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Caithness News Bulletins September 2003

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30 September 03
THRUMSTER WINS Scottish Natural Heritage

Thrumster Primary School has won Scottish Natural Heritage's 2003 competition celebrating Scottish Schools Grounds Week.  The first prize is an expenses paid excursion for all from the two teacher Caithness Primary School to a wildlife site in the north with bus hire, picnic lunch, activities and expert guides........ 

30 September 03
Free Energy Efficient Light Bulbs For North Sutherland
Residents in the North Sutherland Iomairt aig an Oir (Initiative at the Edge) area are being encouraged to be more energy efficient by using energy efficient light bulbs, which are being given away free.



30 September 03
Dounreay Local Liaison Committee Visit The Cementation Plant
Dounreay Local Liaison Committee took the opportunity to visit the Cementation Plant during their recent briefing session at Dounreay.  They are pictured with Tony Wratten (right) of UKAEA.   The local liaison committee is made up of a number of local people and councillors as part of UKAEA's open approach to the work being carried out at the site.

29 September 03
Fire Emergency At Battery Factory Was Minor  
The Battery Factory just outside Thurso had a small fire today in one of its experimental units testing a new battery.  A small flame set of the alarm systems and there was some smoke damage amount to about two square metres on a wall.

25 September 03
Caithness Goose Company

A new-comer to Caithness produce but with a traditional Christmas product "Smoked Goose"  If you would like something different this Christmas check this out.

25 September 03
Consumers throughout the Highlands are being warned by The Highland Council�s Trading Standards Officers, not to fall foul of bogus lottery winning letters apparently from the legitimate Spanish lottery EL GORDO.   They have received a number of complaints about this scam within the last couple of days. 

23 September 03
Gold Panning and Fossil Hunting Keeps Caithness Critters Busy
Caithness Critters the local children's natural history group set out for a combined day of gold panning and searching for semi precious stones in the Strath of Kildodnan as part of Geology Week and then on to a fossil hunt at Loss Beach.

Jamie Stone MSP Looks In At Dounreay 23 September
The Dounreay site is big and Jamie Stone is seen here visiting another part of it he may not have seen on previous visitsAfter a tour of the LLLETP (Low Level Liquid Effluent Treatment Plant) Mr Stone said "The degree of commitment - both financially and in terms of human resources at Dounreay is most impressive. Dounreay is at the cutting edge of de-commissioning technique and know-how. These are skills that we can be proud of - and also, most importantly, skills that we can export and sell on a world-wide basis."

20 September 03
Assipattle Pics 1 - 12

18 September 03

POLICE have responded swiftly to concerns expressed by the education authority regarding suspected drug-related activity in and around Fortrose Academy.   A team of uniformed and plain clothes officers from Ross Cromarty and Skye command area attended the school and other premises in the town earlier today. 
A number of pupils were detained and a significant amount of cannabis resin was seized. Enquiries are ongoing, which will lead to reports being submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

18 September 03
Businesses throughout Caithness and Sutherland are set to benefit from a range of short courses on offer from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE).  The extensive variety of options in CASE's Business Skills Programme will provide businesses, both large and small, with the opportunity to enhance their skills in various business activities, from managing staff and managing projects to improving sales, customer service, marketing and promotion.  According to Anne Sutherland, head of skills development with CASE, "Many of the courses we are providing are as a direct result of feedback received from respondents to our quarterly business survey. This information has proved invaluable in terms of building up a picture of the skills business require."

18 September 03

Highland consumers are being warned not to fall for the latest telephone prize draws offers which claim that a guaranteed massive cash prize, luxury car or dream holiday is only a telephone call away.  Similar to the free scratch-card "prize draws" regularly found in magazines and newspapers, consumers are now being targeted by telephone.  Householders receiving unsolicited phone calls are .....................

18 September 03

COSLA fully agrees with Transport Minister Nicol Stephen's aim of an accessible Scotland, with a modern, safe, efficient and sustainable transport system, but does not believe there is any evidence in the consultation paper launched today that demonstrates there will be a guarantee of improvement through the creation of an Executive Agency.   COSLA also pointed out that any existing problems boil down to underfunding and lack of strategic planning at a national level and that Local Government has already set up regional partnerships to develop local strategies and these have been established to best serve local circumstances.

17 September 03
Options  for  the long-term management of solid low level radioactive waste from the decommissioning of Dounreay are  the  subject of a public consultation announced today by the UK Atomic Energy Authority.  Approximately  100,000  cubic  metres  of  solid  low  level waste (LLW) is expected to arise during the 50-60 year life of the Dounreay Site Restoration Plan.

17 September 03
Funding To Fight Fuel Poverty
Tenants in nearly 5000 council properties will have their homes insulated and 500 houses with partial central heating systems will be upgraded to full systems by the end of March 2004, it was announced today.  The Deputy Communities Minister Mary Mulligan today announced the allocation of �3 million for 29 local authorities to help them tackle fuel poverty.   Highland gets �80,817 as its share in this particular round......................

17 September 03

Environmental Health officers with The Highland Council are issuing a further warning that children should not eat mini cup jelly sweets containing Konjac after more of these illegal products were found on sale in the UK.  This type of sweet was banned across Europe last year following the deaths from choking of about 18 children worldwide.  On this occasion the products found are called ABC Mini Fruit Bites and Cocode Nut Jellies, both of which contain Konjac. Parents should be alert to the potential risk from these sweets and children should not buy or eat them.  The sweets contain the additive Konjac.  Jelly sweets made with this ingredient do not dissolve easily and can result in the sweets becoming stuck in a child's throat.

17 September 03
Partnership Promotes Sports Leadership
In The Highlands

In a groundbreaking partnership between The Highland Council, Gael Force Ten, sport coaching project and the New Opportunities Fund, many hundreds of people in the Highlands and Islands will now be able to participate in the British Sports Trust, Sports Leader Awards bringing valuable benefits to themselves and their communities.   Over the next three years, the SCALP project (School and Community Activity Leaders Programme) will help over 400 pupils from 29 Scottish secondary schools and 360 community volunteers gain a Sports Leader Award, a nationally recognised qualification.

 17 September 03
North Unemployment Falls Marginally
Overall, the number of unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland fell from 793 last month to 781. The revised unemployment rates in the Sutherland, Wick and Thurso 'Travel to Work Areas' respectively are as follows (corresponding figures for last month are shown in brackets): 5.1% (5.2%), 5.2% (5.4%) and 3.1% (2.9%).

17 September 03
Caithness Voluntary Group Gets Grants To Support  �Food for Thought� Project
Caithness Voluntary Group has been awarded funding under two separate programmes  - A community Assistance grant of �1,254 and an economic development grant of �6000.

17 September 03
Other Community ASSISTANCE Grants From CASE
Lyth Arts Society
are to receive up to �33,333 towards the cost of the major re-development of the Lyth Arts Centre. This will include the installation of state-of-the-art sound and light equipment.
Assynt Crofters� Trust received approval of �5,000 to assist with the staging of a 10th anniversary conference and arts event, held over 3 days, at Stoer, while Culag Community Woodland Trust are to receive �4,150 to assist with the costs of establishing a community office in Lochinver. Recent Class
North Lands Creative Glass received approval of �8,012, to assist with a series of Masterclasses and an International Conference at their centre in Lybster, while Wick Youth Club is to receive up to �2,687 to assist with the costs of a community arts project in Lower Pulteneytown.

17 September 03
New Wick Play Area Vandalised- Reward Offered
Equipment at the recently opened �100,000 children�s play park at the Bignold Park has been vandalised only eight weeks after the play park opened.
  The toddlers� swings have been systematically vandalised over a period of weeks and at the weekend, a flagstone picnic table was smashed with a concrete block. All the toddlers� swings and the table have been removed for safety reasons.

16 September 03
A9 Speed Reduced Permanently
to 50 MPH At North Kessock Junction

Start Earlier If You Have A Deadline To Avoid Speeding Fines
A lower speed limit and smart signs will be introduced on the A9 at the North Kessock junction as part of a package of safety improvements, it was announced today......................

16 September 03
International Conference Heralds
A New Rural Health Network

Conference delegates attending the "Making it Work" Conference in St Andrews, last week, overwhelmingly called for permanent voice for rural health issues and a continuation of the work of the Remote and Rural Areas Resource Initiative (RARARI), with international dimensions.  Around 300 delegates from Norway, Australia, Russia, Canada, USA and Scotland gathered for the first International Conference in Scotland focussing on Remote and Rural Health. It was a joint venture between RARARI and the Northern Norway Regional Health Authority (Helse Nord),  based on close links which have been forged over the past few years through sharing similar healthcare challenges. ........

16 September 03

Highland Council And Fujitsu Donate Over 900 Computers To Voluntary Sector In Highland
Voluntary and community organisations throughout Highland are to receive donations of over 900 computers from The Highland Council and their information technology partner Fujitsu over the next two months.  As part of The Highland Council�s programme of modernising local government to meet Scottish Executive targets, the Council and Fujitsu are upgrading all computers used by staff.  This first phase of modernisation will create over 900 computers surplus to the Council�s requirements which are being recycled by the Mobius Project, donated by Fujitsu and distributed by the Council to community based organisations in the Highland area...............

16 September 03
HIE Launches Wireless Broadband Company
Today sees the launch of HI-WIDE Ltd, a not-for-profit company that will bring broadband to the most rural and remote parts of the Highlands and Islands.  The company has been created by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in response to an increasing need for broadband in areas where ADSL broadband cannot be supplied.  Areas in Caithness on the list are -
Reay, Barrock, John o Groats, Berriedale, Dunbeath, Latheronwheel, Lybster, Thrumster, Watten

16 September 03
Norman Harrison will lead �4bn Site Restoration Programme The  Secretary  of  State  for  Trade  and Industry has appointed Mr Norman Harrison  as  Director,  Dounreay, and a Member of the UKAEA Board. He will succeed Mr Peter Welsh, who is retiring on 31 October 2003.  Manchester-born  Norman  Harrison, 51, is currently director of Sizewell B, British  Energy's Pressurised Water Reactor station in Suffolk. He has been in the power industry for 25 years, starting as an assistant chemist with a coal-fired power station in his home town and followed by appointments at a number  of  north-west  power  stations. Prior to Sizewell B he was station director at Heysham 1 in Lancashire...................

15 September 03
Scottish Thistle Award Finalists 2003
Ackergill Tower Makes The Finalists List

Forty-nine of Scotland's tourism businesses have been selected to go forward to the final stage of judging for one of the industry's ultimate accolades.   The finalists for the Scottish Thistle Awards, created by VisitScotland and now in their twelfth year will hear by 24th October if they have won.   The awards reward excellence, professionalism and creative thinking across the tourism industry.

15 September 03

Given the clear intention of Scottish Ministers to lay legislation before the Scottish Parliament introducing single transferable voting as the system of election for local government in 2007, The Highland Council is to explore with Scottish Ministers whether the sparsely populated nature of the more rural parts of the Highlands could be recognised by maintaining single member wards in exceptional cases within a system of Single Transferable Voting. 

15 September 03
Pentland End Of Season Regatta
UKAEA Dounreay sponsored the recent End of Season Regatta, held at the Pentland Firth Yacht Club over the weekend of 13 & 14 September. Weather forecasts for the weekend indicated winds of up to force 7 - 8, which would have meant cancellation of some races. Fortunately, these strong winds did not materialise, and 5 races were held in Thurso Bay for dinghies and keelboats.

15 September 03
Basking Shark Caught Off John O'Groats
Dave Simpson of Canisbay pulled in this 11 foot basking shark this evening when he was out in his creelboat 'Capricorn' off John O' Groats. The shark had become caught in a rope and was hauled aboard by Dave and crewman Mark Fraser.

14 September 03

The Highland Council is determined to ensure better management of coastal waters. Vice-Convener Dr Michael Foxley made the commitment in launching two new marine initiatives in Shieldaig, West Ross.  He said: �With more than 1,900 sq km of coastline � 49% of the Scottish mainland  coastline � we have a large area to safeguard and manage.  We have promoted and strongly supported regulatory orders to allow local fishermen to manage the inshore shellfish fishery and we continue to lead the campaign to control the passage of hazardous cargoes in our waters.�

14 September 03
Toddlers in Caithness will soon be getting an extra 1st birthday present from NHS Highland and The Highland Council.  As children born in the area from last August reach one year old, each family will receive a free copy of the play @ home toddler booklet.  The easy-to-use guide has hundreds of ideas for active games that are fun to play and help children's development.   The booklet also includes advice on infant massage techniques, recipes for play materials, songs and rhymes.

11 September 03
Three young Modern Apprentices men have just returned from the adventure of a lifetime on the high seas.
Gordon Mackay (Watten), Liam More (Wick) and James MacDonald (Kinlochbervie) were fortunate enough to secure the three berths funded by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) in the latest of the Tall Ships Adventure 2003. They are all engineering Modern Apprentices, employed by UKAEA, Subsea 7 and Alstom Power UK Ltd respectively.  After flying out to join their shipmates in Travemunde, Germany, they set sail on the 'Prince William' bound for Aberdeen, via the ports of Friedrichschafen and Copenhagen.


Twelve  young  people  from  Caithness  have  started  new  careers  in the decommissioning  of  Britain's  former  centre of fast reactor research and development.  The  latest batch of engineering apprentices and secretarial and scientific trainees  to  complete their skills training programmes at the site are due to attend their indenture ceremony at the Park Hotel, Thurso, tonight.  Dounreay's  head  of  engineering Sandy Charter will tell them the skills and  experience  they  gain at the Caithness site will be in growing demand throughout  the  UK  and  abroad  as more nuclear plants reached the end of their operating lives.

8 September 03
Caithness And Sutherland Search Team

The group have reorganised themselves and previously were known as the Disaster Dog Team.  On Sunday they were out on a typical training day for handlers and dogs.  Two dogs put up an impressive display of finding hidden volunteers bodies who were found after the dogs covered the rough terrain on Dunnet head.  If you have a dog and are interested in regular training outdoors with your dog then get in touch with the group to find out more....

8 September 03
New Cross-Border Flight For Highlands
The �6.8 million Route Development Fund will invest in a new direct flight from Inverness to Birmingham, Transport Minister Nicol Stephen said today.

7 September 03
Rugby - Caithness 87 Orkney 7 as Caithness Team Unstoppable On Saturday
Caithness were in blistering form as they swept away with 3 tries in the first five minutes.  The first half ended with the score line looking like the finish at Caithness 47 Orkney 7 after Orkney went all out in the last couple of minutes to get a try.  But the highly organised Caithness side could not be stopped and the fiinal score of 87 - 7 sets down a challenge to other teams after this opening match of the season.
Caithness Rugby Club Web Site

7 September 03
Academy 1 Rothes 1
Academy scored in the first half but Rothes managed the equaliser in the last minute of the game following goalkeeper Macmillan being sent off .  He first got a yellow card and 30 seconds later got a red card for arguing with the referee.
Wick Academy Unofficial Web site

6 September 03
Highland Dancing Competitions In Wick

6 September 03
House Break In At Sparras
Near Skitten War Memorial - Reward Offered
Friday Night 5 September
Were you passing Skitten War Memorial On Friday Night?
Did you notice a vehicle parked at the memorial between 7.30 and 10.30pm.
Callous robbers have taken jewellery and mementoes from the house.  Many of the items were of sentimental value such as guide badges.  There was expensive jewellery in amongst the items stolen and a reward is being offered by Fiona Miller (nee Mackay) leading to the return of the stolen items.

5 September 03
Scotland's  first  operational  nuclear  reactor  is one step away from its complete decommissioning.  The  penultimate  stage  of  decommissioning  the  Dounreay  Materials Test Reactor  (DMTR)  has  been  completed,  leaving the reactor block ready for demolition  following a period of passive care and maintenance to allow for further radioactive decay.  DMTR was one of three reactors built and operated at UKAEA Dounreay between 1958 and 1994.  All three reactors are now in their decommissioning stages.

4 September 03
Britain's    first   modern   apprentices   in   nuclear   operations   and decommissioning have started a three-year training programme at the leading edge of Britain's nuclear clean-up.   Five  young  people from Caithness have joined a pilot initiative set up by the UK Atomic Energy Authority to teach them the skills needed to dismantle the former experimental reactor establishment at Dounreay.  They  are  among  21  young  people recruited this summer to UKAEA training schemes - the highest intake of young people at the Caithness site for over a decade.

2 September 03
Long Hot Summer Of 2003
Brings Tomatoes To Thurso Beach

Council gardeners recently got a shock to discover around one hundred tomato plants growing in the sands of Thurso beach. How they got there is unknown, but they are bearing fruit.   Head gardener, John Ross said "I've never seen anything like this before.   How they have survived in these conditions is unheard of."  He went on to say "The good weather this past year would have played a major factor in their progress, but I would think the salt water wouldn't of helped much."    Have you any unusual plants growing in Caithness this year due to the unusually high temperatures the year "Costa Caithness" came true?

2 September 03
5000th Visitor This Year To Dounreay Visitor Centre
Dounreay director Peter Welsh was on hand to welcome the 5,000th visitor to the Dounreay Visitor Centre since it opened in May. He presented Kent holiday-maker Elaine Yorwarth with a souvenir copy of the book "Dounreay - The Illustrated Story" to mark the milestone. Tina Wrighton, who runs the UKAEA visitor centre, said: "visitor numbers this season have been very high with a twenty percent increase on recent years and welcoming our 5000th visitor so early in the year has been a real pleasure and very rewarding for the staff who work so hard in centre.  The centre will be open until the end of October so anyone who hasn't come along this year still has plenty of time to call in".

1 September 03

Only one year after establishing an office in Thurso, RM Consultants has been given recognition as an Investor in People as a testimony to its commitment to support and develop its staff. The award has delighted directors, senior managers and staff alike who have all worked hard to implement development programmes.


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