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10-Jun-11, 13:50
John O’ Groat Journal review: June 10, 2011

THE paper leads with the shock closure of the Wick Haldanes store with the loss of 20 jobs. It follows an announcement by the company that it has called in the administratorand all 26 of the company’s stores are to close. Coreen Campbell, chairwoman of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council, said the Wick closure ran contrary to the current trend which had seen some new shops opening in the town.

A NEW dental clinic, due to open at Thurso’s Dunbar Hospital, shortly, should cater for around 6000 patients. That is the aim of NHS Highland chairman, Garry Coutts,who this week informed local trade union representatives that thefacility-built at a cost of around 1.3 million- should be operational “duringthe summer months”. It is expected three dentists and a hygienist/therapist will be recruited to work at the clinic, with 80 per cent of their gross income being derived from the provision of NHS dental services. The news was welcomed at a meeting of Thurso and Wick Trade Council on Wednesday night.

BACK page sport leads with the news that former Wick Academy co-manager, Richard Hughes, will be new boss David Kirkwood’s No 2. Richard and his managerial partner, IanMunro, resigned following a poor season, saying they had taken the team as far as they could. However, Tichie was offered the assistant manager’s post by Mr Kirkwood and “jumped at the chance”.

WICK High School can offer its pupils a bright future, according to its rector. Thomas McIntyre said the school is not going through a crisis, despite claims to the contrary. His comments came after 14 members of its parent council resigned last month. They claimed their concerns were not being taken seriously by senior management. MrMcIntyre told the paper that the parent council has an important role to play in the future of Wick High and he is looking forward to working with it. He added: “Since I have been rector, I have never had any problems working with the parent council."

THERE’s a big photo spread and report of the latest Scott Mackenzie Memorial Tournament, held at Bignold Park, Wick, on Sunday. It was held in memory of Scott who was tragically killed in a car crash in 2008. His family, together with East end Boys Club which he attended as a youngster, have held the tournament every year since 2009, in memory of the 17-year-old. Over 400 young footballers from eight teams took part in the event on sun-soaked football pitches. A total of 3,700 was raised on the day, with more contributions still to come.

A NEW Thurso father has hit out, after his mother had to spend five-and-a half hours in a hospital waiting room while his girlfriend prepared to give birth. Kris Smithand Morag McLean have praised the professionalism of staff at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, who carried out a Caesarean section to produce their healthy baby boy, Ryley. But 26-year-old Mr Smith is very unhappy about the way his mother June was treated, describing it as “diabolical”. He said she was left for over five hours in a waiting room and not allowed into the labour suite. Mr Smith has also taken up the cudgels about planned bed losses atR aigmore’s maternity wing, claiming it could well mean longer hauls for local mums-to-be.

A LOCAL council has called for “a really hard line” to be taken against people who drop litterand don’t clean up after their dogs. Landward Caithness representative, Robert Coghill, wants tougher action taken against offenders and stressed it costs around 3 million to pick up litter which hasbeen dropped by the public. He said: “It is totally unacceptable that this is happening in our villages, in our towns and on our roads, and something needsto be done to tackle it. It is scandalous this is happening in this day and age”.

THE iconic John O’Groats House Hotel will be turned into a “visual spectacular” this summer as the area’s long-awaited new dawn finally nears the horizon. Highlands and Islands-based artists met at the landmark on Tuesday to discuss giving it a final moment of glory before work begins on the first stage of the multi-million pound redevelopment of the tourist spot, later in the year. The currently defunct hotel will form the central art piece at Transform, a weekend of community celebrations, running on July 2 and 3, featuring street art, video projections, ceramic firings, storytellingand music.