ABOUT TOWN: Make 2014 a stress-free year

Wollongong psychologist Merrylord Harb-Azar quietly does many things away from the spotlight to help her community.

Last May, without any fanfare, she signed on as a major sponsor of the Angels at Work fund-raiser for the Leukaemia Foundation.

And she is starting 2014 by offering free community information sessions on how to make it a less stressful year than 2013.

Mrs Harb-Azar and fellow West Street Psychology psychologist Emma Hancock are running morning and an evening workshops on January 31.

The focus is on how to keep de-stressed in 2014.

Their goal is to provide education and build awareness around the effects of stress and tips to manage stressful events.

Mrs Harb-Azar said the sessions would focus on symptoms, causes and skills.

"The opportunity to ask questions will be provided following the 45-minute sessions," she said.

"Following each session a guided mindfulness exercise will be offered and is optional to participate in."

Registrations on 4225 7711.

Pig Iron extras

Why Documentaries is still looking for extras for the January 22 filming of a re-enactment of the day when Bob Menzies arrived on the wharf at Port Kembla 75 years ago to try and stop a globally significant dispute prior to World War II.

Producer Sandra Pires said 200 men had stopped loading pig iron on a ship bound for Japan because they feared it would be used as munitions.

Menzies was met by hundreds of Wollongong people.

Ms Pires said many took time off work and school and prepared signs.

Emotions were high because the dispute had taken place over Christmas and nearly 3000 people were out of work because production had temporarily stopped at the steelworks.

Ms Pires is making a documentary about those events called Pig Iron Bob.

A key scene she needs extras for on January 22 is the one where the nickname was coined that would remain with Menzies when he later became Prime Minister, and stayed with him for the rest of his life.

"We would like 100 extras to be part of this filming if possible," Ms Pires said.

"Acclaimed Australian actor Bob Baines is playing the part of Bob Menzies and will be arriving in ... possibly the same car!"

Anyone interested in becoming an extra can register at pigironbob.com.au.

Folk festival

Everything is gearing up for the Illawarra Folk Festival this weekend.

A 64-page souvenir program is now available online and hard copies at various locations.

Further information is available on 1300 887 03. The event features 150 acts from around Australia and the world in 12 venues on one site with free car parking.

Frozen yoghurt app

Frozen yoghurt store Clique Brothers in Market Street is using a smartphone app called Snapchat this month to communicate promotional offers to its customers this month.

Co-owner Nick Fabrio said the idea was new to the region and would help strengthen engagement with the store's customer base.

Small Biz bus visit

The NSW Government's Small Biz Bus visits Warilla on January 22 to give free professional advice to small business owners and operators in the Shellharbour area.

The bus will be parked in front of the old council chambers on the corner of Shellharbour and Lake Entrance Rd, Warilla, from 9am to 3pm.

Postgrad session

The University of Wollongong's Sydney Business School is hosting an information session tomorrow about its postgraduate program in 2014.

Anyone interested in studying an Executive MBA, MBA or professional Masters degree right in the Sydney CBD or Wollongong can find out more at 6pm in Building 24 on the main campus. Registrations on 4252 8507.

Medical and feeding

Rotary Club of Illawarra Sunrise members and members of the NewDay Church at Figtree are heading to the Philippines today on an annual medical and feeding program mission.

The team of 13 is lead by the club's international director and project manager John Bilboe and Myra Robinson, who are both members of the NewDay congregation. 

The team includes other Illawarra and Sydney Rotarians and friends of Rotary who are also demolishing and rebuilding homes to help the most needy in the community they are visiting.

Economic strategy

Shellharbour City Council's draft economic development strategy for 2014-18 is on public exhibition until January 17.

It provides the proposed overall strategic direction of the council's economic development activities for the next four years and follows input from a range of stakeholders from the public, private and community sectors.

Have your say

Wollongong City Council is also inviting the community to have its say on its draft economic development strategy.

It's on exhibition.

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