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Caithness News Bulletins June 2004

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30 June 04
SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson has given his support to a call from Green MSP Robin Harper to have a dedicated minister for the marine environment.  Mr Harper's motion comes on the anniversary of the sinking of the MV Jambo off the coast of Ullapool it deplores the lack of protection offered to the Scottish coast line as a whole.

30 June 04
Statement on the radioactive particles found in the local coastal environment resulting from operations at the UKAEA site at Dounreay
The latest statement from COMARE gives details of further recommendations on monitoring for particles both on beaches and offshore. These recommendations were formulated following the publication of the second report of the Dounreay Particles Advisory Group (DPAG), the continuing appraisal of the particles being found on the Sandside Bay beach where public access is unrestricted and ongoing research.............The Committee also recognises that preliminary results from the ongoing studies to identify the health risks from the particles show that radiation doses may be less than those originally estimated in COMARE’s Sixth report.

Neil Gunn Writing Competition winners announced

Winners of the annual Neil Gunn writing competition were announced at a prize-giving ceremony held at Dunbeath Heritage Centre.  The competition was organised by The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Service and sponsored by the Neil Gunn Memorial Trust and the Council’s Library Service.

Safeways Staff In Wick Raise More Cash For Liam Henderson Memorial Fund
Staff at Safeways store in Wick raised £660 from their bottle stall to boost the fast growing total of the Liam Henderson Memorial Fund.  Staff also sold tickets for the raffle being held in connection with the tribute football match being played at the end of July.  Tickets for the raffle are available in several outlets in Wick and Thurso.  Staff at the Safeways store contributed all of the bottles themselves.  Several customers who did not buy tickets left donations.  the staff would like to thank all who contributed to make the stall so successful.

Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) and Highland and Islands Enterprise's (HIE) aim of creating a decommissioning centre of excellence in the far north reached another milestone today with the first ground works starting at the Janetstown site. The £7 million industrial and office development is being constructed by HIE with funding from the organisation totalling around £3 million, with a further £2.4 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  Caithness firm, JGC Engineering is set to lease the property from HIE and CASE, which will house the Trials, Training and Test Facility (TTTF) and the UHI Millennium Institute and North Highland College's Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation Centre (DERC).

Service Points Help the Campaign to Tackle Domestic Abuse
The Highland Council’s network of 36 Service Points are supporting a Highland-wide bid to eradicate domestic abuse by displaying leaflets which highlight the Highland Wellbeing Alliance’s Domestic Abuse Strategy.  Thousands of people use the Service Points each week, so the leaflet had the potential to reach a wide sector of the Highland population.  Cath King, Health Improvement and Community Safety Officer for the Highland Council says, “This leaflet summarises how the agencies and voluntary organisations in the Highlands are going to tackle the epidemic of domestic abuse. The Highland Wellbeing Alliance has agreed its mission to tackle domestic abuse - we want to make it clear that domestic abuse is never acceptable under any circumstances”.

Norfrost Gains CASE Backing With £1.2million Loan
Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) has approved a loan of £1.2m for freezer company Norfrost Ltd.   The Castletown-based firm – which was established by Alex and Pat Grant in 1972 – is implementing a new strategy following a review of the company's activities, which will make the firm more commercially competitive for the future. Norfrost employs over 200 staff in the far north and is the UK's only manufacturer of chest freezers. A recent strategic review of Norfrost’s operations has identified the need for greater brand presence and for the company to expand its freezer product base in order to boost the profits.

An HMIE report on the 134-pupil Halkirk Primary School, Caithness, has praised the good ethos, the sense of teamwork and the care given to pupils by the teachers.   The inspectors commented on the welcoming environment and the good links with parents and the wider community. Pupils take part enthusiastically in the school council which has been well used by the Head Teacher, Mrs Frances Disbury, to advise her on pupils’ concerns. Out of school activities included successful participation in the local music festival and visits by pupils to senior citizens in the village.  Mrs Disbury is commended for her commitment to the school. Read The Full Report

Golspie Angling Club Annual Trip To St John's Loch Successful
'The members of Golspie AC made their annual pilgrimage North to St Johns on June 6th, most definitely D-day for them! After years of trying they finally hit it just right. With the Mayfly up sport was fast and furious and a number of good fish were caught and lost. The visitors ended the day with a total of 28 fish for a total weight of 19lbs 9ozs.

Great News for Caithness Dental Services
New Dental Unit Will Be At Wick Business Park
NHS Highland is delighted with the news that a new multiple surgery dental facility is to be built in Caithness. This, coupled with NHS Highland’s plans to improve access to dental services in North Highland, will be a great boost to the area.  The new facility has been made possible by NHS Highland’s success in bidding for capital funding from the Scottish Executive who have recently authorised the introduction of additional dentists for the area. The plan will provide a modern clinical environment within which there will be opportunities to train Dentists and Dental Therapists. This exciting new development will hopefully attract Dental Practitioners to the area which, in the past, has had difficulty in recruiting and retaining dental staff.

North Action Group And League Of Friends At Health Board Offices Inverness
Despite the fact that the Health Board removed the topic of discussing the Maternity consultation from the agenda North Action Group members and League of Friends decided to attend the meeting to hear what was said and heard about the proposals for the GP Out Of hours consultation.  They also got the chance to speak to reporter and TV to let them know about how the protest is going and update them on the Edinburgh demo planned for 17 June.

RoSPA Occupational Health & Safety Awards 2004
The North Highland College has won the RoSPA Occupational Health & Safety Gold Award, for the second year running. The college Board expressed its delight and congratulations at the award which Marcus Mennie had accepted on the College's behalf during the Safety and Health expo 2004 in Birmingham.  The RoSPA Occupational Health & Safety Awards, sponsored by RMC, are not just about reducing the number of accidents and cases of ill-health at work; they are also about ensuring that organisations have good health & safety management systems in place. They help to reinforce the message that good health & safety is good business and clearly demonstrate an organisation’s commitment to the achievement of high levels of performance in this crucial area.

Pentland Canoe Club Ready To Take To The Road With New Canoe Trailer
The Thurso based Pentland Canoe Club has taken delivery of a new canoe trailer. The trailer is to be used by the Club to transport kayaks to various club venues including the Thurso Swimming Pool where it runs training sessions during the Winter.  The trailer was purchased with support from: the Caithness Sports Council; UKAEA; RWE NUKEM; Babtie; NDSL and Forss Engineering.

Tractor Trip Round Britain - Hear All About It In Wick
Lachie MacLeod MBE, a retired police officer and a native of Skye, is currently embarked on a fundraising trip, driving his 1953 Ferguson tractor round the coastline of Scotland. The six week marathon will take him around the fringes of Scotland and he plans to challenge the current record of 3176 miles for the longest tractor journey in the world!  In 1999 he drove this tractor—affectionately nicknamed ‘Fergie’—from John O’Groats to Land’s End, and in 2002 he drove round 18 Scottish islands using 22 ferry crossings. Both journeys took 12 days and raised almost £14,000 and £12,000 respectively for Something for Romania, the charity he founded in 1990. You can meet Lachie MacLeod and hear more about his trip at 7.30pm on Thursday evening 3 June 2004, in the Free Church Hall, Malcolm Street, Wick.

Cooking Oil Clampdown
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is advising caterers to make sure they are disposing of their waste cooking oil properly. Some hotels, restaurants and takeaways in Caithness and Sutherland are pouring the oil down drains or abandoning drums of waste in remote areas.  Cooking oil, like other kinds of oil, is harmful to wildlife and can block drains. SEPA will be carrying out random checks at caterers in the area during the second week of June to check that businesses are taking their environmental responsibilities seriously.

European Elections 2004

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