Beleaguered council bosses in Northumberland have been left anxiously waiting for a key Government decision on whether they will have to find a further ÃÂ£11m in "horrendous" budget cuts.
County council leaders expected to be told yesterday whether ministers will allow them to use a financial loophole to avoid having to make almost ÃÂ£30m in savings this year.
But last night - as the authority revealed it has dropped plans to close a number of tourist information centres in Northumberland - there had still been no decision from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
A cut-price travel scheme for elderly and disabled people who are too frail to use buses looks set to become a victim of tough council budget cuts in Northumberland.
More than 800 vulnerable pensioners across the county use the scheme, which allows them concessionary travel in taxis because they are unable to use other forms of public transport.
They use council-issued vouchers, tokens or passes to pay for taxi trips to the shops, GP and hospital appointments or to visit relatives and friends.
A council facing serious financial problems is considering providing mortgages for people struggling to get a home loan because of the credit crunch.
Cash-strapped Northumberland County Council - which is having to make budget cuts of up to ÃÂ£50m over two years - is thinking of using its capital resources to help would-be home buyers who are being frustrated by the continued squeeze on lending.
A report is being prepared for the Liberal Democrat executive in March on the possibility of the authority giving mortgages "in certain circumstances" to applicants unable to secure a loan from commercial lenders.
John Shotton reckons Tynedale must keep shooting down the National One high flyers after downing promotion hopefuls Cambridge.
Tynedale edged out much-vaunted Cambridge 20-17 on the road at the weekend, building on their Sedgley Park drubbing to double their new-year win tally at the first opportunity.
Charlie Ingall's added- time try stole the spoils from Cambridge after Joe Graham and Dominic Shaw had earlier kept the visitors in touch.
Stocksfield came back from a visit to Newcastle University with three points in their return to Northern Alliance Premier Division action this weekend.
With 15 minutes to go Stocksfield got their breakthrough when Anthony Dowson's testing cross saw the home goalkeeper and his defenders in a mix-up.
Dave Below seized on the loose ball to hammer his winner into an unguarded net.
Paceman Charlie Ingall plundered a last-gasp try to steal Tynedale a win from right under Cambridge's noses at Grantchester Road.
Ingall's dramatic last-minute score guided Tynedale home to a 20-17 National One victory, with Gavin Beasley landing the conversion to rub salt into the wound. Cambridge had barged into a two-try lead early in the second half thanks to scores from Ben Cooper, Toby Berridge and Gareth McComb.
But Tynedale came storming back thanks to a late score from Joe Graham, and then that match-stealing Ingall effort.
Phil Belgian's early penalty and a try for Dom Shaw had kept Tynedale just about in sight of their high-flying hosts, but it was that late flurry that turned the tide and secured the points.
A new campaign aimed at thwarting travelling criminals who prey on isolated properties will be launched in Northumberland on Monday.
It involves county council community wardens, Northumbria Police officers and Northumberland fire and rescue service personnel visiting farms and other remote rural locations in the Tynedale area on a regular basis.
The relaunched Farmwatch campaign also includes partners from the county's west area local multi-agency problem solving group (LMAPS).
A saga over the building of a skateboard park in Northumberland is almost over with the facility on the brink of opening.
The park at Corbridge should be available for use in a matter of weeks, it was revealed yesterday.
Corbridge resident Lawrence Best at the skate park, which was built in the wrong place
The Journal has previously reported on the fall-out caused by Corbridge Parish Council building the facility in the wrong place in 2008.
Tynedale, meanwhile, can count on the return of former Falcons favourite James Hoyle when they travel to Cambridge.
No sooner had the full-back returned from one broken thumb than he broke the other when Tynedale lost out to Blaydon in Corbridge.
But now the ex-Sale man is back to fitness, and John Shotton said he hopes the skilful back has seen the last of his rotten luck.
Culling is still an effective tool in the fight against grey squirrels if done properly, say conservation experts as they begin a new programme of extermination.
Seven culling projects have received ÃÂ£24,000 and will soon begin in the North East - including several in strategic areas of Northumberland - in an attempt to save red squirrel populations from the grey onslaught.
The work will try to thin the number of greys so that the much-loved red squirrels have less competition and less of a chance of catching the dreaded squirrel pox virus.