Local News for Wednesday 30th November 2016

Charlie Barleys in Whitehall
Black puddings from Charlie Barleys of Stornoway will be on the menu for parliamentarians and diplomats today, as the Scottish Office celebrates St Andrew’s Day. Representatives from Charles M Macleod butchers have once again been invited to take their wares down to London for a reception at the Scottish Office on Whitehall. Mini marags as well as full sized examples and other treats will be offered by Shona Macleod and colleagues at the St Andrew’s Day Taste of Scotland event hosted by the Secretary of State for Scotland. Charlie Barleys are part of a group of Scottish businesses showcasing some of the best of Scotland's national produce to 200 Parliamentarians and Diplomats.

40 years for Gordon Diesel
Stornoway and Vatisker-based business Gordon Diesel Services celebrated 40 years in business yesterday, with business owner Gordon himself commenting that it seemed like yesterday that it all started. The company’s first job was an engineering contract for the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board, rebuilding the No 9 generator at Battery Point Power Station in Stornoway. 40 years later the company are still doing work for what is now called SSE or Scottish and Southern Energy. The filling station in Back opened in March 1982 and created a loyal following through service quality, and by busting prices at the pump despite legal challenges from suppliers. A company spokesman said: “Through the dedication and loyalty of everyone who makes the effort to use the filling station it has become a quite a success story of its own”.
Castle opens for bookings
Luxury accommodation at Lews Castle is now open for bookings, although the accommodation itself will not be available until spring next year. The company Natural Retreats is creating self-catering apartments with up to three bedrooms, at the luxury end of the market, with a personal concierge service. Lews Castle was built in the mid-1800s by Sir James Matheson and already has restored ground floor function rooms, linking with the new Museum nan Eilean, which has out-performed targets for visitor numbers since opening.
Trees planted island-wide
More than 400 trees were planted at Ionad Stoodie in Point at the weekend, in an event organised by Point Sport and Recreation Association and attended by 30 people. At the start of National Tree Week, Woodland Trust Scotland director Carol Evans came to receive a cheque for £29,000 cheque at the Point and Sandwick Trust AGM. The money is a half-yearly payment towards costs of the Croft Woodland Project, which aims to plant trees throughout the Outer Hebrides. 175 people have expressed an interest in tree planting, including 36 in Point, and others from the Butt to Barra. Six Forestry Grant Schemes will be submitted this winter, and a further seven Woodland Trust schemes. They are mainly for broadleaved, deciduous trees. Woodland Trust Scotland director Carol said: "If your dream comes true you will have transformed your landscape. What a legacy to leave."
Switch and save, says MP
Over 98% of households in Na h-Eileanan an lar could save hundreds of pounds on electricity if they were to switch suppliers, according to new figures. Isles MP Angus MacNeil MP is backing the Energy Switch Guarantee, and said he was disappointed to hear that only two per cent of his constituents had switched their supplier, compared to more than 40 per cent in other parts of the UK. The Energy Switch Guarantee is designed to offer customers more confidence in the switching process. Mr MacNeil said: “I switched my own supplier last year and made savings by doing so. People tell me that, if you’ve been with the same supplier for years, switching can seem like a daunting task. That is why I support the Energy Switch Guarantee which promises to make switching simple and smooth for everyone”. Further information about the Guarantee can be found using the link on the Isles FM Facebook page www.energyswitchguarantee.com
Deadline for community council nominations
4pm this afternoon is the deadline for electors in the Airdhantuim Community Council area. Nomination papers are available from the Election Office, Council Offices, Stornoway or from the Comhairle's website. To be eligible for election to the Community Council, candidates must be resident within and registered as a voter within the Airidhantuim Community Council area.  Each candidate for election must be supported by a proposer.
Trading standards warn businesses
Trading Standards Officers at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are asking businesses in the Western Isles to be on the lookout for a website scam that comes through a cold call offering a premium slot on a search-engine site, in return for a payment. Businesses who want advice about these calls should call Trading Standards CNES on 01851 822694