The search continues for a Northland mum missing since the start of May. Gaelene Bright, 69, was last seen in the early hours of May 1 when she left a friend's house in Waimamaku - a small rural village in south Hokianga. Last Thursday police located her white 2000 Holden Rodeo 4x4, with the registration number YW7634, around 500km away south of Te Kuiti. Her family is appealing to anyone who saw her truck - with freedom of speech bumper stickers on the back windows and bumper - between May 1 and 5, or anyone believed to have seen Bright in the past 16 days to contact police on 105 and quote file number 220511/2799. People can also anonymously report information via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
FENZ industrial action
The New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union announced on social media that more than 80 per cent of Whangārei's career firefighters attended a membership meeting on Friday to vote on industrial action. The union is holding meetings at career fire stations around the country to discuss a potential stand down and Fire and Emergency New Zealand's (FENZ) summary of offer. According to the union, several factors are behind the ballot such as concerns around staffing ratios, safe systems of work; and the issue of health and wellbeing claims - including for occupational cancer. Another big issue on the table is wages - a lack of increases, the terms of FENZ's wage offer, and the current level of pay.
Grants for writers
Northland writers can apply for cash grants to support New Zealand writers.
Applications are now open for the CLNZ | NZSA Research Grants to help writers research for their fiction or non-fiction writing projects.
Four grants valued at $5000 each are available to New Zealand writers. One of the grants targets diverse writers and topics, including writers from, and writing about parts of Aotearoa that are not broadly represented in writing and publishing, and projects on issues or subjects that are topical in present-day New Zealand.
Applications close on June 8, and for more info go to https://authors.org.nz/opportunities/clnznzsa-research-grants/application-guide-and-criteria-2022/
Bins get smart
Smart bins are being installed in Paihia, Russell, Kawakawa, Ōpononi and Pukenui.
The new bins use sensors that detect rubbish levels and alert maintenance contractors when they are nearing capacity and need to be emptied. A built-in solar-powered compactor enables the bins to store up to five times more rubbish than a standard waste bin.
The smart bins, supplied by Manco Environmental, have now been installed at the Paihia and Russell waterfronts where overflowing rubbish bins have been a significant problem during the summer tourism season. Providing extra temporary bins increases operating costs and negatively impacts the aesthetics of the local environment.
Funding came through the Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
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New road layout
From Monday, May 23, there will be a new road layout for traffic on State Highway 1 north of the Johnstone Hill tunnels in Auckland.
Hibiscus Coast Highway (HCH) northbound traffic will merge onto a small section of the new motorway, travel across Arawhiti ki Ōkahu and exit at the new Pūhoi off-ramp onto Pūhoi Rd, before connecting back onto State Highway 1(SH1).
The new road layout changes will be formed over one night on Sunday, May 22, from 9pm – 5am. SH1 northbound will be closed from Silverdale to Pūhoi while these night works take place, the detour route will be from Silverdale via Hibiscus Coast Highway.