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Miriam Brett selected as SNP candidate

Miriam Brett.TWENTY five year old Shetlander Miriam Brett has been announced as the SNP’s candidate for the Orkney and Shetland constituency in the 8 June General Election.

Brett was born and bred in Shetland, living between Bressay and Walls, and previously worked in policy research before taking up a post as senior economic adviser to the SNP’s Westminster group. She also played a prominent role in the Yes campaign for Scottish independence in 2014.

College lecturers support national strike

Protesters outside Shetland College urged employer organisation Colleges Scotland to 'honour the ideal' - Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland NewsALMOST 20 lecturers from Shetland College UHI have expressed their solidarity with colleagues across Scotland who have gone on strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Shetland College is not part of national bargaining for Scotland's colleges, because the Employer's Association voted in January of this year to refuse them entry. Therefore, Shetland College staff were not eligible to take part in the formal industrial action.

Concerns over remote digital towers

HIAL employs 55 air traffic controllers.UNIONS and local politicians have voiced serious concern after it emerged that Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (HIAL) is looking at proposals to do away with air traffic control towers across its network of airports.

Dozens of highly skilled and well paid jobs could be on the line if HIAL centralises air traffic control to one remote digital tower – likely to be based at Inverness.

Developer's 'educated gamble' over windfarm

Peel Energy development director Jonathan English. Photo: Shetland News/Hans J. Marter.THE COMPANY behind plans to build 21 wind turbines just outside Lerwick is taking an “educated gamble” in the expectation that a 600 MW subsea cable will eventually link Shetland with the National Grid.

Peel Energy held the first of its four first pre-planning consultation meetings in the Staney Hill Hall in Lerwick on Tuesday.

Customers try to upgrade to 'superfast' broadband - and end up with no internet at all

Several Muckle Roe residents have been beset with broadband problems this year. Photo: Brian Gray (www.briangrayphotography.com)TELECOMS providers have again come under fire as customers in Sullom and Muckle Roe who attempted to upgrade to fibre-based “superfast” broadband have found themselves left without any internet at all for several weeks.

Sullom-based couple Stuart Balfour and Helen Robertson and their family are among those who have been wrongly informed that they could receive superior fibre-based speeds.

Progress on mobile signal welcomed, but fury at BT's no-show amid broadband troubles

EE's programme director Lynne Toogood. Photo: BBC Radio Orkney.MOBILE phone operator EE plans to spend over £2.5 million this year on upgrading and building 20 new masts to improve 4G signal across the islands, a meeting of the Northern Isles Digital Forum heard on Saturday.

But, while EE’s programme director Lynne Toogood’s message and willingness to engage with islanders went down well, there was yet more anger and frustration with telecoms giant BT – which failed to appear at the meeting without explanation.

Shetland Catch loses quarter of its workforce

Shetland Catch is being integrated into the Pelagia operation.NORWEGIAN pelagic fish processor Pelagia has confirmed that 16 jobs will be lost at its Shetland Catch factory in Lerwick.

Speaking to Shetland News on Monday, Pelagia's chief executive and Shetland Catch board chairman Egil Magne Haugstad said the number of permanent staff at the Lerwick plant have been reduced from 54 to 38 as the process of integrating with the Norwegian multinational continues.

Remembering Arras (AHS pupil Holly Mouat)

AHS S3 pupils Holly Mouat and Carys Nield pictured with history teacher John Sandison at Menin Gate, Ypres during last month's trip.ANDERSON High School history pupils Holly Mouat and Carys Nield were among 72 pupils representing each of Scotland's local authorities on a five-day trip to France to observe the centenary of the Battle of Arras at Scotland's national commemoration. Here Holly gives a powerful and eloquent account of an emotional and life-changing trip.

On 11 April 1917, the Battle of Arras began. Arras is described as “The Scottish Battle”. Of the four years the Great War raged on, the largest Scottish loss was at the Battle of Arras.

Lib Dems confirm Carmichael as candidate

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has been confirmed as the Liberal Democrats' candidate for the 8 June election.NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has been confirmed as the Liberal Democrats’ candidate for June’s UK general election by the party’s local branch.

Carmichael won an 817-vote majority over the late Danus Skene  of the SNP back in 2015 – a result which was subject to a legal challenge in the Court of Session – and will seek to retain a seat he has held since 2001.

The Liberal Democrats, and their predecessors the Liberals, have held the seat since 1950.

Althing: Now is not the time for autonomy

Duncan Simpson of Wir Shetland spoke in favour of the motion at Saturday's Althing debate - Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland NewsWIR Shetland, the political pressure group advocating autonomy for Shetland, had to accept defeat at an event held by the Althing debating society at the Staney Hill Hall in Lerwick on Saturday night.

Following an entertaining two-hour long debate just one of the 31-strong audience was in favour of the motion that “the time is right for Shetland autonomy”.

Unst musician clinches young fiddler prize

2017 Young Fiddler of the Year George Spence.GEORGE Spence from Unst was announced as Shetland’s Young Fiddler of the Year in front of a sell-out audience at Mareel on Saturday night.

Anya Johnston won the young fiddler senior title and George won traditional senior title, before being declared Young Fiddler of the Year based on his performance over both sections during the day and at the evening performance.

A change in the rules this year gave equal weighting to both the young fiddler and traditional sections in deciding the overall winner.

IJB chairman steps away from board after ‘personality clashes’

NHS Shetland chairman Ian Kinniburgh and IJB chairman Cecil SmithTHE CHAIRMAN of Shetland's Integration Joint Board (IJB) says he does not want to be involved in the board if re-elected as a councillor because he has had enough of "personality clashes" between its members.

Cecil Smith, who is hoping to secure a third term as councillor for the Lerwick South ward, said in an email exchange with members of the Shetland Partnership Board that he wanted no further part to play in the IJB.

Trust votes through new governance plans

Shetland Charitable Trust has its headquarters in Lerwick's North road.SHETLAND Charitable Trust has passed through controversial new governance proposals, which could result in the £230m fund no longer having any elected representatives.

The arrangements, which include reducing the number of councillor trustees from seven to a maximum of four, were signed off at the trust's special meeting at Islesburgh Community Centre in Lerwick on Thursday evening.

Mental health survey raises isles concerns

LONG waiting times, lack of investment and not enough support for young people are some of the key concerns which have been raised by Shetlanders in a nationwide survey on mental health in rural Scotland.

A total of 22 people from the isles responded to a survey carried out last year by charity Support in Mind Scotland and Scotland's Rural College.

The feedback will be used by the new The National Rural Mental Health Forum, which includes range of organisations such as NFU Scotland, NHS Health Scotland, the Scottish Government and Samaritans.

SIC resumes sending glass to Cunningsburgh

The council had been sending used glass bottles south for recycling as it was cheaper. Photo: Shetland News/Chris Cope.SHETLAND Islands Council says it will start sending glass to the Enviroglass premises in Cunningsburgh again for recycling after the site was leased to new operators.

The facility, owned by Shetland Amenity Trust but now leased to local company Shetland Precast and Groundworks Ltd, will receive glass from the local authority from today (19 April) onwards.

Health board could strike deal with Loganair and abandon plans to send patients by ferry

The health board discussed the travel policy update in private on Tuesday.THERE has been a softening in NHS Shetland’s stance on its controversial travel policy, which might ultimately result in the health board ditching plans to make an overnight ferry trip the default option for patients.

Following a private board meeting at Montfield in Lerwick on Tuesday at which a potential improved deal with airline Loganair was discussed, chairman Ian Kinniburgh said it was now recognised that the initial £1 million-a-year savings target was overly optimistic. 

Jail for knife threats and assaulting police

Lerwick Sheriff Court.A MAN from Lerwick whose “animalistic” behaviour saw him threaten his neighbours with a knife before assaulting three police officers has been sentenced to more than a year in jail.

Craig Nelson, of Hoofields, was given a custodial sentence of 51 weeks for a string of offences committed all on the same day in January when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

Carmichael says snap election gives voters chance to make feelings known on Brexit

Alistair Carmichael after winning re-election back in May 2015.NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael says Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election on 8 June will be an opportunity for those opposed to a “hard Brexit” to make their views known.

Speaking shortly after Tuesday morning’s surprise announcement, Carmichael urged voters who did not want to be taken out of the single market and the customs union to give their vote to his party, the Liberal Democrats.

NHS presses ahead with private debate on patient travel after two board members object

NHS Shetland chairman Ian Kinniburgh.NHS SHETLAND chairman Ian Kinniburgh has decided to press ahead with a private discussion of its controversial decision to make an overnight ferry journey the default option for patients travelling to Aberdeen after objections from two board members.

Board member Malcolm Bell said he had written twice to Kinniburgh and chief executive Ralph Roberts setting out why he felt holding the whole discussion in private was unjustified, but had not received a response.

Health board seeking new nurse to look after Fair Isle's 60-strong population

THE REMOTE island of Fair Isle is on the lookout for a new district nurse to take care of the 60-strong population’s medical needs - one of a host of NHS Shetland vacancies at present.

NHS Shetland's chief nurse Edna Mary Watson said there had been a resident nurse on Fair Isle throughout the time that she has worked for the health board.

Crime drama cast look ahead to isles filming

Filming on the fourth series has already started and it will head to Shetland for the duration of May. Photo: BBCTHE CAST of BBC One crime drama Shetland say they are "delighted" to be returning to the isles in May as filming work continues on its fourth series.

The popular TV series will shoot across Shetland for the whole of the month, while the production will also go on location in Glasgow and Norway.

End to end isles run in 24 hours for charity

Training sessions are already under way on the Quarff hills.A GROUP of locals will attempt to run end-to-end across Shetland and its many hills in less than 24 hours this summer, all in the name of charity.

Luke Holt, from Wester Quarff, will raise money for Crohn's and Colitis UK by undertaking the 74 mile feat on 11 August.

Disqualification and forfeiture of £10,000 car for driver who was six times over alcohol limit

A MAN from Lerwick who drove to the town's Tesco supermarket while nearly six times the alcohol limit has been banned from the road for two years and had his car worth £10,000 taken by the authorities.

Andrew Georgeson, of Lower Sound, previously pleaded guilty at Lerwick Sheriff Court to driving with 131 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath at Tesco and elsewhere in Lerwick on 30 March.

Local agency condemns Tories' 'rape clause'

Linda Gray of Shetland Rape Crisis.GROUPS working with sexual assault victims and local MP Alistair Carmichael have called for a reversal of the UK Government’s so-called “rape clause” – which compels women to disclose that they have had a child as a result of rape or face missing out on child tax credits.

The latest changes to the welfare system mean child tax credits will only be routinely available for the first two children born in a family. 

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