Caithness Courier headlines for September 25, 2013
FAMILIES forced to drive over 100 miles to visit loved ones suffering from dementia, are pleading with NHS Highland to reopen a hospital ward in Wick. The Harmsworth unit at the Town and County Hospital was set up to treat patients with cognitive and memory problems but it closed temporarily last year due to a lack of specialist staff. Fourteen months on, there’s no sign of the ward reopening with health chief not able to give any assurances over when or if it will be brought back into commission.
A CAITHNESS councillor, who is set to appear in court next month in connection with alleged election expenses fraud, has quit Highland Council. Alex MacLeod who became the youngest ever Highland councillor at the age of 19, and previously worked for First Minister Alex Salmond, is scheduled to attend Inverness Sheriff Court on October 10. The 21-year-old, who was elected to represent the Landward Caithness ward as an SNP councillor, in May 2012, has been the subject of an investigation into his campaign expenses in the run-up to his election victory.
TOOTHACHE was the last thing Christian Nock would have considered to be a potential problem when he began his epic adventure to walk the entire length of the British coastline and clockwise. But shortly after he crossed the Caithness/Sutherland border on the north coast, he experienced severe pain in one of his wisdom teeth, forcing his mouth to swell up. Thurso dentists John Barry and John Rautenback came to his rescue to carry out an emergency operation to ensure he would be able to continue his odyssey, pain free.
A FORMER firefighter has predicted the Highlands will become an “outpost” of the national fire service, as the future of its 999 control room hangs in the balance. Angry Highland councillor Fraser Parr has labelled the new centralised set-up a “sham” and claimed the move to axe emergency call-handling was already a done deal. The Scotttish Fire and Rescue Service is considering opening a new 999 base in Dundee where calls from the Highlands could be directed.
WICK John O’ Groats airport had a whopping 163.6 per cent increase in passenger numbers last month. The rise in traffic, dates back to the end of last year when airport operators HIAL established a temporary tie-up with Chevron UK, to chopper personnel out to two offshore rigs. Along with Sumburgh, the Caithness airport has recorded a large rise in activity.
TOWN centre trade in Thurso and Wick could be boosted by over 80,000 if a proposed wind farm in rural Caithness is given the green light. A survey of businesses across the far north have given their support to a voucher scheme by renewable developer Eurowind which would pump an estimated 1.9 million into the local economy over 25 years. The firm which has been working with Caithness Chamber of Commerce, sought local opinion on the proposal, which would see householders who live near the planned Lyth wind farm, receive a dividend in the form of vouchers drawn from the wind farm’s operation profits.
A BITTER political row has erupted after Highland Council’s SNP-led administration was accused of disrespecting the regions’s war dead. Senior opposition councillor Allan Henderson clashed with coalition members in a dispute about the controversial refurbishment of war memorials ahead of the 100th anniversary of World War 1 next year.
THE anti-litter blitz, conducted by Wick High School pupils at the start of the year, seems to be paying lasting dividends. The clean-up in February, had support from school staff, Highland Council’s waste management worker and local business, with a team of pupils litter wardens and a rewards system based on observing the Keep it Tidy theme.