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Nwicker60
23-Nov-12, 15:36
John O' Groat Journal headlines: November 23
A FAR north lay health representative is calling for an internal inquiry following damming criticism of the care provided to a local couple who lost their premature baby. Former Highland councillor David Flear's call has been endorsed by Highland MSP Mary Scanlon following Wednesday's release of the findings of a report into complaints raised by the couple with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. NHS Highland has apologised to parents after medical staff at Caithness General and Raigmore failed to follow guidelines of responsible care and treatment.

THE
far north is to benefit from the grounding of a North Sea offshore helicopter fleet following last month's ditching of a Super Puma transporting oil workers. Wick John O' Groats Airport is to be the new temporary staging ground for Chevron UK's activity in two far north oil fields over the next month. The British arm of the American oil and natural gas corporation has arranged a deal with Highland and Islands Airports Ltd, to chopper out to the Alba and Captain fields as the North Sea's entire Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma fleet remains grounded over the winter due to safety fears.

CAITHNESS is missing out on millions of pounds from passing cruise ship passengers because the county's tourism industry isn't cashing in on Scrabster Harbour's pulling power. Scrabster Harbour Trust claims more needs to be done to promote tourism in the area in order to reap the huge benefits of international cruise ship trade that has steadily built up at the port over the past seven years. The call to arms was made this week as the trust's board members look to develop the harbour as the major mainland hub for both business and pleasure maritime traffic in the far north.

HEAVE
ho-ho-ho was the cry when Santa made an impromptu appearance in Wick to help set up the town's Christmas tree. Santa and the dedicated local council gardening team braved the chilly weather around midday on Wednesday to welcome the tree to Market Place from the saviour of the Christmas spirit, local businessman James Innes. The eleventh-hour arrival of the evergreen, came courtesy of Achairn wind farm landowner, Mr Innes, who searched high and low after being contracted by cafe owner Morag Mackenzie who had agreed to source a town centre tree in time for tomorrow's fun day.

URGENT
work costing over 56,000 was carried out by Highland Council to prevent further deterioration and damage at an eyesore property in Thurso. That emerged this week following a public local inquiry held earlier this year, to consider a bid by the council to take over the properties at the corner of Princes Street andj Sir Johns Square. The inquiry was heard in March before reporter, Katrina Rice, who found in favour of the local authority's compulsory purchase application.

THE
Scottish Government provided a subsidy of over 26 million to Wick John O' Groats airport operator Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd once again this year. The Inverness-based state-owned enterprise recorded an operating loss of 969,000 acvcording to its 2011-12 annual report but passenger numbers for Wick John O' Groats Airport are up on the previous year.

A FAR
north farming co-op is confident a new buyer can be found for an up-for-sale Aberdeenshire abattoir which will enable its lucrative contract to continue. Caithness Livestock Breeders is upbeat that Porthlethen-based McIntosh Donald will find a new owner after it was announced that the north-east firm's owner, Vion, is to sell all of its Scottish and UK businesses.

PEOPLE
are being invited to find out more about the latest plans to turn the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters into one of the world's biggest maritime energy hotspots. An information day in Thurso's Pentland Hotel is to focus on the clutch of ventures which are among the first commercial-scale wave and tidal energy schemes being planned. Twelve project are being pursued which had the potential to harness 1600 megawatts of sseapower by 2020. Since being awarded leases by the Crown Estate, the developers have been surveying their sites and starting to prepare environmental impact assessments and undertaking engineering design activities.