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

9am That's it from me this morning, and for the week. Have a great weekend.

8.57am Looking for something to do this weekend? The Towradgi Beach Hotel Beer, Food and Wine Festival is on Sunday between 11am to 5pm, with live music from Marshall O'Kell and Kirrakamere. Kids are welcome.

8.54am Reporter Josh Butler overheard some great comments at the Steelworks hotel as the stack fell yesterday

*Can you take a Snapchat of me? I want to show my missus where I am.

*I missed it! I was in the bathroom.

Grab today's Mercury for our eight-page wrap on what went down (pun!) at the demolition yesterday.

8.51am Have you watched the Mercury's video of the stack coming down. We had eight photographers on the ground yesterday capturing the demolition from all different angles.

Check it out here - and make sure to read Angela Thompson's wrap of the day's events.

8.48am The Illawarra camping, caravan, 4WD, fishing & boating show is on this weekend Kembla Grange. Head down if you're feeling outdoorsy.

 8.44am CELEB NEWS Modern Family are apparently filming on Bondi Beach today - they seem to be trying to fit in as many iconic locations as they can! Snap some pics if you're up that way

8.39am Are you a skim mocha drinker? Or a double-shot, extra-hot cappuccino sipper, who likes a sprinkle of cinnamon for good measure. Check out this hilarious piece on what your coffee order says about you.

8.36am LOCAL NEWS The Jamberoo Red Cross is the star of a new book written by a local historian. Dorothy O'Keefe has a written a book on the history of the branch to commemorate its 100th anniversary.

The book will be launched at 2pm tomorrow at the Jamberoo School of Arts hall. Proceeds will go to Red Cross projects.

8.33am The Future of the Children Ministry - Australia presents an African Gospel musical concert to support charity in Africa. It's on tomorrow at 3pm at Figtree Anglican Church, and is free.

8.27am CELEB NEWS Robbie Williams is touring Australia this year. He's in Sydney on September 27. Though I SWEAR it wasn't that long ago he was last here.

8.24am Young adults conceived through IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies are just as healthy, smart and mentally stable as people conceived naturally, although they might carry a slightly higher risk of some illnesses such as asthma, an study by the Murdoch Children Research Institute has concluded. SMH

8.21am Legally Blonde is coming. Moonglow Productions is set to stage the musical for the first time in Wollongong on July 4-5 @ the WIN Entertainment Centre. Auditions are March 1 & 2. Head over to the website to book a spot.

8.19am Smart Casual: two words that can strike fear into the heart of otherwise fashion-savvy people. Are jeans okay? Open-toed shoes? Will a blazer be enough to make my onesie "smart"? Here are some tips on navigating the smart casual minefield.

8.16am TRAIN ALERT Passengers travelling towards Campbelltown on the Southern Highlands Line are advised to allow additional travel time due to urgent signal equipment repairs at Moss Vale.

8.14am Grammy Award-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw and composer Maria Schneider start the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s 2014 season with Winter Morning Walks, an orchestral song cycle written by Schneider for Upshaw. They're at the Wollongong Town Hall at 7.30pm tonight.

8.09am Let's have a look at national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Manus Island's police chief has criticised the Abbott government's running of the immigration detention camp on the island, suggesting the recent fatal violence could have been avoided. Police commander Alex N'Drasal said the protests were sparked by the failure to act on a list of grievances raised by the asylum seekers.

*Former Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull remains more popular than Prime Minister Tony Abbott almost six months after the Coalition came to power, a new national opinion poll shows.

*A front company for the family of disgraced former Labor minister Eddie Obeid has been ordered to pay almost $1 million to the state government over two cafe leases at the centre of a corruption probe.

8.06am Also in today’s Mercury

*The Foreman trial continues in Sydney. Yesterday a court heard Wollongong lawyer Katie Foreman’s estranged boyfriend and alleged killer Bradley Max Rawlinson told a Salvation Army officer just hours after his arrest that he’d organised to have her ‘‘scared’’ but had no idea she was going to die, a court has heard.

*The future of Gujarat NRE Coking Coal is still under threat from several firms pursuing liquidation orders.

Though Gujarat successfully settled a previous winding up order lodged by RUS Mining in October last year, since then 4.5 per cent Gujarat shareholder, UIL Singapore, has filed a notice of appearance with the NSW Federal Court and indicated their intention to liquidate the Illawarra company over a $15.81 million debt.

British Marine and Ultrabulk have also launched legal action, claiming they are owed $2.72 million and $2.79 million respectively.

*Shellharbour MP Anna Watson has called on NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner to explain why unplanned hospital readmissions for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District were significantly higher than the state average for the past two financial years.

8.03am Today’s Mercury has extensive coverage on Thursday’s demolition of the Port Kembla stack.

*Our photographers were out across the Illawarra to capture the stack’s final moments. Check out this comprehensive, all-angles video of the stack falling down.

*Here’s a frame-by-frame pic gallery of the stack falling.

*People showed up by the hundreds at key vantage spots across the region to watch the stack come down. The Steelworks Hotels was a particular favourite spot, with stacks (pun intended) of locals turning up for its stack party. Reporter Josh Butler was on the ground chatting to residents about their thoughts on the stack.

*Others were more concerned about the dust cloud the stack created when it hit the ground. Olive Rodwell, a member of the Port Kembla Concerned Residents Group, has concerns the dust cloud might contain  light particles that could cause lung diseases such as silicosis.

Great work by the Merc team!

8am Let's take a look at the roads and the skies

WEATHER Another sunny, if not overly hot, day. Top temps of about 22 degrees are expected across the region, with light southerlies throughout the day tending to south easterlies in the afternoon.

TRAFFIC It’s looking good on the roads this morning, just remember those roadworks at Gerringong and on Mount Ousley at Picton Road. 

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast Line

7.58am Is it too early too indulge in Easter Eggs yet? The supermarkets are selling them, but dietitians are saying not to touch until it's actually Easter. On one hand, Easter isn't for quite a while, but on the other, Easter eggs are delicious. Thoughts?

7.55am This business baby meme is doing the rounds. So cute!

7.52am The Eaton Gorge Theatre Company is performing Shakespeare's The Tempest in Wollongong Botanic Gardens between Friday, February 28 and Sunday, March 30. 

For your chance to win one of five double passes, head to this link and submit the entry form.

7.48am Illawarra Lapidary Club Rock and Mineral Fair at Stuart Park from 9am to 2pm on Sunday. Members of the club will be selling minerals, fossils, lapidary work, jewellery, books and lapidary equipment. There will be three rock scrambles this year at 11am, 12 noon and 1pm where children and young people can "bag" themselves a specimen.

7.45am ENTERTAINMENT NEWS The Entourage movie has finally begun filming. The film follows on from the TV show of the same name. Are people excited? Or is it too much of good (or now totally boring) thing?

7.42am CELEB NEWS Award-winning indigenous singer Christine Anu is urging Australians to listen to their hearts to help her create a one-of-a-kind new single.

The Illawarra resident has teamed up with Heart Research Australia and Metamucil, which have created an interactive heart-shaped pod to capture people's heartbeats to use as the rhythm for the song.

7.39am The Dragons have a new home in 2014 - The Dragons Den on the Illawarra Mercury website. Keep your eyes out for the page, which will launch later today.

7.37am Tomorrow is the Pink Stumps day game at North Dalton Park in Towradgi to raise money for breast cancer. There's also a "WAGS" High Tea from 2pm to 5pm. 

7.33am PK STACK If taxi driver Bill Talevski was a multimillionaire, he would have kept the stack and paid for its upkeep.

‘‘Once I met someone at the Greek islands and they didn’t know where Wollongong was but they knew Port Kembla because of the chimney," he told the Mercury.

Read his thoughts on the demolition here.

7.30am CELEB NEWS Sorry to break it to you ladies, but Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes are still very much an item. Reports have been circulating that the pair split, but according to E!News, Gosling was spotted at Mendes' house over the past few days.

7.27am Packing your lunch for the day? Instead of taking just fruit or muesli bar to nibble on, look for snacks that are high in protein. Dietitian Susie Burrell says protein will keep you fuller for longer, making it less likely to reach for the biccies at 3.30pm. Good snack choices includes nuts, a small tub of yoghurt and berries or hommus with veggie sticks.

7.24am FASHION NEWS Star Wars had made it into high fashion. Two fashion houses - Rodarte and Preen - used the films as inspirations for their latest collections at New York Fashion Week. Images of Luke, Yoda, C-3PO and Darth Vader made their way onto the fabric, a move branded "silly" by some and "fun" by others. I personally think it's awesome. You can see some pics here.

7.21am A 27-year-old Canberra man has been arrested for stealing a car with a baby inside. The Belconnen man will face court on Friday where police are expected to oppose bail. Police sparked an urgent search on Thursday afternoon when a seven-month-old boy was unknowingly taken by a car thief during a brazen daylight carjacking. About 2pm a woman stopped to offer assistance to a man who appeared to have broken down in the northern ACT suburb of Ngunnawal.The man jumped in her car, a silver Mazda, and drove off, unaware the boy was in the back seat, police said. About 8.25pm officers were told of a suspicious car in the nearby suburb of Weetangera and after a short car chase the man was arrested. AAP

7.18am Flix in the Stix is on at Glennifer Brae on Friday, March 7. This is the first year the short film festival has come to Wollongong, and also includes performances by Eskimo Joe, Illawarra bands and comedy band The Axis of Awesome. Get your tickets at http://www.flixinthestix.com.au/

7.15am LOCAL NEWS Researchers from the university's ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science have worked with collaborators across six countries to turn fishing line into artificial muscles that are 100 times stronger than the real thing.

7.12am LOCAL SPORT NEWS Dragons captain Ben Creagh believes a tough first-up assignment against competition high-flyers South Sydney is  perfect  for his new-look side heading into the NRL season.

While most preseason trials feature licorice allsorts teams meandering to uninspiring conclusions, the Dragons and Rabbitohs are full-strength  for Saturday's Charity Shield clash at WIN Stadium.

7.09am Let's have a look at national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Manus Island's police chief has criticised the Abbott government's running of the immigration detention camp on the island, suggesting the recent fatal violence could have been avoided. Police commander Alex N'Drasal said the protests were sparked by the failure to act on a list of grievances raised by the asylum seekers.

*Former Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull remains more popular than Prime Minister Tony Abbott almost six months after the Coalition came to power, a new national opinion poll shows.

*A front company for the family of disgraced former Labor minister Eddie Obeid has been ordered to pay almost $1 million to the state government over two cafe leases at the centre of a corruption probe.

7.06am Also in today’s Mercury

*The Foreman trial continues in Sydney. Yesterday a court heard Wollongong lawyer Katie Foreman’s estranged boyfriend and alleged killer Bradley Max Rawlinson told a Salvation Army officer just hours after his arrest that he’d organised to have her ‘‘scared’’ but had no idea she was going to die, a court has heard.

*The future of Gujarat NRE Coking Coal is still under threat from several firms pursuing liquidation orders.

Though Gujarat successfully settled a previous winding up order lodged by RUS Mining in October last year, since then 4.5 per cent Gujarat shareholder, UIL Singapore, has filed a notice of appearance with the NSW Federal Court and indicated their intention to liquidate the Illawarra company over a $15.81 million debt.

British Marine and Ultrabulk have also launched legal action, claiming they are owed $2.72 million and $2.79 million respectively.

*Shellharbour MP Anna Watson has called on NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner to explain why unplanned hospital readmissions for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District were significantly higher than the state average for the past two financial years.

7.03am Today’s Mercury has extensive coverage on Thursday’s demolition of the Port Kembla stack.

*Our photographers were out across the Illawarra to capture the stack’s final moments. Check out this comprehensive, all-angles video of the stack falling down.

*Here’s a frame-by-frame pic gallery of the stack falling.

*People showed up by the hundreds at key vantage spots across the region to watch the stack come down. The Steelworks Hotels was a particular favourite spot, with stacks (pun intended) of locals turning up for its stack party. Reporter Josh Butler was on the ground chatting to residents about their thoughts on the stack.

*Others were more concerned about the dust cloud the stack created when it hit the ground. Olive Rodwell, a member of the Port Kembla Concerned Residents Group, has concerns the dust cloud might contain  light particles that could cause lung diseases such as silicosis.

Great work by the Merc team!

7am Let's take a look at the roads and the skies

WEATHER Another sunny, if not overly hot, day. Top temps of about 22 degrees are expected across the region, with light southerlies throughout the day tending to south easterlies in the afternoon.

TRAFFIC It’s looking good on the roads this morning, just remember those roadworks at Gerringong and on Mount Ousley at Picton Road. 

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast Line

6.58am BREAKING OLYMPIC NEWS Canada women's hockey team beats the United States 3-2 in overtime to win their fourth consecutive Olympic gold.

6.54am Modern Family actress Sarah Hyland was allegedly indecently assaulted at The Sebel Pier One in The Rocks on Thursday night at a function for cast members of the show. Hyland, who plays Haley Dunphy, was allegedly groped on the chest by a man who had asked her to pose for a photograph. SMH

6.51am John Waters and Stewart D’Arrietta return to Wollongong from tonight until Sunday to perform Looking Through A Glass Onion. Illawarra Performing Arts Centre. For details and tickets visit ipac.org.au 

6.48am The Mercury’s sport journos will be launching some new columns this year. Watch out for some great new content

6.44am A cute animal pic while you eat your brekky

6.38am WORLD NEWS The violence in Kiev has so far claimed the lives of at least 67 people, with at least 39 people dying in Thursday's clashes, while 29 police officers had been hospitalised with gunshot wounds. SMH

6.35am OLYMPIC NEWS 17-year-old Russian Adelina Sotnikova has won the women's figure skating at the games - a massive upset for 2010 champion Kim Yu-na of South Korea.

6.32am CELEB NEWS The cast of Modern Family are still busy filming around Sydney. A few plot points from their upcoming Australian episode have been revealed, including dad Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) urging his family to join him on a Sydney Harbour Bridge climb and later having an allergic reaction to Vegemite. SMH

6.29am PK STACK Every reporter's worst nightmare - a streaker made his way into a live report from yesterday's stack demolition. Watch it here

6.25am FASHION NEWS This winter will be all about the colour black and the beanie, if last night's Myer autumn-winter fashion show is on the money. Not all that groundbreaking, really, but still very, very pretty. The SMH has a gallery of all the catwalk looks.

6.22am Happy Birthday to all the Pisces babies. Today is also the birthday of Alan Rickman, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Kelsey Grammer.

6.18am LOCAL NEWS Gerroa's infamous "bum tree" has been granted a short reprieve. Despite clearing work starting around the location on Gerroa Road, it appears the iconic tree won't be removed until the middle of next week.

6.15am LOCAL SPORT NEWS Wollongong Hawks management is becoming increasingly concerned about the club's future after another slow week of ticket sales.

The Hawks are averaging the NBL's lowest crowds this season at just over 2000 per home game.

6.11am Let's have a look at national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Manus Island's police chief has criticised the Abbott government's running of the immigration detention camp on the island, suggesting the recent fatal violence could have been avoided. Police commander Alex N'Drasal said the protests were sparked by the failure to act on a list of grievances raised by the asylum seekers.

*24-year-old Victoria Le-Huu has died follwoing a week-long battle in the intensive care unit at Westmead Hospital after being hit by a car as she left a music festival at Sydney Olympic Park two weeks ago.

Police said investigations were ongoing and they have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

*A front company for the family of disgraced former Labor minister Eddie Obeid has been ordered to pay almost $1 million to the state government over two cafe leases at the centre of a corruption probe.

6.07am Also in today’s Mercury

*The Foreman trial continues in Sydney. Yesterday a court heard Wollongong lawyer Katie Foreman’s estranged boyfriend and alleged killer Bradley Max Rawlinson told a Salvation Army officer just hours after his arrest that he’d organised to have her ‘‘scared’’ but had no idea she was going to die, a court has heard.

*The future of Gujarat NRE Coking Coal is still under threat from several firms pursuing liquidation orders.

Though Gujarat successfully settled a previous winding up order lodged by RUS Mining in October last year, since then 4.5 per cent Gujarat shareholder, UIL Singapore, has filed a notice of appearance with the NSW Federal Court and indicated their intention to liquidate the Illawarra company over a $15.81 million debt.

British Marine and Ultrabulk have also launched legal action, claiming they are owed $2.72 million and $2.79 million respectively.

*Shellharbour MP Anna Watson has called on NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner to explain why unplanned hospital readmissions for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District were significantly higher than the state average for the past two financial years.

6.05am Today’s Mercury has extensive coverage on Thursday’s demolition of the Port Kembla stack.

*Our photographers were out across the Illawarra to capture the stack’s final moments. Check out this comprehensive, all-angles video of the stack falling down.

*Here’s a frame-by-frame pic gallery of the stack falling.

*People showed up by the hundreds at key vantage spots across the region to watch the stack come down. Take a look at this gallery of the crowds.

*The Steelworks Hotels was a particular favourite spot, with stacks (pun intended) of locals turning up for its stack party. Reporter Josh Butler was on the ground chatting to residents about their thoughts on the stack.

*Others were more concerned about the dust cloud the stack created when it hit the ground. Olive Rodwell, a member of the Port Kembla Concerned Residents Group, has concerns the dust cloud might contain  light particles that could cause lung diseases such as silicosis.

Great work by the Merc team!

6.02am Let's take a look at the roads and the skies

WEATHER Another sunny, if not overly hot, day. Top temps of about 22 degrees are expected across the region, with light southerlies throughout the day tending to south easterlies in the afternoon.

TRAFFIC It’s looking good on the roads this morning, just remember those roadworks at Gerringong and on Mount Ousley at Picton Road. 

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast Line

6am Welcome to the TGIF edition of the Rush! Hope the week has been good to you all.

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