Leeds today: meerkats, woolgathering, poverty, beer, TV and DVLA.

Morning! Wednesday – halfway through the week. If you’ve got any more photos to submit then please go ahead and do so!

The BIG news today is Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s announcement of 20 cities to get regional TV stations, one of them being Leeds. Leeds is, obviously, on the list but other contenders include Grimsby and Preston, which are interesting choices. This is everywhere today and everybody has their own bias:

If anybody from the Leeds bids wants a current affairs editor (or a cookery bod, or a fashion bod) then get in touch. But, this could be one of those things that could be awful; the idea of cheap TV is about as appealing as “discount sushi”. Do it right, guys.

The DVLA has decided to close all 39 of its regional offices – including the one in Leeds – after repeatedly telling staff that they wouldn’t. The BBC reports that the plans were leaked last year and that the government says they’re necessary to provide more choice to customers. Cynics may wonder if this is just softening the ground and not all 39 centres will be closed, but honestly, providing more choice by closing service centres? It’s not just me who thinks this sounds like rubbish, is it?

The YEP has a chat to the leader of the Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust Rob Webster. These guys basically provide all the community healthcare services other than GPs; this is an interesting article about a service provider that does do good works for all of us, although to some it could just seem like another layer of bureaucracy.

If anybody want to send me to the European Beer Bloggers conference next year then I wouldn’t say no – it’s at the Metropole in Leeds, and is two days of drinking and talking about beer. Details were announced yesterday and it looks like a very good shindig indeed.

Leeds Wellbeing Centre explain a little about what they do in a blog post. If you’ve ever wondered, here’s how to find out.

The YEP has some quite funny video with the tropical World meerkats getting a visit from Father Christmas. Apparently to get the meercats used to the big red fellow some red velvet was placed in teir tank to habituate them. Seems to have worked.

The Woolgather Art Prize has been opened to entrants. This was a highlight of the art year in 2011, with a popup shop and gallery in Leeds City Centre and next year should be even more impressive. Artists in Leeds should be thinking about getting some work on show here.

At the other end of the spectrum, Mike Chitty has announced a followup to the “poor kids” innovation day that was held earlier in the year; Poverty in Leeds Innovation Lab will be in January and will be exploring ways of breaking the poverty trap; a worthwhile effort, and something that could be very productive.

Leeds collector Maria Spadafora writes about the Silver 70s exhibit at Leeds City Museum for the award-winning Culture Vultures. Maria has some of her collection on display in the exhibit which is on now.

Finally today, Martin Wainwright wonders: could the Archers be moving to Leeds?

That’s it! As ever, get in touch if you have something to say and we’ll try to say it for you. Don’t forget that we close up shop next Wednesday for the holidays, so if you do have something you’d like us to plug then please get in touch as soon as you can. See you tomorrow!

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