John O Groat Journal headlines for June 20, 2014

A SENIOR manager at Dounreay has admitted a major review of its work programme is affecting morale and causing uncertainty in the workforce. Bob Kury, the deputy managing director at Dounreay, also said changes to the contract are creating “one of the biggest challenges we face”.

TWO seafarers reached Scrabster yesterday, on course to beat the world record time for sailing around Britain in a dinghy. Jerry Warren (56) and Phillip Kirk (41) set off from Weymouth in a tiny Hafren Wayfarer dinghy on May 31, aiming to beat the record which stands at 76 days.

“Show pride in your town” is the call from the Caithness civic leader after she was left furious about the mount of rubbish which had been dumped at a playpark in Wick. Gail Ross spent over 30 minutes on Sunday, cleaning up litter and bags of dog mess which had been left beside play equipment at The Nold. She visited the playpark with her young son Max and was gobsmacked by the amount of rubbish which had been left by “thoughtless” members of the public.

THE number of jobseekers in the far north who have had their benefits cut, or stopped, in the last 12 months, has tripled. Caithness Citizens Advice Bureau has seen a 205 per cent increase in the number of people visiting their offices in Thurso and Wick, because their benefits have been cut or stopped for breaking job-seeking agreements. Caithness CAB is today launching an information campaign in response to the growth in the number of sanctions which are being imposed on people who are out of work in the area.

THE arts world in Caithness has reacted positively to our campaign for Caithness to get it own flag, though it has warned getting consensus on a design will not prove easy. While believing it would mark Caithness’ individuality and identity, there was fear among some, that it could create divisions among communities.

THIS year’s Halkirk Gala has been a resounding success with crowds of people turning out to support its popular events. Billy Manson, chairman of organisers Halkirk Village Council, is delighted with the response the celebration had last week. from adults, entertainers and especially the hundreds of children involved.

ORCADIANS are being encouraged to get in touch with a Highland MSP who is at the forefront of a campaign to remove the KW postcodes from the far north. Rhoda Grant is seeking views from residents in Orkney on how they rate their level of postal service and on the KW post code itself.

A LEADING Liberal Democrat councillor has lodged a motion calling on Highland Council to appeal to Police Scotland to change its gun policy in the Highlands. David Alston’s motion is supported by SNP and Labour councillors and is expected to be approved at a meeting of the full council in Inverness next week.

WICK HIGH’S second annual Youth and Philanthropy Initiative final was held on May 28. It is offered to all secondary 2 pupils. with 3000 up for grabs for the winners to donate to a local charity. In their teams, pupils researched social issues in the community and created presentations on a local charity which they were passionate about.

A NEW Caithness business venture is set to soar to new heights after taking off in April. Sinclair Aerial Surveys uses unmanned aerial vehicles to carry out inspections, conduct surveys, produce high resolution maps and take aerial photographs and videos. The Thurso-based firm which has been supported by Highland Opportunities aims to service a range of customers from estate agents to golf courses, and wind farm operators to guardians of heritage sites.