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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 4th May 2002
Issue No 278

Nessies Been Stolen?

The Scottish Executive has stepped in to quash reports that US mega millionaire businessman Donald Trump has a new ace up his sleeve - the Loch Ness Monster.

According to an American supermarket newspaper, the flamboyant tycoon has bought the nation's top tourist attraction from the "penny pinching Scottish Government" for a reputed 1.5 billion. Nessie, claims the popular Weekly World News, is probably being held at Trump's 18 acre Palm Beach estate. It's ultimate destination is the billionaire's Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. And its mission? To lure gamblers away from rival Las Vegas. The WWN quotes an Atlantic City insider as saying: "Ask yourself, which would you rather do? Go to Vegas to hear Wayne Newton and watch those old lion tamers - or come to Atlantic City and see the legendary Loch Ness Monster, the world's last living dinosaur? The paper claims that back in Scotland, "frantic researchers" have confirmed the disappearance of the beastie and are "bellyaching about the government's outrageous deal". It goes on: "Who does this arrogant Yank think he is that he can come here with suitcases full of money and buy Nessie like a slab of Texas beef," demands an allegedly flabbergasted Mary McHeath, chairwoman of the untraceable Society for the Preservation of Scottish Culture. The paper claims Trump made a deal with a trio of Scottish marine biologists to "spirit" the monster out of Loch Ness and away last month. And it adds insult to injury by claiming that the beastie is pregnant - by the Lake Champlain Monster from New York State - and is pining for her lost love. But Nessie lovers everywhere can take heart. For this week a spokesman for the finance and public services desk at the Scottish Executive denied categorically that it had struck a deal with Trump. "I can reassure the people of Drumnadrochit - and indeed Inverness - that this authority has not and will not, enter into any negotiations regarding the sale of what is regarded by many as Scotland's greatest asset," he said. As to whether it is still in the loch, I cannot say as I have never seen it myself." It is not the first time the WWN has spread fear and despondency about the monster. In March last year, it reported that a daring team of scientists from seven countries, has captured Nessie - but threw her back because of public reaction when it was found she was having a baby.

Hi Tech Link for Small Isles

The lives of islanders on Jura changed recently with the launch of a hi-tech information point linking them to public services on the mainland. Locals will be able to contact Argyll and Bute Council, Argyll and the Islands Enterprise (AIE), Argyll and Clyde NHS Board and other public bodies. The project will see similar services brought to neighbouring Islay and Colonsay. Service points on each of the three islands will consist of a room equipped with all the latest video conferencing technology, computer, scanner and more. They will be available to local people who, for example, want face to face contact with someone with specialist knowledge on the mainland. The Jura service point will be managed by two people employed by the Jura Development Trust who will act as the first port of call for islanders wanting to make contact with any services. These offices will also be available to public services staff visiting the island. Finance Minister Andrew Kerr congratulated the council, its partners and islanders for developing the service point. He said: "This co-operation and joined up approach forms a large part of the Scottish Executive's vision for better public services for Scotland. It is vital that we work together to ensure that Scotland's rural communities and more remote areas are given the same opportunity to access much needed information as those in more heavily populated areas."

Political Message

A number of medallions dating back to 1708, giving some of the earliest examples of political spin doctoring, have gone on display at the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre, near Inverness. The four rare silver and bronze pieces, originating from France, Italy and London, which were once used as a device for spreading propaganda, were recently purchased at auction in London. They feature dignitaries who believed that their circulation would raise their political profiles. The medallions were purchased with the aid of a bequest from the estate of the late Mrs Margaret Mackenzie of Culloden, once a regular visitor to the centre and battlefield. Centre manager Ross Mackenzie said that he was keen to build up a purchased collection, as many of the items on display are owned by the National Museum. He said: "Each of the medals tells a different story in their own way. "They are also a much more realistic buy for us because we would not be able to afford any Jacobite paintings that come up for auction. "The medals, which were used for the purposes of propaganda, give examples of the 18th century equivalent of spin doctoring. "People think the concept is a relatively new invention, but dignitaries then had their own political agendas, just as they do today." Among the medallions on display is one carrying the image of Princess Louisa, the younger sister of James the Old Pretender, who died of smallpox in 1712. Greatly mourned in France, she had been seen as a potential successor to her half sister, Queen Anne, and as a potential bride for the youngest grandson of Louis, Charles Duc de berry. A silk purse embroidered by her is also on display at the visitor centre.

Environment Award

A small Inverness-shire community recently scooped a top award for its environment work. Two residents from Kiltarlity picked up the Eastgate Rose Bowl and a 100 cheque after coming out on top in the Highland Council Annual Environmental Awards. The accolade came in recognition of several environmental sustainability projects undertaken by the people of Kiltarlity, including the development of a woodland walk, the creation of a Garden of Hope, from a patch of wasteland, and effective management of the local indigenous habitat. Kiltarlity residents Anne Maclean and June Stewart, who collected the prizes at Inverness Town House said they were delighted with their award. Mrs MacLean said: "We are honoured to have been able to come and collect the award on behalf of our community. Everyone has worked very hard to achieve this award. "It has certainly encouraged us to carry on doing good work for our local environment."

Mackay Country

A new marketing drive celebrating one of Scotland's oldest clans is being planned for the north west of Sutherland. Durness Development Group has come up with the idea of marketing the area north of Kylsku, incorporating the parishes of Eddrachilles, Durness, Tongue and Farr, as "Mackay Country" after its dominant historical clan. And development group members are hoping that other organisations and individuals will want to join them in the project. Secretary Ronnie Lansley explained that Mackay is still the most common surname in this area. "The district anciently occupied by the Clan Mackay, and known from the name of its chief as the Lord Reays country, extended along some two thirds of the broken north coast of Scotland, from Reay on Sandside Bay, some 10 miles west of Thurso, along the coast to Cape Wrath, and as far southward as Eddrachilles Bay on the West Coast. "We know there is a big demand from Mackay people all over the world to trace their ancestral roots and we see this as a stepping stone to providing somewhere recognisable as the homeland of the Clan Mackay. They will be able to visit the burial site of the clan chiefs at Tongue, Balnakeil House in Durness, where the chief of the clan held court on the western side of the country, and many places connected with the Gaelic bard Rob Donn, along with many other Clan Mackay standard bearers. "This area is steeped in the history of the Clan Mackay, but there is nothing to draw it all together at the moment," he said. But he stressed that the project will be centred on the area and the artefacts portraying the way of life in the locality past and present rather than being a historical trail. He said the new label could give the area a much needed tourism boost. "Mackay Country will give the area an identity and help us to market it to Mackays worldwide," said Mr Lansley, who runs the Balnakeil Wines and Clear Craft Candles shop in Durness. But he stressed that the project was in its very early stages.

Worldwide Recognition

Highland foresters have been presented with a prestigious global conservation prize for their work in Fort Augustus. The Gift of the Earth award from the international conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was presented to the Forestry Commission in recognition of its work in Glen Affric National Nature Reserve. Fort Augustus forest district manager Malcolm Wield said achieving the international stamp of approval for its efforts reflected the Forestry Commission's achievements in environmental management. "Ten years ago, people would not have imagined that we would be presented with the WWF's highest honour," he said. "We have come a long way and the pioneering work carried out in restoring the magnificent wood of Glen Affric has been key to our success." The award is the first one of its kind to be presented in the United Kingdom since the Gift of the Earth scheme started three years ago.

Photo Library

A photographic library of scenic Sutherland is being made available to community groups in the area, free of charge. The Sutherland Partnership, an alliance of public, private and third sector organisations set up to bring about sustainable economic and social change, has compiled a library of 580 slides of people, landscapes and communities in the county. Partnership manager David Bryan explained the library had been set up to support community initiatives, providing images that the groups could use to promote themselves on community websites, village leaflets, interpretation panels or other promotional materials. "It's very expensive to get a professional photographer to take a few shots, so we decided that, by commissioning these photographs at a cost of 2,000, we would be achieving economy of scale. "Borgie based photographer Michael Brookes Roper was commissioned to take the images over a period of 12 months."

Charity Event

A medical secretary took the plunge in an abseil for charity from the top of Raigmore Hospital in Inverness last weekend. Lee Beck went over the side from the top of the hospital building with her younger sister Donna. The charity abseil raised 1,500 for the Chest, Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Political Roundup

MSPs Watchdog Gets More Powers

A Bill which aims to create an independent Holyrood watchdog with powers to investigate complaints against MSPs has been published. The Scottish Parliament's standards committee hopes the Standards Commissioner Bill will reassure the public about the honesty of politicians. Committee convener Mike Rumbles said the new watchdog would carry out inquiries into the activities of MSPs in a "thorough, fair and impartial fashion". The Liberal Democrat MSP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, also said the commissioner would have far reaching powers to force witnesses to give evidence, unlike the Westminster equivalent. BR>

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Early bright periods, becoming cloudy. Isolated showers in the W. Winds Light S'ly. Temperature 8c to 12c.
Saturday Night
Cloudy in some eastern areas. Some mist and frost overnight in sheltered glens. Winds light S'ly. Temperature -1c to 3c.
Starting cloudy and damp, soon brighter with the best sunshine in the E. Winds light NW'ly.
A mainly cloudy day with some showers over coasts and hills. Winds light NE'ly.

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This is Caledonia ( Caley for short ) A Ness-Scape family member and mascot. She is a White German Shepherd. Caley has decided to take over the editing of Nessie's Loch Ness Times, and she's sure she'll make a good job of it. What do you think?

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