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Constance unveils new school’s foundation stone

Cabinet secretary for education Angela Constance unveiling the foundation school for the new Anderson High School - Photos: Hans J Marter/ShetNewsSCOTTISH education secretary Angela Constance has defended the government's levels of funding for education during a brief visit to Shetland on Thursday.

In a short ceremony at Clickimin, the MSP for the Almond Valley unveiled the foundation stone for the new £56 million Anderson High School.

Exotic birds excite local twitchers

Bird on a wire - a grainy shot of one of the seven adult bee-eaters seen perching on an overhead power cable on Wednesday evening. Photo Hugh HarropA SMALL flock of one of Europe’s most brightly coloured birds has appeared in Shetland thousands of miles from its normal habitat.

The seven bee-eaters that drew crowds of excited birdwatchers on Wednesday should have been heading to sub-Saharan Africa from their breeding grounds in southern Europe and the Middle East.

Instead they appeared at the end of a quiet road in Tingwall, north of Lerwick, where they were seen catching insects before disappearing late morning on Thursday.

Careers advice pilot for Shetland

Listening intently - Fair work secretary Roseanna Cunningham in discussion with pupils Harry Bedding (partially obscured), Iona Spence and Ellie Ratter at Brae High School on Wednesday - Photos: Chris Cope/ShetNews SHETLAND will act as a guinea pig for a new £1.5m Scottish Government scheme that will extend careers advice to secondary one pupils.

Fair work, skills and training cabinet secretary Roseanna Cunningham revealed the news while touring Brae's primary and secondary schools on Wednesday morning.

Summit to call for fairer education funding

Cabinet secretary for education Angela Constance - Photo: Scottish GovernmentTHE FUTURE of education across the Scottish islands is being discussed at a summit chaired by education secretary Angela Constance in Kirkwall today (Wednesday).

Council leaders from Shetland, Orkney and the western isles are disgruntled after it emerged that a £100 million attainment fund, announced by the Scottish government in July, will primarily be used to help schools in central belt and urban areas.

Shetland Islands Council leader Gary Robinson said island authorities were each spending around £10 million more on education than what they were receiving in funding from the government, and the new attainment fund was adding further unfairness to an already difficult situation.

Duo aim high with debut EP

Duo Chris Cope and Jamie Hatch aiming to create music that is accessible yet technical.A NEW local music duo who harbour ambitions of making an impact on the mainland are releasing their first EP this week.

Instrumental metal project Giant, who feature guitarist Jamie Hatch and bassist Chris Cope, will unleash Chronos // Kairos on Friday.

Robinson – ‘Shetland is not an affluent place’

Council leader Gary RobinsonTWENTY per cent of households in Shetland are living in extreme poverty, defined as surviving on an annual income of less than £13,500, the newly formed Tackling Inequality Commission has heard.

Data presented to the second meeting of the commission, held on Monday afternoon, confirmed that despite full employment and a second oil boom under way, a significant number of islanders were struggling to make ends meet on low wages and reduced welfare benefit payments.

Lerwick Sheriff Court round up

A MAN accused of shooting an air rifle at the windows of an occupied house in Mossbank, has been released on bail.

The case against 22 year old Kyle Joseph MacGregor of 4 Brae Head, Mossbank, was continued without plea when he appeared from custody at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Monday.

The accused was arrested in the early hours of Sunday after police were called to an address in Mossbank following reports that an air rifle had been recklessly discharged, cracking several panes of glass.

Appeal to help Hungarian couple

Anett Gyenge - 'a little better every day'.SHETLANDERS are again showing their incredible generosity and compassion, this time to help a local Hungarian couple stranded in Germany following a tragic accident.

Anett Gyenge is making a slow recovery in a specialist hospital after sustaining life threatening head injuries when slipping on wet cobbled steps outside a church near Stuttgart, on 19 July.

New funding bid to oust Carmichael

An image of the four petitioners trying to dislodge Alistair Carmichael MP produced for the crowdfunding appeal.A NEW bid to raise funds to have northern isles MP Alistair Carmichael’s election in May annulled has been launched.

The campaign group The People Versus Carmichael launched their second crowdfunding bid less than three weeks before the legal case is due to be heard in Edinburgh’s Court of Session.

The campaigners say they need to raise more money to protect the four Orkney-based petitioners financially in case legal costs go through the roof.

Prescription fraudster phone scams pensioner

FOLK in Shetland are being warned about phone scammers who use a call about medication to find out their bank details.

NHS Shetland has confirmed that an elderly lady was duped into giving her details to a man who called her on Wednesday night to tell her to stop some of her prescriptions.

The scammer then told her that he would provide an alternative herbal medicine and asked for her bank details.

MCA blame NorthLink skipper for near miss

THE MARITIME & Coastguard Agency has laid the blame for a near miss involving a passenger ferry and a coastguard tug in Kirkwall harbour last month firmly at the door of the ferry skipper.

The 500 passengers on board the NorthLink ferry Hrossey were alarmed when the vessel suddenly lurched sideways to avoid the emergency towing vessel Herakles as they approached Hatston pier on a calm, foggy night on 3 July.

Since the incident, Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has tirelessly pursued the ferry company, the coastguard agency and the harbour authority calling for an investigation into a potential collision that was missed by just 30 seconds.

Scottish Opera to visit with popular kid’s show

Frances Morrison, Allen Stuart Semple and Andrew McTaggart in the Spring tour of Kido Scottish Opera 2015 - Photo: Mark HamiltonAN INTERACTIVE Scottish Opera production aimed young children will visit Shetland later this year.

The company will bring their interactive show KidO to Mareel in Lerwick on 3 October for two performances at 11am and 2pm.

Elderflower ice cream proves a winner

'Chuffed to bits' - Caroline Henderson with her award winning ice cream - Photo: Chris Cope/ShetNewsA DAIRY produce maker with an emphasis on using unique flavours says she is "chuffed to bits" after one of her ice creams won a prize at what is considered to be Scotland's largest one-day agricultural show.

Caroline Henderson, who runs the Artisan Island Cheese company from the kitchen of her Peerie Foxes nursery in Lerwick, had been invited to enter one of her boutique ice creams into this year's Dumfries Show.

She didn't know, however, that her elderflower product won the ice cream category until she read the results on the show's website earlier this week.

New Toft pier a step closer

Access has been restricted as Toft pier has been described as being very close to the end of its working life - Photo: Courtesy of SIC SHETLAND Islands Council is set to invest between £1.5 and £2 million into replacing and possibly extending Toft pier, in the north mainland.

Following an at times ill-tempered harbour board meeting on Tuesday afternoon, members agreed unanimously to commission a fully costed business case for a new pier.

SIC expects no gas plant income this year

Shetland Gas Plant is 99 per cent complete according to the company - Photo: Courtesy Total UKSHETLAND Islands Council is not expecting to make any cash from Total's new Shetland Gas Plant during the current financial year other than £111,000 in site rent.

The council's harbour board heard on Tuesday afternoon that this financial year's projected income of £1.43 million had been reduced by 92 per cent after officers were unable to get any reliable information from the oil company.

Community hopes for investor to buy Grunay

The island of Grunay - yours for £85,000 - Photos; courtesy of KnightFrank

THE COMMUNITY on the remote Shetland island group of Out Skerries hopes an investor can be attracted after one of its uninhabited islands has been put on the market for an asking price of more than £85,000.

At 55 acres in size, Grunay boasts two dilapidated former lighthouse keepers' houses, a walled garden and a sundial, and has neither electricity nor a water supply.

SNP selects Skene to fight Holyrood election

Danus Skene.LOCAL SNP activist Danus Skene has been selected as the party's Shetland prospective parliamentary candidate for the Scottish Parliament election, to be held in May next year.

The 71-year old said that he was "both humbled and flattered" to have received a clear mandate following an internal selection process.

In May this year Skene stood as the SNP's candidate for the northern isles seat in the UK parliament and came close to beating Alistair Carmichael, the LibDem MP for the isles since 2001.

New life for old Yell school

The former Mid Yell junior high school, which is to be converted into a cafe and hotel with flats. Photo Mike PenningtonYELL’S old secondary school looks set to be given a new lease of life as a combined café, hotel and flats.

Two local entrepreneurs are about to apply for planning permission to convert the large building after a public meeting last weekend saw local people back the project.

Eddie Couper and his partner Hazel Wiggins have been working on the idea for the past six months after moving back to Couper’s native isle two years ago.

Lerwick lass earns top bravery award

Proud parents Wynne and Derrick look on as Jessica shows off her medal at the Castle Esplanade in Edinburgh.A LERWICK woman who risked her own life to stop a man from bleeding to death after cutting his own throat has just received the highest bravery award from a Scottish medical and rescue charity.

Jessica Bradley, from Upper Sound, faced physical violence when she rushed into a known drugs den in Lerwick to help the man two years ago.

Real consultation on ferry contract promised

NorthLink ferries Hjaltland and Hrossey shortly after they were painted with their new livery.Photo Will RodgerTHE SCOTTISH transport minister Derek Mackay has pledged to carry out a detailed study and consult properly with local communities ahead of the tendering process for the new northern isles ferry contract.

During a two day visit to Shetland, delayed on Wednesday due to flight problems, Mackay announced that for the first time the contract would be put through a detailed process called STAG – Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance.

The announcement has been welcomed by politicians and transport companies, after concerns were raised about the awarding of the £243 million six year contract to current operators Serco NorthLink back in 2012.

Great athletes to grace sports conference

Dame Kelly Holmes (right) is an inspiration to young athletes throughout the country through her charity the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.TWO OF Britain’s greatest athletes is visiting Shetland in October as part of the islands inaugural sports conference.

Middle distance runner and Olympic medallist Dame Kelly Holmes will be a headline speaker at the Shetland Sports Conference in Lerwick’s Clickimin Leisure Complex on 3 October.

The conference will also welcome multiple medal winning Paralympic cyclist and author Karen Darke, who is in the Team GB cycling squad for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Regatta cancelled as mark of respect

Yachts taking part in the inter-club regatta. Photo: Billy Fox.THE SHETLAND inter-club regatta has been cancelled for the first time after the recent deaths of two people closely associated with the event.

The annual sailing competition, which was due to take place from Wednesday until Saturday, has been running since 1947.

SIC says new Anderson High “a good deal”

SIOC chief executive Mark BodenACHIEVING financial close for the new Anderson High School has been described as “an extremely good deal for the people of Shetland” by the council’s chief executive.

This week Mark Boden and the SIC’s executive manager for finance, Jonathan Belford, gave further details of the £55.75 million building project, which is now under way at Lower Staney Hill site, in Lerwick.

The chief executive said the council has been successful in convincing funders Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) that building the school and associated 100-bed hostel for a fixed price of £55.75 million was very good value for money.

Shetland coastguard joins national network

THE LERWICK coastguard station is the latest to join the emergency service’s new national network.

A technology upgrade with new computer systems has connected the Lerwick operation centre to the National Maritime Operations Centre in Hampshire.

In turn this will connect Shetland with 10 other coastguard stations around the UK, allowing them to provide mutual support during busy periods.

First craft beer shop launches

Beervana owners (l-r) Erik Burgess, William Sandison and Stuart Fox getting ready on launch day. Photo: Chris Cope/ShetNewsTHE FIRST craft beer shop in Shetland opened its doors to the public in Lerwick on Saturday.

Beervana, located in the former North Rock Gallery premises at 133 Commercial Street, enjoyed its first customer just past 10am.