John o' Groat Journal review: August 5, 2011

THE
much-publicised new schools plan for Wick was always going to feature on the front page. The scheme, which is going out to consultation, envisages two new primary schools replacing the existing four. One of them would be built on the site of the present North School. The other on the new Wick High School campus. In the main, the plan appears to have been well received as “tremendously good news”.

ANOTHER well-aired story anchors page one. It sings the praises of Thurso High School teenager Charlotte Gordon, who is celebrating the best grades in Caithness, straight As. After completing her first year at high school, she was allowed to go straight into third year, due to her high marks. The student, who will be going into sixth year after the summer break, gained top marks in art and design, biology, English, geography and maths.

GOOD
news for film-lovers..history will be made in Thurso this week as the first film in 28 years is to be shown at Skinandi’s nightclub, the town’s picture house until 1983. The Picture House community cinema was launched last month, with the Justin Bieber movie Never Say Never and the YouTube hit, Life in a Day. Run by the Cinema For Thurso Group, it is privately funded to provide a movie-going experience in the absence of a permanent cinema.

LOCAL
firms need to be ready to grab a piece of the action as Highland Council lines up potential contracts worth around 57 million in Wick. That is the view of Caithness Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Trudy Morris, in response to an announcement from the local authority that the 37 million cash injection into the local economy for the new Wick High School, could be bolstered by two new primaries worth another 20m, if given the go-ahead. Mrs Morris said the collective worth of the contracts for the new community secondary school and the potential new primaries, could not come at a better time for local firms.

A PAGE five story contains an apology from the Ordnance Test Solutions which was to blame for the loud bangs shaking the county recently. The firm is carrying out tests near Loch More. Police were inundated with calls about the mystery bangs, said to be the loudest in the county since World War Two. Critics say that OTS must give notice for any subsequent tests.

THE success of Caithness riders at the Black Isle Show is well covered in a report and picture spread on page six.

THE Far North will have a new facility which can provide trained personnel to meet the future challenges of the energy industry. That is the view of Alan Ogg, North Highland College UHI assistant director of energy, technology and the built environment. He was speaking during the unveiling of the college’s new Engineering Technology and Energy Centre in Thurso. Construction of the 9 million project was completed by contractor Morrison Construction in March, with the interior modifications being put in place in time for the new term. The facility includes a new teaching zone which will be ready for use in September.

CAITHNESS Citizens Advice Bureau is now delivering free, face-to-face, money advice sessions. The initiative is part of the nationwide Money Advice Service which aims to help people take charge and stay in control of their money. Set up by the Government and funded by a levy on the financial services industry, it offers practical help for millions of people who need money advice, whatever their financial circumstances.

IF you’ve ever watched Strictly Come Dancing on TV and thought you’d like to shake your stuff on the dance floor...now’s your chance! For a fabulous charity dance competition in aid of Highland Hospice is set to salsa and jive its way into Caithness. Auditions for Strictly Caithness 2011, will be held in the Boys Brigade Hall, in Thurso on Monday (August 8) between 7pm and 9pm. Local men and women, with little or no dance experience, are invited to come along to meet the competition’s organisers if they are interested in participating. The competition, which is being media partnered by North of Scotland Newspapers, proved a big hit when it was held in Inverness, earlier this year, raising over 50,000 over three nights.

WICK THISTLE are looking forward to sampling life in the top flight for the first time in four seasons. The Jags cracked open the champagne on Friday after clinching the Caithness County League division two championship with a stress-free victory over town rivals Rovers. Three-nil ahead at the interval, Arthur Bruce’s men never looked in danger against a pithless Rovers side. Marc Gunn bagged a hat-trick with the other goals falling to Owen Harrold and Darren Shepherd.