Local News for Thursday 7th September 2017

E. Coli scare in Tolsta water
Householders in Tolsta were told this week to boil all their water, after a routine test by Scottish Water revealed the presence of E. Coli bacteria in the Tolsta Village Service Reservoir. The reservoir serves 218 properties. Scottish Water said they consulted with NHS Western Isles before putting a boil notice in place, directly advising the households affected. They said drinking and cooking water should be boiled before use, but that the water is safe to use once it has been boiled. Bottled water was also provided to customers, which was to be used until they received the all-clear by letter. A Scottish Water spokesman said: “We are continuing to investigate the cause of this failure. Tolsta Service Reservoir is being inspected and further sampling and laboratory analysis is taking place. We would like thank customers for their understanding and patience and apologise for the inconvenience while this notice is in place.”

Stornoway principal in UHI promotion
Lews Castle College UHI Principal Iain Macmillan has been named as one of three new vice-principals for the whole of the University of the Highlands and Islands. Mr Macmillan has been appointed as vice-principal (strategic harmonisation and organisational efficiency). He will work to identify areas where processes can be improved and where services and resources can be shared across the university partnership. The three new vice-principals now form part of UHI’s senior management team, increasing representation from the 13 colleges and research institutions which make up its partnership. Mr Macmillan said: "At the same time as offering opportunities nationally and internationally, the university and its partners deliver the full range of post-school education to local communities in an area which covers half the landmass of Scotland. We need to find new ways of doing this so that we can maintain and expand our high quality delivery while also developing new opportunities. I am looking forward to helping in the process of establishing the university as a truly transformational force within the Highlands and Islands."

Award for Catriona
Gress student Catriona Bain has won the Donald Stewart Memorial Trust award for 2017, in recognition of both academic achievement and personal qualities. Catriona completed her studies in The Nicolson Institute in June and is moving on to Robert Gordon’s University, Aberdeen. The Trustees were highly impressed with Catriona’s academic performance, extraordinary work ethic, time management skills and her commitment to her studies. Thanks to her leadership qualities and her desire and drive to help others, Catriona has always been held in high regard by both her fellow pupils and by staff. She was part of the team that won the schools Gaelic debate in 2015, was nominated for Best Actress at the 2016 FilmG awards and has also won a number of singing competitions. She is a member of traditional music band Faram, collects for Cancer Research UK and has organised the local village Halloween party/fundraising event for primary school children for the last two years. Presenting the award, Comhairle Convener Norman A Macdonald said, “Catriona epitomises the praiseworthy work which is being done in our schools and in our communities. She has put considerable effort into making her mark in all that she does. We wish her the very best for the future as she begins her studies on the mainland and hope that she will return to deploy her skills and talents in her native community.”

Government plan will help Isles – MSP
Western Isles MSp Alasdair Allan says that Nicola Sturgeon’s Programme for Government sets out an ambitious agenda for the Western Isles and Scotland as a whole. He drew attention to plans of particular importance to people in the islands, including the commitment to deliver superfast broadband to all premises by 2021 and expansion of apprenticeship opportunities. The Scottish Government is also to consider the creation of Single Island Authorities which will devolve power into community hands. Dr Allan said: “The Programme for Government will bring about some of the important changes we need in the Western Isles to boost our economy, and improve local services.”