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.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 7th April 2016

Local News for Wednesday 6th April 2016

Dog chips create Bayhead tailback
There were unprecedented scenes on Bayhead in Stornoway yesterday morning, as dogs and their owners queued down the street for a free micro-chip surgery organised by the charity Dogs Trust. After being forced to cancel Monday afternoon’s session due to cancelled planes, the Dogs Trust representatives were determined to make the Tuesday morning session count. Nearly 400 dogs were given micro-chips in an extended session at the Bridge Centre, with pet-owners prepared to queue for some time to make the most of the charity’s free service. Vets in Stornoway have also been working flat out to administer the chips, with micro-chipping dogs due to become a legal requirement today. There are fines of up to £500 pet owners who do not get their dog chipped. Stornoway vet Hector Lowe said: “We’ve been micro-chipping dogs for some time now and will carry on doing so, with plans for extra evening sessions to help people as this law comes into force. We will be holding evening sessions in Stornoway next week, and will be in North Lochs on Thursday night this week, and South Harris next week.”

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 6th April 2016

Local News for Tuesday 5th April 2016

Get ready to vote
With the Scottish Parliament election fast approaching the Comhairle is urging residents to look out for the Electoral Commission's voter information guide, which will be landing on doormats this week. On Thursday 5 May voters in Scotland will go to the polls for the Scottish Parliament election. The Electoral Commission's voter information guide will be delivered to every household in Scotland over the next week. If you want to be able to vote and have your say at the election, the deadline to register is Monday 18 April. Malcom Burr, Returning Officer for Na h-Eileanan an Iar said: "I would encourage everyone in Na H-Eileanan an Iar to look out for the Electoral Commission's voter information guide. It gives you all the information you need to ensure that you can have your say at the Scottish Parliament election on 5 May. If you're not registered to vote, you have until 18 April to apply online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote."

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 5th April 2016

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.

Read more: Local News for Monday 4th April 2016

Local News for Friday 1st April 2016

Hydro shops to close
There’s been more bad news for the town centre and for island jobs, as SSE announced yesterday that its Stornoway and Lochboisdale shops were among the 37 remaining branches to be closed. A total of 119 jobs are being lost nationwide, with up to six believed to be in the Western Isles. Branches at Ullapool and Portree are also closing. SSE said the ‘Hydro’ shops were making a loss, with more shoppers making electrical purchases online. In Stornoway it will mean another empty unit on Cromwell Street. SSE said the decision to close the stores had been ‘difficult’ and that employees will be offered help with redeployment within the company.

Read more: Local News for Friday 1st April 2016