Letters to the Editor June 12

If you have a letter to the editor send it to news@mearnsleader.com

Carron River mouth - Situation like a fairy tale

As time goes on I am beginning to think that the situation at the Carron River mouth and the proposed heights of flood retaining walls reminds me of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The king is in the Altogether.” Only the children’s derision finally brought reality into the situation.

Can our flood engineers not realise that while the rock armour channel may have the capacity if completely filled to carry the same volume of water as the most restricted area of river upstream between the White and road bridges it can only achieve this full capacity by increasing the flood height level backing up along the lower river by some eight feet in height above sea level.

This backing up of flood water starting from a point where all flood waters had historically already reached the level of the sea or beach and therefore could not possibly have risen above this level.

Of more concern is the fact that proposed wall heights upstream all appear to have been calculated from flood heights recorded since the council’s experts were called in to advise the council on the flooding situation, all data having been recorded up stream from this flood height increasing above sea level barrier.

The river mouth rock armour barrier and walls had to be investigated in a separate eleventh hour supplementary report as they had been excluded from JBA’s original brief. Some experts I have consulted believe that with their three years of investigation and their recommendations having already been published in their report to Aberdeenshire Council, it was not surprising that their beach report should try to support the status quo rather than possibly calling the validity of their entire investigation into question. Some of us have already openly challenged the validity of this supplementary report as my You Tube video on the subject explains.

Yours etc,.

Ian.G.McDonald.

Address and details supplied.

TEACHER’S GIFTS - Aghast at this trend

Madam - Having just seen some newspaper features on selections of suitable gifts for pupils to give there Teachers as a Thank You at the forthcoming end of term, I’m yet again aghast at this increasing trend.

Many of the teachers feel overwhelmed and cringe at receiving numerous bunches of flowers, boxes of chocolates and increasingly trashy nick-knacks and trinkets, often passing these on to relatives, donating them to charity shops and gifting them for fundraising raffle prizes, when suitable.

Of course, supermarkets and other shops are cashing in on this in a big way, and I hear that some Teachers have even received vouchers for Experience days out, Spa Day Gift Vouchers and Dinner vouchers for Michelin Star restaurants, as some parents strive to outdo each other.

Surely it is time that schools took the initiative, and requested that parents stop gifting these increasingly excessive presents, and instead perhaps suggest that they gift the money they would spend to school funds or to the school’s chosen charity.

Who will be the first Head Teacher to enforce this measure?

Yours etc,,

Judi Martin,

Maryculter,

AB12 5GS

Feein’ market - Keep the spirit alive

Madam - Following a very enjoyable but blustery Feein Market I would like to make some comments on the day.

The weather was wild and windy and the Stonehaven Lions must take full credit for battening down the hatches and keeping the stalls fully anchored. Throughout the day they were efficient and helpful and nothing was too much trouble, even down to providing a pair of gloves for cold fingers. They deserve a huge pat on the back for a very successful day, as do the police, security and medical teams. Well done to you all.

After getting off to a slow start, due to the weather, the day gradually gathered momentum and the atmosphere was happy and friendly with great sense of community spirit. I spoke to quite a few people, many of whom had travelled from far afield such is the attraction of Stonehaven’s Feein Market.

On the negative side there seemed to be much fewer stalls this year and not many representing local organisations. This was disappointing and a definite missed opportunity by many clubs to raise their profile and also to raise some much needed funds.

The Feein Market dates back to Victorian times when farm workers gathered looking for work and being offered a fee for their services. Traditionally, in keeping with the feein market theme, anyone involved with a stall dressed up in Victorian clothes. Sadly many people seem to have forgotten the market’s origins and so it seems to be in danger of becoming just another market which I feel would be a great pity .

So come on everyone look out your shawls and knicky Tams and book your stall for this fun event in 2016.

Yours etc.,

Gwynne Stewart

Correspondence Secretary

Stonehaven (Fatherland)Burns Club

SNP Partnership - Removed from Role

Madam, I have been immensely privileged to have served the people of Aberdeenshire over the past 3 years as Provost and it has been an honour to have been able to promote and celebrate everything Aberdeenshire has to offer: it really is the most wonderful place to live and work and its people, culture and landscapes are extraordinary.

I have put my heart and soul into the job and I can’t help but feel that being forced out early is a real stab in the back-a kick in the teeth by an unprincipled, opportunistic few.

Provost is the Civic Head, a non- political position-not the Political Leader of the Council, and premature removal is morally wrong, however the political numbers stack up.

On my appointment I promised I would be an Ambassador for Aberdeenshire, promoting Aberdeenshire locally, nationally and further afield-and I am 100% confident that I have done that, meeting and welcoming people to Aberdeenshire from all over the world, reaching out to communities and promoting our relationship with the business community and other partners.

I have a deeply engrained sense of Public Duty and I find the move to remove me from office more than personally upsetting-it’s shameful and ruthless. 

I have always been scrupulously fair in the Council Chamber and striven for agreement and consensus on a way forward. Aberdeenshire Council is well respected because we have all worked hard to avoid political point scoring. The people of Aberdeenshire do not want to see the Council mired in political skulduggery.

It just makes no sense to move from a well-respected stable, cohesive administration, all working with one voice to one manifesto, and led by very capable leaders and chairs of committees, which in 3 years has achieved much, to a cobbled together administration without a clear majority in any case. It is an opportunistic grab for power and makes for uncertainty and division.

This is a clear case of certain councillors opportunistically jumping ship in pursuit of their own ruthless political ambition, leaving a stable administration to join the SNP in exchange for positions of power. The electorate may well find it difficult to understand how it is that a Councillor can be elected on one particular party ticket, and change their allegiance, in some cases not once, but twice, for their own political and financial gain.

There will be many disappointed SNP Councillors, who have worked hard for their cause, who have been sidelined and are now playing second fiddle, in a new administration largely controlled by these “party jumpers”.

I am very sad to leave the role of Provost but I wish the new incumbant well. I am still wholeheartedly committed to the people of Aberdeenshire and as Councillor for Banchory and Mid Deeside I shall continue to represent my Ward effectively as I have done for the past 12 years. 

Lastly I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has sent me messages of support. I have been deeply touched by the support I have received and it is very much appreciated.

Yours etc,

Jill Webster

Councillor for Banchory and Mid Deeside

Men’s health week

Health concerns are no laughing matter but humour can help start the conversation

Madam- British men are notorious for their reserve when it comes to discussing health matters, and Men’s Health Week (15 - 21 June 2015) is a perfect time to start talking.

Men can be especially shy about issues below the waist and behind the toilet cubicle door. While difficulties like constipation can be the result of stress, poor diet or certain medications, changes to bowel habits can sometimes be indicators of more serious problems. It’s very important that men take control of their health and are more open when it comes to talking about concerns.

In my 40+ years working with people in the health arena, I’ve found humour can be a great way to start a conversation about issues we might find embarrassing. ‘Stand Up / Sit Down’ is a new short film from Dulcolax, featuring four of the UK’s brightest, up-and-coming comedians cracking jokes about the ‘poo taboo’ and discussing men’s reluctance to talk about not being able to ‘go’. You can watch the film at www.letstalkconstipation.co.uk, which also includes information and a free bowel health App.

Shared experience is so important in feeling confident to talk and I hope this film helps men to recognise, act on and discuss any bowel health concerns they may have.

Yours etc.,

Professor Alex Gardner

Chartered psychologist and psychotherapist

5 Offord Street

London

N1 1DH

Great North Run - It’s great up North

Madam- Runners wishing to be part of Meningitis Now’s team at this year’s Great North Run need to hurry along to sign up for their guaranteed place.

Our places in the 13.1 mile run on Sunday September 13 -– the biggest and best half marathon in the world -– are running out fast, and those wanting to join in the fun have until the end of June to sign up.

By running for us you’’ll be helping to fight meningitis with every stride and move us one step closer to our vision of a future where no one in the UK dies from meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need to rebuild their lives.

Sadly, meningitis and septicaemia continue to affect thousands of people in the UK and kill more under-fives than any other infectious disease. Help us fight back on all fronts by funding research to eradicate the disease, raising awareness and supporting survivors.

To find out more and sign up email gnr@meningitisnow.org

Yours etc.,

Zoe Clarke

Events Fundraiser, Meningitis Now,

Fern House,

Bath Road,

Stroud,

Gloucestershire GL5 3TJ

Carer’s week - Significant impact of ME

Madam- The chronic, disabling condition M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) can have a significant impact on patients’ lives, leaving them unable to care for themselves. Husbands, wives, partners, siblings and children often have to take on the vital role of carer, and they need help and support.

Mary, who is in her seventies and has arthritis, has been her daughter Susan’s carer since she developed M.E. twelve years ago. “I have never once been asked how I am managing,” says Mary. “I love my daughter and of course I will care for her as long as I am able, but it doesn’t address the fact that help is needed.”

Action for M.E., the UK’s leading charity for people affected by M.E., is supporting Carers Week 2015 (Monday 8 to Sunday 14 June) and offers information and support to family and friends who find themselves in a caring role.

Carers can call 0117 927 9551 to order our Caring for somebody with M.E. booklet or visit the ‘Friends and family’ section in our Online M.E. Centre at www.actionforme.org.uk

Yours etc.,

Sonya Chowdhury

Chief Executive

Action for M.E.

42 Temple Street,

Keynsham BS31 1EH

Tel: 0117 937 6620