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

8.35am That's it from Morning Rush this morning. Enjoy your Friday and don't forget to pick up so lovely blooms in honour of Daffodil Day today.

8.32am TRAFFIC UPDATE

8.30am Our talented photographers were nominated for several PANPA awards last night, but this fantastic entry from our Fairfax friends The Newcastle Herald took out the big prize for best news photo.

8.25am LOCAL HEADLINES

* A mum who claims her son was barred from participating in his school’s book parade because he was ‘‘embarrassing’’ staged a protest outside the school on Thursday. 

Wollongong City Council should object to recommendations which could pave the way for large residential developments on environmental land at Helensburgh, according to a staff report.

* As Wollongong police investigate the origins of a bomb hoax that sparked the evacuation of St Mary Star of the Sea College on Thursday, rumours have emerged it began with the ex-boyfriend of a student. 

8.21am There are some beautiful photo entries in our 2015 calendar competition.

Check out the huge gallery and submit your entry by 4pm today to win $500.

8.17am NATIONAL

A Sydney lawyer has been charged with dealing the drugs "ice" and GHB, as well as dealing in the proceeds of crime.

Police say they arrested the 34-year-old man on Thursday at an office in Martin Place in Sydney's CBD.

The solicitor is expected to appear in court on Friday morning where he will also face charges of resisting arrest and possessing a prohibited weapon.

8.15am COURTS

- A Berkeley man has avoided time behind bars on child pornography charges but will have to comply with strict conditions preventing him from having contact with children under the age of 16. Shannon Tuckerman used the email address "fiddiekiddler@hotmail.com" to trade dozens of images and videos of child pornography with at least 16 different internet users in late 2012.

- An Illawarra man who helped two friends break into a Dapto house and threaten three females with hammers will learn his fate on Friday. Brendan Ronald Halsey will return to court to hear his punishment for the violent home invasion after presiding judge Paul Conlon said during a court sitting on Thursday that he needed the night to consider an appropriate sentence for Halsey.

8.10am LOCAL NEWS

A man has been killed in a collision with a semi-trailer after exiting his vehicle on the Princes Motorway at Dapto on Thursday night.

Around 8pm police were called to an incident between the Princes Highway and Emerson Road turnoffs near Dapto. 

Inspector Brian Wyver from Wollongong police said a male had been struck by a truck and died at the scene.

Insp Wyver said it was believed the man had stopped his black BMW four-wheel drive on the motorway shoulder, before walking onto the road and into the path of an oncoming semi-trailer.

8.05am WEATHER

The sun has come out and it's warming up ever so slightly, with temps hitting 12.7 in Bellambi and 10.8 in Albion Park. But the radar is showing some rain off the coast so I would keep your umbrella handy if you're walking to work. 

Today will be a top of 17 degrees, with a few scattered showers forecast.

8am TRAFFIC ALERT

There's a truck broken down on Mount Ousley, near Mount Pleasant Road overpass, and one northbound land is closed.

7.55am Some food for thought as you brush your teeth this morning.

7.52am POLITICS (and deer)

Minister for the Illawarra John Ajaka faced questions about the delivery of the $100 million Port Kembla lease fund and expressed a burning desire to spot some of the region's feral deer during a budget estimates hearing this week.

"I drive down to the Illawarra and back at least once, if not twice, a week. To this day I have not seen a single deer," Mr Ajaka said.

"I would love to see one but I have not."

He's in the region today, so hopefully we can help him find one of the elusive ruminants.

7.48am MUSIC

One of the country's most talented saxophonists, Wollongong-born Nick Russoniello, will be in town tonight launching his first solo album.

Check him out at Wollongong Conservatorium tonight from 7.30pm.

7.45am WHAT TO DO THIS WEEKEND

If the skies clear up, perhaps you could try a spot of gardening. Apparently, it's hip again (was it ever considered not cool to garden?).

The SMH reports:

It’s time to resurrect your clogs and embrace dirty fingernails - because gardening is officially a trend. According to a poll of leisure activities taken from 500 people aged 25-35, gardening came fifth highest - above going to the cinema and visiting family (though below trying new restaurants and bars, natch).

Or here's an indoor project to try

7.40am DAFFODIL DAY

7.36am Mmmm... this has just popped up on my Facebook feed and it's making me hungry. Sonoma bread, baked in Sydney, is a real treat and any excuse is a good excuse to make a trip to Sandygoodwich.

7.33am NATIONAL NEWS

A mystery Queenslander and a 15-member syndicate in Sydney's west have catapulted themselves into Australia's millionaires club after winning $35 million on separate tickets in Powerball's division one on Thursday night. The major winner of the $70 million jackpot is holding an unregistered ticket in Queensland, a Tatts spokeswoman said.

7.30am WHAT TO DO THIS WEEKEND

A rainy weekend is the perfect time to cook up a storm. Check out these budget friendly recipes from Sydney chef Dan Hong (of Mr Wong and Ms G’s fame) for some inspiration.

7.25am And another property story...

The first property to be auctioned as part of the state government sell-off of public housing at Millers Point sold for $1,911,000 on Thursday night.

The house at of 119 Kent Street was initially marketed through McGrath's Peter Starr for more than $1 million. Due to the high level of interest, the price guide was was revised to more than $1.3 million ahead of the auction.

The private auction was held at McGrath Estate Agents' head office in Edgecliff with only vetted pre-registered bidders invited to attend. On arrival potential buyers were required to show their cheque book before they were were allowed to enter.

7.18am Speaking of real estate, here what not to do:

7.15am PROPERTY

Built as a miner's cottage, there's a charming circa 1925 Austinmer home up for sale which still has its original fireplace in working condition.

Much of the original timber, including floorboards and picture rails, has also been retained in the home at 13 Little Dunne Street.

Owned by the same family for the past three decades, it is now on the market for offers above $695,000.

Check out the gallery of pics here.

7.10am LOCAL NEWS

* A man has been killed in a collision with a semi-trailer after stepping out of his car on the Princes Motorway at Dapto on Thursday night. Around 8pm police were called to an incident between the Princes Highway and Emerson Road turnoffs near Dapto.

* A mum who claims her son was barred from participating in his school’s book parade because he was ‘‘embarrassing’’ staged a protest outside the school on Thursday. 

Wollongong City Council should object to recommendations which could pave the way for large residential developments on environmental land at Helensburgh, according to a staff report.

* As Wollongong police investigate the origins of a bomb hoax that sparked the evacuation of St Mary Star of the Sea College on Thursday, rumours have emerged it began with the ex-boyfriend of a student. 

* A Berkeley man has avoided time behind bars on child pornography charges but will have to comply with strict conditions preventing him from having contact with children under the age of 16. 

7.05am Good morning once again if you're just getting up or checking in with Morning Rush on your daily commute.

Let's have a look at the trains, traffic and weather.

WEATHER Here in Wollongong, the skies look pretty grey and foreboding but the rain is at bay for now. There'll be scattered showers throughout the day, though, so grab your brolly. It's a very chilly 11.8 degrees outside and only 8.1 degrees at Albion Park. We may be heading towards spring but rain and cold temps will stick around for at least another week according to the BOM.

TRAFFIC Nothing but the usual road works at Mount Ousley and Gerringong, as well as that damaged embankment which has been slowing traffic at Gerringong since earlier in the week. That car accident at Foxground has already cleared, so hopefully that means it wasn't too serious.

TRAINS There’s a few interuptions on the trains this morning:

The South Coast Line is partially closed between Kiama and Bomaderry due to signal equipment repairs at Berry. Buses are replacing trains.

And for our city commuters, there’s a bit of work happening on the Illawarra line:

- All station trains travelling towards Cronulla and Waterfall on the T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line are not stopping at Wolli Creek from 06:00 until 10:00 and from 16:00 until 20:00 on weekdays due to track repairs at Wolli Creek.

- Passengers who want to board a train at Wolli Creek to travel to Arncliffe, Banksia, Rockdale, Kogarah, Carlton or Allawah should instead catch a special shuttle bus to Arncliffe or a citybound train to Tempe then change for an all-stations train to their destination.

- Express trains, citybound trains and South Coast Line trains are not affected.

7.00am WHAT'S ON THIS WEEKEND

There's been a little bit of debate about the name of the Illawarra's beer festival, Froth and Bubbles, in the Mercury office. I personally think it conjures up images of pedicures, back massages and pink champagne more than beer and cider, but our beer connoisseur Glen Humphries chatted to the owner about its origins.

But no matter the name, we can't wait to get along to the WIN Entertainment Centre and taste some delicious beers this weekend.

6.54am TRAFFIC ALERT

There's an initial report of car accident at Foxground on Live Traffic, which will slow traffic even more at Gerringong where a road slippage has been causing havoc for the past few days. Please drive safety in the wet everyone!

6.49am If you’re celebrating your birthday on August 22, you share the happy occasion with Bridesmaids funny gal Kristen Wiig, who turns 40 today.

Other famous birthdays today include author of my HSC favourite (do they still make kids read this one?) The Shipping News, Annie Proulx, brilliant songstress Tori Amos, French composer Claude Debussy – who wrote the lovely Clair De Lune - and Modern Family’s Ty Burrell.

6.45am The Mercury has a new enewsletter - Mercury Morning Rush. If you like the idea of having your news delivered to your inbox each day, sign up here for your chance to win $500. Entries close September 8.

6.40am Now I love Ikea just as much as the next recent homeowner, but would I want to sleep there overnight?

In a one-night only stunt, Australians will be given the chance to bed down at IKEA’s Tempe store for a giant slumber party through accommodation booking site Airbnb.

Hmmm, I do love those pretend little rooms where they show you how to fit a whole house into about 10 square metres...

6.36am NSW POLITICS As ICAC hearings continue, Liberal MPs and candidates for next year's state election will be forced to sign contracts guaranteeing they will abide by donations laws or face disendorsement following damning evidence to the NSW corruption watchdog about the party's fundraising practices.

Premier Mike Baird revealed the extraordinary move on Thursday as he announced the government would introduce some changes to NSW election funding laws in time for the March poll before a panel charged with examining wholesale reform reports in December.

6.32am REALITY TV

Former Woonona girl Rachel Smith made her debut on melodramatic reality show The Bachelor last night and was the first of the intruders to nab a rose from bachelor Blake. We’ll definitely be watching how she goes as the show progresses.

Emma Spillett spoke to Rachel about her experience.

6.27am FEDERAL POLITICS Labor leader Bill Shorten has broken his silence about damaging rape allegations dating back to the 1980s after Victorian Police told him there was no case and no charges to be laid. In a move designed to put the issue behind him, Mr Shorten revealed he was the "senior Labor figure" subject to an investigation that had been concluded, asserting "there is absolutely no basis to the claims".

6.23AM WORLD NEWS

Two American missionaries who were sickened with the dangerous Ebola virus while working in Liberia are doing better and have been released from an Atlanta hospital, doctors said Thursday. Doctor Kent Brantly, 33, and Nancy Writebol, 60, both Christian aid workers, were infected with Ebola in Monrovia last month as the largest outbreak in history swept West Africa.

6.20am LOCAL SPORT Football South Coast chief executive Ann Marie Balliana believes the FFA will keep an even closer eye on the Illawarra as an option for A-League expansion after back-to-back overwhelming displays of active support. Mitch Cohen reports.

6.17am NATIONAL

Cardinal George Pell has strongly defended the so-called Melbourne Response as Australia's first comprehensive redress scheme for victims of clerical sexual abuse at the royal commission.

Appearing at the commission via video link from the Vatican in Rome on Thursday night, Cardinal Pell likened the Catholic Church's responsibility for child abuse to that of a ''trucking company''. If a driver sexually assaulted a passenger they picked up along the way, he said, ''I don't think it appropriate for the … leadership of that company be held responsible.''

6.13am OTHER TOP STORIES

* A mum who claims her son was barred from participating in his school’s book parade because he was ‘‘embarrassing’’ staged a protest outside the school on Thursday. 

* As Wollongong police investigate the origins of a bomb hoax that sparked the evacuation of St Mary Star of the Sea College on Thursday, rumours have emerged it began with the ex-boyfriend of a student. 

* A Berkeley man has avoided time behind bars on child pornography charges but will have to comply with strict conditions preventing him from having contact with children under the age of 16. 

* An Illawarra man who helped two friends break into a Dapto house and threaten three females with hammers will learn his fate on Friday. 

6.08am LOCAL NEWS

A man has been killed in a collision with a semi-trailer after stepping out of his car on the Princes Motorway at Dapto on Thursday night. Around 8pm police were called to an incident between the Princes Highway and Emerson Road turnoffs near Dapto.

6.05am

WEATHER As I said, more of the cold and wet today, and it looks like the showers are planning to stick around all weekend and into next week too. The temperature outside is about 12 degrees at Bellambi, or 9 degrees if you’re further south near Albion Park

TRAFFIC Nothing but the usual road works at Mount Ousley and Gerringong, as well as that damaged embankment which has been slowing traffic at Gerringong since earlier in the week. Be careful on the roads people – there was a horrible accident late last night on the M1 at Dapto.

TRAINS There’s a few interuptions on the trains this morning:

The South Coast Line is partially closed between Kiama and Bomaderry due to signal equipment repairs at Berry. Buses are replacing trains.

And for our city commuters, there’s a bit of work happening on the Illawarra line:

- All station trains travelling towards Cronulla and Waterfall on the T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line are not stopping at Wolli Creek from 06:00 until 10:00 and from 16:00 until 20:00 on weekdays due to track repairs at Wolli Creek.

- Passengers who want to board a train at Wolli Creek to travel to Arncliffe, Banksia, Rockdale, Kogarah, Carlton or Allawah should instead catch a special shuttle bus to Arncliffe or a citybound train to Tempe then change for an all-stations train to their destination.

- Express trains, citybound trains and South Coast Line trains are not affected.

6am Good morning Illawarra citizens and welcome to Friday August 22. We’re in for another day of chilly, cloudy winter weather with the chance of a few showers. Stay with me through the morning for all the goings on in the Illawarra as we head into the weekend.

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