Ambitious plans have been unveiled for a new #10 million museum devoted to Wedgwood pottery in North Staffordshire.
The museum, which is run by an independent trust, is to be built in parkland close to the Wedgwood factory in Barlaston, near Stoke-on-Trent. It will house a priceless collection of pottery, manuscripts, pattern books and paintings dating back to the 18th century when it opens in September 2007.
The project has been secured with the aid of a #6 million grant from the National Heritage Lottery Fund and #1 million from Advantage West Midlands, which will be delivered through its North Staffordshire Regeneration Zone.
It is expected to provide the West Midlands with a major new attraction drawing 100,000 visitors a year, including tourists from Japan, North America and Europe, students and schoolchildren from across the UK, and researchers keen to explore the museum?s extensive archives.
A former cleaner is studying to become a nurse out of gratitude to the hospital staff who saved her life.
Colleen Ismay, aged 50, left school with no qualifications and was working as a cleaner at Coventry City Football Club when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Surgeons at Walsgrave Hospital operated to remove a benign growth the size of a tangerine. Doctors told her if it had been left just a few more years, she would not have seen her 50th birthday.
Mrs Ismay, mother of 19-year-old Andrew, knew something was wrong when her sight started to deteriorate in 2000.
"I had to hoover the restaurants at the football club and once or twice the supervisor came and said 'you haven't done the restaurant' and I would say 'but I have'. There'd be some peas or something on the floor that I just hadn't seen. I couldn't see prices on things in the supermarkets. At first doctors thought it was glaucoma."
West Midlands councils have been praised for improving services in annual inspection results.
Birmingham received a major boost when it was awarded two stars out of four, in ratings based on the quality of the services it provides, value for money and responding to the needs of residents.
This is a huge improvement on last year's inspection, when it was named a "weak" council.
Birmingham is now performing to an acceptable level and "improving well", according to the independent watchdog the Audit Commission.
A new super police force covering half of the Midlands could start its life in debt after borrowing #42.5 million to pay for set-up costs.
The figure has been calculated in research work by the West Midlands, Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire forces - which are likely to merge under plans being considered by the Home Office.
Warwickshire Police Authority met to endorse the merger plan in principle, but members expressed concern about the financial implications.
Doubts were also raised about the public accountability of the new force, which will have a management board of 23 members, probably based in Birmingham, of which only 12 will be councillors.
Read more on these stories in Thursday's Birmingham Post