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Games end with triumph on the running track

Silver medal winning hammer thrower Elaine Park can't take the grin off her face as she wields the Shetland flag at the closing ceremony in Jersey. Photo: Shetland Island Games AssociationTEAM Shetland is celebrating after completing one of its most successful Island Games with 23 medals that put it in tenth place overall.

Hammer thrower Elaine Park who won silver on Wednesday, her first medal in eight games, held the Shetland flag aloft at the closing ceremony in the baking heat of Jersey’s Howard Davis Park.

Friday proved to be a day of success and surprise on the running track, while on the football pitch a spectacular free kick from Menorca was enough to edge a spirited Shetland out of a bronze medal by one goal to nil.

HIAL seek mediation over runway dispute

The eastern end of the Sumburgh airport runway extension being battered by heavy seas two years ago. Photo Ronnie RobertsonSUMBURGH airport operators HIAL are seeking an out of court settlement over a £14 million damages claim against Shetland Islands Council for poor workmanship on a 2005 runway extension.

The request came as the Court of Session rejected a second SIC appeal against the claim last month, clearing the way for a full legal hearing at great cost to both parties.

In May HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon wrote to SIC chief executive Mark Boden asking the authority to enter a mediation process to settle the issue which has already costs the two public authorities large sums in legal fees.

SIC forced to blow £1.7m on town hall

Lerwick Town Hall is in bad need of repair once again.SHETLAND Islands Council has agreed to spend nearly £1.7 million on renovating Lerwick’s Town Hall building amid concerns about its structure.

The decision was made in private on Tuesday as the council made plans to address the “increasingly urgent” need to repair the Grade B-listed building’s stonework, particularly around its stained glass windows.

News of the proposal was only made public after a copy of the meeting’s documents were leaked to BBC Radio Shetland.

MP begins legal battle to keep his job

Alistair Carmichael MPLAWYERS acting for northern isles MP Alistair Carmichael have begun their fight to resist attempts to use the courts to remove him from office.

Four Orkney constituents raised more than £61,500 through a crowd funding campaign to go to Edinburgh’s Court of Session to challenge his election in May.

At a procedural hearing on Thursday, Carmichael’s QC Roddy Dunlop said he would be putting forward legal arguments proving no laws had been broken.

Livestock owners counting cost of wet weather

Some livestock owners have already shipped cattle south this year. Photo: ShetnewsCROFTERS and farmers in Shetland have endured a nightmare start to the summer, with a protracted spell of poor weather prompting some to sell off livestock several months earlier than usual.

It is the most sustained spell of bad weather in over 30 years, according to the local National Farmers’ Union (NFU) branch. It started with a very wet winter, leading some to begin feeding sheep a bit earlier than they might otherwise have done.

The cold, wet weather continued throughout the spring, with May a particularly bad month, and NFU Shetland chairman Jim Nicolson thinks the ground “probably never warmed up enough to make a reasonable growth of grass”.

A rare glimpse of summer

Not a photo from this year! Meal beach on a warm summer's day in 2008 - Photo: ShetNewsAS THE rest of the UK basks on the hottest day of the year, Shetland is enjoying a rare day of sunshine during a summer that has proved to be a source of disappointment so far.

Over the last couple of months the isles' climate has been a regular talking point among disgruntled locals who have been left peeved by chilly air and dull skies.

Fond memories of stalwart accordionist Jim

Jim Halcrow was a staple of the traditional music scene for more than 60 years. He's pictured here at Clickimin during the Fiddle and Accordion Festival.WARM TRIBUTES have been paid to one of the true stalwarts of Shetland’s traditional music scene, Jim Halcrow, after he passed away recently at the age of 80.

Born at Westshore, Scalloway in August 1934, Jim bought a second-hand accordion for £22 as a teenager and taught himself how to play.

So began more than 60 years of playing tunes, culminating in the Scottish National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs presenting him with an award for “a lifetime’s contribution to music” in 2012.

Island move to protect fishing communities

The joint call to protect the island based fishing industry was made by the Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles fisheries associations - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNews FISHING leaders in the three Scottish island communities of Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles have joined forces in a bid to secure a future for their communities.

They are seeking a meeting with transport and islands minister Derek Mackay to present recommendations they feel are crucial to the survival of the islands-based fishing industry.

'Concerted effort' to tackle isles inequality

A "concerted effort" is needed to tackle inequality, says Shetland Partnership chairman Ian Kinniburgh.A NEW commission set up to examine what needs to be done to reduce inequality in the islands will get underway on Wednesday.

Over the coming months the Tackling Inequalities Commission, set up by the Shetland Partnership, will explore what inequalities exist, why, the impact it has and what needs to be done to make Shetland society more equal.

Plan to attract new folk to Fair Isle

The population of Fair Isle had dipped to just 55 - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNewsAN ambitious plan to attract at least ten new people to help revitalise one of Britain's most sparsely populated island communities will be launched in Lerwick on Monday afternoon.

The population of Fair Isle, half way between Shetland and Orkney, has dipped to just 55, its lowest level in several years.

Flea calls for speed cameras

Councillor Alison Duncan 'crisis situation' - Photo: SICA SHETLAND councillor believes the time has come for Shetland to introduce speed cameras in accident blackspots.

Shetland South member Allison Duncan told the community safety and resilience board committee last week that Shetland faces "a major catastrophe" unless road users are kept more strictly in check.

Duncan made the suggestion after a report given by police chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch showed the amount of people detected for speeding in the isles had increased over the last couple of years.

Disability charity’s survival in the balance

HARDY volunteers for Disability Shetland are hoping to raise £10,000 this summer to secure the popular charity's survival.

On Friday, in deteriorating weather conditions, they completed a 10 mile row in an open boat from Nesting to Lerwick, as part of their 100 mile fundraising challenge.

North Sea racers arrive in Lerwick

JUST four minutes separated the Bergen registered yacht Serenity and second-placed Scirocco III in the first leg of this year's Shetland Race.

Serenity took just under 33 hours to complete the challenging course across the northern North Sea.

Loganair bosses promise to improve service

John Moncrieff's stunning image used by the Facebook campaign of a Loganair/Flybe Saab 340 above Sumburgh Hotel, where campaigners met Loganair bosses on Thursday evening.LOGANAIR have promised to introduce more compassionate discounts and to radically improve the reliability of their highlands and islands service after meeting with campaigners for almost five hours on Thursday night.

Campaign founder Scott Preston who set up a Facebook page complaining about Loganair’s airfares praised the company for sending three of its most senior managers to Shetland and listening earnestly to people’s complaints.

Skipper: time's up for the Faroese grind

Skipper Lockhart MacLean beside Sea Shepherd's anti-whaling ship Sam Simon in Lerwick harbour ahead of their mission to stop the Faroe grind. Photo Yetti BiscuitA SHIP owned by marine conservation activists Sea Shepherd has docked in Shetland for a stop-over ahead of their latest anti-whaling operation in the Faroe Islands.

The organisation’s 56m long MY Sam Simon - a former Japanese weather survey ship named after the late Simpsons creator who donated the £1 million to buy the vessel - is berthed at the east of Gremista in Lerwick until Saturday.

Clair Ridge milestone as production delayed

Hereema Thialf lifts the power generation module onto the quarters and utilities deck on one of the two platform jackets installed two years ago. Photo BPBRITISH oil giant BP is celebrating the second important milestone for its new £4.5 billion Clair Ridge project that will pipe oil to Sullom Voe from 50 miles west of Shetland.

On Thursday the company announced they had completed the installation of one half of the topside infrastructure, placing it on one of the two massive platform jackets that were installed in the north Atlantic two years ago at a depth of 140 metres.

Team quietly confident as they set off for Jersey

Shetland's football captain Leighton Flaws with his son Spencer. Photo: Shetnews/Chris CopeSHETLAND’s Island Games team have begun their 750-mile journey to Jersey.

Around 142 competitors and officials boarded the boat south on Wednesday in the hope of winning medals in a total of 12 sports.

The crew - including the likes of medal hopefuls Emma Leask and Andrea Strachan - will fly on Thursday from Aberdeen to Jersey ahead of the games’ official opening on Saturday.

Petrofac hopeful of first gas by end of summer

The gas plant site back in late 2013. Petrofac says construction is now "substantially complete".PETROFAC says it still hopes to deliver the first gas on its troubled Laggan-Tormore project before the autumn.

In a trading update issued on Tuesday, the company said construction work was “substantially complete” and it is now readying the pipeline and plant to handle its first gas sometime between July and September this year.

Tavish: airline must 'get a grip of their service'

Loganair has been taken aback by the strength of feeling among islanders about high prices and unreliable flights.SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has delivered his most withering assessment yet of air services to and from the Scottish mainland – dubbing it “expensive, unreliable and a poor passenger experience” that is continually letting islanders down.

Along with his Orkney counterpart Liam McArthur, Scott is meeting Scottish transport minister Derek Mackay at Holyrood on Tuesday afternoon. They are lobbying for flights in and out of the islands to be made “cheaper, more reliable and efficient”.

Fundraiser marks 15 years of befriending scheme

The Shetland Befriending Scheme team, from left to right: Elaine Mouat, Pauline Mackie, Lynn Tulloch, Mairi Jamieson and Laura Russell. Missing from the photo is staff member Amanda Brown.THE SHETLAND Befriending Scheme is hosting a soup and sweet and raffle fundraiser to mark the service’s 15th anniversary.

Project coordinator Lynn Tulloch said she was using the “significant milestone” to reflect on how the project had evolved and changed over the time she has been in post, and to think about the large number of people who have engaged with the service since 2000.

Health board striving to alleviate GP shortage

Assistant nurse practitioners have been introduced to try and ensure Lerwick patients can get appointments more quickly. Photo: ShetnewsNHS SHETLAND has vowed to do everything it can to minimise the impact of a shortage of doctors which means 18 per cent of GP posts in the islands are currently lying vacant.

Following concerns raised by Shetland MSP Tavish Scott, who is calling for the Scottish Government to take “real” action to address the nationwide shortage, the local health board confirmed there were 3.5 posts lying vacant out of a total of 19.75 ‘full-time equivalent’ GP roles.

Police confirm identity of driver killed in crash

POLICE have confirmed that the driver killed following a serious road accident near the Cunningsburgh Hall on Sunday afternoon was 66 year old Michael Robertson.

Robertson, a retiree from Sandwick, was driving a silver Kia Picanto when it collided with a sport utility vehicle, a black Toyota RAV4, at 3.27pm. 

The driver and two passengers within the Toyota were not injured.

Road death in south mainland

ONE PERSON has died following a serious accident on the A970 road at Cunningsburgh on Sunday afternoon.

Police said that a serious collision involving two cars, one of which was towing a caravan, took place at around 3.30pm. 

Motorists are being advised to expect delays, with local diversions being put in place via Aithsetter.

Girl choir scoop national singing award

Evergreen on the beach - "our rehearsals are such a laugh". From left: teacher Maria Barclay, Nicole Coutts, Sophie Morris, Laura Brannan, Rachel Keay and Rebecca Millar. Photo Dave DonaldsonA YOUNG female choir from Shetland’s south mainland has scooped a prestigious national award for their dialect singing.

The five 15 year old Anderson High School pupils who formed Evergreen in 2010 were awarded the first ever Young People award for under 25s in the Hands Up For Trad Chorus awards on Friday.

Business as usual for isles MP

Alistair Carmichael MPNORTHERN isles MP Alistair Carmichael has said he is getting on with winning back the trust of the people who voted him back into office last month after he admitted lying about a leaked memo ahead of the general election.

He said he had received a tremendous amount of support over the past few weeks since his confession, but understood there were still people who needed their faith in him restored.

His comments come after it was revealed that the Daily Telegraph, to whom Carmichael authorised the controversial memo to be leaked, are set to be reprimanded over their story by the newly formed press watchdog, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).