Local News for Thursday 24th March 2016

Police advice on terrorism – be vigilant
Police Scotland has issued a general warning to travellers throughout Scotland, following terrorist attacks in Belgium this week. Assistant Chief Constable Ruaraidh Nicolson said: “Police Scotland is committed to ensuring all communities across the country are as safe as they can be and I would ask the public, especially around crowded places and transport hubs, to remain vigilant and alert, but not alarmed. If you suspect something is wrong, then report it to the police. There is no specific information which suggests Scotland is at risk of attack. However, the UK threat level remains at Severe and our communities are not immune from the threat posed by terrorists. I encourage people to go about their business as normal but remain vigilant.”

Women strong at Lanntair’s HebCelt
An all female show is to begin Hebridean CelticFfestival at An Lanntair in July, with singing star Eddi Reader also joining the line-up. HebCelt’s opening concert on 13th  July will feature Hebridean Women singing songs for and about women, with some of the very best female vocalists from the Outer Hebrides. Julie Fowlis, from North Uist  will sing alongside Mary Smith and Isobel Ann Martin from Lewis, Cathy Ann MacPhee from Barra and Kathleen Macinnes from South Uist. Alex Macdonald, head of performing arts and cinema at An Lanntair, said: “We felt HebCelt’s 21st birthday merited an extra special event. So, what better time to assemble this wonderful selection of island singers to perform together.” Also announced for the An Lanntair HebCelt line-up is a Saturday night with three-time BRIT award winner Eddi Reader. Eddi, who has released ten solo albums and was made a MBE for outstanding contributions to the arts, will be performing with her band - husband John Douglas, Boo Hewerdine, Alan Kelly and Kevin McGuire - in her first visit to HebCelt since 2011.

Lionacleit pupils ready to vote
As the Scottish Parliament dissolved yesterday, ahead of Parliamentary elections on May 5th , senior pupils at Sgoil Lionacleit were helping fellow pupils get ready to vote.  Paul Morrison, Rachael Macdonald, Iain MacPhee and Carrie Macdonald ran an Electoral Commission campaign to ensure that 15 – 17 year olds at the school have added their names to the Electoral Register. They ran assemblies with S3 – S6 pupils, telling them why it is important to register and encouraging 16 and 17 year olds to use their right to vote in May's Scottish Parliament election.  Paul Morrison, Head Boy, told pupils that it was important for them to use their 'right to have a say on issues which could affect their futures,' while Carrie Macdonald, Depute Head Girl, said that 'people around the world are still denied the right to vote.  Even though it is a basic right in this country, we should really see it as a privilege.' The team met with all S4 – 6 pupils on Monday  and helped them to register to vote.  Iain said 'I am glad we have helped young people in Uist ensure they will be able to voice their opinions about what they think is right in the upcoming election.'
Listeners saddened at coffee shop closure
Isles FM listeners reacted strongly to yesterday’s news of the closure of the Library Coffee Shop, which will serve its last customers today. Listeners commented on the Isles FM Facebook page, saying they were sad, sorry and ‘could not understand’ the decision. One contributor posted: “I don't understand how it couldn't make a profit - it was always busy - it is going to be a great loss to the community. More could have been done to save it and to make it a profitable concern.” While another said: “I will miss the Library Café very much.”
Barra travellers asked to leave early
With some heavy weather forecast for the weekend, Calmac is advising travellers to and from Barra to consider setting out early for their Easter break. An additional ferry sailing has been laid on to leave Oban at 1pm today, ahead of forecast southerly winds which could disrupt services. Calmac said: “In light of the weather forecast for Friday 25th and Saturday 26th March passengers are encouraged to consider bringing their journeys forward if possible. On Friday 25th March, due to southerly winds in Barra, the 8am sailing from Castlebay and the 1.40pm sailing from Oban may be disrupted or cancelled at short notice”.
Rugby club asks for support
Stornoway Rugby Club are asking for a strong showing of local support this weekend as they play Aberdeen Wanderers in the last home game of the season. A club spokesman said: “This is a huge game for us as we're looking to pick up essential points.”  Kick off is at 3pm at the Bayhead pitch on Saturday afternoon.