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

8.30am That's it from me this morning. Enjoy this sunny winter's day and pop back again tomorrow for another edition of Morning Rush.

8.24am Top Gun Australia has christened its new Wollongong operations by taking its first local passengers for a whirlwind ride in its L-39 Albatros, formerly owned by the Czech Republic air force. 

8.21am More than 1000 mourners packed into the Church of Christ at Figtree on Monday to farewell Sergeant Colin Stevenson, an officer attached to Wollongong police command.

Wollongong police inspector Brian Wyver said Sgt Stevenson was an active member of the community, giving much of his time to the Bellambi Surf Club.

‘‘He was a really lovely fellow, liked by all and with a good sense of humour,’’ Insp Wyver said.

‘‘He was just one of those genuine people who wanted to help in the community.

8.16am On this day in 1959, Singapore was declared a self-governing state; in 1965 astronaut Ed Crew performed the first American spacewalk; and in 2013 the trial of Chelsea Manning began for leaking classified material to Wikileaks.

8.13am STRANGE BUT TRUE $15,000 worth of Lego was stolen from a Victorian toy store last week, during two separate break ins. Police are investigating. That is a lot of coloured plastic blocks. AAP

8.08am On this day in 1959, Singapore was declared a self-governing state; in 1965 astronaut Ed Crew performed the first American spacewalk; and in 2013 the trial of Chelsea Manning began for leaking classified material to Wikileaks.

8.03am BREAKING A four-year-old boy taken from a Grafton child care centre yesterday has been located safe and well. Police stopped a white Toyota Hilux 4WD on Bent Street at South Grafton just before 7.30am. The child was found in the back of the car and showed no apparent signs of injury. A 29-year-old man was arrested at the scene and taken to Grafton Police Station. He is continuing to assist with inquiries. NSW POLICE

8am It looks beautiful outside but there is still a chill in the air, with top temps of 20 expected today. The roads and rails across the Illawarra are looking good for your morning commute.

7.55am Autumn gave us some absolutely glorious weather. Have a look at this selection of snaps by the fantastic Mercury photographers.

7.51am A new study has found people don't take hurricanes with female names as they do those with male names. But the female versions are generally more destructive than their masculine counterparts. Lesson - flee all hurricanes. HUFFINGTON POST

7.47am While indecent assault cases have increased in the Illawarra, across the state domestic violence and fraud are the only two major crimes categories to go up over the past two years. SMH

7.43am 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.

7.39am A proposal for a dog off-leash area at the southern end of Jones Beach, Kiama Downs is gaining momentum four years after a similar plan was rejected by Kiama Municipal Council.

Kiama councillor and Kiama Downs resident Mark Way said Jones Beach would make an ideal location for an off-leash area, given the south end was ‘‘hardly used’’ compared with other beaches in Kiama.

7.35am Police have made an urgent appeal for help from the public after a four-year-old boy was abducted by his father from a childcare centre in northern NSW. The boy was taken from the childcare centre in Grafton, near the border between NSW and Queensland, at 3pm on Monday by his father, Alessandro Bongiorno. Mr Bongiorno was last seen driving a white Toyota Hilux 4WD.Police have urged the public to be on alert and report any sightings of Mr Bongiorno. The vehicle is registered in NSW with the number plate AY 44 NI. Mr Bongiorno was last seen wearing a black singlet with white trim and a pair of shorts. He is approximately 175cm tall, with a medium build, olive complexion, and black hair. Any sightings should be reported to police immediately. AAP

7.30am The Heart Foundation is urging people to ditch the winter greys and blacks and break out some bright red – all in the name of a good cause. Go Red this June and help the Heart Foundation beat heart disease, the single biggest killer of Australian women.

7.24am In weird and wacky days of the year, today is Running Day (I’ll pass), Frozen Yoghurt Day (yum) and Hug Your Cat Day. If only I had a kitty!

7.20am A Scarborough man acted in self defence when he lashed out at his cousin outside a Woonona restaurant two years ago, causing him to fall, hit his head and die, a court has heard.

7.16am Put your Playstation skills to the test - Howlin' Wolf is holding a FIFA night tonight.

7.12am Just beautiful. Shellharbour breast cancer sufferer Trish Taylor has eschewed a wig to cover up her baldness, instead choosing to have a gorgeous henna design painted on her scalp.

7.08am WORLD NEWS Spain's King Juan Carlos is abdicating after almost 40 years on the throne and his son Prince Felipe will succeed him. SMH

7.04am Celebrating their b-days today are tennis player Rafael Nadal, singer Suzi Qautro and, for all the Lizzie McGuire fans, Lalaine, who played Miranda.

It's 7am, rise and shine. Things are looking gloomy now, but it should be a mostly sunny day. The roads and rails around the Illawarra are looking good.

6.58am LOCAL SPORTThe battle between Bulli and Dapto Dandaloo looks set to go the distance. As the season reaches the halfway point, the high-flying pair have put a buffer on their opposition at the top of the league.

6.54am June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. It is the second most common type of newly diagnosed cancer in Australia,and is the country’s second biggest cancer killer after lung cancer. But if detected early, it is one of the most curable cancer types - get yourself checked out if you have any concerns.

6.50am WORLD NEWS A 13-year-old impoverished Indian schoolgirl is thought to be the youngest female to climb Mount Everest. Malavath Poorna,  said she reached the 8848-metre peak on May 25 following a difficult climb.SMH

6.46am Wollongong City Council has denied it chose not to fund a crucial traffic study of the Keiraville-Gwynneville area in the hope residents would do it themselves.

6.42am Cute animal time methinks. This is possibly the best group of superheroes ever.

6.38am Drug tests for welfare recipients could only work if those who tested positive were funnelled into rehabilitation, the head of one of the Illawarra’s leading drug rehabilitation services says.

6.34am PM Tony Abbott got absolutely roasted by American comedian John Oliver on his satirical news show Last Week Tonight. The segment was full of clips of the gaffes the politician has made over the years, including the infamous wink hat landed him in trouble recently. You can watch it here.

6.30am MOVIES So there is a new Toy Story theory doing the rounds. A few months ago the theory on who that Andy's mum was in fact the previous owner of Jessie, Woody's sidekick. Now, here's the speculation on happened to Andy's father - and it's pretty sad. While hilarious, the Toy Story films can sure pack an emotional punch.

6.27am  Men’s Health Week kicks off next Monday. Dudes, take car of yourselves.

6.24am These adventurous puppies keep getting themselves int trouble -  NSW SES Wingecarribee and NSW SES Kiama were called to Robertson last night for a dog stuck on a ledge on the Illawarra escarpment. They are returning this morning to hopefully rescue the pooch. Last week, the Kiama unit and the Illawarra Police Rescue Squad rescued a staffy who became trapped on a cliff at Gerringong.

6.20am A NSW Supreme Court is likely to consider Tuesday whether to extend an interim supervision order for Bulli rapist, Terry John Williamson, for another 28 days.

An Illawarra Mercury petition to Mr Hazzard calling for Williamson to be placed under supervision for the rest of his life had received 1557 signatures by midday Monday.

6.16am Work will start on Picton Road at Wilton next month. The work involves road resurfacing westbound between Janderra Lane and the Hume Highway to provide motorists with a smoother surface and better travel conditions. Work will be carried between June 10 to 16 from 7pm to 5am, except Friday and Saturday, weather permitting. Partial lane closures and reduced speed limits will be in place during work. Motorists should plan their journey, allow extra travel time, follow all signs and the direction of traffic controllers.

6.12am SPORT The Dragons went down to the Rabbitohs 29-10 last night. Adam Pengilly has the match report here.

6.08am Here’s the national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Rolf Harris’ sexual assault trial has taken a dramatic twist, as a surprise find of video footage has led to him being accused of deliberately lying to the jury.

*Police have cordoned off an area of scrub in Praia da Luz in Portgual as part of their investigations into the disappearance old Madeleine McCann, mounting speculation they are about to start a digging operation. The three-year-old went missing in 2007.

*Australia has been dragged into the World Cup bidding scandal, with revelations a whistleblower has been flown to New York to testify to FIFA's top corruption investigator about Australia's controversial World Cup bidding strategy.

6.05am Here are some of the top stories in today’s Mercury

*Members of a gang responsible for a train graffiti attack at Otford allegedly threatened to kill rail staff if they intervened.

*Indecent assault cases in the Illawarra have increased at almost double the statewide rate over the past two years, according to the latest NSW crime statistics.

*Hotel Illawarra is the only local venue of the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing's list of NSW's most violent nightspots, with 13 violent incidents in the last year.

*Unanderra and Thirroul train stations were among the most frustrating stations for Illawarra commuters, according to the NRMA Seeing Red on the Rail survey.

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

WEATHER It definitely feels like winter this morning - it’s not even 14 degrees in Wollongong yet. Across the Illawarra it should reach about 20 degrees and be a mostly sunny afternoon.

TRAFFIC Looking good from Nowra to Sydney this morning.

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast Line.

6am Good morning Illawarra. Stay with your host Kate Walsh until 9am for the latest news and online goss.

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