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

27-Jan-12, 13:03
John O’ Groat Journal review: January 27, 2012

PLANS for new primary schools in Wick run the risk of lengthy delays, after the Scottish Government announced it will be putting the Highland council’s consultation process under the spotlight. Local councillor Bill Fernie yesterday outlined a worst-case scenario where the allocated money for two new primary schools in the town is used elsewhere-at least temporarily. The fears were sparked when it was revealed that education minister, Mike Russell, is to check the process undertaken by the local authority when it consulted on the scheme to close the current four schools and set up two new primary facilities. However, Mr Fernie, chairman of the education, culture and sport committee, stressed that this is a worst-case scenario and that the call-in by the Scottish ministers could be resolved in as short a time as two weeks.

ALSO on the front page...landowners are being urged to take faster action to remove rotting trees from their land, to provide alternative sources of fuel to heat homes in the Far North. Landward Caithness councillor Willie Mackay said that for years, acres of mature trees have been left lying to waste across Caithness. But the problem intensified last month when winds of up to 85mph battered the Highlands, causing extensive damage to woodland areas as dozens of trees failed to withstand the extreme gusts. Mr Mackay said there is growing discontent in the county that trees are being left to decay and is now calling for them to be removed as soon as possible and be recycled for fuel.

INSIDE...the annual showcase of theatre talent in Caithness is set to be an all-western affair when the curtain goes up on the stage in Thurso next month. The Caithness District Scottish Community Drama Association has announced that this year’s one-act play festival will be held over two nights starting on Friday, February 24, in Thurso High School. Four drama groups will compete for a chance to progress to the regional rounds which will take place in Dingwall in the spring. Taking part in thie year’s contest will be Ormlie Drama Club, Mount Pleasant Primary School, Halkirk VillageDrama Club and last year’s winners, Thurso Players, who will be performing three plays. A notable absence from the contest this year, is representation from the east side of the county, with the Wick Players unable to appoint a director or form a cast to put together a performance in time.

PARENTS have blasted the actions of thoughtless motorists who constantly ignore speed limits during school hours when driving through a Caithness village. Sinclair Bay Community Council has received complaints from parents whose children attend Keiss Primary School about the number of vehicles which are seen travelling faster than the 30 mph speed limit, in the village. As a result, Northern Constabulary is set to carry out increased speed checks which could start as early as next week. Council secretary, Vicky Mackay, said the group has been having discussions with police over the past year, voicing parents’ concerns.

FEARS have been sparked that local postal charges could increase dramatically if media watchdog Ofcom gives the green light to proposed pricing changes. The communications regulator is considering limiting the Universal Obligation-a guarantee of the same service to everyone in the country-to second-class mail only. This could mean there would be no capped fees for what organisations could charge for first-class deliveries to the Highlands, according to the Federation of Small Businesses. All this comes on the back of a public uproar at the amount many carriers add, as a surcharge when delivering to the Far North. Chairman of the FSB’s Highlands and Islands region, Hamish Fraser, said he was “appalled” that Ofcom is considering this move.

FOR 50 years, a youth organisation has helped teach hundreds of youngsters in Caithness about responsibility and teamwork. Now, Thurso Sea Cadet corps is preparing to mark its milestone birthday in style, by holding a number of special events in the town during the year. Plans are at an early stage to organise a special parade through Thurso town centre in the summer, to honour the contribution the group has made to youth development in the west of the county, as well as a special event in December, which was the month in which the corps was first set up.

THE last time Wick Academy played Fort William, they danced an eightsome reel around their opponents with an emphatic 8-1 win at Harmsworth Park. But a trip to Claggan Park to take on the Highland League strugglers, tomorrow will be a far tougher prospect, as other clubs have discovered on their travels to the west. Brora Rangers found themselves in real trouble two weeks ago and were on the back foot for the majority of the game before a late revival secured a 3-1 win. Scorries manager, Davie Kirkwood, has said that since he has arrived at the start of the season, one thing he has taught his players is not to take anyone for granted.

AND finally...children in Russia know about John O’ Groats tatties and Staxigoe neeps-thanks to a tie-up with a school in Wick. Pupils at School 57 in the Russian city of Novouralsk have been learning about some of the components of a traditional Caithness Burns celebration which includes the tatties, neeps and haggis, from Harrold Brothers butchers. The Russian school has a link with Hillhead Primary and this term, the two are exchanging information about national writers. The Hillhead pupils have been relating details of their Burns celebrations while their eastern counterparts will be passing on information about the Russian writer, Puskin.