Local News for Tuesday 20th December 2016

Wild wind and weather
There’s a confusing and wild picture for the weather over the next few days, with a Met Office yellow ‘be aware’ notice issued for the islands through Wednesday and Thursday, but with ferry cancellations already taking effect today. Ferries between Stornoway and Ullapool are cancelled today, with widespread further disruption expected through the network. CalMac is warning anyone planning to travel by ferry this week that strong winds are forecast in many parts of its network leading to possible disruption of ferry services. Operations Director Drew Collier said: "Weather forecasts for the west of Scotland are predicting a stormy week for many especially as we near the weekend when people will be travelling for Christmas.We will review sailings on a case by case basis but would advise anyone planning to travel by ferry to take this into account when planning journeys in the next few days." CalMac is advising ferry travellers to check the website www.calmac.co.uk for the latest information. Isles FM will also keep listeners and Facebook followers up to date as news is posted.

The Met Office warns of severe gales, lightning, rain and wintry showers from tomorrow at 6am until 6pm Thursday. The chief forecaster said: “A cold and blustery westerly airstream will bring a range of possible hazards through this period, including possibility of frequent lightning as well as snowfall over higher routes and ice on untreated surfaces. Therefore please be aware of possible disruption to travel and to power supplies.”
Last posting dates
Royal Mail is reminding customers that today is the last posting date for Second Class mail and tomorrow for First Class mail . Special delivery items must be posted by 22nd December.

Comhairle’s worry over HIE
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is to write to the Scottish Government and to Dr Alasdair Allan, MSP, registering strong concern about the removal of the Board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The Comhairle will also the need to focus economic development effort on island areas and on the most disadvantaged communities. Comhairle Leader, Cllr Angus Campbell, said: "An Enterprise Agency's remit should be to support the more disadvantaged remote and rural areas though jobs creation and economic development as was envisaged with the Highlands and Islands Development Board. HIE has not been fulfilling that remit and a refocussing is required. However, to remove the Board of HIE from the Highlands and islands is not the answer and will inevitably lead to a more centralised agenda. I would urge the Scottish government to reconsider and focus on those areas that require economic development the most".
Parliamentary prizes for Harris pupil
MSP Alasdair Allan’s annual Christmas card design competition has been won by  Primary 7 pupil Ellie-Ceit Johnson from Sir E Scott school in Harris. Ellie-Ceit was presented with an array of Scottish Parliament-themed prizes on Monday morning. The winning entry will be sent out to many people and organisations locally and nationally, including one to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Dr Allan said “Ellie-Ceit’s entry excellently depicted Santa and his reindeer flying over a very festive-looking Scalpay Bridge. I would like to thank all pupils for taking part and our sponsors the Crown Hotel, Harris Tweed Hebrides and AJ Martin Builders for making this year’s competition possible. I want to wish everyone across the Isles a very happy Christmas.”