The newest Northland police member has a few more teeth than normal. The police pup has been placed with a Far North officer and he's just over two and half months old. The pup was born part of the R litter of pups which means his name has to start with R. The pup will remain with the officer for six to eight months and be exposed to as many different situations as possible. The pup would be taken to places they might face as a working dog like stairs inside, public gatherings and places. Basic training starts almost immediately as the pup will be enticed to track by following a chain of food. Northland currently has five police dogs and handlers.

Measles cases on rise

The number of confirmed measles cases across Northland has climbed to 134. Of the six additional cases in the last week, five included relatives of previous patients and a work colleague of a confirmed patient. With the expected influx of holiday makers over the upcoming holidays, the Northland District Health Board is strongly urging parents and caregivers to ensure their families are protected against measles before the festivities begin. Children and young people aged between 1 and 24 have been the mostly affected by measles.

Safe beaches event

A Beach Safety Day at popular beach Uretiti aims to help people stay out of trouble in the water when crabbing, fishing and swimming. A large number of Auckland residents who travel north to go crabbing will also attend the day along with Drowning Prevention Auckland representatives. Today's activities begin with the arrival at Uretiti Tip Beach entrance at 11am and runs through to 3pm.

House values down in North

The median house price in Northland has dropped by 1.2 per cent from $505,000 in November 2018 to $499,000 in November this year, contrary to the national trend. According to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, the median house prices across New Zealand increased by 8.6 per cent to a new record high of $630,000, up from $580,000 in November 2018. Houses take an average of 33 days to sell. Northland is one of two regions, including Tasman, where the median house price dropped.

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Grants awarded

Foundation North distributed just over $3 million in its recent grants to not-for-profit organisations in the region. The single largest grant was $1,100,000 given to Te Hiku Sports Hub, a community-led initiative who sought funding to develop a multipurpose sports club and a new indoor pool complex at Moerua Park in Kaitaia. The development of the facility will offer a number of benefits to the community, from increasing engagement in sport, through to enabling local iwi to deliver their community services. Northland TV Charitable Trust, Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust and Jigsaw North Family Services (CAPS Northland) also received funding.

Proposed fisheries changes

Fisheries New Zealand starts consultation on proposed changes to catch settings for rock lobster and scallops for the new fishing year beginning April 2020. In Northland catch limits for rock lobster and scallops are proposed to be decreased. Fisheries also advocates an annual catch entitlement for trumpeter and white warehou in the northwest of the North Island. Consultations close on February 5, 2020. Visit fisheries.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/review-of-sustainability-measures-for-1-april-202 or email media@mpi.govt.nz for more information.

Brynderwyns lane to stay closed

The northbound passing lane on the south side of the Brynderwyn Hills on State Highway 1 will remain closed until March. Work to repair a failed retaining wall on the northbound side of the road has now been completed, however a second retaining wall on the same stretch of road is at risk of failing. Work will get under way to repair the second retaining wall in January. During the constructions, there is a lane open to traffic in both directions. Over the Christmas holiday period there will be no work on site and the temporary barrier will be moved back to widen the lanes and raise the speed limit to 80km/h. From the middle of January, the barriers will be shifted again, and a speed restriction of 30km/h will remain in place until work is completed in March.

Intermediate gets digital award

Whangārei Intermediate School has earned a coveted place among the world's most proficient digitally-immersed schools. The school is the first intermediate school in New Zealand to be selected as a Reference School by Google for Education. Reference Schools are recognised by Google for their outstanding use of technology to drive positive learning outcomes. The school has Chromebooks in classrooms, use Google's G Suite for Education, and has teachers with YouTube channels. Acting principal Paul Botica said qualified digitally-fluent teachers deliver computer-based instruction across 20 of their 23 classrooms. Next year the school will be 100 per cent digital.

Onerahi Christmas celebration

Onerahi's Annual Christmas Event will be held at Sherwood Park and adjacent areas of Community Hall in conjunction with the Onerahi Markets on today. There will be no street parade but a lot of entertainment, stalls and kids' novelty races. Santa will be present, too. The event runs from 9am to 1pm.