Opinion: Council leader Barrie Grunewald

Dog wardens are one of those council services that many of us take for granted. But when there’s a problem their work is thrown into sharp focus.

Last week our team found two stray dogs – in a malnourished, neglected condition – wandering the streets of Newton. Both were filthy and underweight.

They were immediately taken to a local kennel where, I’m pleased to say, they are starting to recover.

Together with the RSPCA we are now trying to find for the owners.

Unfortunately it’s an all too familiar picture – but thanks to the work of our Dog Welfare and Enforcement team it’s one that we’re able to deal with quickly and effectively when it does occur.

Needless to say, there was no way of identifying the two dogs. We know the vast majority of dog owners take their responsibilities seriously, but there’s always a small minority – as in this case – who don’t.

So I’d like to remind everyone that dogs must wear a collar with a tag attached, showing the owner’s name and address. Soon it will also be compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped – with failure to comply resulting in a fine of up to £5,000.

Congratulations to Saints legend Keiron Cunningham, who has now been appointed coach at Langtree Park.

It’s a thoroughly well earned honour for a man who spent his whole career at the club – making nearly 500 appearances in the process.

And I think I speak for everyone when I wish all the very best to outgoing coach Nathan Brown, who leaves the club after delivering that fantastic Grand Final win last weekend.

Great to see 
hundreds of 
people in the town centre at the weekend for a real clash of the titans.

I’m talking of course about giant robot Titan – who arrived as part of the ‘Aliens are Coming’ event – and our very own world title contender Martin Murray, who popped along for some friendly sparring pictures.

It was a great day that 
really brought the crowds in and gave everyone the chance to wish Martin all the best for this weekend’s big fight.

With the weather starting to get cooler, it’s that time of year when many of start to think about 
switching on the central heating.

But for many of us it’s always a worry. Energy bills seem to increase and it’s tricky trying to keep tabs on just what tariff is the best one to go for.

Which is why it makes so much sense to join the Merseyside collective switch scheme. The third round has just closed – and organisers reckon that Merseyside residents have saved £143, 054 by changing their supplier.

Over 2,400 people took part in the latest Collective Switch. Those who switched saved an average of £203 a year on their energy bills. One Merseyside resident saved £825 and a significant number of people were able to save over £500 a year.

It’s organised by local charity, Energy Projects Plus, together with the six Merseyside local authorities – including St Helens Council. It works by inviting people to register their interest in the scheme, then using collective buying power to negotiate cheaper tariffs from energy suppliers. Householders can find out more about switching supplier by visiting www.LCRenergyswitch.co.uk or by calling the local Save Energy Advice Line on 0800 043 0151.