Local News for Monday 5th December 2016

New Harris housing official opening
New social housing on the west side of Harris is to be opened today by Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing, Mr Stewart is visiting the new HHP development at Horgabost this afternoon. The development’s part of a range of new facilities including a new community centre and café on the site, and is being built as a community project by the West Harris Trust and Hebridean Housing.

Police news
A 25-year-old man is to appear in court from custody today, after police were called to an address in the Cearns at 3am on Sunday. The man’s been charged with assault.
An 18-year-old man is to be reported to the Procurator Fiscal for careless driving, after being stopped by Police on Sandwick Road at 2.30am on Sunday.

Injured fisherman
Stornoway Coastguard volunteers were called out at 6am on Sunday morning, when a French fishing vessel reported an injured crewman who needed to be taken to hospital. The JP Le Roch came into Stornoway harbour and the crewman, who had injured his hand, was helped to a waiting ambulance, and onwards to Western Isles Hospital.

No smoking in cars from today
A new law comes into force today to protect babies, children and young people up to 18 years old from tobacco smoke in cars.  From today, smoking in a vehicle in which anyone under 18 is a passenger or driver is against the law. The new legislation has been introduced to protect children and young people from the harm caused by second hand smoke. Research indicates that toxic particles can reach harmful concentrations within a minute of lighting a cigarette in a car. The offence now carries a fixed penalty of £100.  To find out more about second hand smoke and the harm it can cause, visit www.protectyourkids.scot .  If you want help to stop smoking, contact Smokefree Hebrides by telephone on 01851 701623.
Job losses could be part of QinetiQ changes
As part of last week’s announcement of a major contract securing work on the Hebrides Ranges until 2028, news of possible job losses at West Camp went almost un-noticed. Community newspaper Am Paipear was first to report that, with the investment spent predominantly on technology, less people will be needed and West Camp Benbecula will be scaled back.  Although a new helicopter landing area will be built on South Uist and a small area of accommodation will be refurbished, troops deployed to test weapons have reduced and there is less need for accommodation. Am Paipear reported that QinetiQ currently employs six people in roles connected with West Camp, with other jobs in  catering and services support. However, local hotels and other accommodation might benefit if larger numbers of troops do occasionally get posted to the range.
Runners in action
Athletes from Stornoway Running and Athletics Club were in action on Saturday at Dores, at the North District Cross-Country championships, described as the biggest day in the winter racing calendar and hosted by Inverness Harriers. Flying the flag for the islands were runners including David Morrison, who achieved bronze in the under-15 boys event, and Joanna Gillies, who also won bronze in the Under-17 womens’ race. A team bronze went to the under 17 men, with Kyle Munro, Finlay Emmott and Ali Burns putting in a strong effort for the result.
Meanwhile local runners were in action too in the North Lewis 5 and 10K races, run in good conditions and with an excellent turnout.
Loch Seaforth turns on the lights
And the MV Loch Seaforth turned on the Christmas lights in Ullapool at the end of last week, sounding her horn to signal the switch-on. It’s the first year the town has had Christmas lights, and they feature a Christmas tree made of crab and lobster creels, as well as a Hollywood-style Ullapool sign.