John O' Groat Journal review: September 2, 2011

OPPOSITION
is growing to plans to use the rail line for moving consignments of spent fuel from Dounreay to west Cumbria, says the paper in its front page lead story. A local authority lobby group has condemned the proposal, adding concern already voiced by environmental groups. Highland Council has also complained about a lack of liaison between the Nuclear Deconmissioning Authority and affected communities. The controversy centres on a 44-tonne payload of uranium/plutonium fuel used to power the long-defunct DFR reactor.

A WICK
care home has been praised for its “caring and professional approach” to the people who use the service. An inspection carried out by Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (formerly the Care Commission) gave a very favourable report to the Riverside House Care Home which is owned by local businessman Robert More.

THE
devastating consequences of an accident, were brought home to pupils this week by the sister of a teenager killed in a car collision. Claire MacKenzie, from Wick, urged sixth-years to be responsible drivers and told them of her family’s heartbreak at the loss of her brother Scott. Northern Constabulary has been touring schools across the Highlands to promote the Driving Ambition initiative. This week, it visited Wick and Thurso High Schools where the police invited Miss MacKenzie (29) to give a talk on her experience.

INSIDE,
the paper reports that, despite a poor season weather-wise, there was a record entry at the annual Reay show and the Mey and district gardeners also put on a good show at their annual event.

A LOCAL
man who arrived in New York just before hurricane Irene struck the east coast of America found “the whole city had been stirred into mass panic”. Artist Ian Scott returned to the USA last Thursday after a holiday in his native Wick, just days before the hurricane struck the country. The devastating storms resulted in over 40 deaths, led to hundreds of thousands of people being evacuated from their homes, and caused billions of dollars in damage as it made its way across America and into Canada.

CAITHNESS
engineering company Numax has just completed its “first substantial contract” since taking over a Bower business and is confident of securing more work at the site. Numax director Rob Murray, who comes from Wick, explained the company won a 200,000 order from Bauer of Germany for a renewable project in the Pentland Firth.

CAITHNESS
will play host to the regional mod more often, following the success of the National Mod in the county, last year. The Gaelic festival will come to Wick next year, and will then be staged in the county every second year after that. Thrumster man Raymond Bremner who led the local organising committee for the national event, says the move will be an economic boost for Caithness.

THERE’S
a big picture spread on the county’s biggest fundraising event and, although blighted by driving rain and high winds, hundreds of people turned out to pledge their support for this year’s Relay for Life, at Thurso.

THE
construction industry in the Far North is as healthy as ever, according to local firms. It comes in contrast for figures released from the Office for National Statistics which reveal a quarter of all unemployed people in the sector in the Highland Council area are based in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross. Out of 205 jobless construction workers, 60 are living in the constituency. The worst-affected areas are carpentry and joinery with 75 people currently out of work. A third of these people are living in the Caithness Sutherland and Ross region.

MORE
than 300 people turned out a Harmsworth Park to pay tribute to one of the club’s longest serving players. Gary Manson was given a standing ovation as he led out his team for his testimonial on Tuesday night. He was accompanied by pipers to celebrate being with the club for his 12th season. Not even the heavy rain could dampen what was a celebratory occasion as Academy took on Inverness Caledonian Thistle . The final score-Wick....1.....Caley 4.

And finally...guess who is coming north to for a return concert. at Wick Assembly Rooms-the Alexander Brothers. The gig on their latest Take Me Back concert tour takes place on September 23. Bet that’ll take a few of you ‘back’...