Caithness Courier headlines for January 20, 2016


FAMILIES are up in arms about plans to significantly reduce weekend care at a residential children's respite centre in Thurso. They claim that if the cuts at Thor House, due to be discussed by Highland councillors today, are approved, they would have a massive impact on affected youngsters and their families across the north Highlands.

JOHN O Groats is to be the ceremonial starting point for one of the world's best-known vintage motor races to celebrate its historic link with the event. Ninety years ago, the village was chosen to launch the Monte Carlo Rally and it retained the privilege until the outbreak of World war 11.

THE planned upgrade of a notorious stretch of the A9 in Caithness has been dealt a blow after it was announced money for the project will not be included in the Scottish Government's draft budget for 2016/17. Campaigners, who have been told improvements to the Berriedale Braes could take up to three years to be completed, are demanding processes are put in place to carry out the work quicker.

HIGHLAND Council's Independent administration has been challenged to work with other public bodies to use video conference facilities as a matter rof routine in a bid to save money. Wick Highland councillor Gail Ross is concerned about the amount of money being spend on transport and hotel expenses for councillors, staff and officers travelling to Inverness to attend meetings.

ATTEMPTS are under way to re-establish two community councils in Caithness with members of the public being encouraged to put themselves forward to represent their area. In October, Bower and Sinclair Bay community councils were forced to go into abeyance after failing to get quorums.

OPTIMISM is high that Scrabster Harbour will continue to be one of the UK's busiest fishing ports in 2016. The Caithness harbour services more than 1000 fishing vessels each year, bringing in catches of whitefish and shellfish including brown crab, lobsters, prawns and scallops. The total haul is valued at more than 20 million.

A LOCAL Highland councillor is calling for choked and clogged-up roadside verge cuttings to be cleared to help avert recent flooding problems faced by far north motorists. Landward Caithness councillor Willie Mackay is to push the council's roads department to pay more attention to the maintenance of verges after the heavy cloudbursts which left stretches of road innundated.