Local News for Monday 4th April 2016

Election Candidates announced
The candidates contesting the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency in the Scottish Parliamentary elections, and parties and candidates contesting as regional representatives for the Highlands and Islands, have both been announced. Nominations closed on Friday and the names and parties were announced by the Western Isles Election Office soon afterwards. For the constituency, the candidates standing are: Alasdair Allan, Scottish National Party; John Cormack, Christian Party ‘Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship’; Ranald Fraser, Scottish Conservative and Unionist; Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour Party and Kenneth Macleod, Scottish Liberal Democrats. For the regional list for the Highlands and Islands, parties contesting the election are: RISE – Respect, Independence, Socialism and Environmentalism; Scottish Christian Party; Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party; Scottish Green Party, Scottish Labour Party; Scottish Liberal Democrats; Scottish National Party; Solidarity – Scotland’s Socialist Movement and the UK Independence Party (UKIP). There is one independent candidate for the region, James Stockan. Polling Day is Thursday May 5th and polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm.

Electoral Commission guide to voting
Meanwhile the Electoral Commission has issued guidance urging voters to get ready for the Scottish Parliament election. Over 2.5 million voter information guides are being sent out by post – one for every household in Scotland – and are expected to begin arriving from today. The guides contain essential information on how to register to vote, different ways of casting a vote and instructions for how to mark the ballot papers on 5th May. Andy O’Neill, head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland, said: "Every voter will receive two ballot papers at the Scottish Parliament election, one for their constituency vote and one for their region. Our voter information guide contains clear instructions on how to mark each ballot paper so that your votes will count. So look out for the guide coming through your door or download it now at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk”

Police news
A woman aged 69 is in custody and expected to appear in court after being detained by police in Stornoway at the weekend in breach of bail conditions.

In the early hours of Saturday morning a 21-year-old man was arrested in Stornoway town centre and charged with breach of the peace. He was released when sober and issued with a fixed penalty.

Police were called to Newmarket at 10pm on Saturday, where a 39-year-old man was arrested and charged with disorder and with assaulting emergency workers. He’s to be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

And police were called to Melbost at 1.30am on Sunday when callers reported concern for the welfare of a man who was walking in the road. He was arrested and charged with being drunk and incapable, and released with a formal warning from police.

Police are appealing for information from anyone who was in the Valtos area between Monday March 28th at 4pm and Tuesday 29th at 2.30pm, during which time there was vandalism at Cnip beach. Anyone who may have information is asked to call police on the non-emergency number, 101.

Crossroads Lewis ‘excellent’ all round
Crossroads Lewis Care Attendant Service has received top marks from the Care Inspectorate following their latest inspection, which took place in February this year. The report, issued on Friday, rated support, staffing and management as excellent and inspectors said; “The service delivered by Crossroads Lewis Care Attendant Scheme provides invaluable support to people who are the main carers for a family member. We found that the outcomes for the people supported and their family carers were very good and this was reflected in the feedback from the people we spoke with.” Inspectors did, however note that Crossroads Lewis are reliant on their own fundraising, with funding from statutory bodies vulnerable to being withdrawn. They said that this meant Crossroads had to cut services already in place, such as the "Good Nights Sleep " service, which allows family carers to sleep undisturbed. The fact that this service was no longer to be available was a considerable worry to those affected, but Crossroads were unable to avoid the situation.

Action for Children rated ‘very good’
A Care Inspectorate report for Action for Children’s Hillcrest Care Home service has also given high marks to the service supporting vulnerable young people. Support, environment, staffing and management were all rated ‘very good’, with inspectors saying: “Hillcrest is providing a caring, welcoming environment for young people who are looked after and receive respite. Most young people were found to be very happy with the service they received. We found a staff group that was available, interested and motivated to care for the young people who were in the care home. The report’s been welcomed by the SNP group of councillors, with a spokesman saying: “This confirms our group's position that Action for Children are excelling in their care for our most vulnerable young people at Hillcrest. The score is a great achievement and we congratulate the staff”.

Dog chips free!
Vets and pets will be getting together at the Bridge Centre on Bayhead today and tomorrow, as the Dogs Trust runs two sessions offering free micro-chipping of dogs. Today between 3 and 7pm, and tomorrow between 9am and 1pm, free microchips can be quickly provided, now that microchipping dogs has become a legal requirement. Microchipping is a simple and effective tool which helps to reunite stray pets with owners. It’s been law in Northern Ireland since 2012 and has now become legally required in England, Scotland and Wales. Today and tomorrow’s events are free and no appointment is needed.

Lewis Camanachd Blones took the shinty honours on Saturday, with a great first appearance in the WCA Development League. They had four wins over Fort William, Ardnamurchan, Skye and Glenurquhart, with three losses to Lovat, Strathglass and Lochaber. Unfortunately, the lads couldn't follow suit, failing to capitalise on a 1-0 lead at Grantown scored by Paul Duke, and missing a penalty eventually to go down 3-1 to Strathspey in an exciting North Division Two clash. Next week will see a historic first cup trip to Oban Lorne, in the first round of the Sutherland Cup.