Local News for Friday 2nd June 2017

Councillors ‘not unethical’ in Sunday opening vote
The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland has not upheld a complaint against seven Western Isles councillors in connection with the decision not to open Lewis Sports Centre on a Sunday. The complaint was made on behalf of the Families Into Sport and Health (FiSH) group, and alleged a contravention of the Councillors' Code of Conduct. FISH suggested that, at a meeting of the full Council on 5th October 2016, the seven failed to declare a non-financial interest, namely their membership of church organisations. Their religious beliefs were said to have influenced them to vote against Sunday opening of the Sports Centre. The full council that day agreed by a majority of 19 to nine not to proceed with Sunday opening.  The Councillors concerned said that they voted against Sunday opening for a number of reasons, including the Chief Executive’s recommendation and the views of their constituents..The Commissioner found that insufficient evidence had been presented to show that they acted in accordance with their own religious beliefs or that their decisions were determined by their membership of a religious organisation. He concluded: “My conclusion is therefore that the allegations outlined in the complaint did not involve a breach of the Councillors' Code of Conduct."

New record label for the islands
A new record label for acts with links to the Outer Hebrides is being launched today. Wee Studio Records will harness the new power of social media formula to get music straight to music fans, and to keep track of how well it is liked. Videos of the acts recording the tracks will be released at the same time as the audio tracks go online to download. This will give the best view count and fans will be able to feel like they are a fly on the wall during the recordings. Wee Studio business owner Keith Morrison said: "Over the years Wee Studio has built up a large network with very successful fan engagement. The numbers on our videos and products are staggering when you consider the remoteness of the area and the population number. It's time to pool all of the creative talent together to use those numbers and momentum - the music industry on the Outer Hebrides has a real chance of becoming something legendary. Believe me, we have the talent."  The first release will be Willie Campbell and the Tumbling Souls - Dance a Little Better, already viewed over 40 thousand times in only two weeks and now available on all digital download sites.
Disappointment at SSPCA decision
Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart, Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for animal welfare, has said he is ‘incredibly disappointed’ at a Scottish Government decision not to increase the powers of the SSPCA, on investigation of wildlife crime. One species affected, the Golden Eagles, is legally protected, but recent figures show many of the birds in Scotland fall victim to deaths which are not likely to have been natural, especially in areas where there are sporting estates. Mr Stewart said: “87% of the Scottish public agree that the Scottish SPCA should be fully empowered to investigate all crimes involving wild animals. Additionally, more people say they would report wildlife crime to the Scottish SPCA than to the police. The majority of wildlife crime is never prosecuted. Providing new powers to the Scottish SPCA to work alongside police is a no-brainer. At a time when wildlife crime is increasing, we must also be increasing the powers in our armoury.”
Cycle the Postie’s Walk with Kerry
Commonwealth games cyclist Kerry MacPhee is in Lewis and Harris, and yesterday spoke to Harris school leavers and other pupils about success through effort and learning from failure. Tonight she invites competent mountain bikers to join her on the Postie’s Walk, or Rhenigadale Rollercoaster as it's also known The ride will be taken at what she describes as ‘a nice social pace’, leaving from Urgha at 5pm.
Six island football teams are involved in Highland Amateur Cup matches tomorrow, four of them away from home. The two home matches see Point welcoming Maryburgh at Garrabost, kick-off 3pm, and Iochdar Saints with a 1.30pm kick-off against Kirkwall Hotspurs in Benbecula. Also playing are Carloway against Avoch, Benbecula against ANM Ace, Ness against Hill Rovers and Aths against Rendall.