John O' Groat Journal headlines for February 6, 2015

POTENTIALLY serious shortcomings with operating guidelines at Dounreay have led to a halt being called on all decommissioning work until the completion of a safety review. The embargo, which applies to everything but safety work, was implemented at lunchtime on Wednesday by site licence company, Dounreay Site Restoration ltd.

HIGHLAND Council has agreed to think again before taking the step of scrapping evening pre-treatment on hundreds of miles of roads next winter. The plan to stop gritting after 9pm on quiet roads, where less than 20 vehicles drive throught the night, is on hold.

WHAT is thought to be a medieval stonemason's workplace has been found at an undisclosed location in Caithness. Local film maker, Darren Manson, claims to have discovered an unknown site after coming across a rectangular facing within a layer of sediment, while out waling past an area of eroded hillside.

PROBLEMS providing the GP out-of-hours services in Caithness could result in the loss of life. That is the fear expressed yesterday by Wick Highland councillor, Bill Fernie, after the safety of the service was questioned by a local doctor.

CAITHNESS General Hospital recorded the lowest number of women giving birth in a single year at its maternity unit in 2014, since the figures began 10 years ago. The figures coincide with a record percentage of women being transported 100 miles south to give birth due to a lack of facilities at the Wick hospital catering for high-risk pregnancies.

A FAMILY is preparing to celebrate the life of one of their much-missed members who died from a very rare cancer. Nikki Petrie, aged only 41, was diagnosed with the bile duct cancer in October 2012 and died just five months later, in March 2013.

POLICE bosses are trying to find a way to send armed officers to routine incidents without another public outcry in the north. Chief Superintendent Julian Innes said the possibility of the officers carrying the weapons covertly was being explored.