Leeds today: mayors, treasure, poets, films, summats, legends, and bird poo

It’s all heating up this Bonfire Night weekend here in Leeds. The Leeds International Film Festival kicked off with a bang last night of course. And there’s plenty more to come.

First up from the BBC: Leeds residents are to get the chance to set the powers for their own directly-elected mayor. A new consultation has been launched asking people in 12 English cities what areas of policy they want their city mayor to have power over. The public consultation will be open until January 3rd.

Meanwhile a campaign has been launched to raise £170,000 to keep a hoard of historic treasure in the county, where it is on display at Leeds City Museum. The West Yorkshire Hoard has been described as the “most significant find of Anglo-Saxon jewellery” in the area, including a strikingly ostentatious gold ring with a garnet gem. The collection is on loan from The British Museum and has been offered to Leeds Museums and Galleries on a first-refusal basis if the funds can be raised.

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy paid a visit to West Leeds Academy yesterday, visiting as guest of honour at a gala celebration for the recent opening of the school’s new £30m premises. The school was once branded as “failing”, but yesterday students put on a programme of live poetry, music and entertainment to welcome their special guest.

Not such great times for pigeon-fanciers however: as £50,000 of damage has been done by bird droppings in the area, blocking drains and causing flooding, Morley Town Council has agreed to a cull of pigeons. The council now must decide on how best to enact the cull: whilst the Pigeon Control Advisory Service (yes, there’s a Pigeon Control Advisory Service) traces the problem to poor waste disposal methods which give the birds the opportunity to over-eat, other councils in the country have introduced birds of prey into the local ecosystem (because they don’t release their excrement….?). A tricky one: maybe the folks at Leeds Summat can help….

Yes, Cannes may have its Summit, but here in Leeds we’re going one step further. The Guardian’s Northerner blog has this on this month’s “Leeds Summat”, and on the 1,000 people from across the region who will be at the event to debate the big issues of these tempestuous times in which we live.

From global problems to the local heroes solving them: no apologies for the shameless plug of my post on Culture Vulture earlier this week. Over the coming months I’m going around looking for the ‘Legends of Leeds’: unsung heroes, everyday people working hard to make others’ lives better and happier; great teachers, nurses, volunteers, campaigners, entrepreneurs, travellers; anyone and everyone with a story that ought to be told. Take a look at what I’m up to, and please get in touch with your ideas!

Among the Legends of Leeds has to include some of the people involved in Elsie, a community enterprise board working hard to help out businesses, arts groups and ordinary folk all over the city. Exploring Leeds has this.

Hebe Media has a great feature looking ahead to the 2.8 Days Later film challenge coming up this month.

And Katie (a.k.a. Leeds Grub) looks ahead to the Leeds Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) she is hosting at Left Bank Leeds next week.

Whatever you do this weekend, make sure you pick up a programme for the Leeds International Film Festival, and tell us what’s on your ‘to do’ list!

All the best until next time!

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