17/02/2012 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight:


Police admit there is rising gang tension in Wolverhampton after


three shootings in 24 hours. We are tackling the gang members and we


expect to make arrests in the coming weeks.


Friends try to raise �50,000 to pay the medical bill of a holidaymaker


badly injured in the Canadian snow. Our town needs help, an MP's plea


after major job losses hit Kidderminster.


And Jamaican star Asafa Powell is in town to prove he is still a


force in world sprinting Good evening. It is always a


pleasure for me to go somewhere and do something really special,


especially when I am in the UK. Good evening. Welcome to Friday's


programme. Three shootings in 24 hours in the


same city. One man is in hospital after being shot in the legs as


gang tensions rise. The separate incidents happened across three


neighbouring areas of Wolverhampton and police say, as a precaution,


extra officers are on duty. We have been talking to those working with


youngsters to keep them out of trouble. The shooting in Whitmore


Reans was followed soon afterwards by another in Monsal Avenue in Park


Village. This is the third shooting in a single city and a single day.


I would say, in terms of reassurance, we believe these are


gang members shooting at a gang members. This is not likely to


involve a normal members of the public. We are tackling those gang


members. We have armed police responding to them on the streets


and we expect to make arrests in the coming days. A shot was fired


at a house. No-one was hurt. And then yesterday lunchtime, a third


incident in Showell Road in Low Hill. Again, shots fired at an


address, no-one injured. But a side from these other incidents, there


were two other shootings, one in this neighbourhood, last Friday, as


a wake took place, which some say was connected to a local gang. This


is a dispute about territory and respect. This charity is one of the


several groups trying to get peace back on the streets and they say it


is tense. We are trying to calm things down and resolve the


situation with the various groups. Very stressful, clearly. We were


about their safety and the public's as well. The local MP says that


cool heads must prevail over the weekend. There will be an increased


police presence in the city. I have spoken to the local authority about


this and I think it is the case that we need to all pull together


now to make sure that this violence does not escalate any further.


is tit-for-tat and it is targeted. But for many it is far too close to


home. Police arrested two 18-year-old men.


They remain in custody tonight. And officers are urging any witnesses


to contact Force CID at Bloxwich police station.


Still ahead tonight: Reaction from Stoke City after a Spanish wonder


goal leaves their Europa League hopes hanging in the balance.


She almost died from horrific injuries. Sara Baker broke her back


while snowboarding in Canada. But the 30-year-old from Birmingham is


now facing huge costs if she is to return home for rehabilitation. She


discovered that her travel insurance had expired, so a


campaign has been started here to raise up to �100,000 to bring her


home in a specially-adapted air ambulance.


This was the moment Sara Baker knew she would survive. In difficult


conditions, rescuers landed on a glacier to treat the 30-year-old


after she lost control of her snow board. The edge at the bottom of


the cliff was a big pit. It was pretty much a 20 ft drop. Sara


needed surgery to repair crushed vertebrae and she almost severed


her spine. Whistler is a popular resort and Sara was there helping


to set-up a restaurant with a friend. But her travel insurance


had expired. She will have to pay around �50,000 in medical costs, as


well as an emergency flight home. Back in Birmingham, her friends are


trying to raise money. She thought she had an annual policy, a silly


mistake. We have all done it before. We all need to make sure that the


debt travel insurance and that it is valid, because no one would


expect a �50,000 bill. Sara's family are with her at her bedside.


I am just devastated. I feared the worst. All I wanted to do was jump


on a plane and get here to be with her. I cannot think people enough


for all of the support that they have given me. I never experienced


pain at like this ever before. While there is a good chance Sara


will walk again after months of rehab, she has been told there's a


possibility she will not be able to have children.


And you will find more information on the campaign to raise cash for


Sara on the Midlands Today Facebook page.


A concrete block was dropped from a bridge over a busy road, hitting a


passing car in Telford. The incident happened just before 10


last night on the A442 at the Wombridge Interchange. The driver,


a 23-year-old man from Worcester, suffered bruised ribs after the


block hit his car. A 25-year-old man filmed driving


the wrong way along a busy dual carriageway as his friends cheered


from the roadside has been banned from the road for three years and


given a suspended jail term. Steven McInulty, from Coventry, admitted


dangerous driving and driving whilst disqualified. He was filmed


in Coleshill, Warwickshire by a group of young people gathered on a


grass verge. We heard earlier this week that


nearly a quarter of a million people are out of work in the West


Midlands. And the impact is being keenly felt in Kidderminster. Today,


the local MP said the Worcestershire town needs to


attract bigger businesses to stabilise its economy. His call


follows the announcement of 250 job losses at just two firms in the


Kidderminster, like many places, is feeling the effects of the


recession. Empty shops litter the town as the number of its residents


who are unemployed continues to rise. Sadly, the outlook for


Kidderminster does not look that bright. In October, a luxury


boatbuilder cut 37 jobs. Now they have announced 72 or more are to go.


That is about one-quarter of their entire workforce. And that news


comes as one of Kidderminster's other main employers has plans to


cut its workforce by 150 people. But companies say that the Job


losses are necessary to maintain the long-term future of their


businesses. Kidderminster has the highest unemployment anywhere in


Worcestershire. So what can be done? According to Mark Garnier,


the town's MP the answer is simple, bigger businesses. We need to


create a vision for the town and the district that says that if you


wanted to make carpets 20 years ago you could only come to


Kidderminster. We need to say that if you need to you this or that you


need to come to Kidderminster. People pay -- the owners of this


business have been set up since 1995 and they employed many people.


Last year they had a turnover of a quarter of a million pounds.


can never have too many small businesses. They are the heart of


Kidderminster. Small manufacturers will hopefully grow into medium-


sized and larger businesses. Business has got to start somewhere.


With more than one in 20 people unemployed in the town, new


businesses are desperately needed. Now the challenge is to persuade


them to come. Leading businessman Digby Lord


Jones has ruled himself out of the race to become Birmingham's first


elected mayor because he thinks it will be a job without any real


power. Lord Jones has told the BBC's Sunday Politics programme


that to make any major political impact, the mayor needs to be in


charge of the whole West Midlands region. This fabulous opportunity,


this moment when we could change Birmingham and the West Midlands


forever, if we do not lift our ambitions up to the horizons of the


West Midlands as opposed to just Birmingham, we will really miss a


trick because we have got to get around the world selling the West


Midlands. It is bigger than Scotland. We have so many


challengers and people who live in the West Midlands and they do not


differentiate about where they live and work. They are in a group


together and I think it should be a mayor of the West Midlands were


frankly it will fail. A referendum on whether or not to


have elected mayors will be held in both Birmingham and Coventry in May.


But while Lord Jones claims the role doesn't go far enough, critics


say it would actually concentrate too much power in too few hands.


Here is our Political Editor. They said yes to an elected mayor


in Stoke-on-Trent, Ali to vote No six years later. -- only to vote No


six years later. And despite step's epic drama, the man who burst do


the job here says it is time for Birmingham and Coventry to update


their local government. The if you are running Stoke City football


club, I do not think they would say it would be better if it was run by


a committee. We have leaders and that is why organisations succeed.


Voters will be asked to choose whether to retain the council


leader system or replace it with a 10 or Boris figure.


There are questions. What should be the powers of the mayor? Economic


regeneration is the Government's big idea, along with things like


housing and transport. But what would the councillors do?


Scrutinise the Meyer, of course, but also probably speak up for


their own local areas, which in turn leads to the question of


localism. How could the Meyer keep close to local communities well at


the same time acting as a champion for the City and the wider world?


Coventry's council has overwhelmingly voted against the


idea. There is no indication from citizens that that is what they


want. We could have a further election in November which would


cost us �130,000. Elected mayors Macey -- may seem a more American


or presidential. Here, November 15th will bring elections for


elected mayors potentially amongst other things, and that could be our


super Thursday. And Patrick joins us now. Does Lord


Jones have a point? It will be a position without real power?


The answer to that is that, to some extent, the job would be what the


candidate he was successful made of it. They will have an opportunity


during this campaign to sell to the electorate some extra powers beyond


the defined powers that the Government have set up. There is


the opportunity for the job to be moulded to a specific requirement.


Lord Jones is used to the business world. Politicians will say it is


about a politician -- persuading and bargaining. Peps we know about


-- we know about the referendums. What do you think the public mood


We could not find out in the streets to find many people talking


about the lord mayor on a Friday night, but political watchers think


that this city will deliver more voters than Coventry.


Thank you very much. And there will be more on elected


mayors on the Sunday Politics, from noon on BBC1 High streets may be


suffering in these times of austerity, but research suggests


our traditional markets are doing better.


More than half the market traders questioned in this region say


they're doing well and have suffered no loss of sales despite


the economic downturn. Bilston market in the Black Country,


still a focal point of the community. I'd just like the


atmosphere. It is still as good as the -- as it has always been.


very competitive. There are a lot of bargains around. Like most


markets it has a reputation for cheap goods, and many of the 150 or


so stall holders here say that is why business is still brisk.


think it your GP that he will take money. You have got to be cheap. --


if you are cheap that you will get money. You have got to be cheap.


A report has found that traders believe that 43 % - a row that 43 %


of traders believe that sales -- believe that traders... There are


less people coming out to the market. It might be the way they


are brought up or because of online shopping. Looking around, it is


true. Most of the shoppers are middle-aged or older. A if you


start easing -- losing the younger people then there will be eight


times that the older generation will pass on you. -- there will be


a time. It still appears that of many markets are holding their own.


Still to come on the programme: We're live in Telford as the spirit


of the Olympics lights up a lantern parade.


And temperatures reached a balmy12 Celsius in parts of the Midlands


today. The cold looks like staging a comeback during this weekend...


But for how long? Join me for all It's time for sport with Dan, with


football and athletics dominating the agenda tonight.


Stoke City have it all to do if they are to progress further in the


Europa League after losing the home leg last night. They lost 1-nil to


Valencia due to a stunning first half goal. And with the away leg to


come next week Stoke will now need to spring a real surprise to reach


the last 16. Just 50 hardy souls made the trip.


Mind you, when you come from southern Spain, a grey night in the


Potteries doesn't feel like a holiday. But Valencia's fans knew


they were following a classy side. Stoke fans were just hoping they


could raise a few eyebrows and cause a shock. But it soon became


clear Stoke were up against it. Goalkeeper Asmir Begavic had to


produce a fine save to keep Stoke level. But there was nothing he


could do when midfielder Mehmet Topal let fly. This was a truly


stunning effort. Stoke were left to feed on scraps of possession but


Peter Crouch nearly equalised in stunning fashion. But they had to


ride their luck after the break the post and Begavic's hell keeping


Valencia at bay. Stoke were kept at arms length for most of the game.


Ryan Shotton's deflected shot was their best effort on target. So now


Stoke City know they are really up against a class side. The good news


is they are only one goal down. do not think we played our best


tonight. We'd done OK. Hopefully we will get a win on the back of


Crawley. Now we have been up against them we will do better next


time. Never giving up hope, never. I am looking forward to Crawley on


Sunday. Second leg, maybe get a goal, extra time. I had been


watching this team for over 50 years so I know what it is like.


You do not give up hope on anything. Stoke will have 2,300 fans cheering


them on in Valencia next week. On the evidence of last night they


will need them to be in good voice. I think that for the first 50


minutes Stoborough great and everybody appreciated what a great


goal that first one was. -- Stoke were agreed. There was a bit of


pressure. I think the atmosphere never really kicked on because


Valencia was so good. It was a fight to the death.


Stoke are playing Crawley this weekend. Valencia will be playing


Barcelona. The Birmingham City manager Chris


Hughton is promising to put everything into pulling off an FA


Cup shock at Chelsea tomorrow. They are up against it as main strikers


Nikola Zigic and Marlon King will both miss the game because of


injury. But the manager is keen to make it a day to remember for


players and fans alike. It Wiz -- I think it is one that has filled us


with excitement. We are going to be going down to the quality of what


Chelsea have. We have 3,000 supporters going and they have been


wonderful on the road for us this season. It is one I am looking


forward to. Former Blues boss Steve Bruce today


made his pitch for the vacant manager's job at Wolves Bruce, who


was sacked by Sunderland in November, is on the interview


shortlist to replace Mick McCarthy at Molineux, with the club


insisting they are on course to have a new manager before their


next game at Newcastle. The bookies favourite for the post remains Alan


Curbishley. One of the world's fastest men


breezed into Birmingham today and promised athletics fans something


special at the National Indoor Arena this weekend. The Jamaican


sprinter Asafa Powell has been talking to Ian Winter. Slowly he


amble along, but do not be fooled, he is quite quick. The last time he


was in Birmingham he said a record at the Alexander Stadium. -- set a


record. I always try to do something special when I am in the


UK. They love me and I love the crowd as well. And you are going to


be back here in the summer for the training camp to London 2012.


is a start. It is a kind of a teaser for the upcoming Olympics.


Tomorrow, over 60 metres, he will be one of the biggest attractions


at the Grand Prix. The next will be Mo Ferre, who won the 5,000 metres


in Birmingham next -- bustier, and went on to be world champion.


His run last year brought the indoor arena to its feet. Not on


the debt he said a new European record, but he also knocked 10


seconds of a British record that stood for 29 years. It was really


dead. That record had been there for a while and then I broke it. --


that was really good. How conscious of you -- of the crowd are you?


is going to be good. The Olympics is just 161 days away, so now it is


getting serious. It promises to be another great


meeting. And there will be full coverage of


the athletics on BBC 1 and BBC West Midlands tomorrow afternoon and on


the BBC sport website. No excuse for missing it.


The Olympic Torch arrives in our region on Wednesday May 23, with an


overnight stop in Cheltenham. And, as excitement starts to build, a


special lantern procession is being held tonight in Telford with an


Olympic Torch bearer leading the way. Joanne Writtle is there for us


now, Joanne. As you can see, hundreds of people


have turned out here tonight. They are here for the parade in Telford.


The event kicks off a month of celebrations to mark the Olympics


and Paralympics, and one, the guests of honour is a particularly


special teenager. Sarah Thomas will be an official Olympic torch bearer.


Her nomination came about because she is a carer and she acts as a


mouthpiece for others who are carers. She has been described as a


true inspiration. Sarah Thomas has spent most of her


18 years caring for her mother who has multiple sclerosis. Learning


she was going to be an Olympic torch bearer left her speech was


also a up I cannot even remember my reaction. I was -- speechless. I


cannot even remember my reaction. From an early age, Sarah Laird


domestic tasks, and also does charity work. It is like our roles


have been reversed. She is the mum and she tells me what to do and


advises me. But being different has had its drawbacks. When I was in


primary school I got quite badly bullied because people would see my


mother in a scooter and think of weakness. I asked a friend, Wyken


your mother walk? -- why is your mother able to walk? I could see


that my mother could not walk and struggled more and other people


went to work and did not struggle. She met the Prime Minister as part


of her campaign work, lobbying for the needs of young carers. Every


week, she also volunteers at this market selling products for


disabled people. I do not dislike anything I do. I enjoy volunteering


and looking after mum and going to college and hopping my dad to an


extent. I do not find any of a hardship. I think most for young


carers would say the same thing. She is also working with her dad


who is also suffering from a ditch and a tray of -- degenerative


disease. And Sarah joins us now.


Congratulations on being named a torch bearer. You must be very


proud? A thank you very much. Yes, I am proud. What does it mean to


you? It was a complete surprise when I was told and it is such a


massive once-in-a-lifetime thing that I cannot even fathom the


meaning of it. It is amazing. had a number of nominations. You


even got one from a complete stranger who might you on a train.


You obviously create quite an impression. I must have done


somehow. We are friends now. It was such a surreal experience just to


be nominated who only knew my name and my college. They must have


known a little bit more! What does it mean to your parents? I know


that they are both very proud. I know that mum and dad have always


helped me with my charity work and I know they are really happy about


it. They did not lick -- like keeping it a secret from me. I


think they are proud parents. sure that they are a. Have a


marvellous time. Had a good night and think you for talking with us.


-- have such a good night and thank Now for a look at the weather. I


think you will barely have time to reach for the thermostat before the


mild air comes back again. A mild start to the weekend and then a


spell of squally rain tomorrow. Then it will turn briefly cold. A


mild start to the weekend and staying very mild this evening.


There will be some cloud that will produce the odd spit and spot of


drizzle. Temperatures will drop no lower than six or seven Celsius.


The mild air his burly -- firmly in place for tomorrow morning. There


is a dividing line between mild air and some much colder air coming in


from the North West. There are going to -- is going to be some


very heavy rain in some areas tomorrow, a company by some very


strong winds. Some places will brighten up but the cold air will


flood in from the North. It will feel quite chilly and quite fresh.


With the cold air continuing to dig its heels in, tomorrow night will


see a widespread frost. That could give as a bed of a problem with ice


as we go into Sunday morning. - regarded as a bit of a problem. --


give us a bit of a problem with ice as we go into Sunday morning. The


cold air will not last. The mild air will return with the south-


westerly winds. It will turn more unsettled but the cold will return


just briefly. A look at tonight's main headlines:


A look at tonight's main headlines: Rupert Murdoch confirms plans for a


new newspaper, saying the Sun on Sunday will launch very soon. And


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