MORNING RUSH: news, sport, weather, traffic and online buzz

8am - Sorry to cut you off early, morning rushers, but I've got to duck up to find out the latest news on this Fairy Meadow shooting, so I can bring you more info shortly. Have a fantastic Friday!

7.50am What are you up to this weekend? Here are some options for you.

MOVIES: The Book Thief opened in cinemas yesterday. Check out the movie review here. Personally, I’m hoping it’s better than 2.5 stars - it’s one of my favourite books of recent years and I’ve been looking forward to the film.

ARTS: The Sydney Festival kicks off this weekend, and there are loads of acts, shows and festival stalls to visit. Check out the line up here

TV: If you fancy staying in, the brilliant series by Lena Dunham, Girls is due to return to US TV screens on Sunday. Can was to see what Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jessa get up to next. 

7.45am We've confirmed that the Fairy Meadow shooting took place on Lila Avenue, off Daisy Street. Wollongong police are still investigating the circumstances surounding the incident and we'll bring you more later on.

Here are the details: two men are in hospital with gunshot wounds after emergency services were called to a house in Fairy Meadow, near Wollongong, about 11.15pm on Thursday following reports of a shooting.

A 26-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound to his abdomen, and was taken to Wollongong Hospital for treatment. A 28-year-old man arrived at the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to his leg shortly afterwards.

Police believe he was also at the Fairy Meadow house when he was shot. 

Both men are in stable conditions with non-life threatening injuries.

7.35am From the SMH - is there anyone from the Illawarra born on December 1, 1974? 

Scotsman Richard Avis is on a mission, and there are approximately 188 people in NSW who can help.

7.30am Oh dear, here is something to make you cringe, especially if you were in high school or university sometime in the early 2000s. From layered tank tops and shiny cargo pants to folded off the should tops, and my personal favourite: hippie-inspired dresses over flared jeans.

Which ones were you guilty of wearing?

7.25am WHAT’S ON? Why, the Illawarra Folk Festival is on next week! Want to win tickets? We’re giving away a double pass. Enter here for your chance to score tix.

Also, Elvis’s birthday will be celebrated in Parkes this weekend.

We hear there’s an Illawarra contingent on their way, so if you’re heading out west to hail The King, keep your eyes peeled for a group dressed in matching star-spangled red, white and blue costumes. We'll be checking in with them over the weekend.

Check out the full coverage of the Elvis festival at the Parkes Champion Post

7.20am Hi there - if you're just joining me, Kate McIlwain, on the Rush this grey Friday morning, welcome! 

This morning in local news, there's an update on the Gujarat NRE situation, news Wollongong City Council is buying back the Phoenix Theatre and updates on the search for the body of a 28-year-old rock fisherman who disappeared in late December near Jervis Bay.

We've got clear roads and train lines at this stage, a cloudy and possibly rainy day but a promise of sunshine for the weekend.

There's also been a shooting in Fairy Meadow overnight, a frightening alleged sexual assault on two young girls in Guildford and more news on the increasing use of steroids by young men.

Stay with me as I keep you updated until 9am today.

7.15am Time to check in on the local headlines.

* First, we've got the breaking news that two men were taken to Wollongong Hospital gunshot wounds due to a reported shooting in Fairy Meadow late last night. We'll have more for you on that later this morning.

*Wollongong City Council is set to buy back the Phoenix Theatre building from community radio station VOX FM for one dollar, leaving doubts about the future of the independent arts company's performances.

* It's good news for Gujarat NRE, but not so much for some of it's workers, as the new owners have brokered deals with several major Indian banks to secure new loans, along with extra time to pay back hefty outstanding loans. But about 20 per cent of the workforce is still set to lose their jobs in the redundancy round to be finalised next week.

* Kate Walsh has the latest on the future of Wollongong’s Rocksalt Bar & Grill, which is yet to be determined, with administrators still investigating the business’s operations.

Angela Thompson reports that survey of NSW Minerals Council member companies showed the companies spent more than $1.4 billion in the Illawarra, Wingecarribee and Shoalhaven last year.

* And Dom Geiger keeps us up to date of the operations by specialist police divers, who were yesterday unable to locate the body of a 28-year-old rock fisherman who was swept into the ocean near Currarong, north of Jervis Bay, on December 23.

7.05 WHAT'S ON - Sydney Festival

Continuing on our musical weekend update for now, there’s plenty of live tunes playing at the Sydney Festival this weekend. 

Punk cabaret pioneer Amanda Palmer will shock and delight in the Spiegeltent until Jan 19, while acrobats and musicians will combine to create a whiskey-soaked evening on Saturday night at the Circus Ronaldo Tent.

Later in the month, catch acts like Kurt Vile and the Violators, Symphony in the Domain and Hot Dub Time Machine or indulge your inner francophile as So Frenchy So Chic takesover St John’s College.

Check it out here 

And, if the music line-up doesn’t do it for you, look at these amazing treats from Surry Hills ice cream Mecca Gelato Messina which will be served up at the Festival Village. 

Mmmmm - is it too early for ice cream?

7.03am I hope plenty of you are up and running with your Friday mornings now that it’s just past seven o’clock.

Still looking fine on the trains and roads, and temperatures are still sitting in the late teens in Belambi and Albion Park, rising just slightly in the region’s west 16.4 degrees. 

The Bureau of Meteorology radar is showing some patchy rain just off the coast, so you might like to grab a brolly if you need to walk to work.

7am In more local live music news, our arts and culture guru Josh Butler reports in today’s Mercury that Wollongong City Council’s Live Music Taskforce has been labelled a success by organisers and participants, with a report soon to be submitted to the council.

The 16-strong group, comprising councillors, police, venue owners, musicians and music fans, met several times between August and December to hash out ideas on how better to support Wollongong's live music community.

One of the main recommendations to be put to council this year will be a plan to streamline and simplify the process for venues to start hosting live music.

Read all about it here

6.58am Once again, overnight there was a reported shooting at Fairy Meadow. 

Two men are in hospital with gunshot wounds after emergency services were called to a house in Fairy Meadow, near Wollongong, about 11.15pm on Thursday following reports of a shooting.

A 26-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound to his abdomen, and was taken to Wollongong Hospital for treatment. A 28-year-old man arrived at the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to his leg shortly afterwards.

Police believe he was also at the Fairy Meadow house when he was shot. Both men are in stable conditions with non-life threatening injuries.

We'll bring you more later on this morning.

6.55am It’s Friday, so you’d better get your weekend plans sorted out quick smart. 

Here are some local live music picks for the weekend.

* Perth four-piece Jebediah might have been part of the Oz music scene for nearly two decades now, but they sure haven’t lost their indie rock touch. Relive hits like Harpoon, Leaving Home and Teflon (yes, all my favourite songs are on their first album!) at Waves and Towradgi Beach Hotel tomorrow night. Tickets at Moshtix.

* Also locally, The Pretty Littles will be playing at Rad Bar (formerly Yours and Owls) tomorrow, while The Vanns, The Rider and Alison are on for just seven bucks tonight. And my very own favourite vinyl DJs, Grooves and Dust, will be spinning tunes at the Little Prince tomorrow night.

6.50am SYDNEY: Police are continuing to search for a man who allegedly sexually and indecently assaulted two sisters, aged two and six, in the toilet block of a western Sydney park.

The man fled from the park in Guildford after abusing the girls who were there with family on Thursday afternoon.

Police attended the park and conducted a search of the area with the assistance of the dog unit and Polair but were unable to locate the man.

After failing to find the abuser, detectives from the child abuse squad formed Strike force Sandyman to further investigate.

A police spokeswoman told AAP on Friday morning she believed the search for the alleged attacker would continue today.

Police are looking for a man described as being of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance, between 20 and 30, about 165cm tall with an average build and facial hair.

He was last seen wearing a black hooded jacket and blue shorts or pants.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

6.48am Speaking of local sport, the Mercury’s sport journos will be launching some new columns this year. Watch out for some great new content! 

And check out this week’s NBL preview video Hoopla, from our residents basketball expert Tim Keeble.

6.45am Here are some of the latest stories from the Mercury’s sports desk

* Tim Keeble reports that stopping the NBL's hottest player, Hawks guard Rotnei Clarke, has suddenly become a whole lot more pressing for the Cairns Taipans in tomorrow night's duel with Wollongong.

* In cricket news, Mitch Jennings says junior Illawarra cricketers Emma Coughlan-Ryan and Kaelah Austin will be looking to make the most of a second chance at the under-18 national cricket championship at Ballarat next week.

6.40am In national news, the SMH reports that steroids have become the drug of choice for people who start injecting illicit substances, eclipsing methamphetamines and heroin in popularity among young men.

This comes on the back on psychologists' assessments and police investigations which have linked steroid use to some of the dangerous king hits we have been seeing in recent months.

"Steroid use is creeping more and more into younger people," the president of the Australian Medical Association, Steve Hambleton told the Herald. 

"It comes with this wish to win at all costs and to attain the perfect body immediately.

"We worry about our girls with body image but it is just as much young men we need to worry about now."

6.35am Just recapping some breaking news overnight, that  two men are in hospital with gunshot wounds after a shooting at Fairy Meadow.

Emergency services were called to a house in the northern Wollongong subrub about 11.15pm on Thursday following reports of a shooting.

A 26-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound to his abdomen, and was taken to Wollongong Hospital for treatment.

A 28-year-old man arrived at the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to his leg shortly afterwards.

Police believe he was also at the Fairy Meadow house when he was shot.

Both men are in stable conditions with non-life threatening injuries.

6.30am How to become a morning person. I hope to learn some tips from this SMH story, especially as today is my first ever go at driving this Morning Rush thing.

No surprises that the first tip is simply to go to bed earlier, but early morning exercise and preparation the night before are also recommended.

Apparently night owls are less efficient than early risers, while those who can jump out of bed with a smile are likely to be highly productive, skilled at anticipating problems and proactive in setting goals.

6.25am We're back after a few minutes of technical difficulties with some more of today's local stories.

* Kate Walsh has the latest on the future of Wollongong’s Rocksalt Bar & Grill, which is yet to be determined, with administrators still investigating the business’s operations.

* Angela Thompson reports that survey of NSW Minerals Council member companies showed the companies spent more than $1.4 billion in the Illawarra, Wingecarribee and Shoalhaven last year.

* And Dom Geiger keeps us up to date of the operations by specialist police divers, who were yesterday unable to locate the body of a 28-year-old rock fisherman who was swept into the ocean near Currarong, north of Jervis Bay, on December 23.

6.15am Ok, here’s what’s making news in the Mercury today.

Wollongong City Council is set to buy back the Phoenix Theatre building from community radio station VOX FM for one dollar, leaving doubts about the future of the independent arts company's performances.

* It's good news for Gujarat NRE, but not so much for some of it's workers, as the new owners have brokered deals with several major Indian banks to secure new loans, along with extra time to pay back hefty outstanding loans. But about 20 per cent of the workforce is still set to lose their jobs in the redundancy round to be finalised next week.

6.10am I'll hopefully have more to keep you up to date on the shooting as the morning progresses, but for now let's check out the traffic and weather.

TRAFFIC No reports of traffic snarls on Illawarra roads just yet, and it also looks clear for our Sydney commuters.

WEATHER We're expecting top temps of about 23 degrees in the Illawarra today, and the clouds will be hanging around for a possible shower. Right now it's about 19 degrees at Bellambi and only 15.9 degrees in Albion Park.

Tomorrow looks a lot nicer, with a forecast of sunny and 26 degrees. 

BREAKING NEWS 6.07am I've got to interrupt your morning update with news there's been a shooting overnight in Fairy Meadow.

Two men are in hospital with gunshot wounds after emergency services were called to a house in Fairy Meadow, near Wollongong, about 11.15pm on Thursday following reports of a shooting.

A 26-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound to his abdomen, and was taken to Wollongong Hospital for treatment. A 28-year-old man arrived at the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to his leg shortly afterwards.

Police believe he was also at the Fairy Meadow house when he was shot. Both men are in stable conditions with non-life threatening injuries.

More to come.

6.05am Rise and shine everyone, time to get started on the last day of your working week. If you’re anything like some of the Mercury’s staff - including yours truly - who took a Christmas break, this week might have been a bit of a struggle.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line and Illawarra line.

Good morning Illawarra! Happy Friday - not long now until the weekend. Catch up on what’s happening with today’s edition of Morning Rush with Kate McIlwain.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop