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Scottish News

Scottish American Society

News from Scotland and the wider Scottish Community in this area.

One Billion Trees
Environment Minister Michael Russell has warned that the planting of trees in Scotland will have to double if the country is to meet its target of 25% of the land covered by woodland by 2050. He says that new land will be turned over to forestry, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, and native, mixed and soft wood plantations will bring significant environmental benefits. At the beginning of the last century, woodland cover in Scotland had declined to below 5%.- one of the lowest in Europe. The creation of a state afforestation programme in 1919
with the founding of the Forestry Commission produced a steady increase in
the woodland area, but mainly through the creation of  huge coniferous plantations. Today, Scotland's woodland cover is about 17%.
If you wish to contribute to the reforestation effort, please go to this web site:
http://www.teaghlachwood.com or click the link below.

The Teaghlach Wood project.

11th March 2007
New/old distillery to re-open.

"FREEDOM an' whisky gang thegither," wrote Robert Burns. Now a whisky distiller on Islay is declaring a modern-day fight for Scottish 'whisky independence' by reopening a distillery that closed almost 80 years ago. The Port Charlotte distillery on Islay closed in 1929 due to Prohibition in the USA - which resulted in whisky sales plummeting in Scotland.

The distillery will be revived to counteract the influence of large international conglomerate distillers who currently dominate the whisy industry in Scotland.  The small Scottish distilleries feel it is time to fight back to maintain the Scottish industry in Scottish hands.  "The only Scottish one here [on Islay] is us.  There are very few truly Scottish distilleries left now in the country," said Mark Reynier, managing director of the Bruichladdich distillery, reopened in 2001.  "We have independence, variety and quality."
We'll drink to that! 
Royal & Ancient to go Co-Ed? Well, not quite.  As many know, the home of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews, the governing body for the sport in most of the world, is one of the last bastions of sport which is still men only. The R&A has been softening their attitudes in recent years, however, and The Open Golf Championship is now, theoretically at least, open to both men and women. Although the golf courses are open to all members of the public, the club house itself is traditionally men only. But the Weetabix Women's Open was held at St Andrews and the R&A did put out the welcome mat. The championship
attracts most of the top 100 women golfers in the world.
Alan Day, one of our favorite pipers, submits the following:
Are Bagpipers in Worse Health?

A survey by Piper and Drummer magazine finds that half of all bagpipe players suffer from hearing loss and repetitive strain injuries, but a chief defender of the instrument says that health problems for pipers are just "a load of bunk."

According to the survey, one in 10 players said his passion for bagpipes led to the dissolution of his marriage, and 84 percent said they knew pipers who had become alcoholics, according to a BBC report

But Robert Wallace, principal of the College of Piping in Glasgow, said health woes are no more common in pipers than anyone else.

"The playing of pipes is not in any way detrimental to health," he told the BBC . If a piper were to suffer hearing loss, nearby drums are more likely to be the source, said another piper and acoustic expert.

Moreover, Wallace said, pipers drink no more or less than others. "You cannot play the bagpipes drunk," he insisted.





In an article appearing in the Lorain Morning Journal, Kathy Macgregor's Drill Team was given special focus.  There was a neat photo accompanying the following.  We hope to have the photo later on.
Ladies drill team marches on
[Excerpted from an article written by RON VIDIKA , Morning Journal Writer ]
         "All the veterans of the Royal Canadian Legion were American soldiers and people who came from places like Canada, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. It disbanded due to a lack of members and funds," noted Kathi Macgregor, captain of the team. The drill team, however, continues to march and will soon be in New York, marching for the Tartan Day celebration parade there.         

          Seven years into a new century, the current generation of the Women's Auxiliary of the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Drill Team in Lorain is rehearsing their list of  drills for the upcoming Tartan Day Parade Saturday in Manhattan.   "Some of the members are the children or grandchildren of original members," said Kathi Macgregor who is both the captain and a member of the drill team and has been since 1973. Macgregor's mother, the late Phyllis Wilson-Schooley, was a member of the team. "There were a lot of mother-daughter members, especially in the 1950s and 1960s," Macgregor said. "Back then, some were wives of Lochaber Pipe Band members."                                                                             
Other members of the current drill team include Nancy Miller, Lorain, a 24-year member; Diane Cuenin, Amherst, an 11-year member; Sandy Bahn, Lorain, a 29-year member; Karen Nolan, an 11-year member; Marlene McCauley, Lorain, a seven-year member; Sharon Riegelsberger, Avon Lake, a 22-year member; Chris Kosztyo, Lorain, a 32-year member; and Christeen Currie, Amherst, a member for 16 years.                                                                                                                                        Macgregor said drill team members receive donations from festivals and other venues where they perform, although individual members "pay for rooms and flights."
"At one time, there were seven or eight posts in Lorain, such as the PLAV (Polish Legion of American Veterans) and the Knights of St. John, with auxiliaries that had drill teams. We used to be in competition with each other," she said.  On occasion, drill team members still join forces with another of Lorain's ethnic entertainment groups, the Lochaber Pipe Band, she said.   Although the current drill team has nine members, Macgregor said, "we're always looking for new members."  The women are versed in about 25 different precision drills, according to Macgregor.  When the drill team is participating in a parade, or "street marching," as Macgregor described it, there are about 10 different drills utilized.
          This will be the fourth consecutive year the drill team has participated in the Tartan Day Parade, which is in its ninth year in New York City.
"For the three years that we've been there, it's rained," Macgregor said.
          Pipers, drummers, pipe bands, organizations from around the world, have participated in the Tartan Day Parade, billed as the largest Scottish celebration in Manhattan and one of the largest Scottish parades in the world.   In last year's parade, according to the official parade Web site (www.tartanweek.com), participants hailed not only from Canada and Scotland, but Australia, England, France, Switzerland and Pakistan.  Observing the parade maneuvers of the drill team, backed up by bagpipe music, can stir up patriotic feelings in individuals who are neither Irish or Scottish.

For further information on becoming a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Drill Team, visit contact Kathy Macgregor by e-mail at: drillcaptn@eriecoast.com. "It's enjoyable; the travel and the camaraderie," Macgregor said.

We will be happy to include news items you find of interest and will attempt to present the information in an unbiased manner.