Local News for Wednesday 17th May 2017

Council chiefs
Uig Councillor Norman ‘Dokus’ Macdonald has been elected as the Convenor of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for a second term, receiving 20 of the 31 councillors’ votes at yesterday morning’s full meeting of council. The role of convenor of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar includes diplomatic and practical duties, such as hosting civic receptions and other events in the Western Isles, and representing the islands at functions on the mainland. At the same meeting, Stornoway North Councillor Roddy Mackay was elected to the more political role of council leader, succeeding Angus Campbell, who stood down at the recent election. Cllr Mackay received 18 votes against Cllr Donald Manford’s 13. Further committee chairmanships and other roles were also decided yesterday, and will be settled today at the last of this round of council meetings.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 17th May 2017

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."

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 16th May 2017

Local News for Monday 15th May 2017

‘Business as usual’ in Isles health services
The international crisis of computer software which affected NHS Western Isles, along with hundreds of other organisations nationwide, will not have any effect on patient services today, a spokesman has said. Services at Western Isles Hospital and with GP practices through the islands will be operating as usual today, and it’s not anticipated that there will be any changes to clinics or appointments. The malicious software, which locked down computers in 12 out of 14 Scottish health boards, has been isolated, according to Scottish health secretary Shona Robison. An NHS Western Isles spokesman said: “The only problem we experienced was in transferring x-rays images to other hospitals, but this did not affect the delivery of our services here. Everything is running as we would expect and it will be business as usual on Monday.”

Read more: Local News for Monday 15th May 2017

Local News Update for Friday 12th May 2017

Candidates announced for General Election
Five candidates will contest the na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency in next month’s General Election, with the full list announced soon after the nomination deadline closed yesterday evening. In addition to Scottish Labour candidate Ealasaid MacDonald and SNP candidate Angus Brendan MacNeil, both already announced, it’s now known that there will be Scottish Conservative and Unionist, Scottish Christian Party and Scottish Liberal Democrat candidates contesting the constituency. Scottish Christian candidate John Cormack, chair of the party, will be fighting his third election in the Western Isles. Mr Cormack, who is based in Glasgow, says that 10% of church attenders voted for him at the last contest in 2015, and that Christians needed to examine their conscience to be sure what they were endorsing when casting a vote. Standing for the Scottish Conservatives and Unionists is Daniel McCroskrie of Ayr, who works as an office manager to Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron. He was previously Scottish Head of Ground Campaign for Vote Leave during the EU referendum, and says that if he is elected, he will ensure that Western Isles voters are not ‘sold short’ during the Brexit process. The Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate is James Paterson of Edinburgh.

Read more: Local News Update for Friday 12th May 2017

Local News for Friday 12th May 2017

Rising star for HebCelt
A rising young Scottish star has been confirmed as the latest artist to take the stage at this summer’s Hebridean Celtic Festival. Singer songwriter Tamzene, from Cromarty in the Black Isles, was one of the winners of the 2017 CalMac Culture Music contest, run by the ferry company, who are once again major sponsors of HebCelt this year. Like other entrants, Tamzene submitted a YouTube video to the competition website with the chance to win a performance slot at one of Scotland’s summer festivals She will now play at HebCelt along with headliners like The Waterboys, Imelda May, Dougie MacLean and Lucy Spraggan. Tamzene said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing Stornoway, and being part of another great Scottish festival. I hope to be playing to some familiar faces too.” Last month her debut single, ‘Lullaby’, was released by Belladrum Records. Tamzene was the first artist signed to the label, set up by the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival. Caroline Maclennan, HebCelt’s director, said: “Tamzene is a real talent and someone we are very excited about bringing to HebCelt. Providing a platform for young musicians like Tamzene fits well with our philosophy to encourage and promote emerging artists.”

Read more: Local News for Friday 12th May 2017