Caithness Courier headlines for July 31, 2013

ALMOST 1 million is to be made available to Highland Council to help people in the north who have been affected by changes to housing benefit. This was confirmed yesterday after the UK Government announced a 35m package of help, including 5m which has been ring-fenced for remote rural areas. Highland Council will get 987,000, more than four times its current support.

LAD's magazines could disappear from the shelves of a supermarket chain in Caithness if publishers do not hide sexually-suggestive front pages from view. Co-op branches in Thurso and Wick will be among the company's 4000 stores which will no longer sell magazines such as FHM, Loaded, Nuts after September, unless they are placed in 'modesty bags".

EXTRA time has been granted for a mixologist to shake up some more investment in a new cocktail bar for Thurso. Simon Collier is confident of hitting his 20,000 crowdfunding ambition to help kit out MRC's New Market Bar in Traill Street, before the deadline on August 9. Online fundraising platform BankToTheFuture which is supporting this innovative way of securing investment, as an alternative to high street banks for business finance, agreed to extend the deadline which was meant to be Monday.

ALMOST 100,000 of taxpayers money could have been saved, if a Lybster family's request for outdoor disabled access to bring their son home from hospital, was granted when it was first asked for. Kevin Morrice's family claim the 38-year-old could have been home from Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, nine months ago if their application for 3385 to install an outdoor stair lift, was not rejected at the first time of asking. Mr Morrice spent 17 months in hospital after he was severely injured as a result of being a passenger in a two-vehicle collision at Murkle in February 2012.

THE mist may have fallen upon the town but it failed to stop Wick gala shining, as organisers celebrated beating last year's fundraising total for the opening night. So far, over 8000 has been raised by the festival annual curtain-raiser. With seven floats and 30 adults groups in the fancy-dress parade, it was estimated over 100 people took part in the proceedings.

REPORTS of a visit to Scrabster by Hollywood's hottest couple, can only have a positive impact on the area's tourist trade according to a business leader. A-listers Brad Pitte and Angelina Jolie apparently arrived at the port aboard a luxury cruise liner last Thursday amid rumours they were looking to tie the knot on board.