View Full Version : Fit's in 'e' Coorier 'e day

22-Feb-12, 11:38
Caithness Courier review: February 22, 2012

PLANS to make Wick the “leading light” of the Highlands are back on track, after getting the go-ahead from the Scottish Government, says the paper’s front page lead story. A month-long investigation by ministers into the consultation process for two new primary schools, ended yesterday, and local councillor and chairman of the local authority’s education, culture and sport committee, Bill Fernie, is delighted that the scheme can now move forward. Highland Council has been given the go-ahead to proceed with plans to replace the four primary schools in Wick with two new purpose-built schools, serving the north and south of the town.

EIGHT cancer patients have had to get charity handouts to help them heat their homes. Macmillan Cancer Support confirmed that a total of £5700 was awarded in financial grants to 16 cancer patients in Caithness. Half of them were given the money to help pay rising energy bills. The charity said it is “shocking” that people with the disease have to get help to keep warm. None of the local patients involved, were prepared to speak to North of Scotland Newspapers about their plight. But Elspeth Atkinson, the director of Macmillan Cancer Support for Scotland and Northern Ireland, said it is “unacceptable” that cancer patients, who can’t afford to heat their homes due to rising fuel bills, are increasingly relying on charity handouts to keep warm.

THE parents of a teenager, who went missing from his home for over 24 hours, have thanked members of the public for their overwhelming support. Imhotep Booth (13) disappeared from Lochdhu Lodge, Altnabreac on Friday, sparking a major search involving emergency services and volunteers. His mother, Tammy Conner, and her partner, Kevin Booth, have now paid tribute to all those involved in the operation which resulted in the teenager being found safe and well. The mother-of-three told the Courier that she had experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when she noticed that her son was missing.

KEEPING local children safe is set to come with a heavy price tag for local, privately-run, playgroups after a change in the interpretation of Scottish Government legislation. Up until now, nurseries have had free criminal record checks for volunteers. But a move by Scottish minister to close any loopholes in the law, means that they are now being classed as schools and face a £59 disclosure fee per volunteer. The move has been blasted by Wick Highland councillor and chairman of the local authority’s education, culture and sport committee, Bill Fernie who said that early years learning centres are already feeling the squeeze.

TROUBLE in pubs and clubs across Caithness has fallen drastically in the last two years since an initiative was introduced to reduce alcohol-related violence. Under the Caithness Pubwatch scheme, if a person is barred from one pub, he/she is then banned from all pubs in the area, and the result has been a drop in the number of incidents. The statement from the organisation comes after two Thurso men – Peter McGrory and Mark Macleod – were jailed last Friday for threatening to petrol bomb the Commercial Bar in Thurso. It was described as one of the most threatening incidents to take place in a bar in Thurso, in years.

CAITHNESS is bucking the trend in the North with the number of people claiming job benefit allowance, dropping in the last three months. Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show the number of people in the Far North signing on , has decreased slightly since November 2011. This is despite the overall figures for the Highlands and Islands showing that almost 1000 people extra are now claiming benefits. In the far North last month, 522 people were claiming jobseeker’s allowance, a decrease of 11 compared to three months ago. The figure for men who were unemployed in the county, also dropped with 345 men claiming JSA compared to 359 in November. The number of women out of work, has risen slightly from 174 three months ago, to 177 in January.

THE criteria that are likely to be used to judge whether under-threat Highland fire stations should remain open, have been questioned by a former firefighter and trade unionist. It comes after it emerged that a report levelled heavy criticism at that the way in which senior officials were running the troubled Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service. Crunch talks are scheduled in Inverness this week so the service and the regions governing fire board can agree on the criteria for assessing whether stations should remain open. The embattled organisation must find up to £4 million to pay for extra firefighters and improve training with an estimated 40 stations in rural areas, which receive few callouts, understood to be at risk of suspension.

AFTER making a big splash racing along the British coastline, a Caithness exile is hoping to continue his success in water motorsport. Duncan Johnstone dominated his category when he won every single race in the P1 Powerboat Aqua Cross British Series to be crowned British AM200 class champions last year. The 45-year-old, who is originally from Thurso, but now stays in Fareham in Hampshire, won the competition which was held for the first time last year, taking the podium in all five stages against a talented field of competitiors. But the network engineer is now hoping for further success and he aims to step up a level in offshore jet-ski racing.