View Full Version : Fit's in 'e Groat 'e day?

24-Jun-11, 16:49
John O’ Groat Journal review: June 24, 2011

THE paper leads on its front page with an update on the campaign to reinstate Wick’s passport office. Prime Minister David Cameron has been challenged over the closure, which has left one Thurso teenager facing a round trip of almost 500 miles for a 30-minute interview. Local MP John Thurso, said first-time applicants are now facing “unreasonable” journeys to other parts of the country for the interviews and brought the topic up, during prime minister’s question time, on Wednesday. He asked Mr Cameron if he is aware of the problems raised by the Home Office’s sudden closure of the office earlier this month. Mr Cameron pledged to look “very closely” into the situation but made the point, that in this modern age, there were all sorts of ways of carrying out interviews which didn’t require people to travel to passport offices. The prime minister added: “What matters, is having an efficient service so that people can get the decision they need to go on the holiday they want.,

ANOTHER page one story informs us that classroom assistants posts in Caithness, have been safeguarded for another year. Highland Council has agreed to recommendations by a cross-party working group to save 42 assistants jobs across the county. At a meeting in Inverness, councillors heard that the cost of keeping 344 assistants in Highland will be met by funding allocated by the Scottish Government, and the implications of future support, will be considered as part of the council’s ongoing budget-setting process.

MOTORISTS on the A9 negotiating Berriedale Braes may have noticed the loss of a longtime prominent landmark. The wind turbine, the first on the Scottish mainland to be plugged into the national grid, has been dismantled. It was erected in 1986 to meet the energy needs of Welbeck Estate in what was a pioneering development. It ceased operating in 2006-maintenance costs were escalating. During its spell in service, it provided just about all the power the estate needed and also supplied the grid. The turbine has been shipped to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland where its parts will be refurbished for use as spares in windfarms.

THE main front page picture shows the Wick Branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland marking Arm Forces Day with a flag-raising ceremony at Caithness General Hospital. Following a brief service the flag was raised by the Lord-Lieutenant, Anne Dunnett.

INSIDE there’s a report and photos of “one of the best harbour days ever”. Thousand flocked to the waterside to help raise a grand total of £8000 for the vital service. The event, which has been running for over a century, helps raise money for the Wick lifeboat. Coxswain Ian Cormack said that it was the most successful event that he can remember.

NORTHERN CONSTABULARY may be forced to make further reductions in its police presence as its budget continues to fall. Wick-based Chief Inspector Matthew Reiss said that plans for possible cuts would be announced in the autumn. The force has already had to reduce its budget by nine per cent during the 2011/12 financial year. It will also have to make further savings to five per cent in, each of the following three years. Ch Insp. Reiss said it looks unlikely that the financial situation will improve in the future and decisions regarding police provision, may have to be made. He added: “There remains the possibility that further cuts to police services will have to be made in the future.”

MOTORISTS IN Caithness have been praised for not driving under the influence of drink. Police said there
were no incidents of drink-driving detected in the county during the ACPOS Safer Summer driving campaign. The two-week initiative, which ended at the weekend, saw 28 drivers reported for drink or drug-driving offences throughout the Highlands. The campaign was designed to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads of the Highlands and Islands, at a time of the year when there are higher levels of traffic than normal.

THE organisation behind the creation of a new woodland paths network in Caithness has been boosted by a five-figure donation. The Friends of Newton Hill Woodland group was awarded £70,000 by E.ON to establish the community area at Newtonhill Croft, near Wick. Group chairman, Billy Nicholson said it was “thrilled” with the cash. He added that the donation would help them create community woodland that will enhance the area’s bio-diversity.

PROPOSALS to change the delivery of care services in the North, are being hailed as a better use of taxpayers money. Representatives from Highland Council and NHS Highland met councillors and members of the public, at a joint Caithness wards forum, in Wick, on Tuesday to discuss integration plans for care health and education and children’s and adult services. The proposals envisage NHS Highland becoming the sole body responsible for adult care services and the council taking responsibility for children’s services. Both claim the changes will improve the quality of education, health and social care services, ensuring they are effective and efficient.

A NEW Caithness charity is lobbying Highland councillors to support a local rural transport service facing huge budget cuts. Multiple Sclerosis People Caithness secretary, Jean McLennan, has written to local members about Caithness Rural Transport whose future was put in doubt, earlier this month. The door-to-door wheelchair-accessible low-rate taxi service faces a budget cut of 35 per cent this year from the local authority. Mrs McLennan said this would greatly impact on those with multiple sclerosis in Caithness.