs. More here.
What does it look like in your neck of the woods today?
► It is enough to make your skin crawl. A new species of funnel-web spider has been discovered hiding in a wet forest near Weldborough, Tasmania. More here.
►An Australian "gift to science" has been named the winner of a global competition. More here.
►After nearly three weeks of deliberations, the jury in the murder trial of property developer, Ron Medich, has been unable to reach a majority verdict. More here.
►Former foreign affairs minister Gareth Evans has launched a scathing attack on Donald Trump and urged Australia to reduce its dependence on the US alliance and accept China as a legitimate "global rule maker". More here.
► Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has stepped up pressure on China to use its special influence to resolve the burgeoning North Korea security crisis, declaring the entire world is concerned about the rogue nation's threats of nuclear war. More here.
► British actor and Academy Award nominee Jude Law will play a young Albus Dumbledore in the next film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, a spin-off of the Harry Potter series of books and films. More here.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1828 - The first edition of Noah Webster's dictionary was published under the name "American Dictionary of the English Language."
1865 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth. He actually died early the next morning.
1912 - The Atlantic passenger liner Titanic, on its maiden voyage hit an iceberg and began to sink. 1,517 people lost their lives and more than 700 survived.
1967 - The Bee Gees released their first English single. It was "New York Mining Disaster 1941."
1980 - Iron Maiden's self-titled debut album was released.
1983 - Pete Farndon (Pretenders) died of a drug overdose at the age of 29. He had been fired from the band the year before due to his drug problem.
FACES OF AUSTRALIA: Lola Rus-Hartland
THEY call her the death doula. The Netherlands-born counsellor Lola Rus-Hartland ushers the dying and their families through the stages of death, from beginning to end.
In The Netherlands those who do this work are called the stervensbegeleiding – it translates to farewell guide. And it is funded under public health.
“The Dutch people are a little bit more open, probably in Australia we are a bit more of a death denying society than other cultures,” Rus-Hartland says.
“You help the dying person to farewell their life and loved ones, but you help the loved ones to farewell this person. So it works on both ends.”
Her grandmother was also a death doula, but her own career in the field began as a young social worker in The Netherlands. More here.