John O’ Groat Journal headlines for September 20, 2013
THE chairman of a local football club has spoken of the team’s heartbreak following the death of a former player. Lybster Phoenix’s Donald Henderson described Stefan Sutherland as one of the most competitive players he has ever known. Players and committee members from the site were among the 40-strong group involved in the search for the 20-year-old. Stefan’s body was found on the shoreline not far from his family home at The Moorings Occumster on Tuesday.

BECOMING part of the long “hoof” of the law was a million-to-one chance for a Clydesdale horse which almost died soon after being born. Turbine required a life-saving operation at just two months old and his then Caithness owners, Jane Cormack feared he would not pull through. Eight years later, he is now trotting among the country’s elite ridden horses as a part of Police Scotland’s crowd control operation in Glasgow.

THE future of an historic building in Thurso would be in better hands if it was no longer the responsibility of Highland Council. That was the message from officials during a public meeting held to decide the future of who will own and run Old St Peter’s Kirk. After the gates being locked for six years, the grounds were finally opened to the public after a campaign which saw a petition calling for the gates to be unlocked attracted over 2,100 signatures. Now steps are being made to decide who will go on to run the 11 century monument.

A CAITHNESS Highland councillor, who is fighting to reverse school bus charges for local pupils “got it wrong” when he voted for cuts of 100,000 in the transport budget earlier this year. Landward Caithness member Alex MacLeod, admitted he “was not on top of my game” when he backed the policy at a special meeting o Highland Council on February 7.

ENERGY giant, SSE is being told its proposed huge wind farm at Strathy would kill and drive away golden eagles and other rare birds and despoil an area at the heart of the flow country of Caithness and Sutherland. The message was spelled out loud and clear at a public meeting called by the company to discuss the potential impact its 47-turbine development earmarked for a forested area to the south of the village, would have on the natural environment.

A MILLIONAIRE has warned his company could quit the Highlands if the “doomsday”scenario of Scottish independence becomes a reality next year. Alan Savage, the founder of the giant Orion recruitment firm, has claimed his business could be “derailed” if the Yes vote prevails in the historic referendum in a year’s time and has looked “very seriously” at where his firm would be headquartered. The former Caley Thistle FC chairman, who donated 100,000 to the pro-union campaign Better Together, earlier this year, said he opposed any form of nationalism and claimed independence would destabilise his business activities.

A SHEEP health lobby is urging flockmasters to guard themselves against the dangers of importing diseases on their holdings when they buy in new stock. SCOPS (Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep) promotes the moot of ‘buyer beware’ in the current busy round of sales. The industry-led group believes that left unchecked, anthelmintic resistance (AR) is one of the biggest challenges to the future health and profitability of the UK sheep industry.

THE Anglo-American consortium which runs Dounreay has come up trumps in this year’s SCDI Highlands and Islands business awards competition. Babcock Dounreay Partnership picked up the Benromach Award for excellence in international business to recognise the inroads it has made in developing the potential to export its expertise in nuclear decommissioning.

A CAITHNESS film producer has been asked to deliver a talk in Moray on how the creative arts can be used to help promote tourism in the local press areas. Big Box Network producer Alistair Murray will be making a keynote speech at a tourism conference to launch the Forres Area Tourism Development Plan next week.