Local News for Thursday 7th April 2016

CalMac changes travel alerts
Ferry operator CalMac is changing the way it alerts customers to disrupted services following feedback from passengers. An additional ‘yellow’ service status is being added to the existing green, amber and red to give passengers clearer information about potential disruption. "We asked the public what we could do to make their journey easier in the face of weather disruption and the overwhelming response was that they wanted more information," said CalMac's director of operations, Drew Collier. “The existing amber alert covered too broad a range of situations and caused confusion”. The yellow alert will tell customers to check for updates before travelling, as there is a possibility of disruption. Amber alerts will now inform customers that one or more sailings are disrupted. The red alert will continue to be used to indicate when all sailings on a route are cancelled for the remainder of the day. The new alert system will go live from Monday April 11th.

Messy dog owners slammed
Messy dog-owners who fail to clear up after their pets have been slammed by Stornoway Councillor Charlie Nicolson, who is working with the Comhairle’s environmental health team to try and tackle the problem of dog poo in public places. Cllr Nicolson singled out dog-owners queuing at the Dogs Trust micro-chip event in the Bridge Centre this week, after which, he said, volunteers had to clear the street of mess. Cllr Nicolson said: “After five hours micro-chipping people’s dogs, the visiting volunteers had to go out and clean the pavements, as dog owners had not picked up after their pets.” He also noted that complaints from the public had gone up since a new campaign started, with cemeteries, the Castle grounds and other public spaces badly affected by dog mess. Fines can be imposed on people who don’t pick up after their dogs, and Comhairle officials will follow up reports from the public about the problem.
New group supports after loss of a baby
A support group for anyone who has lost a baby has started this week, holding its first meeting on Tuesday in the Quiet Room in the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway. The group will meet on the first Tuesday of every month and will be facilitated by midwife Joanne Murray-Stewart and hospital chaplain Helen Gallacher. The meetings will be bilingual, for those who may feel more comfortable talking in Gaelic. Joanne said the baby loss support group – named Sèimh, Gaelic for gentle peace – had been “a long time coming”.  It is a support group for those whose baby has died at any stage of pregnancy or close to the time of birth and is also to support those who are planning or going through a new pregnancy. The group is initially aimed at women in Lewis but it is hoped to expand it to take in the whole of the Western Isles and include dads and other family members over time. Joanne said there was a real need for this group and stressed the meetings will be held outwith the maternity unit. She said: “There are so many people out there who need this, and it is to help in any way at all. It’s a forum, where people will strengthen each other as they share and value their experiences together.
BBC Alba changes channel
BBC ALBA has now moved up the electronic programme guide (EPG) listings on Sky, Freesat and Freeview. The new slots for BBC ALBA are on  Freesat 109, Freeview 7 and Sky 142 . The channel is still on Virgin Media 161 and continues to be available on BBC iPlayer. Some viewers may have to retune their equipment to update their on-screen programme guide if changes are not picked up automatically.