John o Groat Journal review: August 19, 2011

THERE was high praise in the paper’s front page lead story for Wick High School teacher Kevin Constello, tragically killed in a road accident at Weydale, on the A9. The 47-year old died, when his Peugeot car was in collision with a camper van. He was described as “a born teacher” and “an inspiration to his pupils”.

A COMMUNITY has been pledged £3000 to help get its dream of a new youngsters’ play park underway. Keiss Family Community Project welcomed the promise from the Dounreay Communities Fund at the weekend, which should help secure match funding for the new facility in the village. Chairwoman of the project, Vicky Mackay, found out about the boost on Saturday, after a day of fundraising at the annual Keiss mini-gala. She said: “We’re absolutely ecstatic” she said, and added: “It’s really moving forward, now.”

THE new £1.2 million dental facility in Thurso should be open to the public by October, “at the latest”. That was the assurance given by Alex Fraser, NHS Highland’s dental service development manager, at a meeting in Thurso, this week. She told members of the North Highland Community Health Partnership Committee that the lease of the clinic to an unnamed dentist, will be signed” very soon”. The new facility was welcomed by members who heard it will deliver services for around 6000 NHS patients. However, assurances were sought about the extent o private patients facilities and the numbers on the current waiting list.

OFFENDERS, given community service, seized the opportunity to give something back to the town when asked by a Wick businesswoman. Owner of Notions hair salon, Pamela Macadie and her family were keen to pay tribute to her late mother Memsie Bartlett who live in the town for around 40 years before she passed away earlier this year. The tribute took the form of a bench across from the salon.

A COMPROMISE is needed over controversial plans to close the inpatient ward at the Dunbar Hospital in Thurso, and reduce the hours at the primary care emergency centre. That was said by Landward Caithness Councillor David Flear after Tuesday’s North Highland Community Health Partnership Committee meeting in the Pentland Hotel. Under the plan, the Dunbar would be redeveloped as a centre for longterm conditions and accommodate all community services staff but members agreed to defer it after concerns were raised. They decided to look again at five key issues, including the vision for the Dunbar, the provision of palliative care in Thurso, the opening hours at the emergency centre transport and the impact on staff.

CAITHNESS is set to become a record-breaker when it hosts the biggest fundraising of its kind in the country. Final ppreparations are taking place for the Cancer Research UK Caithness Relay for Life, next Saturday, August 27. A record-breaking 74 teams have already signed up to take part in the overnight event at the Dammies in Thurso. Organisers have proudly declared they have attracted almost double the number of teams of any other Relay for Life in the country. Over 850 people will be taking part in the day’s festivities to raise money to help the charity fund research into curing cancer.

BIGGER, better, louder. That is the plan for this weekend as Wick’s very own music festival-B-Fest- returns to the Riverside, today. (Saturday) Founder Ryan Cook is striving to make the most northerly Scottish contemporary music festival, which is now in its second year, another success. With the backing of Moray Firth Radio and Monster energy drink, Ryan has managed to expand upon last year’s day of music with up-and-coming bands from across Scotland joining veteran giggers at the site on Saturday.

HALKIRK United claimed their second Highland League scalp of the season as they held their nerve to beat Clach on penalties. A heroic defensive performance from the west Caithness side, ensured their first-ever North of Scotland Cup semi-final. Alan Sinclair’s decisive penalty in the Harmsworth Park shootout sealed a glamour tie with Inverness Caley. Goalkeeper Graeme Williamson gave a heroic performance in between the sticks as the Inverness men failed to capitalise on their dominance. Score-Halkirk United 1...Clach....1 Halkirk won 3-2 on penalties.