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Nwicker60
16-Mar-11, 20:02
Caithness Courier review: March 16, 2011-03-16
THE once-coveted tag exclusive has been devalued over the years, certainly so far as the national press is concerned. It’s not uncommon, these days, for a daily paper to claim an exclusive when rivals are carrying the same story. However, the Courier, so far as I can tell, has a legitimate right to make the claim their front page lead story, headlined Vendetta fears over cop grudge. It tells of the fears of the wife of a long-serving Thurso police officer, because the family has been subjected to a vendetta. Cathy Souter and her husband David, have endured three vandal attacks in the last two months, and she is worried that the reprisals may escalate. The couple feel that the incidents are connected and could stem from Mr Souter’s job as a policeman. The attacks comprise white paint poured over the couple’s car and the tyres slashed on Mr Souter’s 4 x 4. Another of the family’s vehicles had its windscreen smashed. Mrs Souter has been critical of the Force’s handling of the case and has questioned why it has not yet been referred to its special vandalism task force. Chief Inspector Matthew Reiss said that officers are “fairly certain” the person behind the attacks is in the Thurso area and has appealed for any relevant information.

ALSO on a strong P1, there’s an account of the fire which broke out in Thurso’s Central Hotel. Customers and staff had to be evacuated after a chip-pan went on fire in the first-floor kitchen of the hotel. Top-Joe’s and Caffe Cardosi, on the ground floor, were also vacated and part of Traill Street and Olrig Street were cordoned off, as two fire tenders from Thurso and one from Wick responded to the emergency. Firemen used breathing apparatus to quell the outbreak and the damage is being assessed by owner Brian Cardosi.

THE page is anchored with the sad news of the death of popular, retired head teacher, Ian Mathieson, at the weekend. He had been in poor health for a few years and passed away at Caithness General Hospital in Wick on Saturday. As a mark of respect, the flag at his former school, Hillhead Primary, flew at half-mast. The current head teacher, Ally Budge worked with Mr Mathieson, a Wick Players stalwart for nine years, describing him as “very progressive” and “very supportive”. Mr Budge added: “Ian was ahead of his time in educational thinking and, in the mid-1990s, believed in things that would fit in with today’s Curriculum of Excellence. He was a very pleasant boss to work with, and was very supportive of the projects I did with the pupils, including those on the Second World War. He was keen to get the youngsters involved.”

INSIDE, there’s a good news story about the lucky Wick couple who scooped 500,000 on the National Lottery with a winning Thunderball ticket. The story broke at the weekend so naturally it, was already well covered elsewhere. But, in case, some of you still don’t know, the happy couple are Wick train driver, Alastair Cameron and his wife Isobel who matched all five numbers and the Thunderball. They are going to pay off their mortgage, buy a new car and go for a holiday. But their daughter and three grandchildren won’t be forgotten. The winning ticket was purchased at Wick’s Tesco store. Mr Cameron is going to carry on working but his wife, a special needs children’s driver has decided to put her feet up.

HIGHLAND Council says that measures have been introduced to ensure the corporate failings, which affected Caithness Heat and Power, are not repeated in any future project. It has put in place a total of 39 actions in a response to an internal review of the Wick-based enterprise and these actions have been acknowledged by an external audit and the Accounts Commission.

YOUNGSTERS in Thurso are hoping to claim a place in the history books after helping to smash a nursery rhyme world record. Children between the ages of two and five, at Mount Pleasant primary schools nursery and Croileagan, joined groups from across the country, for what was likely the largest-ever performance of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”.

SCHOOLCHILDREN in Caithness got an insight into the problems being experienced at a beleaguered nuclear plant in Japan. Professor Robin Grimes of Imperial College, London is a scientific adviser to the UK Government and is one of the guest speakers at this year’s Caithness International Science Festival which got underway in Wick on Monday. While he has been in the Far North, Prof Grimes has been answering queries from various agencies about the devastating situation at the stricken Fukushima nuclear site where there have been three explosions following Friday’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

A COLOURFUL report features the winners of the West Caithness SWRI bulb show. A total of 166 entries were judged by James Rosie and Cath Baikie, from Wick, and Lorna Gunn, Thurso, floral art.

THE company bidding to take over the running of Dounreay is facing flak over its plans to move the UKAEA pensions office from its long-established presence in Thurso. It emerged last week, Babcock International is gearing up to move the office to the business park at Forss. Community representatives welcomed the firm’s recent commitment to retaining the operation in Caithness and exploring opportunities to expand. But it is being accused of going back on a pledge to stay in Thurso. The 37 staff work at the former UKAEA hostel in Brownhill Road. Rev. Ronnie Johnstone led the protests at last Wednesday's meeting of the Stakeholder Group.

And finally...Showaddywaddy is to stage a gig in Caithness later this year as part of a nationwide tour. The rock ‘n’roll band, which has enjoyed success over four decades and notched up 23 top-40 singles, will perform at Wick Assembly rooms on May 20.
Now, where did I put my blue swede shoes ...?