Local News for Tuesday 16th May 2017

Council chiefs to be chosen today
Leading posts in the new Western Isles Council will be decided from today, as the full Comhairle and some of its committees meet for the first time since the Local Authority Elections on May 4th. The SNP group of seven councillors has proposed forming an administration, with ambitions to see their members in the roles of Convenor -  formerly held by Cllr Norman ‘Dokus’ Macdonald – and council Leader, the position vacated when Angus Campbell stepped down at the election. Today will see those posts voted on by the 31 councillors, who include 15 new faces. The full Comhairle meeting will be followed by four committee meetings, with chairs and vice-chairs of each committee to be appointed. Tomorrow sees a further meeting of the full council and two more committees.
Sgoil an Rubha in Edinburgh
Five pupils from Sgoil an Rubha (Point School) were in Edinburgh yesterday at the national Scottish finals of the annual Euroquiz. Together with teacher Ellis Macleod and parent helper Graham Cay, the five made the trip to the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood. Fraser Cay, Beth Wordie, Isla Ross, Gabi Mackay and Erin Macphail are the third team from Sgoil an Rubha to represent the Western Isles, after beating all other schools in the islands for three consecutive years. They were among 31 schools competing yesterday with questions covering the languages, culture and history of European countries.

Breast screening goes on the road
The NHS Breast Screening unit is about to go on the road, after several months in Stornoway. Women over 50 are being encouraged to take up the opportunity of attending regular screening, which has been offered to every eligible woman in the Western Isles. The bus leaves Stornoway after final appointments tomorrow, and will be in the Harris Inn car park from 18th May until 30thMay, before going on to the Uist & Barra Hospital car park between 12th June and 14th July and finally to Castlebay Pier car park in Barra from 5th June until 8th June. NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, Dr Maggie Watts said: "Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in Western Isles women, but it's also very treatable when caught early.  Taking up your breast screening appointment is important and the appointment takes only a few minutes."

Road disruption in South Uist
Road surface dressing begins this afternoon in the Ludag and Askernish area of South Uist, with three or four days of road disruption expected. The Comhairle is advising those planning to travel by ferry to and from Barra to allow extra time, with delays throughout the works. They also ask all drivers to obey site traffic management instructions and to heed temporary speed limits through the works. The Comhairle thanks the public for their patience.
New manse for Uig and Bernera
A new Church of Scotland manse is to be built in Uig, on Church ground next to the existing former Manse, by O'Mac Construction. It will serve the linked charge of Lochs-in-Bernera with Uig. Minister Rev Hugh M. Stewart and his family currently live in a temporary manse in Tobson, Bernera, but it’s hoped that the new manse will be ready by November. Foundations have just been completed and delivery of a timber kit from Scotframe in Inverurie is due soon. The four bedroom home will enjoy stunning views across West Loch Roag towards Great Bernera. Former Church of Scotland manses at Uigean and Breacelete in Bernera are to be sold in the near future.
Second St Kilda challenge
The North Uist organisation Comann na Mara has announced the second annual St Kilda challenge, a yacht race due to take place between June 14th and 16th next year. The challenge has received cross-party backing from the Marine Tourism Committee at the Scottish Parliament, and a fleet from Northern Ireland will participate this year. The first regatta in 2016 was won by Gordon Lawson’s J122 Moonstruck from Port Edgar Yacht Club, after a gruelling 23 hours at sea contending with an unexpected, and unusual, lack of wind.  The challenge is now set to become a biennial event thanks to excellent feedback from competitors. It brought an economic boost to North Uist, with 30 yachts bringing dozens of crew ashore, while the cultural festivities on shore also attracted further visitors to Lochmaddy. Accommodation, local services and attractions, as well as food, drink and craft producers, all reported a significant rise in trade.
Point 5k entries open
Online entries have opened for this year’s Point 5k, the eighth annual walk and run, which will take place this year on June 3rd. The event raises funds for The Leanne Fund and sets off from Point Free Church at Bayble. Last year saw 180 people taking part and organisers are hoping this year will also be well supported. Online registration is now open or participants can register on the day. Forms can also be picked up from The Leanne Fund office on Point Street, Stornoway. The services provided by the Leanne Fund make a huge difference to the lives of people with Cystic Fibrosis and their families.  The charity relies entirely on fundraising, sponsors and charitable donations to fund their valuable work.  For more information visit: www.theleannefund.co.uk