1. Devon and Cornwall Police has approved plans for a 2% rise in its share of council tax, but 700 police officers will still be cut from the force. It could have increased its share of the bill to 3.94%. The rise means the force costs £3 a year for a Band D taxpayer.
2. Firefighters won’t have a pay rise this year (1% at the most, according to Bob Walker from the Fire Brigades Union), but the Devon and Somerset Fire Authority has voted for a 25% expenses increase. Councillors and the Fire Brigades Union have described the move as “grossly out of order” and “disgusting”, says the BBC. They also voted for a 3% increase in their share of council tax.
3. Four Devon care home operators have won a judicial review on how Devon County Council pays for places in private care homes. They say their clients are older and more ill than ever before.
4. Dame Hannah Rogers Trust has received more than £20,000 to help establish Hannahs Food at its Hannahs at Seale-Hayne site – a new horticultural project for adults with learning disabilities to provide the trust’s Blackbird Bistro with fresh produce all year round.
5. Regeneration organisation North Devon+ has an aspiration for a mainline railway station in North Devon ‘to compensate for its network of mainly minor roads and its lack of a major sea port’, says the North Devon Journal.
6. Forcing people to say prayers at council meetings has been dubbed as “illiberal and intolerant” by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, and Bideford Town Council, who were the subject of a High Court decision banning prayers from council agendas, will to appeal the ruling. “In the interim period, prayers will be removed from the agenda and said before the start of the main meeting,” said a statement from the town council.
7. Plymouth’s Absolute Recycling has quadrupled its business in just six months. Business development manager Andy Hawkins told the Plymouth Herald: “Our annual turnover has gone from £300,000 last October to £1.3million now.”
8. Two pairs of skis used by Plymouth-born explorer Scott of the Antarctic, which went missing 57 years ago, have been recovered. One of the returnees was Dave Baker, who served in the US Navy and used them when he told people of his adventures. Captain Baker said: “Since 1957 I have spoken to over 50,000 people about my experience and the skis have been a key part of that presentation. It is now time to return them to their rightful place.”
9. The EMG Symphony Orchestra in Exeter is giving people the opportunity to see how a large amateur symphony orchestra prepares for a concert with an open rehearsal for their spring concert.
10. The people of Beer have been using an old telephone box to swap unwanted seasonal items with other in the community, but the project has been so successful the parish council wants to move the box from the village of Barline to the centre of Beer and change its use from a swap shop to an information centre with wireless communication. The box has been used to swap books, CDs, DVDs a bumper crop of apples and two vacuum cleaners.