Council funding cuts turn friends into polar opposites
Philip Atkins and Roger Lawrence are lifelong friends.
They first met as schoolboys at Denstone College in north Staffordshire, more years ago than either of them care to recall, and their very different career paths have eventually led them in remarkably similar directions.
They both now lead large local authorities which find themselves the closest of collaborators on the most ambitious of projects - i54, where Staffordshire meets Wolverhampton.
Close to the border between our biggest shire county and one of our big city authorities is the Midlands' most ambitious economic regeneration venture.
The i54 site extends over 226 acres. It's where cutting-edge manufacturers, including Moog and Jaguar Land Rover, are creating over 2,000 jobs - JLR alone is spending £500m on its giant engine factory there.
Alas poor Warwick: Who'd shed tiers in council reforms?
Picture yourself in Warwick, famous for its self-proclaimed "finest medieval castle in Britain", its racecourse and its refuse collections.
Yes, refuse collections.
Budget Day: What does it mean for West Midlands voters?
Just over a year to go to the General Election.
And for signs that the pace is quickening in parts of the country like ours, famous for our marginal seats, look no further than this most political of Budget days.
Greater Birmingham: Is there a soft rebranding?
For once it really is true to say it: the clue is in the name.
Make that "the names". Plural.
Training for trains: Railway towns bid for HS2 college
Costing around £20 million, it would be England's first new Further Education College for 20 years. Training the next generation of railway engineers for the age of the high-speed train, it could open in as little as three years' time.
It would unveil new horizons for specialists in rail construction and environmental studies.
West Midlands jobless figures point towards election run-in
This week's Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show unemployment is dropping faster in the West Midlands than anywhere else in the UK, outside southeast England.
And only last month, the accountants KPMG reported our region was leading the way on job creation too.
Councils battle between themselves over HS2 station
Divide and Rule - it's a tactic employed by the great generals in ancient classical armies, by feudal kings and by modern-day political power brokers.
And now the company charged with delivering the first stage of the £42bn High Speed Rail project, HS2 Ltd, is being accused of doing it too.
Why charities are counting the costs of council cuts
Stand by for yet another spike in the number of reports of further council cuts (or savings) leading to the loss of yet more local jobs and services.
It's the time of year when local authorities decide their budgets for the next 12 months, with an extra tightening of the belt dictated by George Osborne's Autumn Statement two months ago.
Combating the threat of extremism in Birmingham
In the constant struggle to keep the UK safe from what's become known as "home-grown" terrorism, Birmingham is one of Britain's most vulnerable areas.
I think back to a conversation I had a few years ago with a well-placed Home Office source.
Wolverhampton City Council stops spending to 'prevent insolvency'
Wolverhampton is not the first big city authority to raise the spectre of going bust. Birmingham City Council has said much the same thing for more than a year now.
It's become something of a "ritual dance" as councils struggle to draw up their budgets for the coming year.