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Angus & The Mearns

Montrose man’s Trump movie to be shown across America

October 30 2016

A Montrose film-maker’s documentary on Donald Trump will be made available to millions of US voters ahead of the presidential election. You’ve Been Trumped Too – which premiered in the shadow of Trump Tower in New York on Friday will now be distributed across the US after a crowdfunding campaign smashed its $75,000 target. Anthony Baxter from Montrose Pictures said: “We’re delighted. People have been so supportive and generous. It’s overwhelming. “I’ve always thought that the Scottish story and the Menie Estate story is a microcosm of what could be unleashed on the world if Trump was ever in such a powerful position, and had the most powerful job in the world.” The $75,000 raised means the documentary will now be shown either on television or free of charge online in America. The money will be used for distribution, publicity, advertising and legal costs. Trump’s camp have issued a statement rubbishing claims are made by 92-year-old Molly Forbes in the film. You’ve Been Trumped Too tells the story of widow Molly who Trump threatened with legal action after she refused to sell her property for his luxury golf course. The film then follows Molly’s son Michael Forbes – who Trump previously branded “a pig” – to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attempts to find out why Americans are backing the man he blames for his family’s misfortune. The billionaire businessman previously tried to stop the BBC screening Anthony Baxter’s first film You’ve Been Trumped about the effect the property magnate’s golf course development in Aberdeenshire had on locals. https://twitter.com/antbaxter/status/792490433922404352 After Trump announced he was running for President, the Montrose film-maker returned to Balmedie to find that residents were still having problems as a result of the luxury development. A spokeswoman for Trump International Golf Links said: “We have not seen the so-called film and have no interest in it. “Anthony Baxter is not a credible journalist or filmmaker. He has no interest in the facts or the people of north east Scotland. “He has propagated lies and nonsense about the company for years in an attempt to make a name for himself off the back of Trump. “We operate a highly acclaimed, five-star golf resort and enjoy a great relationship with the local community and all of our neighbours with the exception of a few who have fought the project since its inception.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-dZLKJ7E3M Donald Trump branded Mr Baxter’s original You’ve Been Trumped as “a failure” but the film won a dozen international awards at leading film festivals worldwide and was named documentary of the year by leading film critic Mark Kermode. You’ve Been Trumped Too will also be screened at DCA from Fri until Monday, November 7.

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose man’s Trump film will be shown live on social media despite threat of legal action

November 2 2016

A Montrose filmmaker will stream his new documentary live to voters in the US on Thursday despite being threatened with legal action by Donald Trump. As the US presidential candidate attempts to suppress the film, the producers of You’ve Been Trumped Too have announced a free screening of the film. Trump’s lawyers have threatened to sue anyone who screens it but Anthony Baxter might have found a loophole and is streaming it on Facebook Live. “There is a profound danger to freedom of speech in Mr Trump’s actions, especially with the election around the corner,” said Mr Baxter. “He and his organisation has harassed local residents in a way that I think people need to see. “You can’t allow bullying to get in the way of the truth.” You’ve Been Trumped Too tells the story of widow Molly who Trump threatened with legal action after she refused to sell her property for his luxury golf course. The film then follows Molly’s son Michael Forbes – who Trump previously branded “a pig” – to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attempts to find out why Americans are backing the man he blames for his family’s misfortune. The billionaire businessman previously tried to stop the BBC screening Anthony Baxter’s first film You’ve Been Trumped about the effect the property magnate’s golf course development in Aberdeenshire had on locals. After Trump announced he was running for President, the Montrose film-maker returned to Balmedie to find that residents were still having problems as a result of the luxury development. You’ve Been Trumped Too – which premiered in the shadow of Trump Tower in New York on Friday - is being distributed after a crowdfunding campaign smashed its $75,000 target. But the Trump Organization issued a legal challenge threatening to sue if anyone dares show the film and is pledging to take Molly Forbes to court over claims made in the film. A spokesman for Trump International Golf Links said: “Mr and Mrs Forbes rejected our offer to be connected to mains water. “Trump International has sought legal counsel and will pursue legal action against those who have propagated these highly defamatory claims.” The film been called ‘a ticking timebomb’ by Indiewire, ‘laced with enough maddening new material for it to feel like a valuable addition to the most hollow house of cards in the history of American politic.’ The New York Times said the film was ‘timely’ and added, “this time the 'you' in the title is the United States". The film streams Thursday at 8pm ET.

Angus & The Mearns

Bell Rock Lighthouse legend honoured

December 21 2017

He was the famed designer and builder of lighthouses whose finest achievement was the construction of the Bell Rock off the coast of Arbroath. Now a plaque honouring the life of Robert Stevenson has been unveiled outside his Edinburgh birthplace by Stevenson’s great, great, great grandson James Will. Stevenson was born in 1850 in the city’s Baxter’s Place, now a Marriott hotel, and was the grandfather of Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson. The hotel, along with the Lantern Room restaurant and bar, includes images of Stevenson’s famous Bell Rock Lighthouse, technical drawings and maps that appear in the public areas and in every room. A bust of the engineer sits in the foyer and the hotel’s boardroom is called The Stevenson Room. Mike Bullock, Chief Executive of the Northern Lighthouse Board, said: “We are delighted and proud to see the unveiling of this plaque at Robert Stevenson’s former home. “Stevenson made a huge contribution to the safety of mariners in Scottish and Isle of Man Waters, and it’s only right we continue to remember and celebrate the life of this amazing engineer and recognise the historical significance of Baxter Place.” Mr Bullock and the Marriott Courtyard’s general manager, Douglas Winfield, all worked with the hotel’s designer during the building’s refurbishment to ensure that the spirit of Robert Stevenson was retained. For more than 150 years Robert Stevenson and his descendants designed most of Scotland’s lighthouses. Stevenson proposed the construction of a lighthouse on Bell Rock as early as 1899 but the cost and scale of the project frightened the other members of the Northern Lighthouse Board. The plan was reconsidered following the loss of the 64-gun warship HMS York and all of its 491 crew. Also known as the Inchcape, the Bell Rock was built over three years from 1807 to such a standard it has not been replaced or adapted. The lighthouse operated in tandem with the Signal Tower shore station, built at the mouth of Arbroath harbour and now home to a museum.

Angus & The Mearns

Passchendaele heroes added to Dundee war roll

August 10 2017

Three members of a Dundee family who survived the Battle of Passchendaele have been added to the city’s roll of honour. The Great War Dundee Project is the story of the 30,490 men that left the city to fight in the first world war and of the people left at home. Dundee gave 63% of its eligible men to the armed forces and the directory was updated following Saturday’s Courier article about the role the city’s Johnston brothers played in the war. Of the five Johnston brothers, Frank, Walter, David and Peachy were artillerymen, and the fifth, John, was an army doctor. Frank and Walter’s entries have now been updated while David, Peachy and John have now had entries created in the returnee section of the honour roll. Gary Thomson from the Great War Dundee Project said: “Following Saturday’s Courier article on the five Johnston brothers who served in the war, with both Frank and Walter paying the ultimate sacrifice and the fact that Frank, for reasons unknown is not recognised as a casualty of war, the Great War Dundee Project has updated the entries for both Frank and Walter on the new roll of honour. “Dundee paid a high price for her war efforts. By the armistice, over 4,000 men had made the ultimate sacrifice. “Their names are recorded in the city’s original roll of honour, a simple alphabetical list of names, ranks and regiments. “Over the years mistakes and omissions have been discovered by families viewing the list resulting in handwritten corrections to the record.” Mr Thomson said one of Great War Dundee’s main objectives is to produce an “inclusive, fully searchable online roll of Dundonians who contributed to the war effort” and in doing so honour the men and women who lost their lives and those who survived. He added: “Due to the fact that Frank was not recognised as a casualty his entry on the original Dundee Roll of Honour was very sparse with only his name and regiment listed. “Saturday’s article allowed us to contact Frank’s relative who provided us with a fantastic amount on information about Frank and Walter which have been added to their entry. “Not only that but the three brothers who survived, David, John and Peachy have now have entries created, in the returnee section of the honour roll. “It is thanks to people like Douglas that these entries now have added information and photos.” Frank is believed to have been wounded in Flanders in 1917 and he endured a prolonged and difficult death in November 1919 in a private nursing home in Dundee as a result of his injuries. The family have been unable to provide sufficient independent corroboration that he died directly of his war wounds as his army records have not survived. Frank’s great nephew Douglas Norrie from near Arbroath is trying to find documentary evidence to correct this. David and Frank were both with the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) and their batteries of large long range howitzers were deployed at Corps level and primarily used to attack specific enemy targets, particularly enemy artillery. Walter and Peachy served with the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) with their respective brigades being attached to infantry divisions and their smaller, highly portable field guns being used in support of infantry. The fifth of the brothers, Captain (Dr) John McPherson Johnston was a doctor and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and was awarded the Silver War Badge after being discharged with TB.

Angus & The Mearns

Contamination drilling test D-day for ancient well bid

January 12 2018

A contamination drilling test D-day is looming for an ancient well project in Angus. A drilling rig at Arbroath’s Keptie Pond will begin taking soil samples to test the suitability of the land. Keptie Friends want to bring the Nolt Loan well back into use to curb the unsightly algae problem which blights the pond every year. In 2017, the rim of the historic Nolt Loan Well, which at one time provided a piped water supply to the town, was located and exposed. The group hopes to have the well re-opened so an affordable supply of fresh spring water can be pumped into Keptie Pond. Roughly 1,300,000 gallons is required to raise water levels by a foot, and losses through evaporation and seepage, average out at 22,000 gallons daily. Volunteer George Park said: “To minimise haulage associated with the excavation work, it is planned to spread the soil on the adjacent park, so filling a noticeable dip. “Before soil can be spread on public property it is necessary to have the material tested for contamination, and in order to do that, a rig will be at the site to drill a hole in the middle of the well and obtain samples to a depth of approximately 50 feet. “Research, and common sense, used to locate the almost forgotten water supply, suggests in the strongest terms that the material in the well is the same material excavated from it, when the well was first formed but regulations and protocols do not make provision for the use of common sense, and sampling is essential to allow Angus Council to give the group the ‘green light’. “This is a fairly costly exercise, but something which must be done, if the group are to proceed further." Mr Park said Keptie Friends have entered 2018 optimistic this year will see the end of the problems of water shortage and poor water quality at Keptie Pond. A £60,000 funding campaign is being launched to bring the well back into use with a starting pot of £5,000 following Tesco Bags of Help money and a donation. The decaying vegetation, bird and fish droppings, and decomposing uneaten food cause the water to be nutrient enriched. Warm, nutrient enriched water provides ideal conditions for blue/green algae. Along with providing a water supply from the well, a re-circulation pump would also be installed and pipework, along with a compressor and oxygenation pipeline.

Angus & The Mearns

£60,000 funding campaign to be launched to bring ancient well back into use

August 5 2017

A £60,000 funding campaign will be launched imminently in a bid to bring an ancient well back into use in Angus. Until 1908 the Nolt Loan Well provided Arbroath with its only public water supply and Keptie Friends want to bring it back into use to curb the algae problem that blights Keptie Pond every year. The next stage of the project involves soil sampling to determine suitability for recycling the contents of the well around the park before a costing and timing schedule is decided upon. That will determine whether the material can be used to level the park, or should be taken off site. This will also serve to let volunteers see the quality of the brickwork below the concrete rim. Crowdfunding looks likely to achieve the £60,000 which already has a starting pot of £5,000 following Tesco Bags of Help money and a generous donation from a local resident. Volunteer George Park said: “The water in the pond is currently quite shallow, averaging around 600mm or two feet, and as a result the temperature fluctuates quite dramatically. “The decaying vegetation, bird and fish droppings, and decomposing uneaten food cause the water to be nutrient enriched. “Warm, nutrient enriched water provides ideal conditions for blue/green algae, and it is the blue /green algae which is more the problem than the visual appearance, which changes from clear to green to red to brown, dependant upon the weather. “When we fill the pond to capacity, the nutrient level will be diluted, and the increased quantity of water will take longer to warm. “The area around the boat pier is relatively unaffected by discolouration, but the outlet pipe from the borehole, which sometimes delivers a little water, is located there, reducing the local temperature. “Along with providing a water supply from the well, it was also recommended by the consultants that we install a re-circulation pump and pipework, along with a compressor and oxygenation pipeline. “Ideally, all of the works should be undertaken concurrently, but that will be dependant upon the funding available. “It might be necessary to phase the works.” The pond leaks at an average of 22,000 gallons per day and when water levels are low in summer water temperatures rise and when high nutrient levels are present algae flourishes. The problem is tackled by diluting nutrient levels by maintaining a high water level and a throughput of fresh water. However mains water comes at an unsustainable cost. A first well was sunk in 1870 at what is now the junction of Rose Street and Roseberry Place before a decision was taken to stop digging and to erect a 6,000 gallon tank and support structure. A second well was sunk at what is now the entrance to the park at Keptie Pond, linked by a tunnel to a second, similar, well at what is now the junction of Warslap Avenue and Inchcape Road. The pumping station was built over the Nolt Loan well and the water was pumped to the new water tower on the top of Keptie Hill.

Angus & The Mearns

Stonehaven chippie’s batter to be lapped up by army of heroes

August 31 2016

A Stonehaven fish and chip shop has signed a deal to distribute its award-winning batter to the country’s heroes. The new contracts will see Bay Fish and Chips batter distributed to restaurants and military messes across the whole of the defence sector and government services. Thousands of employees and high-ranking officials will eat it on “Fish Friday” every week following the partnerships with ESS Support Services Worldwide, which is part of Compass Group UK and Ireland. The contracts have been won off the back of a one-year strong partnership with Compass Group, where the batter is already being enjoyed by ESS offshore workers in the North Sea, used in conjunction with Jimmy Buchan’s Amity Seafood. Calum Richardson, chef and owner of The Bay Fish and Chips, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be in a growing partnership with Compass Group for the distribution of our bespoke batter. “The new contracts come at an amazing point for the business as we’ve just celebrated our 10th birthday.”  

Angus & The Mearns

Courier Country council finances left battered and bruised by crash repair bills

May 21 2017

Cash-strapped councils in Courier Country have racked up a £1.1m road crash bill over the past two years. The amount that local authorities forked out to repair damage caused by road crashes involving council vehicles was revealed following a Courier investigation. The largest bill was in Fife where 693 incidents happened in 2015/16 with repair costs of £281,457 which dropped to 667 accidents costing the taxpayer £200,735 last year. There were 290 crashes in Perth and Kinross last year costing £127,875 which was down from 324 accidents which cost £137,717 during the previous 12 months. Angus recorded 152 claims in 2015/16 which cost £78,984 which dropped to 124 accidents last year where repairs cost £71,235. North East Scotland Conservative MSP Liam Kerr said: “Any business will tell you that accidents happen, and there will be a bill to pay for damage to vehicles. “But council taxpayers will rightly ask questions about damages running beyond £1 million. “I appreciate there are a large number of vehicles, but Fife reported almost 700 accidents in a year, which is not far off two every week - that seems excessive, to say the least. “Council drivers should be trained to the highest possible standards and organisations should always be working to minimise the number of incidents. “Given the pressure on local government budgets due to SNP cuts, this repair bill is another drain on finances that councils could well do without.” Road safety charity Brake spokesman Zariaat Masood said organisations that employ people who drive for work “have a duty of care to ensure their drivers are safe”. He said: “It’s reassuring to hear the councils are investing in technology to improve these areas, and we would encourage them to continue working with their drivers to ensure there is a culture that considers road crashes an unacceptable risk, and prioritises safety.” In Dundee there were 167 accidents last year which cost the taxpayer £119,424 which was down from 218 crashes the previous year which landed the local authority a bill for £170,736. An Angus Council spokesman said: “While numbers of such incidents will fluctuate, it is encouraging to see that figures reduced on the previous year, as we take everyone’s road safety very seriously. “The vast majority of the claims made related to our own vehicles and were for damage only. “None involved anyone being seriously injured. “Training is provided for our drivers as required by each service. “Staff are aware of their responsibilities as road users when using a council vehicle.” A Dundee City Council spokeswoman said every incident is investigated and “the appropriate action is taken”. She added: “We use several methods, including 360 degree cameras, vehicle telematics devices and larger vehicle assessments, to protect our employees and improve driving standards.” Perth and Kinross Council said: “Any officer using a council vehicle is expected to take all reasonable actions to avoid accidents and damage being caused to the vehicle.” Fife Council’s Risk Management team leader Avril Sweeney commented: “The council continually reviews processes, accident and claim information to see where there may be areas we can improve. “We have a number of driver trainers and a variety of driver training is undertaken regularly. “We use vehicle tracking information where possible and any new vehicle coming into the fleet is assessed to see what safety devices can be fitted to assist the driver and reduce accidents. “A number of vehicles have cameras and some have 360 degree camera systems that can record any incident. “This assists in accident investigation to see what lessons can be learned. “The council currently has approximately 1,600 vehicles in its fleet.”

Angus & The Mearns

Brutal Angus ‘limbs in the bin’ killer Steven Jackson launches bid to win his freedom

July 13 2017

Brutal Angus killer Steven Jackson’s bid to clear his name and win his freedom will be heard in September. Jackson is appealing his conviction and life sentence for the murder of 37-year-old Montrose mum Kim MacKenzie. A procedural hearing took place before a single judge at the High Court of Appeal in Edinburgh on Wednesday morning. A date was then set for the full hearing which will take place before three senior judges on September 19. A range of options will be available to the appeal judges, from rejecting the appeal on both grounds to ordering a retrial in the case. Jackson, 41, battered Ms MacKenzie in a frenzied attack with two knives, a hammer and a large paint scraper at a flat in Montrose in October 2015. As she lay dying from massive head injuries, Jackson and his girlfriend Michelle Higgins went out to buy heroin and were captured on CCTV walking hand-in-hand through Montrose High Street. The following day Jackson chopped up Ms MacKenzie in a bath, and, with help from Higgins, dumped parts of the mum-of-three’s body in bins across the town. CCTV captured the pair walking through the streets of the Angus town with parts of their victim in a green suitcase and a child’s rucksack. Along with Jackson, Higgins was convicted of attempting to defeat the ends of justice over the efforts to dispose of the corpse. Jackson was jailed for a minimum of 26 years while Higgins was sentenced to eight years behind bars for her role. During the trial at the High Court in Glasgow, each of the accused blamed the other for murdering Ms MacKenzie. Higgins claimed that she was so terrified of Jackson that she helped him dispose of Ms MacKenzie’s body after he had killed her. Jackson and Higgins had got to know each other through drugs, with Jackson regularly supplying her with heroin. Sentencing judge Lady Rae previously described their actions as “despicable and callous” and condemned Jackson for a complete lack of remorse over the murder. He was on several bail orders at the time of the killing and boasted about what he had done.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus filmmaker’s link up with Hollywood creative force for water crisis movie

July 29 2017

Montrose Pictures are teaming up with one of Hollywood’s key creative forces for its upcoming documentary on the Flint water crisis. Filmmaker Anthony Baxter confirmed the link-up with Imaginary Forces which has done work on Madmen, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and the Marvel superhero film franchises, and has just been nominated for three Emmys for their production of Sonic Sea. The You’ve Been Trumped director made the announcement on Friday in New York during a special screening of 20 minutes of footage less than 200 miles from Flint. The documentary aims to bring awareness to another complex story described as “one about broken trust and the people who are left to deal with the fallout after the cameras leave”. David-and-Goliath struggles are nothing new to Mr Baxter, who first brought to the world’s attention the plight of residents in Aberdeenshire battling Donald Trump in the critically acclaimed 2012 film. With Flint, the Angus director was alerted by local residents to the water crisis unfolding in the small Michigan town months before the story became headline news. Mr Baxter said: “We thought it important to tell this story from the eyes of the residents, not the politicians and celebrities who come and go in Flint on a regular basis. “It’s a riveting story about the breakdown of trust, and one that has huge resonance and relevance in today’s America.” Flint will be released at cinemas and broadcast on television in 2018 and Imaginary Forces’ co-founder Chip Houghton said the story “represents both the best and worst of who we are as a nation”. “When Anthony came to us with hundreds of hours of extraordinary footage filmed over years, and relayed the responsibility he felt to tell these stories, we were immediately on board,” he said. “By the time Flint hits movie theatres, it will have been three years in the making.” Flint boasts a production team with a string of Sundance, BBC and PBS credits to their names. The editing team is being overseen by Kurt Engfehr, editor on Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, among many other award-winning films. Montrose Pictures Creative Partner and Flint producer and writer Richard Phinney added, “We are delighted and honoured to be working with such a brilliant and award-winning creative team as we near the finishing line.”