Local News for Wednesday 10th May 2017

Charlie Barleys latest in award finals
After the success of North Harbour Bistro in the weekend’s Scottish Food Awards, yesterday brought news that Charles Macleod of Stornoway has been named as one of eight Scottish finalists in a new award scheme launched by foodie magazine Delicious. Charlie Barley’s Stornoway black pudding is named alongside grass-fed beef from Fife and raspberry gin from Kirriemuir as a possible Scottish winner, with regional and national finalists to be judged in London in July by some of the top names in the food industry.  Delicious magazine’s editor Karen Barnes said: “We want to celebrate producers and artisans who are committed to quality and heritage. We aim to give a voice to the quiet heroes of the food world“.

Conservative candidate announcement due today
Tomorrow is the deadline for nominations in the General Election, and the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party is due to announce its candidate for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar candidate today. Already announced as standing are Scottish Labour’s candidate Ealasaid MacDonald, and the SNP candidate, Angus Brendan MacNeil.

Call for foster carers
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is issuing a call for more foster families throughout the Western Isles,  to care for  children who cannot live with their birth family.Foster carers are needed for short-term placements and short breaks, as well as for longer term care for children. Fostering and adoption team leader Anne Mackenzie said: 'Prospective foster carers need patience, the ability to listen, a sense of humour and much more besides. They will receive training and support from the fostering team, as well as fees and allowances to cover the cost of looking after the children in their care. If you have a spare room and think you could offer the love and care that a fostered child needs, please contact our fostering service at 01851 822748 or 01870 604880.
Ten years for Renal Unit
The Renal Unit at the Western Isles Hospital celebrates ten years since its opening this month, and the occasion was marked when patients, friends and family members gathered  at a buffet lunch hosted by Neil Galbraith, NHS Western Isles chairman and chief executive Gordon Jamieson. There were cheers as 89-year-old Donald Macdonald from Timsgarry, Uig cut the tenth birthday cake. Donald was the last of the "frequent flyers" who used to have to commute to Raigmore for haemo-dialysis. Angus 'Texie' MacLeod, Chairman of Western Isles Kidney Patient Association (WIKPA), said: "It is hard to believe that it is 10 years since the Renal Unit was opened.  Before that, patients from Lewis and Harris who required dialysis had to fly to Inverness and to stay away from home all week, only getting back at the weekend, weather permitting.” WIKPA was formed in 2001 and provides a wide range of support for kidney patients and their families, including equipment, help with travel costs, winter fuel grants and equipment for the renal unit.  The group has also recently formed a support group in the hall of St. Columba’s (Old Parish) Church, Lewis Street, Stornoway, which is held every Thursday afternoon from 2pm–4pm.
Masterplan meeting for Stornoway
A Stornoway Masterplan is being developed to create a vision for the physical development of Stornoway, making Stornoway a better place to visit, live, work, study and invest. With a number of proposed developments, large and small, under discussion, an open day is being held next week to give people the chance to view and comment on the proposals.  Threesixty Architecture, who have been commissioned by the Comhairle and HIE to develop the plan, will be on hand to hear views and answer questions.  The open day is in Stornoway Town Hall on 16th May from 9.30am to 7pm.
Sound of Harris low tides
There’s an amended timetable on the Sound of Harris today due to low tides. The Loch Portain leaves Berneray at 9:35, 2pm and 5:20pm and returns from Leverburgh at 10:45am, 3:10pm and 6:30pm.
Cruise ship
And we’re expecting to see the cruise ship Marco Polo in Stornoway today, on her second call of the season. She can accommodate up to 800 guests and will be in the outer anchorage for the day. Marco Polo opened the season on April 22nd after the scheduled visit of the Astoria earlier in April was called off due to weather. A visit by the cruise vessel MV Corinthian later this month has also been called off, because the vessel is stuck in Lisbon with technical problems.