Caithness Courier headlines for May 15, 2013

NEW battle lines are being drawn over scaled-down plans to operat a commercial windfarm at Spittal Hill, 15 kilometres south of Thurso. Objectors yesterday pledged to fight the new 30 million proposal in which the number of turbines has been cut from 30 to eight. Caithness Windfarm Information Forum spokesman, Stuart Young, insisted the development will still be a blight on the landscape and ruin the lives of nearby residents.

THREE Wick restaurants have repoened after they were the subject of raids by immigration officers investigating reports that foreign workers were working illegally there. Owners are now facing the prospect of swingeing fines, while 10 employees, eight Bangladeshi and two Chinese nationals, are facing deportation following Thursday evening's Home Office operation which was support by officers from Police Scotland based in Caithness.

A SHARE of a 6 million fund is being offered to communities to buy out their struggling local petrol stations but a local MSP wants more research done, before the idea is taken up. Rob Gibson thinks the Scottish Government's idea is a good one but wants surveys of communities petrol-buying habits carried out before people take up the offer.

A CAITHNESS engineering firm, which has been placed in administration, will continue to trade, while attempts are made to find a buyer. The move, confirmed this week, means the 26 staff at Mowat Technical and Design Services Ltd, will retain their jobs. The company applied to go into administration after encountering financial difficulties but has a strong order book and a turnover of around 2 million.

CAITHNESS Church of Scotland Presbytery has elected a new moderator for next year with an unusual decision to choose an elder instead of a minister. Alan Sinclair, an elder at the St Fergus Church, Wick, was chosen as the presbytery's latest meeting last week. Mr Sinclair was originally in the town's Bridge Street Church, and was involved in its union with St Fergus.

THE curtain has come down on Caithness Castle Creations just six months after it was set up. The demise of the venture was confirmed this week by Barry Gordon and Lorna Diamond, the couple behind the initiative. They have left the county and gone to Edinburgh.

WITH less than a month to go, organisers of the annual Caithness Music Festival are ready for action. but there have been changes to the usual pattern of events. The festival will be held from June 10-14 in Wick's Assembly Rooms and Thurso High School but more of the events will now take place in the former.

MORE than 100 people attended a memorial day on Dunnet beach for a favourite Caithness countryside ranger. The ceremony was held on Sunday for Dieter Tuerlinckx from Belgium who died suddenly in his sleep of a heart attack on December 21, at the age of 38. Dieter's family and friends wanted to give people in Caithness a chance to come together and remember him in a celebration of his life.

DOG owners have been warned not to leave their pets in their cars during hot days after a woman discovered it was 30 degrees warmer inside her vehicle than outside. Gina Grunskis from Spittal, was left shocked by the wide margin and was keen to advise other motorists to take steps to avoid a potential tragedy.

THE weather was less than ideal for Sunday's Castle of Mey 10k and children's fun run with a decent morning giving way to showery conditions and a troublesome wind when the event got underway. The 368 runners in the 10k, which for the first time doubled as the North of Scotland championship, and the 94 youngsters who took part in the inaugural Mey Mile, were not too badly hit but it made for a chilly afternoon for organisers, North Highland Harriers and spectators.