Steel was strong in April
Listen up: A federal senate inquiry into the future of the steel industry visits Wollongong for a day of hearings. BlueScope CEO of Australia and New Zealand Mark Vassella tells the inquiry closure of the Port Kembla steelworks would never be taken off the table as it needed to be in the black to justify future investment.
Clueless campers: An unhappy camper at a South Coast camping spot posts a video on Facebook of the mess left by a group of young men – including felled trees, beer cans and other rubbish. Their downfall comes because they spray paint their postcode – 2517 – on a tree. The vandals’ parents work out who it was and send them back to clean up their mess.
Social star: It is revealed that NSW Premier Mike Baird’s social media guru is North Wollongong man Tony Story. The news came to light because Mr Story was paid by the Liberal party to join Mr Baird on a week-long trip to Israel.
Pink fit: Men are twice as likely as women to be attacked on South Coast trains, according to figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. The news comes after rail union calls for trains to have a pink women-only carriages for their safety.
Bush walk: A canyoning trip goes bad for Shellharbour couple Judi Atkinson and Jason Gardner after their tour guide got lost and Atkinson fell 15 metres down a cliff, smashing her knee and pelvis.
Road warrior: Dairy farmer Craig Tate, who will lose his house when the Albion Park Rail Bypass is built, is angered by calls from Shellharbour MP Anna Watson that the project be fast-tracked.
Tough book: Shellharbour City councillor John Murray reveals details of his heroin-addicted youth in his memoir, To Hell with Smack. The book is published under the pen name of Rex Knowland.
Steel saviour?: Labor leader Bill Shorten visits the Port Kembla steelworks to launch his party’s six-point plan to help the steel industry.
School struggle: Figures obtained under freedom of information show Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts has the worst maintenance backlog of all Illawarra schools at $2.3 million. Smith’s Hill High School is second with $2.1 million and Oak Flats High is third with $1.8 million.
Hate crime: Unanderra barber Bilal El Mohamad is back at work after someone sprayed the phrase “f–k off dog” on his storefront. He believes it was racially motivated. His store would be vandalised again in May, with all windows smashed. As a show of support restaurateur Omar Nemer organised the #illsupportyou gathering, which saw dozens of people turn up to get a haircut.
Whoops: Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis sparks an uproar in the Liberal party after she signs a petition calling for a stop to the Shoalhaven and Kiama council merger.
Drunk drop-off: Police catch a Horsley mum dropping off her son at school while drunk. She blew 0.096 and she told police she’d drunk a bottle and half of red wine the night before. She lost her licence for 12 months and was sentenced to 150 hours of community service.
Peeping tom: Helensburgh pool employee Wayne Kenneth Pullen is charged over peepholes he drilled in the women’s change rooms. He would receive a 12-month good behaviour bond.
Big day: Double lung transplant recipient and organ donation advocate Jessica Sparks graduates in a double degree in law and journalism from the University of Wollongong and is the 2016 Chancellor Robert Hope medallist.
End of an era: The worsening traffic through the Thirroul CBD causes the cancellation of the local RSL sub-branch’s Anzac march. Sub-branch president Tony Starling says they cancelled it because “we just don’t want to get the public offside by causing traffic chaos” by closing Lawrence Hargrave Drive for the march.
Goodbye rose lady: Radenka Zvirkic, who went around the Illawarra’s pubs, clubs and restaurants selling roses for 25 years, dies aged 67 after a battle with cancer.
Nobel win: Cringila’s Henk Haasjes picks up his Nobel Peace Prize 28 years after it was awarded to him. In 1988 the prize was awarded to United Nations Peacekeepers who served from 1948 to 1985. Dutch-born Haasjes says the delay was because the Netherlands “doesn’t look after its veterans properly”.
Too bad: Paul Anthony Hansen, convicted after child porn was found on his electronic devices, fails in his court bid to be reinstated in his job as a plant mechanic job at the Bellambi Roads and Maritime Services depot after the RMS fired him.
Where’s the money: The strife continues for the Albion Park Aerial Patrol. A 2015 report on the investigation into the aerial patrol finances by UOW lecturer in forensic accounting investigation Ian Farghar raises allegations of financial mismanagement, fraud and concerns over the whereabouts of $750,000 in international drug money, part-payment for a sector of the business. There is no suggestion aerial patrol general manager Harry Mitchell was involved or was aware of the drug syndicate. Regarding the other allegations, Mr Mitchell said “I have nothing to hide. I’ve done nothing wrong”.
Farewell: Former NSW Premier and Illawarra MP Tom Lewis dies, aged 94. Mr Lewis served as the MP for the seat of Wollondilly for more than 20 years.