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Caithness News Bulletins October 2003

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30 October 03
Community Supported Agriculture in the Highlands and Islands  -  – would it work for your community?
A feasibility study commissioned by HIE is under way to see if Community Supported Agriculture can be established on farms and crofts in the Highlands and Islands. This paper gives a brief outline of how CSA farming works and invites you to get involved in the study and have your say.

30 October 03
A major investment in specialist equipment to transport wind turbine components will result in 10 new full-time jobs at Edward Mackay Ltd (EML) in Brora and help position the company as a national specialist in windfarm development.  Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) is backing the development with a £210,000 financial support package for EML. The £842,700 project involves the purchase of specialist plant and haulage equipment in order to transport wind turbine components - which are classed as abnormal loads - from coastal ports to windfarm sites in Scotland.

30 October 03
Caithness Youth Conference 2003
The First Ever Conference to be held in Caithness specifically for Young People- which is being organised by the Caithness Youth Forum - will be held in the New Weigh Inn on Sunday 16th November 2003.  It starts at 10.30 AM and will finish with live music entertainment at 9PM.

24 October 03
Capture more of Caithness at
An exciting new website launched today

Local artist Julian Smith offers a dynamic and engaging internet shop window for a range of high quality prints and original artwork.  The prints which featured in his successful summer exhibition can be viewed and purchased with ease on this extremely user-friendly site.  Some of the features are quite novel, for instance an 'In progress' page shows the 'life' of a painting from sketch to finished piece on the easel. This section, like many of the pages will be updated regularly with contemporary works.  Shortly Julian will have his unique DVD available for sale on the web site  - a combination of his artwork, animation and music and sure to be a popular gift this year and for some time to come................

23 October 03
Planned strike action in the Unison Nursery Nurses dispute for the dates Tuesday 28th, Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th October has been suspended following a series of meetings over the October holidays between Unison and Highland Council officials.  Although no formal agreement has been reached, there has been enough common ground covered as a basis for discussion for a final agreement.............

22 October 03

A delegation of Inverness Area Highland Councillors and businessmen from the Highlands & Islands has just returned from China declaring their visit a positive step forward in forging strong economic and educational links.  Accompanying Inverness City Provost William Smith were Councillors Jimmy Gray, Norrie Donald and Bob Wynd together with Chris Claridge, the Highland Council’s Inverness Area Manager and businessmen from Inverness and the Western Isles.  The businessmen included Duncan Chisholm of Duncan Chisholm & Sons Ltd., the Kiltmakers, Inverness and Ian MacKenzie and Roddy Martin of the Harris Tweed Industry.....

 21 October 03
Shining Example For Solar Energy
A new Royal Society for the Protection of Birds scheme designed to encourage people to use solar energy was launched today.  Deputy Enterprise Minister Lewis Macdonald explained that the ‘Going Solar’ initiative, a non-profit making scheme, offered the first ever ‘solar loans’.  It allows people to install this technology by offering a fixed solar power installation price and special loans to finance it.   It is open to members of the public.  More than one million members of the RSPB will be specifically targeted.  The solar initiative will offer those participating the potential of saving money on their current bills.  The scheme is being run by the RSPB, solarcentury, a UK photovoltaic firm, and the Co-op bank who are offering the loans.................

21 October 03

The Highland Council is being increasingly pointed towards opposing the commercial growing of Genetically Modified Crops.
This is the view of Councillor Richard Durham, Chairman of the Council’s Land and Environment Select Committee, who has asked the matter to be debated when his committee meets next on Thursday 6 November.  Councillor Durham made his comments after noting the results of the biggest environmental-impact study of GM crops anywhere in the world, which indicated that the cultivation of GM crops – such as oilseed rape – reduces biodiversity in wildlife compared to their conventional equivalents.........................
Coop Stores Ban GM Food

21 October 03
Pentland Brass Get UKAEA Donation
UKAEA Dounreay recently donated £100 towards the cost of instruments and music for Pentland Brass Band.  The band was formed in February 2003 and this month they played their music to the public for the first time in aid of funds for the Highland Hospice at St Peters Church, Thurso.  Colin Gregory, UKAEA is pictured here presenting the cheque to Ricky Mackay and Colin Turnbull of the Pentland Brass Band.

18 October 03
Wick Caged Bird Society Annual Show 2003

18 October 03

Guests of honour at opening of £5 million complex.
Two  of  the  last  people  to  live  on  a  Caithness  farm  before it was transformed  during  the 1950s into a world-leading centre for research and development  of  nuclear energy today returned to their former home to set the seal on a £5 million investment in its decommissioning.  The  farm  at Lower Dounreay was home to Mrs Elizabeth Nicolson until 1945, and  Mr  Morris  Pottinger  until  May 1956. The UK Atomic Energy Authority acquired  the house and farmland from Mr Pottinger and his late wife Nettie in  November  1955  following a Government announcement that Britain's fast reactor experiment would be sited at Dounreay.   The Dounreay farmhouse dates from 1859. Following its acquisition by the UKAEA in 1955, it was used variously for office accommodation and storage of archive material..........

18 October 03

Sutherland Woollen Mill in Brora has this week been placed on the market by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).  The 11,500sq.m.complex, set in 17.5 acres of land, until earlier this year leased from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) by a textile firm, is being advertised for sale in property publications and the local and national press.

15 October 03
The Highland Council’s Mairi Mhor Gaelic Song Fellowship launched a new Gaelic song teaching resource at the Royal National Mod in Oban. Entitled “Seinn o ho ro Seinn”, the venture, which has been funded by the Scottish Arts Council, is designed to encourage more people, particularly young people, to sing Gaelic songs. 

15 October 03
Halloween Night At Captain's Galley
The Ice House should make a great setting for dinner with some stories for Halloween by well known local writer Donald Omand


15 October 03

Multi-million Pound Contract Will Create 200 New Jobs
Four  companies  have  been  named today as the preferred bidders to form a design  alliance with the UK Atomic Energy Authority for one of the largest construction projects in the Dounreay Site Restoration Plan.  Atkins  (design  integrator), Serco Assurance (building services and safety and  environment),  Taylor  Woodrow (civil engineering) and Weir Strachan & Henshaw  (mechanical  handling)  will work with UKAEA to form an integrated team  capable  of providing a concept design for a solid intermediate-level waste store in 2004 and the detailed design by 2005.

14 October 03

Highland NHS Board today agreed the way forward for the structure of NHS Highland following the abolition of Highland Primary Care NHS Trust and Highland Acute Hospitals Trust in April 2003.  The Board had published its proposals for the dissolution of Trusts and the creation of an integrated healthcare system for NHS Highland in its document Care without Barriers. Formal consultation on the proposals took place between 5th August and 6th October 2003 and the Board heard today of the detail of the 112 responses to that consultation.  The Trusts will be abolished and the Community Health Partnerships established from 1st April 2004, but the majority of the other changes will be phased in over the following year.”  In respect of Belford Hospital and Caithness General: .......

14 October 03
The Highlands and Islands Enterprise network (HIE) has just published its twelfth annual report, covering the agency's activities during the period from 1st April 2002 to 31st March 2003.  The 104-page document charts a highly successful year for the enterprise network, which met or exceeded all of its key targets.

13 October 03
The Highland Council has welcomed the Scottish Executive’s injection of £10 million over the next two years into the Communities Scotland Development Programme in Scotland and is ready to play its part in easing the shortage of housing in the area.  In addressing the Convention, Councillor Magee said the Council was committed to working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Communities Scotland to establish a revolving land bank fund, building on the principle of the £1.5m land banking fund provided to the Highland Small Communities Housing Trust..............

9 October 03
Oscar The Robot Promoting Safety
Dounreay is enjoying a visitor with a difference this week.  The Alstec owned robot called Oscar is on site for Dounreay European Safety & Health Week that Dounreay is currently running.   This year's theme is making your place of work a safe and healthy place by preventing risks from 'Dangerous Substances' at work.  The robot has also been out and about in Caithness and has visited two local primary schools, Miller Academy in Thurso and Wick South School.

9 October 03
UKAEA Employee Volunteers Finish The Job
UKAEA's help of financial backing and the use of their volunteer employees ensured that the final one hundred and twenty metres of the Thurso River Mall was finished ready for the official opening last Saturday.  UKAEA have worked with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) over the past three years to make a vast improvement to the Thurso river footpath walk up to the salmon pool.  A 20 strong team from Dounreay, some of whom are pictured, rolled up their sleeves to tirelessly shovel hardcore and clear shrub land, finishing the project in two days.

8 October 03
Ainsley at Dunrobin
Dunrobin Castle provided a magnificent backdrop for a day of culinary events featuring celebrity chef Ainsley Harriot. Organised jointly by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) and Ross and Cromarty Enterprise (RACE), as part of the Highland Food and Drink Festival, the day started with a showcase of local food produce from across the two areas.   Students from the North Highland College had prepared canapés, based on the winning entry in a competition for Modern Apprentices run to coincide with the event...................

7 October 03
AEA Battery - First In To New Golspie Business Park
East Sutherland had a jobs boost with the announcement today that AEA  Li-Ion Battert Recycling will be the first new Business in the Golspie Business Park.  30 new jobs will be created at the site.   Possibilities for further jobs may appear when the firm set up new research and development facilities.   It is a major boost for East Sutherland and particularly Golspie.  The Golspie Business Park site has room for other businesses as the infrastructure is already in place.  M M Miller (Wick) Ltd were the building contractor on the project.

BSM Rider Training, the motorcycle and scooter training arm of driving expert BSM and part of RAC Group, is looking for ambitious training organisations and individuals who want to improve rider training standards and develop their businesses.

7 October 03

The  UK Atomic Energy Authority today delivered its annual report on safety and  the environment at Dounreay during 2002/03 to the site's local liaison committee.  Dr  Guy  Owen, UKAEA's head of safety and environment at Dounreay, said the site  continued to be one of the safest industrial workplaces in the UK but insisted there was no room for complacency.

7 October 03
The impact on the environment of all flights in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland each year is less than the effect of just one day's air traffic between the UK and the USA, according to a new report by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).  HIE is calling for a balanced approach to the introduction of environmental charging and argues charges should be based on actual environmental cost, rather than being imposed at a flat rate.   Given the lack of viable alternatives - such as high-speed rail links and  fast and frequent ferry crossings - HIE believes there is no case for environmental taxation of flights on routes within the Highlands and Islands or between the region's 10 airports and other Scottish airports..........

6 October 03
LIVING PAINT- Fergusson Gallery Collection
Tours Highlands

Paintings by the renowned Scottish artist John Duncan Fergusson, will be touring Highland Council galleries in Kingussie, Inverness, Wick and Thurso this autumn and winter  Born in Edinburgh in 1874, Fergusson is increasingly recognised as an artist of both national and international standing. “Living Paint” is a unique opportunity to see a selection of landscapes, portraits, still life and nudes, which demonstrate his experimental and varied output.  Fergusson is now best known as one of the Scottish Colourists, along with SJ Peploe, FCB Cadell and GL Hunter. Although they rarely exhibited as a group during their lifetimes, they shared a love of colour and paint, exploiting its sensual qualities. Fergusson in particular also benefited from contact with avant-garde artists in Paris in the first decade of the 20th century. His response to this artistic revolution was ahead of any of his British contemporaries.

6 October 03
Yes it’s that time again, put away the golf clubs, running shoes and football boots dust down that squash racquet and make your way down to Thurso & District Squash Club. Over thirty players from the local community did just recently for the Annual Handicap Squash competition, once again very kindly sponsored by the UKAEA.

6 October 03
Rugby - Caithness Under 15's In Great Form
Caithness 85 Highland 7
Caithness Rugby Club under 15s travelled to Inverness on Sunday 5 October 2003 with a squad of 19 players to play their third game in the North Under 15 Development League against Highland at the Bught Park.  The weather was cold and blustery as Caithness kicked off and it soon became apparent that the Greens were a much bigger, faster and heavier side and soon had their counterparts under the cosh.....................

5 October 03
John Thurso MP Opens Thurso River Mall Project
John Thurso MP opened the latest stage of the Thurso River Development Project on Saturday 4th October 2003 in weather more akin to December or January.  Blustery showers of rain and hail, however, failed to dampen the spirits of those involved in this project and an opportune break in the cloud at 2.30pm allowed the ribbon cutting ceremony to go ahead outside.  This ceremony was preceded by a walk around the river by many of those present following the new Mall paths and crossing the river by the Cemetery and Mount Vernon Bridges.  Thurso Rotary President Paul Hagan introduced Lord Thurso to the assembled company and invited John Thurso MP, Caithness Convener David Flear, and Chief Executive of CASE, Carroll Buxton, to address the gathering.

5 October 03
Match Report - Thurso F.C 5 V Invergordon 0 - Port Services Cup Semi-Final - Saturday 4th October 2003

5 October 03
Caithness.org Inspires Another Web Site In Guildford
Isabel Thurley (nee Bruce) has appeared in the Guildford Times stating that Caithness.org was the model for her new web site for the Holy Trinity Amenity Group covering the neighbourhood of the town in which she lives.  Isabel is originally from Caithness and often logs on to us in the north.   Isabel is the editor of the group newsletter and lacking space to put everything in she has gone for a web site which is now growing at www.htag-guildford.org

5 October 03
Caithness Walking Festival 15 - 23 May 2004

"2004 will go down in history as being the year in which the first Caithness Walking Festival took place. As a follow up to recent press trips to the north by journalists from a range of publications, organised by the Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board, the festival will take place during the week 15th to 23rd May.....................

3 October 03
Highland Councillors have strongly hinted that they will oppose a proposal to use the Nigg oil fabrication yard to dismantle some of the Royal Navy’s laid-up nuclear-powered submarines and store the reactor compartments at the Vulcan Naval Reactor Test Establishment site at Dounreay. However, they are to await the outcome of forthcoming consultation meetings before confirming their response.  The consultations will involve community briefings in East Ross and Caithness as well as a national forum being staged at Lancaster University.

2 October 03

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency, SEPA, has helped to improve the water quality in the Dunnet Bay catchment area by working with a local business and farms. Dunnet Bay is officially recognised as bathing water and SEPA's Thurso office carried out an action plan in 2002 to investigate the potential impact of industrial and farming activity in the catchment.......

2 October 03

Northern Constabulary is currently looking for interpreters to assist non-English speaking communities when dealing with the police and their partner organisations. 
The intention is to enhance the current list of proficient individuals who can assist the Force and its partners in providing a face to face interpreting service.   The service would be of tremendous benefit to the Force, Highland Council and the local health service.  Northern Constabulary, in a joint initiative with Highland Council and the NHS Highland, is appealing for interpreters in any language

2 October 03
MISSING PERSON - Elizabeth Sneddon
NORTHERN Constabulary is issuing a fresh appeal for information regarding the whereabouts of Elizabeth Johnson Sneddon, who was reported missing from her home in Edinburgh.  The woman, aged 46, lives at Flat 4, 5 Parkgrove Bank, Edinburgh and was seen in the Aviemore area on 12/13 September.  She may be anywhere in the Northern Constabulary area and may have booked into a B&B or hotel.  She does not have a car.  The woman is known to have visited Inverness, Thurso and Invergordon and has been withdrawing money from cash machines.

1 October 03
£9 Million For Digital Hearing Aid Services

Patients are to benefit from advanced digital hearing aid technology through a new funding scheme.  The money will help ensure hearing services have the necessary equipment, staff and availability of digital hearing aids.

1 October 03
Caithness Explorer Scouts Attend Launch In Scotland
Last weekend, 9 Explorer Scouts from Caithness Explorer Unit joined more than 500 others from all over Scotland for the official launch of Explorer Scouting in Scotland. 

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