Leeds today: robot librarians, Oates, Connoly, recovery, housing, TV and cautionary tales.

Morning, folks! Looks lovely out there today; is it shorts weather? Quite possibly! (But wear a jumper, mmkay?)

First up: the Yorkshire and Humber region has the second highest proportion of “business champions” in England, says the BBC. Business champions are small businesses that have “rapid growth potential” that shows the region is in recovery, however business leaders are more cautious, such as the Institute of Directors:

“These figures also owe much to sheer grit and determination to succeed against the odds because there has been little from central government despite its stated aim of decentralising and working to get rid of the north/south divide.”

From LCC’s virtual newsroom is a story about a trial to break up criminal networks via housing checks. West North West Homes is testing out a new policy on Hawksworth Wood and Holt Park whereby applicants for one bed properties will be checked out for criminal or ASBO-related history, and refused housing in that area if anything shows up.

Also on the Newsroom (which may become appropriate if people end up being refused housing anywhere) is a story about a combined healthcare and housing advice service being set up for the homeless in Leeds. York St health centre (which we mentioned a few weeks ago) and LCC’s housing options service get together for weekly sessions on George St aimed at people living on the streets.

Fancy finding out more about the Leeds Television thing that’s going on? There’s a public meeting about it on the 27th at the Carriageworks (we think). You can have the chance to ask questions of the players in this particular drama. Strictly on the QT, we hear that a newspaper publisher has been saying they’ll give their support to potential broadcasters (a requirement of getting the license) in return for being able to dictate pretty much anything they want. We don’t know if it’s true or just scurrilous rumour but the question might be asked at this meeting. Are you involved in the community broadcasting thing? Let us know!

Quick roads thing: the M606 is being resurfaced so the southbound carriageway will be closed for the next six nights, from 8pm. If you’re leaving Bradford at that time you might want to find a different route home.

From the “I never knew this” file: a Blue Plaque has been unveiled to commemorate Captain Oates at Meanwood Park, the former site of the Oates family home. Apparently the good Captain was a regular visitor to the home, which gives him local boy status. It was 100 years last Saturday when Oates died on his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole.

Blogger Alex in Leeds talks about the tragedy of the automated librarian in relation to the libraries that weren’t closed last year. A good read, and highlights what seems to be becoming policy; “librarians” are now only supposed to deal with the public when taking money for fines. I’m sure a lot of people who take MAs in Librarianship & Information Sciences will be pleased to know their education doesn’t go to waste; able to take jobs in lovely buildings and do the same sort of thing as someone on a till in a supermarket.

Of course if you’re famous you can do whatever you want; Billy Connoly, not content with being an author, actor, musician and comedian, is also an artist and his work is on show at Castle Galleries on Albion St. His work has never been exhibited before.

Over on South Leeds Life is news that a group of local volunteer organisations are forming a new partnership as of next Monday. The partnership should hopefully see better resource sharing but it’s also a gesture of solidarity, we feel. A “Together We Stand” sort of thing. Good on you, guys.

Opera North’s Cautionary Tales is on tour at the moment around Yorkshire. If you were tempted to go & see if maybe this review by Bradford blogger Irna Qureshi on Culture Vultures could sway you. I particularly love the opening sentence:

When I told my six year old daughter that we were going to see an opera, she asked: “Does that mean we’re posh?”

Finally today, on the YEP we’re told that Jane Tomlinson’s son, Steven, will be one of those carrying the Olympic Torch along its route through West Yorkshire. Others include local heroes, charity workers and disabled sportspersons.

That’s it for today! We’ll see you tomorrow, and in the meantime if you have anything you’d like to tell us then we’re available via twitter or on email, and we can be found on facebook too. Now go on outside and get some vitamin D!

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