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Caithness News Bulletins December 2005

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Bathing Water Quality Report Out Now
Bathing water quality in Scotland continues to improve with 57 out of 60 designated beaches passing tough European standards.  Dunnet Beach one of the beaches in the monitoring programme continues to show the water is of excellent quality in most samples takes in 2005  The full results are published in a report by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) out on 23 Dec 2005. It reveals that of the 60 sites monitored, 23 were of good quality meeting EC 'mandatory' standards for the season with 33 achieving the stricter 'guideline' standards and being of excellent quality.

MV Youth Volunteering Award Ceremony
Five young people recently became the recipients of the prestigious Gold MV Award for volunteering while participating in the Wick Players production of Mother Goose. The Gold Award is achieved when a volunteer accumulates 200 hours of volunteering which can take place over a two year period. The five young people involved with the panto had been in intensive rehearsals since August and fulfilled their required 200 hours on the 18th December. This Award is a recognised award of excellence endorsed by the Scottish Executive and the Gold award is signed by the First Minister.

When members of the public visit any Highland Council office or property in the New Year they will benefit from a totally smoke-free environment. From Sunday 1st January, 2006 a complete smoking ban comes into effect in all Council premises and vehicles.  As the major employer in the Highlands, the Council is demonstrating its clear commitment to public health and to improving the health of its 12,800 employees by implementing the ban, ahead of the Scottish-wide ban which takes effect from 26th March, 2006.  No smoking signs are being erected at entrances and throughout all Council owned and leased premises including vehicles; where appropriate. Smoking rooms will no longer be available. Employees and visitors will not be permitted to smoke at entrance doorways and approaches to Council premises.

Tenth Anniversary of the Opening of The Haven.
Friday 16th December saw the 10th Anniversary of the official opening, by Colin Campbell of 'swaingan' Radio Caithness fame, of Caithness Mental Health Support Group's Drop In Centre, The Haven, in Bankhead Road, Wick.  The initiative to set up the Group came from the Social Work Dept. of Highland Regional Council which recognised the absence of any social work provision for people with mental illness within Caithness. Initially in December 1990 a Steering Committee was formed followed by the Group in October 1991.

13 December 05
Council Launches Winter Adverse Weather Web Site For Schools In Highland

Parents in Highland can now log on to their computer to check if their child's local school is closed by bad weather.
The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service has developed a new winter weather website, www.winter.highlandschools.org.uk , which is now operational. Parents just need to click on to the relevant geographical area for local school closure information.
The website allows parents to access school closure information on the internet, thus reducing pressure on the very heavily used school telephone PIN number system.

12 December 05
Dounreay Seeks Way Forward On The Particles
The largest consultation exercise ever undertaken by Dounreay’s operator was announced today to identify the Best Practicable Environmental Option for radioactive particles found in the seabed and beaches near the former experimental reactor establishment. A newsletter is being issued today to more than a thousand registered stakeholders, outlining the results of a £10 million research programme and inviting members of the public to participate in a preliminary phase of engagement.
Bill Fernie Chairman Of The Public Consultation Steering Group Wants To Hear All Opinions
UKAEA has commissioned consultants Entec UK to facilitate the preliminary phase of public engagement and the transparency of the process is being overseen by a stakeholder consultation steering group chaired by Councillor Bill Fernie, who represents Wick West on Highland Council. He said: “A considerable amount of work has gone into looking at how we might present information to the public that is clear and open. The Steering Group is looking forward to assisting everyone involved in making the choices that will decide the future of how we deal with the particles in the environment. From early in 2006 we will be working to ensure that anyone who wishes to can contribute their view and I encourage anyone with an interest to participate.”  Other independent members of the steering group include John Thurso MP and Iain Baikie a physicist who runs KP Technology based in Wick.

2 December 05
North School Choir At Somerfields Wick
The choir from North School Wick were out singing at Somerfields store in Wick to entertain the customers.

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