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February 2011

Lancaster schools join 'The Big Pedal'

At least seven schools in the Lancaster and Morecambe area will begin an exciting cycle race called The Big Pedal next week (7th March), competing against around 260,000 children from 800 schools across the UK, to be the fastest school.

Conservatives "Call In" Lancaster Market Move Decision

Conservative Councillors have initiated a "call-in" of the City Council Cabinet's decision to investigate a proposal to move Lancaster Market to the City Museum building (see news story).

Halton to Host Eco-Fair next month

On Saturday 26th March - the end of Climate Change Week – The Centre@Halton will be hosting an “Eco-Fair”, as part of the community’s move towards a carbon neutral status. The event will offer a wide range of advice and products that can help reduce fuel bills and cut carbon emissions and will have stalls with everything from loft insulation and UV panels to eco-friendly cleaning products .

Labour councillors back retention of Police Community Support Officers

Local Labour councillors have joined those pressing for the jobs of Police Community Support Officers in the Lancaster and Morecambe district to be protected from public spending cuts. Next Wednesday’s City Council budget meeting (2nd March) will be urged by Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of the Labour group, to consider funding of PCSOs as a growth item.

Heroin found following Morecambe drugs raid

Police have seized £500 worth of heroin following a drugs raid at a Morecambe address. Officers executed a warrant at a property in Kensington Road at 6.20pm on Tuesday. A 48-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs. She has been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Green Party seeks candidates for upcoming Council elections

Lancaster's Green Party is urgently seeking serious candidates for the forthcoming Lancaster City Council elections (5th May 2011). “Many Green Party members work full time or have young families, so we are struggling to find enough people with spare time to devote to being a City Councillor," Emily Heath, who has been a Green Councillor for the last 12 years, told virtual-lancaster.

Appeal after collision at A65 Cowan Bridge

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a road traffic collision occurred on the A65 at Cowan Bridge yesterday (21st February 2011). The collision happened just after midnight this morning when a blue Peugeot 205, driven by a 19-year-old man from Kirby Lonsdale, has been travelling from Ingleton towards Kirby Lonsdale.

Morecambe Visitor Information Centre shortlisted for prestigious national tourism award

Staff at Morecambe Visitor Information Centre are celebrating the news that the centre has been shortlisted to receive a prestigious award at the national Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2011. Last September, Morecambe VIC (run in partnership with Lancashire County Council) picked up gold in the regional awards after beating off stiff competition to win North West TIC of the Year.

Runners prepare for 2011 Three Bridges Race

Local runners are being invited to take part in the next running of the well known 3 Bridges 10k Race, organised by Lancaster and Morecambe Athletics Club. This year's race will start at at 11am on Sunday 3rd April from the Clubhouse at Salt Ayre Sports Centre.

Dog owners urged to keep pets under control after harassment reports

Dog owners are being urged to keep their pets under control in the countryside following reports of livestock being harmed by the animals when they are off their lead - which have included the death of one animal. Carnforth police have received a number of complaints from farmers after a series of incidents in which pregnant ewes and new-born lambs have been harassed by dogs.

Conservative councillors condemn Council's plan to raise Pool and other admission charges

(Updated 23/2/11): Conservative councillors have hit out at a decision by Lancaster's Cabinet to raise the fees and charges for a range of services, saying they are excessive and unnecessary - and are challenging the decision.

Police appeal after Lancaster muggings in Denis and Shaw Street

Denis Street, Lancaster. Image via GoogleLancaster Police are investigating two robberies that occurred in the city in the early hours of Saturday (19th February) morning. The first incident happened on Denis Street when a 32-year-old man was attacked by the two offenders and had his phone and wallet stolen.

Drugs worth £2,300 seized in Morecambe

Police seized suspected heroin with an estimated street value of £2,300 during a Morecambe drugs raid. Officers executed a warrant at a property in Westminster Road on Wednesday 16th February and found around 23 grams of a substance that is believed to be heroin. A 25-year-old female was arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs.

Part of man’s ear bitten off in Morecambe assault

Police are appealing for information after a man had part of his ear bitten off in Morecambe in an assault in December. Between 6.40 and 7pm on Monday 13th December 2010, the owner of Central Car Sales on Whitegate, White Lund Industrial Estate was assaulted at the premises. Four men approached the 28-year-old victim on the garage forecourt and began to punch and kick him before making off.

Police appeal for witnesses after Lancaster canalside robbery

Police are appealing for witnesses after a man had his laptop stolen last weekend -- and was then thrown into the canal. The incident happened on Saturday 12th February between 10.00 and 10.25pm. The victim, who is a local man, was approached by two men as he approached the canal tow path from Ridge Street Bridge.

Charity seeks volunteer drivers in Lancaster and Morecambe

Preston Community Transport is looking for volunteer drivers to help them deliver services in the Lancaster and Morecambe area. Part of the charity's service provision is Community Cars Lancashire which incorporates Lancaster and Morecambe and Lune Valley.

Outing the Past: Lancashire LGBT History Month

Just launched in LGBT History month, Outing the Past is a blog from Lancashire Cultural Services celebrating LGBT History Month in February 2011 and continuing through the year. Over the coming weeks and months this blog will be bringing you stories, experiences and reminiscences from the LGBT community and their history as it attempts to uncover hidden history.

LCC Leader Geoff Driver Mocks Protesters as Cuts Budget Passed

Hundreds of protesters marched in Preston last Saturday, calling for Lancashire County councillors to vote against the budget.Stunned parents of disabled children wept in desperation today as Lancashire County Council Leader Geoff Driver exchanged jokes and mints with his Chief Executive Officer, while leading his Conservative majority council into a vote to approve a 25% reduction in council...

Locals set to bring cuts protest to the Lancaster stage

Theatre creatives across the UK - including Lancaster-based talent - are organising a number of events to protest at proposed cuts to the arts, the result of the government's hugely unpopular spending review which has resulted in local councils facing serious challenges to their public spending commitments.

Metal thieves targeted in crime crackdown

Scrap metal thieves are being targeted as part of a police crackdown in North Lancashire. Police have stepped up patrols after a spate of thefts in the Lancaster and Morecambe areas with items such as bicycles and stainless steel kitchen sinks being stolen. Exhaust systems, catalytic converters, a metal trough and road work signs have also been targeted by thieves in the last few weeks.

Appeal for information after Carnforth burglaries

Police are appealing for information after a spate of burglaries in the Carnforth area last year, some targeting local hotels and leisure facilities. The burglaries took place over a five day period in December and police are urging people to come forward if they have any information.

Police appeal following road traffic collision at A6 Yealand Conyers

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a Renault Megane was involved in a head on collision with a Ford Ka on the A6 Yealand Conyers last night (Monday 14th February).

New officer ready to tackle Lancashire's wildlife crime

Lancashire's new Wildlife Officer Mark ThomasA new civillian officer with a varied background in policing - including taking on terrorists - has been appointed to supervise investigations into wildlife crime across the county. Mark Thomas, 37, will now oversee wildlife issues for Lancashire Constabulary and will be based at the force’s headquarters in Hutton.

Roses are red, violets are blue, the Police are on Facebook, are you?

Lancashire Police has become the latest police force in the country to use the social networking website Facebook to communicate with residents and help combat crime.

Lancaster's Street Pride Scheme steams ahead

Lancaster City Council has joined forces with its public sector partners and local residents to roll out its popular Street Pride events across the district.

Opinion: Don't sit in silence over cuts to our libraries

Britain's Libraries Under Threat from the ConDems (Adapted from SchNews) As noisy protests continued against tax avoidance by big business and cuts in education and benefits another, altogether quieter, national campaign took off last week here in the UK at our most unsung of public services: libraries.

Bob Crow to Speak on Cuts at Lancaster Public Meeting

Bob Crow, plain-speaking leader of the UK’s fastest-growing labour organisation, the National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers (RMT), will be speaking about the government spending cuts at a public meeting at Lancaster Town Hall on Wednesday 23 February at 7.30pm.

International Women's Day Exhibition Needs Your Pictures

Tuesday 8 March is International Women’s Day (IWD), and the Lancaster group organising the celebrations would like your photos of women who have made an impact on your life, for a special exhibition, titled ‘Women Like Us’ at the Gregson, opening on the evening of IWD and showing until the end of March. Lancaster Women @ The Gregson (WAGs) will create an artwork from all your photos.

Lancaster Market to move?

One of the new designs for the existing market proposed in a new report Lancaster Market could move from its current location to new premises in the City Museum's current location, if a far-reaching proposal to address its deficit problems gets Council approval.

Campaign to get graduates to work abroad launched by government

Working in local government? Worried your job is at risk thanks to ConDem cuts in public spending? Well, there's good news - rather than spend money on creating or maintaining jobs for people in work here, instead, the Government is spending money encouraging you to go and be a civil servant in Europe! No, really.

Appeal after theft of RAF models and war memorabilia in Lancaster burglary

Police are appealing for information after a burglary at a house in Lancaster in January. The burglary happened between 9.30 and 11.30pm on Thursday 13th January at the house on Mearbeck Place. It is believed that the offender or offenders have broken in though the front door of the property while the owner of the property was out.

Lancashire Police seek public views on spending cuts

Lancashire Police is inviting residents in the county to have their say on policing ahead of proposed spending cuts. Lancashire Constabulary’s current annual budget is £300 million and it employs around 6,500 people (3,500 police officers and 2,500 police staff).

Garstang burglary evofits released - thieves who attacked with a pick hammer sought

Police have released evofits of two men they want to speak with following an attempt aggravated burglary in Garstang last week (Wednesday 26th January). The incident happened around 9.15pm at a residential address on Dimples Lane when two offenders have gained access through a side door. The men have entered the lounge where the family were sat watching television.

Protests Planned as County Council to Vote on Service-Slashing Budget

Protests are planned throughout Lancashire as Lancashire County Council faces a vote on plans to cut £179.1m from its budget over the next three years. According to their budget proposals, which you can view on the LCC website here (PDF download) the brunt of the pain is to be born by the Social Services.

Past meets present at Morecambe's Platform

Fun at the fair in wartime Morecambe. Photo courtesy Lancaster City CouncilLancaster City and Maritime Museums have been delving into their archives and stores to put together a brand new display at the Platform, Morecambe. "Come to Morecambe!" celebrates the town's development and heyday as a holiday resort.

Take advantage of introductory trader rates at Morecambe’s Festival Market

Ever fancied running your own business but don’t know where to start? Why not take advantage of the special introductory trader rates on offer next month at Morecambe’s Festival Market. This exciting opportunity awaits anyone wishing to expand or re-locate an existing business or those looking to start a new venture in a traditional, bustling and popular market.

All knotted up at the Storey for Chinese New Year!

Memento by Ed Pien. Image courtesy Storey Gallery on Flickr Memento, an exhibition by Taiwanese-born artist Ed Pien opens at the Storey Gallery this week (5th February). Commissioned by the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester, Memento is a contribution to Lancaster's Chinese New Year Festival.

Lancaster University hosts special seminar on Egypt

A special seminar on events in Egypt will be held by the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion (PPR) at Lancaster University this week to discuss the important recent and ongoing events in Egypt.

Council seeks views on new Morecambe Action Plan

Lancaster City Council is asking for your help in planning a new heart for Morecambe. Over the last year, the council has been talking to local people and now has a much better understanding of what they think about the centre of Morecambe and how it looks, feels and works.

Council warn on bogus charity collections

Two men suspected of posing as door-to-door charity bag collectors were stopped in a joint operation between licensing enforcement officers from Lancaster City Council and the police. Officers stopped a van being driven by the men on Morecambe Road on Friday morning at a routine checkpoint.

Residents Car Parking launches in Regent Street, Dallas Road area

New residents’ parking schemes came into force in the Dallas Road, Regent Street and Brook Street areas of Lancaster area today (1st February), leaving previously clogged up streets clear of cars. "Regent Street is almost totally empty," one resident told virtual-lancaster.

Police appeal after woman assaulted trying to break up a fight

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a woman was assaulted as she tried to break up a fight on Pitt Street earlier this month. The incident took place around 1.15 am on Saturday 22nd January when the 18-year-old Morecambe woman and her boyfriend were followed out of Ikys takeaway by a white man in his 20s.

Seatbelt crackdown as part of Operation Pathway

Drivers and passengers are being reminded to ‘belt up’ – or risk putting their lives in danger – ahead of a crackdown on the correct use of seatbelts. Throughout February, police officers across Lancashire will be carrying out roadside checks on motorists to make sure they are wearing seatbelts.