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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 196

Date:- 17 April 2005

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ELECTRICAL Registration Officers would like to allay any fears regarding the postal vote process for voters on Merseyside.

Electoral Registration Officers have confirmed that individual households when completing their annual registration form have generated the vast majority of requests for postal votes. Except for only a handful of cases within each authority, the postal vote application form has requested that the ballot paper be forwarded to the elector at their home address. The promotion of the availability of postal voting in this way has resulted in the increase in numbers. 

On receipt of the completed postal votes, administrators at each authority will adhere to government guidance which stipulates that each postal vote must be witnessed by someone who knows the elector. In addition, officers will undertake random sample checks of elector signature's compared with their original application for a postal vote.

All candidates at the forthcoming General Election have also been issued with a copy of the protocol issued by the Electoral Commission regarding the handling of postal votes. 

Electoral Registration Officers would like to point out another misconception regarding the postal vote process. If you have applied for and been granted a postal vote you should receive it from Royal Mail around the 26 April 2005. Please complete the ballot paper and declaration of identity and return as soon as possible for receipt no later than 5 May 2005 or you may hand it in at a Polling Station in your Constituency on this date. 


Judy Garland - the legend reborn at LIPA

THERE are few voices that have surpassed the depth and emotion of Judy Garland. From the moment Francis Gumm, aka Judy Garland, walked on stage, audiences have been captivated by her emotion and distinctive voice. But who is the person behind the legend? This is all revealed in a new musical called Judy Garland being premiered at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts on 22 and 23 April. 

Judy Garland takes the audience on a journey through her remarkable life complete with her turbulent struggle with drugs, alcohol and three failed marriages, using her film and stage music. It tells of how an innocent teenager was conditioned into filming up to 3 pictures a year, whilst still striving to keep her own identity and why, at the age of 47, Judy was found dead in her apartment.

LIPA third year music student Beth Hodgson devises this brand new Judy Garland musical. She is only 20, and will also be playing the lead. Beth comments:- "When somebody told me that my singing voice reminded them of Judy Garland, I took it upon myself to learn more about the star. I was amazed by her extraordinary and interesting story and this prompted me to retell this as an honest and revealing account. My musical is the legend's true story - not the fairytale version.''

Beth performs 7 costume changes during her performance as Judy into vintage costumes mimicking the star's style. The show features such classics as "Over the Rainbow'', "The Man that Got Away'' and "Get Happy'' as well as some of the original dance routines featured in Judy's films and performances. 

Beth continues:- "I feel so inspired by Judy Garland, the music is so theatrical it is a dream to perform it and it is a privilege to relay her story. We've also transformed the LIPA bar into a piano bar for the evening, playing the music from Judy's era so that the audience can be transported back in time to her hey-day both before and after the show."

Judy Garland will be performed at LIPA in the Paul McCartney Auditorium on Friday 22 April and Saturday 23 April, starting at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £7 for adults, £3.50 for concessions. Advance tickets can be purchased via Unity Theatre box office, phone 0151 709 4988. 

Election candidates begin responding to Pensioners' Manifesto

WITH just a week gone in the general election campaign, Britain's biggest pensioner pressure group, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC), is releasing its first look at the candidates' reactions to its Pensioners' Manifesto.

So far around 100 candidates have responded, from the main 3 political parties, as well as the Greens, UKIP, SNP and Plaid Cymru. 

The points going to be commented on are the following:-

Raising the basic state pension to £109.45 a week for all of pensionable age

Raising the basic state pension every year in line with average earnings 

Providing all long-term care free of charge Introducing a free nationwide travel scheme for pensioners on public transport 

Replacing the council tax with a fairer system based on the ability to pay Introducing legislation to prevent age discrimination in the provision of goods and services

Joe Harris, NPC general secretary said:- "Whilst it's very early days in the campaign, we're hoping that by May 5 the vast majority of candidates will have responded to our Pensioners' Manifesto. If the parties want to win the support of older people in the constituencies, they will have to prove that they are backing our key concerns. Hopefully the local and national media will begin to publicise the details of those who have responded, so that older voters can then judge for themselves before going to the ballot box which candidates deserve their support. Those candidates who can't be bothered to reply, might find it even prevents them getting to Westminster.

The responses so far do indicate some interesting trends. Even candidates within the same political party don't necessarily share the same views on the key policies within the Pensioners' Manifesto and some are prepared to go beyond their party's official commitments and be more supportive. It shows that it's a 'buyer's market' - with older voters able to influence the candidates' views by only offering support to those who back the Pensioners' Manifesto."

New Home for Superlambanana

SUPERLAMBANANA, one of Liverpool's most contraversal pieces of public art, is moving to a new home. It will be moved from its present site to be placed outside John Moores University's Avril Robarts Learning Resource Centre in Tithebarn Street. It has been outside the former HQ of Joseph P Lamb and Sons, in Wapping for a number of years but its current site is now being developed for a luxury apartment block. Specialist contractors will move the 7 tonne sculpture onto a low loader last Thursday starting at approximately 6pm for its latest journey.

"Superlambanana has become a Liverpool landmark.

It was always intended that it would move around the city. It has been in Williamson Square , is in the south end of the city and is now moving to the north of the city centre. JMU were very keen to have it outside their building and this is a an area where there are a lot of young people who will be delighted to have a new neighbour. Tithebarn Street is also undergoing major works as part of the City Centre Movement Strategy so more and more visitors to the city centre will have a great view of Superlambanana."
said Councillor Mike Storey, leader of the City Council. 

Tithebarn Street is undergoing a £3m improvement scheme as part of the City Centre Movement Strategy, (CCMS), a £73m programme to improve the roads and public areas of Liverpool, developed by partners Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Vision and Merseytravel. Projects recently completed as part of CCMS include Williamson Square, The Cavern Quarter, the Covent Garden the East Moorfields area and Hunter Street/Byrom Street.

Superlambanana was designed by Japanese artist Taro Chiezo as part of the Artranspennine '98 Festival. 

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