John O’ Groat Journal headlines: May 24

HEAD teachers are being asked to venture out into hurricane-force conditions to switch of wind turbines in school playgrounds. That is one of the claims of far north anti-wind farm protesters, who have heavily criticised Highland Councils safety review of school-based turbines. This week, after releasing its own report, Caithness Wind farm Information Forum is calling on the playground turbines to be removed pending an independent assessment of the risks they pose.
THE future of Wick’s Rose bank playing fields has been secured after an outside bid to take over the running of the popular amenity was accepted by leisure chiefs. Wick Youth club will manage the facility after High Life Highland put its operation out to tender as part of a drive to make 750,000 savings over the next two years.
A FORMER soldier, who had his benefits stopped after he was wrongly classed as fit to work, has had his payments renewed. The Department of Work and Pensions has finally admitted it made a mistake but the 52-year-old who had to survive without employment and support allowance payments for seven months, is looking for maximum compensation.
THE MV Hamnavoe was back in action yesterday as it set sail between Caithness and Orkney or the first time in four weeks. Serco NorthLink finally re-established the Stromness-Scrabster link after a broken crankshaft on the ferry’s main starboard engine kept it out of commission for almost a month
A TRIO of far north councillors have won a vote to allow a contentious windfarm turbine to be built at Dunnet – despite a Thurso colleague warning it would “stick out like a sore thumb”. Bill Fernie, Alex MacLeod and Willie Mackay were vociferrous this week in their support of a solitary turbine almost 80 metres tall, on farmland near Dunnet. Their support flew in the face of Highland Council’s planning service which recommended the R.R. Mackay & Company Ltd scheme be rejected, because it would rise up too high from the flat landscape.
GAELIC road signs are confusing and could pose an accident risk for visitors and tourists, according to a report from transport research company TRI. The report, compiled on behalf of Transport Scotland, interviewed motorists and compared the response from those using nine bilingual road sign routes with those on 11 routes that have only English signs
PUPILS at Wick High School have finally finished the construction of a wind-powered electric car. E.ON at Camster wind farm provided money for the project to demonstrate that wind can keep cars going and sent a film crew to the school this week to film the students, teachers and their new car. Two of the school’s physics teacher, Peter Darmady and Francis Long have had a team of youngsters working on the scheme over the past two years, building a car and linking it to a small windmill which will charge it only using wind power.
THE produce arm of the North Highland Initiative is continuing its recover from a sticky spell in 2008 and 2009 when it record hefty operational losses. A major restructuring has paid dividends and is helping steer the business, North Highland Products Ltd out of debt, while maintaining the premiums to the farms who supply its beef and lamb and to its other suppliers.