Leeds today: dogs, water, honeymoon, parrot, online, skydiving, trolleybus, and Vision.

It’s fresher’s week. The streets of Leeds are littered with 18-year-olds away from home for the first time, and so West Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Ambulance Service are providing a “rapid response” unit for alcohol-related incidents this week. On its first night the unit responded to seven incidents, including that of a drunken cyclist hitting a bus shelter.

Pet dogs are being abandoned to charities as economic troubles continue to bite, reports the Morley Observer. A kennels in Morley is taking as many dogs as they can from Leeds dog pound, with the hope of rehoming them. Brian Wheelhouse, founder of Whitehall Dog Rescue in Cave Lane, thinks that the economy was being used as an excuse by less than dedicated dog owners, however. An increase in larger dog breeds needing homes means the kennels work is harder, as large dogs are difficult to find homes for. The volunteer project is having an open day on Dec 4th to show that large dogs are friendlier than people expect.

Complaints to water companies have dropped nationally but risen in Yorkshire, reports the YEP. Yorkshire Water saw an increase in complaints but was still comparatively low in terms of complaints per customer served.

Also in the YEP is a Brighouse couple who claim their honeymoon was ruined as they were treated in a “homophobic manner”. A dream honeymoon to the Dominican Republic earlier in the year was ruined after the holiday company failed to treat them like other honeymooning couples. There were also problems with excursions and meal bookings, and they were moved (along with 60 other guests) to a different hotel.

The Halifax Courier has my favourite headline of the day: “Man accused of parrot fraud“.

LCC Library services are organising a week of events to encourage those not digitally inclined to explore the internet. Go On Leeds runs from next Monday to Friday and will feature events from short, informal drop-in sessions to structured, long-term programmes of learning. Go On Leeds is being driven by volunteer “local digital champions” and the organisers are encouraging people to come forwards to be a digital champion. Details on the website.

South Leeds youth activity organisation The Hunslet Club went on a sponsored parachute drop in memory of Ciaran Bingham. Is this sort of thing scary?

We all make a little small talk and then our instructors give us a last minute briefing of what we need to do. This is the point I realize that when this plane lands we aren’t going to be on it. Just after we get past 10,000 feet my instructor tell me to put my hat and goggles on. Stomach is churning now. I glance out of the window and the clouds are well below us and the sky is a brilliant blue. We get to 13,000 feet and the plane goes quiet.

I think the answer is Yes.

Holt Park Today are reporting on the new bid to get a trolleybus in Leeds. The scheme would see a terminus for the bus in Holt Park with the other end at Stourton. This is all part of a larger bid for funding from the Department of Transport that could see new train stations at Kirkstall and Apperley Bridge, as well as £25m of repairs to the inner ring road (both stories covered in BGL passim).

The Leeds Citizen takes a look at The Vision for Leeds (being released this week) and compares them to the results of similar exercises held in 1999 and 2004. Or tries to;

What’s baffling is that each time the Vision gets re-written there’s no indication of what progress we’ve made as a city towards becoming the best since the last time the Vision was written. The 2004 Vision, for example, spoke of making “a lot of progress” since the 1999 Vision, but offered little hard evidence to back the claim up.

Worth reading; there’s a comment from Martin Dean which points out where part of the supporting evidence comes from, too.

There’s a bit of art news in The Guardian Northerner (albeit, little in Leeds); in Hull, a statue given to the city by Iceland to commemorate the Cod Wars was stolen, and the council has had to ask for a replacement. Also, Newcastle City Council are flogging 44 six-foot high human-like statues on eBay.

Commercial photographer Jen Bray, based in Garforth, gives some positive thoughts to East Street Arts, the arts org we’ve featured a lot in BGL’s pages.

That’s it for today; as ever, email, tweet or poke us with sticks if you have a story to tell. See you tomorrow!

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