Local News for Thursday 9th November 2017

Loch Seaforth returns to service
The Stornoway Ullapool ferry, MV Loch Seaforth, is returning to service after her annual refit at Leith, where she was held back for a couple of days while sea trials were carried out. She was due to start back on the service on Tuesday, but will now be back on the route from today. Services between Castlebay and Oban have meanwhile been disrupted both by weather conditions and by technical problems with the replacement vessel MV Isle of Arran, which stood in for Isle of Lewis while she was serving the Stornoway route. The next island service to be affected during the annual dry dock schedule will be the Sound of Barra route, with MV Loch Alainn being replaced by MV Loch Bhrusda from December 4th for two weeks.

Scottish Parliament to discuss reading lessons
The Scottish Parliament is to discuss today a petition on literacy standards put forward by a former primary teacher from the Isle of Lewis. The Public Petitions Committee will consider Anne Glennie’s call to provide national guidance for teachers on how to teach children to read. Anne has worked for a literacy consultant for the last seven years and has become increasingly concerned about the decline in literacy standards in Scotland. She said it was “deeply shocking” that trainee teachers were not being taught how to teach children to read. Anne said: “It is a surprising, and deeply shocking, fact that many teachers working in primary or secondary schools in Scotland today have had no formal training on how to teach children to read. If we are serious about closing the attainment gap, we cannot afford to ignore this any longer. Scottish classrooms are stuck in a time-warp of useless, outdated strategies. We need to use a methodology that works for every child, not just for some.” The Public Petitions Committee will meet to discuss the petition this morning at 10am.

Fine display of aurora
Photographers were delighted with Tuesday night’s display of the northern lights, which coincided with a clear night at times and created plenty of opportunities for images around the islands. You can see examples on the Isles FM Facebook page, now headed by an image of the aurora over Lews Castle, taken by Sandie Maciver.

Power out in South Harris
50 customers in the Strond area of Harris were without power yesterday due to a transformer fault. SSEN engineers were on scene at 4am and replaced the transformer, getting supplies back to all customers by 5pm.

EatSafe awards for hotel and ferry
Eatsafe Awards were given to the Harris House Hotel and to the CalMac ferry MV Hebrides this week by environmental health services at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in conjunction with Food Standards Scotland. The award is given to food businesses that strive for food hygiene and safety standards beyond those required by law. Councillor Kenny John Macleod handed over the awards from the Comhairle. He said: "The Eat Safe award is only presented to businesses that have achieved hygiene standards beyond those required by law so their commitment has to be commended. I would encourage all businesses within the Outer Hebrides to aim for this award as it provides them with a valuable tool to reassure their customers of a continuing commitment to produce food safely."