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

01-Jul-11, 13:06
John O' Groat Journal review: July 1,2011

THE front-page lead story reveals that a cost-cutting drive at North Highland College, which has seen 12 jobs go, has still left it £400,000 short of balancing its books. The college believes it has done everything it can to make savings, and is now asking the Scottish Funding council to step in and meet the deficit. The review has resulted in a handful of redundancies and will usher in major changes in the running of several of its campuses. Golspie’s Ross House had been earmarked to close, but it has won a reprieve while a move to close the accommodation at the former Burghfield Hotel, in Dornoch has been mothballed. The financial squeeze is set to get even tighter with a similar sized deficiet looming for the coming year.

ALSO on the front page is a piece about big brother coming calling on a group of feathered inhabitants of two islands between Caithness and Orkney. Dozens of teisties and bonxies are being captured, before being fitted with electronic tags that give details about their movements. The respective local names for black guillemots and great skuas, are the focus of a study led by a Thurso-based research. It is part of work being carried out to ensure the installation of marine energy turbines on the seabed of the Pentland Firth and in Orkney waters will not damage marine life. The project is under way at the Environmental Research Institute’s new base at North Highland College.

THE page one picture acknowledges the achievement of Wick youngsters who have been praised for their green-fingered efforts. To encourage as many local children as possible to get out into gardens and vegetable patches, the town’s flower baskets committee signed up some local schools earlier this year and gave them starter kits and a series of categories to compete in. After being judged by committee members, the two winners were announced as Hillhead Primary which took the best vegetable garden and most colourful garden for children titles, and South School which won best recycled container of flowers and best hanging baskets award.

INSIDE... A team of renowned Scottish street artists have descended on John O’ Groats Hotel this week as the building takes its last moment in the limelight before being redeveloped. The derelict 19th-century property is being used as a giant canvas by six artists taking part in a project which will culminate in the Transform event this weekend. The hotel project is being managed by DUFI which was set up in 2004 by Fin Macrae and Alister MacInnes. They are working with Richie Cumming, Fraser Gray, Martin McGuiness and Mike Inglis. All the artists know each other well, having worked previously in the street art exhibition, Rough Cut Nation, at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, in Edinburgh in 2009.

THE area’s Pictish ancestors provided the topic of study for Thurso High School pupils at Caithness Horizons, last week. A group of Standard Grade art pupils and their teacher, Rhona Hayley, spent three days studying and replicating the symbols carved into the two Caithness Pictish stones displayed in the centre’s foyer. With project funding from Museums Galleries Scotland, the project also had the support of Edinburgh-based John Borland from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, and local master stone craftsman, George Gunn, to provide historical information technical advice and practical support to the young people.

NURSERY teachers in Caithness are set to lose their jobs as part of a council plan to axe 41 posts in the Highlands. The decision made by councillors in February, but only disclosed to staff in a letter in May, was yesterday described as “short-sighted” and perverse by North MSP, Rob Gibson. It was also criticised as a “knee-jerk reaction” by a local nursery teacher who wished to remain anonymous. She said that under the plan, 41 posts including six in Caithness, would scrapped in a cost-cutting package. The staff would be replaced by a few principal teachers who would manage a number of nurseries.

THE champagne corks popped at John O’ Groats on Wednesday as a First World War horse-drawn replica ambulance arrived at the end of a 1000 mile end-to-end charity trek. The journey, from Land’s End, involving 21 horses and over 30 people, is set to win a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Half-a-dozen wounded current and ex-servicemen took part in the eight-day marathon which it is hoped will raise £1 million for the Help for Heroes charity.

LOCAL MSP Rob Gibson said he backed the public-sector strike which took place across the UK yesterday. His comments came as 30,000 workers across Scotland took aprt in a 24-hour protest against changes to pensions and spending cuts. The UK Government claims changes are needed as people are living longer and the cost of funding public-sector pensions is unsustainable. It wants employees to pay more into their pensions, work for longer, and accept a pension based on a career-average salary, rather than the current final-salary arrangement.

TWO longtime friends, who met in Egypt while completing their national service, have been reunited in Thurso-57 years after they last parted company. Alistair Geddes (78) and secretary of the town’s RBLS and 76-year-old Northampton-based Philip Sleigh shared a four-man tent while serving Queen and country in the Suez Canal zone. Mr Geddes has previously met two of his former bunk-mates but they had trouble getting in contact with fourth member, Philip, as they had known him by his middle name-Vic.

PROBLEMS with buses at Dunbeath are “not going to be solved overnight” according to the managing director for Stagecoach in the Highlands, but assurances have been given the firm will try its best to find a solution. Steve Walker has promised many of the matters raised at a Caithness Bus Users Group meeting in the village, last week, will be investigated and dealt with, wherever possible.