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Tenants poised to move into Fort Road

The new Fort Road development is almost ready for social housing tenants to move in.TENANTS are expected to move into Lerwick’s latest social housing development on Fort Road shortly as work on a £3.2 million project at the former Met Office site above Sound progresses ahead of completion later this year.

Scottish minister for local government and housing Kevin Stewart visited both Hjaltland Housing Association (HHA) sites last week while in Shetland for a Convention of the Highlands and Islands meeting.

Hours reduced at disability charity to cut costs

Trustee Sandy Peterson says Disability Shetland's service won't be affected by the reduction in hours.

LOCAL charity Disability Shetland has cut the hours of its two full-time roles in an effort to survive following two failed funding bids.

Trustee Sandy Peterson said the organisation should save around £20,000 a year by reducing the hours from 35 hours to 20 hours.

He is adamant the move will not have an impact on its service, which includes running clubs and activities across the isles.

Norwick jarl Michael returns home 'from town'

Photo: Desley RitchNORWICK guizer jarl Michael Spence can look back at a long family history of involvement in Shetland's most northerly Up Helly Aa.

Both his parents are from Norwick, his granddads were guizer jarls at the Norwick Up Helly Aa in 1986 and 1987 respectively, and now it is his time to lead a squad of 15 Vikings and nine kids through the community.

Renewed calls for ‘unified’ control room

Police Scotland assistant chief constable Andy Cowie was area commander in Shetland between 2003 and 2006 - Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland NewsFRESH calls have been made for the emergency services in Shetland to have a shared local control room.

Police Scotland assistant chief constable Andy Cowie told Friday's community safety and resilience board meeting that while the long term "direction of travel" was towards pooling services, the force needs to be "pragmatic" in light of budget constraints.

Town centre traffic work to begin

Traffic calming measures at Lerwick's town will commence at the Church Road crossing on Wednesday - Photo: SICWORK on new traffic calming measures in the centre of Lerwick will get underway next week and is expected to last for around three months.

The first phase of the £234,000 project will begin on Wednesday with the installation of a new raised table pedestrian crossing and the widening of pavements at the junction of South Commercial Street and Church Road.

Cullivoe Up Helly Aa already in full swing

Cullivoe Up Helly Aa guizer jarl Mark Lawson thoroughly enjoying himself at the burning on Friday night - Photo: Garry SandisonIT'S ONLY Thursday but Cullivoe Up Helly Aa is well under way as Yell's annual fire festival – now in its 60th year - is celebrated as a four day event.

This year's guizer jarl Mark Lawson said he felt particularly "honoured" having been asked to lead the event after having moved to Yell as recent as 2002.

New 2018 ferries deal vital to protect services

The Bressay ferry terminal. SIC councillors are eager to get a new funding deal in place for running ferries and upgrading infrastructure by 2018. Photo: Shetland News/Neil Riddell.SHETLAND Islands Council leader Gary Robinson says there will be a “serious question” over the sustainability of inter-island ferry services if a new deal with the Scottish Government is not struck in time for the 2018/19 financial year.

As recently as December the local authority had been expecting a deal to plug the £6 million-plus gap between the cost of running the ferries and the level of funding provided by the Scottish Government.

ZetTrans confirms 10p rise in bus fares

Fares will rise by 10p a single on Shetland's main bus routes. Photo: Shetland News/Hans J. MarterPUBLIC service bus users in Shetland face an across-the-board fare increase of 10 pence for a single from April.

The committee of Shetland’s transport partnership ZetTrans approved the change, which chairman Michael Stout said was “simply an inflationary increase”, at a meeting on Tuesday morning.

Still no timescale for fare cuts or new mechanism for funding inter-island ferries

Scottish transport and islands minister Humza Yousaf was in the islands on Monday. Photo: Shetland News/Neil RiddellSCOTTISH transport and islands minister Humza Yousaf says talks are continuing over plans to reduce ferry fares to the Northern Isles and new means of funding Shetland’s inter-island ferry services – but there remains no specific timescale for either. 

Speaking on a visit to Shetland to attend the Highlands and Islands Convention, Yousaf said the SNP government was only nine months into its new term and remains fully committed to meeting its manifesto commitment to bring fares down.

Refurbished terminal gets official opening

Scottish transport and islands minister Humza Yousaf with Andrew Farquhar of Sumburgh Airport - Photo: Malcolm Younger/Millgaet MediaSUMBURGH Airport’s newly refurbished terminal was officially opened by Scottish transport and islands minister Humza Yousaf on Monday afternoon.

Airport operator HIAL (Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd) has invested just shy of £8 million over three years in an attempt to “create a faster, smoother airport experience for passengers”. 

Seven seafood firms to benefit from EU cash

SEVEN local seafood companies are to benefit from more than £1.7 million of European funding, Scottish fishing minister Fergus Ewing announced during a visit to Lerwick on Monday.

Brae-based Blueshell Mussels, Shetland Seafood Quality Control (SSQC) and Scalloway-based fish processing company QA Fish are the main beneficiaries of the grant funding. 

Liam leads the Vikings up north

Northmavine guizer jarl Liam Doull witnesses his galley disappearing - Photo: Mark BerryTHE winter celebrations of Shetland's Viking past are heading to isles' northwest corner this weekend where it is Sullom man Liam Doull's turn to lead the merrymaking.

At the tender age of 36 years, the mussel farm worker is already looking back at quarter of a century of being involved with the Northmavine Up Helly Aa.

Fish auctioneering firm trials machine grading

SHETLAND Seafood Auction is piloting new ways of further improving prices for fish landed at the islands' two fish markets.

Following a pilot project trialling machine grading of flatfish at Scalloway fish market, the auctioning company has now applied for European grant funding (EMFF FLAG) to help purchase a Compact grader to allow a commercial trial at Lerwick and Scalloway fish markets involving more species.

Fishing ‘way down’ list of Brexit priorities

Brexit: What now for the UK and Scotland?

TWO very different scenarios for the future of some of Shetland's key industries were presented and debated during a meeting on the implications of Brexit for the islands on Thursday evening.

Around 20 people gathered in the Shetland Museum and Archives auditorium to listen to two presentations by Simon Collins of the Shetland Fishermen's Association and local NFU chairman Jim Nicolson, representing the agricultural sector.

Prison and road ban for 'atrocious' driving

A THIRTY year old man who repeatedly tailgated and then reversed into the car of his ex-girlfriend with the aim of “intimidating and frightening” her has been jailed for 10 months and banned from the road for almost four years.

Asif Muhammad, of Thistle Court, Virkie, pleaded guilty to driving his vehicle dangerously on 21 May last year on the A970 Grutness to Hillswick road. He repeatedly tailgated and overtook the other vehicle, swerving from side to side, swerving in front of it and stopping his vehicle, causing the other driver to take evasive action.

Jail and two lifetime bans for drink driver

Lerwick Sheriff Court.A SCALLOWAY resident who drove whilst more than six times over the alcohol limit twice in a week has been jailed for eight months and handed two lifelong disqualifications from holding a licence.

Torbjorn Riise, of Undirhoull, had been in custody since last appearing in court on 27 January in relation to the second offence.

Tributes flood in for storyteller Lawrence

Photographer Katarina Juvančič's image of Lawrence in his living room a few years ago. She said he had graced her life with "unforgettable memories, words of comfort and solace, great laughs, many drams and fabulous stories".WARM tributes have been paid to well-known Shetland storyteller and author Lawrence Tulloch, who has died at the age of 74.

Lawrence was a storyteller of international repute and appeared at many festivals throughout the world. He was also a familiar voice to islanders tuning into BBC Radio Shetland from the earliest days of the station.

SIC frustration at being bounced into council tax rise hitting those least able to pay

Gary Robinson and George Smith both criticised the SNP's approach to local government funding for the next financial year.COUNCILLORS have criticised the Scottish Government for choosing not to use new tax-varying powers while expecting local authorities throughout the country to raise more income by increasing council tax.

On Monday members of the SIC’s policy and resources committee unanimously approved a £110.1 million budget – including a three per cent rise in council tax – for 2017/18. The budget now goes to the full council on Wednesday for final approval.

Bid to make isles appeal to more cruise ships

The cruise ship Celebrity Silhoutte in Lerwick last summer. Photo: David SpenceTHERE is significant potential for growth in the number of cruise ships visiting Shetland, the SIC’s harbour board heard on Friday.

In an effort to promote the islands as a go-to destination for liners, plans to lower charges for cruise ships docking in the isles are included in budget proposals for the next financial year.

Mareel no-go for 34 year old Trainspotter

Steven McKimm was able to enjoy a few pints in the Mareel bar after he was refused entry to watch Trainspotting 2 the same night.SHETLAND Arts has vigorously defended its ID policy after a 34 year old man unable to prove his age was refused entry to watch the 18-rated T2 Trainspotting film at the Mareel cinema on Thursday night.

However, Steven McKimm - who was sporting a weighty beard for the forthcoming Delting Up Helly Aa - was not challenged to prove his age when buying a pint of beer in the bar of the same venue just ten minutes later.

On Friday the arts development agency's general manager Graeme Howell said he was fully behind his staff who "did what we ask them to do".

Jarl Gray celebrates nautical theme

Jarl Christopher Gray and his squad at Outer Skaw, Unst, earlier today (Friday) - Photo: John CouttsAFTER five months of preparation over the winter, today is the big day for Uyeasound's 2017 Up Helly Aa Guizer Jarl Christopher Gray.

The 35 year old, who works in the Merchant Navy, has lived in Unst all of his life and says he used to look at grown-ups taking part in the festival and hoped that his turn would come one day.

Norman’s big day in Nesting

Nesting & Girlsta guizer jarl Norman Johnston enjoying every moment of his big day - Photo: Ivan HawickDESPITE hailing from Cunningsburgh, Norman Johnston is a well-kent face at the Nesting and Girlsta Up Helly Aa.

And today (Friday) the electrician is enjoying his moment in the spotlight as guizer jarl after first taking part in the festival around 25 years ago.

SIC plans extra draw on reserves plus council tax rise to balance the books

Councillors will in the Shetland Museum to debate next year's budget rather than the Lerwick Town Hall which is currently refurbished - Photo: Shetland NewsSHETLAND Islands Council will have to draw an additional £2.8 million from its reserves in the next financial year to offset the cut in its core funding from the Scottish Government.

As expected, councillors also plan to use new powers to raise council tax by the maximum three per cent as part of their efforts to balance its budget.

Struggle to meet housing demand goes on

PJP Architects' drawing of the prospective King Harald Street development in Lerwick.DEMAND for affordable housing in the isles continues to outstrip supply, Shetland’s Islands Council’s development committee was told on Wednesday.

SIC housing executive manager Anita Jamieson said 51 new affordable accommodation units per annum are in line to be built in the next four years, but that is slightly below the target level.

SIC agrees to give £250k to new scheme that could give Fair Isle round-the-clock electricity

Fair Isle residents are hoping to gain access to round-the-clock electricity for the first time.SHETLAND Islands Council has agreed to put £250,000 towards a proposed new electricity scheme in Fair Isle which would see the remote island community have access to guaranteed 24-hour electricity for the first time.

It is hoped that following the council’s pledge at a development committee meeting on Wednesday, other potential backers – such as the Big Lottery Fund – will be more inclined to grant money towards the £2.65 million project.

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