Caithness Courier headlines for January 29, 2014

A BID to make part of Caithness eligible for government-backed road fuel discounts has spluttered to a halt. Politicians and business leaders had welcome the inclusion of the Halkirk postcode area among seven additional areas, in line to benefit from a 5p a litre cut in petrol and diesel. But the reaction to the announcement at the end of last week has been tempered after it emerged the sole fuel outlet in the village wound up last month.

POLICE are re-investigating the circumstances of the death of a young man whose body was found near his village home in Caithness over four months ago. Officers were in Lybster yesterday as part of their renewed probe into the death of Stefan Sutherland, who was discovered on the shoreline at Occumster, just north of Lybster. At the time, Police Scotland said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the tragedy. But officers were seen yesterday visiting a house in Shelligoe Road which was the last place Stefan was seen alive.

A LOCAL woman, who has lost 20 stones in the last four years, is calling for more to be done to help Scotland shed its title as the second fattest nation in the world. Jennifer Bodek said more needs to be done by NHS Highland and the Scottish Government to tackle obesity before the situation becomes an epidemic. To help overweight locals, Mrs Bodek (49) has launched a free-diet club in Thurso and also operates the Diet or Die helpline from her home in Scrabster to help people from across the UK and further afield.

PLANS are being mooted to allow grants from commercial wind farm ventures to be used on Caithness-wide projects rather than just the local area in which the development is sited. Community representatives have met to discuss how public funds, bankrolled by the schemes, – in line to top 2 million – can be used to benefit services in the entire county.

THE Lib Dem leader on Highland council has angrily accused his SNP counterpart in the power-sharing coalition, of having a political “brass neck”. David Alston, who is also the council’s depute leader, criticised the SNP’s Drew Hendry, the authority’s leader, about remarks he made following news about fire and police station closures last week.

THE death of John Farquhar Munro has robbed the Highlands of an old-school politician who put his constituents first and who intimidated party whips, says a long-time friend. The former Highland Lib Dem MSP and councillor has dies at the age of 79 at his Lochalsh home following ill health. He is survived by his wife Celia.