Highlands Rise and Shine | Wednesday, March 15, 2017

That’s all for today. Don’t forget to join us again tomorrow from 7.00AM.

There are no words…

Some of the best young players demonstrated their advanced football skills at David Woods Playing Fields recently. 

The junior Southern Branch soccer teams played an in-house gala day to brush up on their skills ahead of the 2017 season.

Bradman Oval will be swarming with emergency service teams on April 4 – but there’s no need to panic. It’s the one day each year Highlands emergency crews come together for a social event with a positive outcome.

Police, Fire and Rescue NSW, State Emergency Services (SES) Wingecarribee Unit, Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews and NSW Ambulance members will tackle the fourth annual Triple Zero Cricket Challenge.

From paddock to plate, students at Glenquarry Public School will learn all about what it takes to raise and care for chickens.

At the start of the year, several eggs were delivered to the school and students were able to watch the eggs hatch.

Glenquarry teacher Nina Culleton said this was part of a larger project  to help students “connect with nature and become responsible, ethical citizens”.

Kennards Hire hopes to break a record in 2017.

Throughout March and April the company will raise funds for the Kennards for Kids charity.

This year, $2 from every hire, both in branch and online, will again be donated to the charity campaign.

The Mittagong branch of Kennards Hire will again be involved in the fundraising effort.

So close, but so far.

Two Highlands students, both less than three weeks out from completing their qualifications, have been caught up in the Sage Institute closure.

Now, after 11 months commuting to Sage’s Sydney campus for the Diploma of Fitness Coaching, they find themselves with up to $18,000 invested in qualifications that are up in the air.

The threat of torrential rain was not enough to stop Highlanders from putting their fittest foot forward for charity.

About 30 people put their fitness levels to the test for a fundraising boot camp as Bradman Oval on March 13.

Highlands health authorities have rejected claims the hospital is operating with overworked staff and substandard facilities.

A source working at the hospital has told The Southern Highland News operating theatre nursing staff at the hospital often work “excessive” overtime and recommendations by internal committees including the Reasonable Workload Committee have been ignored.

The News was also told there are less than 20 theatre nurses to staff two theatres all day, seven days a week. More here.

There was standing room only as the community voiced their concerns about the future of the Bowral and District Hospital. 

The public forum was, at times, heated as frustrated residents spoke out against the public private partnership plan (PPP) on Monday, March 13.

The meeting, hosted by Public Health First, sought answers about the $50 million upgrade to the hospital and the proposed PPP.

TRAFFIC:  All Southern Highlands roads are open and clear.

TRAINS: Commuters can expect a good service on the Southern Highlands today. 

WEATHER:  A cloudy day with a very high (95%) chance of showers, a thunderstorm likely, possibly severe, heavy falls possible, winds E 15 to 20 km/h becoming light early in the morning then becoming E 15 to 20 km/h in the morning  and a daytime maximum temperature of 2o can be expected in the Highlands today.

Here's a look at what the local weather is doing right now:

7.00AM:  Good morning and welcome to the Southern Highlands Rise and Shine. Over the next few hours we will be bringing you as much information as possible from across the Southern Highlands and nationally.

Weather, road conditions, breaking news, we will have it all - and we'd love to have your help! If there's anything happening in your part of the world, drop us a line! Email jackie.meyers@fairfaxmedia.com.au

State of the nation

Need a national news snapshot first thing - well, we have you covered. 

Premier Jay Weatherill. Picture: Getty Images

Premier Jay Weatherill. Picture: Getty Images

SA: A $550 million energy plan unveiled by the South Australian government will aim to improve the reliability of statewide power.

Premier Jay Weatherill released details of the plan on Tuesday, March 14, saying the goal was delivering “reliable, affordable and clean” power.

The state government expects the plan to create 630 new jobs in South Australia. Read more

ILAWARRA: A shortfall of at least 50 paramedics in the region is putting lives at risk according to an Illawarra-based paramedic.

NSW assistant secretary for the Australian Paramedics Association Glenn Congram said lack of front-line staff had led to a ‘’blow-out’’ in emergency response times.

Ageing communications equipment – including a failing GPS system – was also hampering paramedics’ efforts to get to patients as quickly as possible. Read more

►TAS: A bloom of bright blue bioluminescent algae has blistered beaches near Penguin. 

Bioluminescent phytoplankton or ‘sea sparkle’ thrives in calm and warm sea conditions.

It was spotted at Preservation Bay on Saturday night. Read on

NSW: One of Australia’s leading obstetricians and gynaecologists landed a damning indictment on his own profession and the health system in 2013 in a paper titled “The Transvaginal Mesh Decade”.

Associate Professor Chris Maher blamed regulators in America and Australia for clearing transvaginal mesh devices for use in women without original clinical evidence supporting safety and efficacy.

The devices are used where women experience prolapse and incontinence problems after childbirth, and are implanted via the vagina. Read more

QLD: Rates in the North-West Queensland are not going to jump by a large amount, despite big land valuation increases.

Property in the Carpentaria and Croydon Shire Councils received the largest percentage increases in the state when new valuations were released by Queensland’s Valuer-General last week. Read more

VIC: A three-year-old Golden Square boy has been rescued after being caught in a drain on Tuesday.

Tobias was outside with his mother when his foot became stuck in a small drain opening.

The worried mother called emergency services, with CFA and SES crews working to free the boy. Read more

National news

Tasmanian parliment

Tasmanian parliment

►In a rare display of tripartisan support, the Tasmanian government’s family violence reform legislation passed through the Lower House unimpeded on Tuesday.

Premier Will Hodgman acknowledged the cross-party cooperation that enabled the Family Violence Reforms Bill 2016’s passage through the House of Assembly.

“There’s been a very collaborative effort, and a lot of good will,” he said. Read more

►The minister charged with pulling together the Turnbull government's looming housing affordability package has suggested Australians could be allowed to use superannuation when buying their first home but that such a change would have to be a part of broader reforms.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, who is spruiking housing affordability as a key platform of the May budget, said any changes on the "demand side" such as superannuation reform could work if supply in the housing market was also increased. Read more

National weather radar

What’s coming you way …

International news

►BALI: A former West Australian bricklayer who was busted with hashish at his Sanur home has been sentenced to seven months' jail for possessing an illegal narcotic for personal use.

Guiseppe "Joe" Serafino, who had lived in Bali for five years and managed the On-On Billiard Bar in Sanur, was arrested by police on October 8 with 7.32 grams of hashish. Read more

Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Getty Images

Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Getty Images

►SCOTLAND: Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon has launched a fresh push for independence, complaining she hit a brick wall trying to avoid her country being dragged down a "hard Brexit" path.

However she will face stiff opposition from the UK government, with Prime Minister Theresa May accusing Ms Sturgeon of setting the country on a path for more "uncertainty and division". Read more

On this day

The faces of Australia: Kate Griffiths

Owner Kate Griffiths with Eliza Rae. Picture: supplied

Owner Kate Griffiths with Eliza Rae. Picture: supplied

Opening a new business can be daunting, but NSW entrepreneur Kate Griffiths is encouraging residents to take the leap into self-employment.

The former Narromine local, who left the region five years ago to study at Sydney’s Whitehouse Institute of Design, had always dreamed of opening a store in Dubbo.

On Thursday she launched her boutique Lazy Sunday Lifestyle – a mix of homewares, fashion and gifts as well as art and furniture.

Ms Griffiths has been overwhelmed by the response so far, and said now was the perfect time for Dubbo residents to open their own business. Read more