John O’ Journal review: August 26, 2011

POWER
should be returned to the people of Caithness, according to the local MSP, says the paper’s front page lead story. Rob Gibson has accused Highland Council of being “distant” and has proposed taking back certain powers to community level. The SNP policitian spoke out this week when he launched a public consultation seeking the view of the public over such a change.

Also
featured on page one, is the news that a Caithness athlete has fulfilled his dream of becoming a world champion. Team GB cyclist joined the ranks of cycling greats, such as three-times Olympic gold medal winner, Sir Chris Hoy, when he received a coveted Rainbow jersey, worn by the reigning world champion in any bicycle racing discipline. The 18-year-old, originally from Lybster, took the world title on Saturday for the under 19s individual sprint at the Junior World Track Championship held in the Krylatskoe Velodrame, in Moscow. Now living in Oxfordshire, the young sportsman said it was a surreal experience to finally achieve his goal.

THREE
members of a Chinese drugs gang have been jailed for a total of more than 10 years at Inverness Sheriff Court. Buildings at a former navy communications base on a farm near Thurso, were used by the gang for growing cannabis on an industrial scale. Police were alerted to what was happening at the base, by a local farmer who had leased the property to a Chinese man for 23,000 a year. Sheriff Margaret Neilson praised the farmer for his public spiritedness in alerting the authorities when he became aware what his property was being used for.

FORMER Marillion frontman Fish will be playing a gig in Caithness next week, as part of his current UK and European tour. The veteran Scottish singer, who joined Marillion 30 years ago, will be performing at Skindandi’s in Thurso, on Thursday night (September 1) He will be at the Ironworks in Inverness on Sunday and in Stornoway, on Tuesday before making his way to Caithness.

A NEW
play by a Caithness writer, described as a “Pandora’s box of identity”, is to be performed in Inverness next month. The New Purgatory is being presented by the Skraelings Theatre Company as part of the Play Pieces season of lunchtime theatre at the Ironworks on September 3. The play started life as a 15-minute piece by George Gunn, who had been commissioned by Iain MacDonald, a theatre student in Edinburgh, for his final year showcase.

PLANS
are afoot to build a permanent fire station at John O’ Groats, it has emerged. An application for the development has been lodged by the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service with Highland Council. Talks are under way with board members at HIFRS about replacing the existing temporary fire station. HIFRS property manager, Angus MacLeod, stressed nothing final had been decided, but revealed the present fire station at Groats does need to be upgraded.


THERE’S a page-and-a-half photo spread of the new pupils at Caithness primary schools and on back-page sport, Wick Academy bid to notch up their hat-trick of consecutive wins, when they visit Rothes, tomorrow. Manager Davie Kirkwood is certainly not under-estimating his opponents who, he says, have vastly improved from the side the Wick club beat twice, last season. Confidence is high among the Scorries, he added.