John O’ Journal review: February 17, 2012

law firm is at the centre of a legal probe, it emerged yesterday. Action was taken after concerns were expressed about the accounting records of the Highland Law practice which is based in High Street and is run by husband-and- wife solicitors Stephen Copinger and Sylvia MacLennan. However, when contacted by the Groat, Miss Maclennan said the investigation is the result of “unfortunate circumstances” which have arisen mainly due to administrative difficulties. The Law Society of Scotland applied to the Court of Session to appoint a judicial factor after it inspected the firm’s books and became concerned about accounting records. A spokesman for the Law Society said the application to the court was made to protect clients’ interests. “This only happens when we think there is a problem but that does not necessarily mean there is a problem” she told the Groat yesterday.

A licence required by groups staging free public events, has been described as “a stealth tax”. Wick Society chairman Harry Gray made the comment after it emerged organisers of free events will soon face the levy which ranges from £76. 50, for a six-week licence to cover a community hall event- to over £10,000 for three years permission to hold commercial outdoor events, with over 30,000 people. Highland Council has introduced the policy which will come into effect from April 1. Groups will then be forced to pay for the licence to hold anything from agricultural shows and exhibitions to musical performances and dances. Previously, a public entertainment licence was only required for events charging admission.

A NEW venture which has been set up at North Highland College in Thurso, will provide an opportunity for students to “really get to grips with the challenges and practicalities of creating successful businesss”. That is the view of HNC Businesss Management student Scott Spence, who described the enterprise shop which is housed in the college’s Cafe Morven as “a fantastic resource”. He said: “It will encourage students across all courses to develop their enterprise skills and provide an opportunity to really get to grips with the challenges and practicalities of creating a successful business”. He said: “The store, which is staffed by students, has a range of products on sale, including jewellery, cards, pictures, baking and fashion accessories.”

PEOPLE who act aggressively towards council staff in Highlands are to have their records black marked for six months, in a bid to protect workers. Social workers, refuse collectors and planning officials are among the employees in Highland Councils large workforce, who also have a dedicated phone line to report any alarming incidents should they come into contact with threatening members of the public. It is part of a new scheme to be introduced in April which will see all the local authority’s departments warned about aggressive behaviour, both physical and verbal from the public in weekly updates.

CALLS to widen what has been described as the narrowest stretch of roads in Caithness have been made by a councillor who claimed the issue has gone unaddressed for too long. Landward councillor Willie Mackay agued an accident is waiting to happen unless action is taken on a five-mile stretch of the B874 Glegngolly to Halkirk road, at Skinnet Farm, two miles outside Halkirk. Mr Mackay said verges have been allowed to overgrow, forcing the width of the road to measure less than nine feet. He said overtaking on the road is becoming very dangerous with vehicles being forced to slow down and even stop, to manoeuvre past each other safely.

A LOCAL charitable trust which raised over £100,000 in just eight years, is set to wind up. The Liam Henderson Memorial Fund was launched by John and Janice Henderson, of Wick, after their 23-year -old son was killed on his way to an international football match between Scotland and Holland in Glasgow, in November 2003. A car was driven into a group of fans and Liam lost his life. The driver was subsequently jailed.

A NORTH MSP has called for noise restrictions on wind turbines in the Highlands to be relaxed and claimed a cackling chicken can breach the rules. It comes as the local authority prepares to debate a new planning blueprint for future developments. THE SNP’s Rob Gibson has called on Highland Council to ease the noise rules on turbines and claims they are stopping a number of his constituents who want to erect domestic turbines, because they are found to breach noise regulations. The Caithness Sutherland and Ross MSP said the noise from turbines should be put into context with other background noise, like traffic and animals.

scripted by Caithness writer Murray Watts has won a prestigious award at a ceremony in Hollywood. KJB: The Book that Changed the World, won the Epiphany Prize for most inspiring TV programme of 2011, at the awards event in the Universal City Hilton near the heart of the American film industry.