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FAI hears of tragic death of popular farmer

Lerwick Sheriff Court.A SHETLAND farmer died after he become trapped by the loading arms of his tractor, a fatal accident inquiry at Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Monday morning.

James Bryden Budge was pronounced dead shortly after the accident, which happened on the morning of 14 October last year at Bigton Farm.

The short inquiry before sheriff Philip Mann called no witnesses but heard the details of the tragic accident from a joint minute and an investigation report from the Health and Safety Executive read out by procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie.

Channel crisis disrupts export of seafood

Robert Williamson of QA Fish - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNewsTHE CRISIS affecting freight traffic crossing the channel between Dover and Calais is having a detrimental impact on the export of fish from Shetland, with one supplier currently unable to send produce to buyers in Italy and Switzerland. 

Robert Williamson of Scalloway-based QA Fish said the tailbacks delaying lorries trying to reach the European continent was regularly meaning delays of around 24 hours.

Erecting Shetland’s highest turbine yet

The propeller section of the turbine is being lifted into position on Sunday - Photo: Austin TaylorSHETLAND'S largest wind turbine yet is being erected at Luggie's Knowe, north of Lerwick, by local firm Shetland Aerogenerators.

The company behind the Burradale wind farm whose directors have a stake in the Viking Energy development took over the turbine project from Scottish and Southern Energy.

Whitehall stays tight-lipped over leak inquiry

Alistair Carmichael MP has been appointed Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman at Westminster.THE UK government has once again refused an appeal for information about whether an investigation into northern isles MP Alistair Carmichael was deliberately delayed to avoid influencing the Liberal Democrat’s election campaign last May.

In a written reply to a Freedom of Information request by Shetland News into the timing of the inquiry into the private memo Carmichael leaked, the Cabinet Office said releasing such details could lead to “unhelpful speculation”.

Meanwhile the former Scottish secretary has been appointed as the Liberal Democrats home affairs spokesman by the party’s new leader Tim Farron. He has also been appointed to the House of Commons energy and climate change select committee.

All systems go for new Anderson High

Contracts signed, let work commence. The management team, from left: Hub North Scotland chief executive Angus MacFarlane, SIC children's services director Helen Budge, SIC leader Gary Robinson, SIC education and families chair Vaila Wishart,  project manager Trevor Smith and SIC chief executive Mark Boden. Photo ShetnewsTHE COST of Lerwick’s new Anderson High School and halls of residence has risen by 25 per cent on what had been forecast, it was confirmed on Thursday.

Additional work at the nearby Clickimin Leisure Complex for gym lessons to take place will cost an extra £3 million.

Work on the £55.75m project can now commence after Shetland Islands Council, the Scottish government and the building contractors signed contracts earlier this week.

Flu identified as coach tour illness

NHS SHETLAND has confirmed that two of the five coach passengers admitted to Gilbert Bain Hospital this week after returning from Wales were suffering from the flu virus.

One of the five people, 85 year old Ian Younger, from Lerwick, died on Wednesday afternoon two days after he and three others were admitted with high temperatures and a cough. Fifth patient was admitted later in a less serious condition.

On Thursday afternoon public health director Sarah Taylor confirmed that two of the five patients had the flu.

Young otters return to the wild

TWO young otters have been successfully released back into the wild almost a year after their mother was killed on a Shetland road.

Joey and Thea were brought to Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary last September when they were less than two weeks old.

Before they were rescued the twins had been heard crying for help for days after they lost their mother in the village of Vidlin, but no one knew where they were or what was wrong.

Development jobs go as Shetland Arts reshuffles

Shetland Arts general manager Graeme Howell. Photo: Adam JonesSHETLAND ARTS has confirmed that at least two development officers will leave their posts in November as the organisation continues to fine-tune its structure.

However, general manager Graeme Howell told Shetland News that at the moment only two posts have received redundancy notices - not three as reported elsewhere.

Poor weather causes concern for local NFU

NFU Shetland chairman Jim Nicolson.THE CHAIRMAN of the local National Farmers’ Union (NFU) branch has echoed nationwide concerns about the impact poor weather is continuing to have on the agriculture industry.

Jim Nicolson said that this year’s weather is “almost certainly the worst” he’s experienced in Shetland in the last four decades, with high levels of rainfall and a cold climate affecting the growth of grass and crops.

His comments come after NFU president Allan Bowie said this week that there is “real concern” over how some farmers will cope in the coming months as a result of the poor weather.

SSE buys stake in new gas plant

An up to date view of the new Shetland Gas Plant - Photo: TotalENERGY company Scottish & Southern Energy has confirmed that it is buying a 20 per cent stake in the Shetland Gas Plant from Total.

The French oil company is also selling 20 per cent interest in the Laggan, Tormore, Edradour and Glenlivit gas fields to SSE.

The £565million deal was confirmed on Wednesday morning. Total had said earlier this year that it wanted to reduce its financial exposure west of Shetland.

Calls for BT to provide assurances over blackout

NHS SHETLAND, Sumburgh Airport operator HIAL and the Scottish Government have all sought reassurances from BT that contingency plans will be put in place to avoid a repeat of Saturday’s communications blackout.

The disruption saw many phone lines and radio connections down for around five hours, leaving people in the isles unable to dial 999 and resulting in the closure of Sumburgh Airport and the cancellation of 11 flights.

Having immediately launched an investigation, BT has now issued a further statement outlining that the network serving the Northern Isles was designed to “provide back-up for most services in most scenarios”.

Couple conquer picturesque Rio half marathon

Shetland couple Annie McKee and Grant Johnson after completing the Rio half marathon on Sunday.A COUPLE from Shetland enjoyed the thrill of completing a half marathon in picturesque Rio de Janeiro at the weekend.

Twenty six year old Annie McKee and 30 year old Grant Johnson, who live together in Papil, Burra, made the trip to South America and enjoyed some stunning scenery on the 13-mile course which took in Sugar Loaf Mountain and several beaches including the iconic sands of Copacabana.

Sea kayaker raising funds for lifeboats

A SOLO sea kayaker is having a few days' rest in Lerwick before setting off on the second half of an epic journey that will take him to all 47 RNLI lifeboats stations in Scotland.

Nick Ray, who lives in Portadavie overlooking Loch Fyne, set off on his 2,000-mile journey from the Solway Firth on 1 May.

Fun in the sun at Sandwick

Candy floss was just one of the attractions kids, including Mischa Pearson, could enjoy at this year's Sandwick Fun Day. Photo: Dale SmithA RECORD amount in excess of £7,000 was raised for various good causes during a sun-kissed Sandwick Fun Day on Saturday.

It is the sixth year the day, run by local voluntary groups within the village, has been staged. The profits are split between those groups – the only source of income for some of them – and Cancer Research UK.

Call for backup to prevent 999 services disruption

THERE are calls for a backup to be put in place to ensure there is no repeat of yesterday’s “completely unacceptable” communications blackout that left emergency services in the islands seriously compromised for several hours.

BT explained that a blown fuse at its Wideford Hill radio transmitter in Orkney was to blame for knocking out radio and telephone links for five hours on Saturday.

It left Shetland Coastguard without contact to the mainland and NHS Shetland had to advise patients requiring medical attention to attend the Gilbert Bain Hospital in person.

Blackout shuts airport & disrupts emergency services

A COMMUNICATIONS blackout on Saturday caused major disruption for emergency services and resulted in Sumburgh Airport closing at lunchtime – leading to the cancellation of 11 flights.

 The south mainland airport’s operator HIAL said in a statement that Sumburgh would not reopen until radio communications were fully operational again.

HIAL said the airport shut at 12.33pm due to problems with phone lines which impacted on radio communications. As a result, four inbound and seven outbound flights were cancelled and one was diverted to Kirkwall.

Court regular jailed for turning up drunk

A REGULAR at Lerwick Sheriff Court was sent to jail for 12 weeks for failing to appear for his trial in June, and being drunk and disorderly when he did show up. 

In addition, Owen Haughian is to spend a further month in jail to serve the rest of a previous sentence he was released from early.

Appearing from custody on Thursday, the 32 year old’s trial date was deferred to 11 November.

Man caught with £4,000 of heroin gets three years

A HEROIN courier from Liverpool was sent to jail for more than three years after pleading guilty to supplying the class A drug in Shetland.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Thursday that police were acting on intelligence when they arrested Anthony McCormick in the town’s Sandveien area on 13 June.

The 27 year old, whose address was given as Grampian Prison, had 43.31 grams of heroin on him when searched.

Scalloway extends pool opening hours

The Scalloway pool's opening hours have been extended. Photo: SRT.THE SCALLOWAY swimming pool has extended its opening hours with Lerwick’s Clickimin pool closed off for the foreseeable future.

A small part of a bolt thought to be from the glazed area of the Clickimin Leisure Complex pool fell into the water on 16 July, leading to its immediate closure over safety concerns.

Sheriff angry as G4S fails to deliver yet again

Sheriff Philip Mann has again been left irritated by G4S's shortcomings.SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has called for an inquiry to be held into why security firm G4S has twice this week failed to deliver prisoners to Lerwick Sheriff Court on time.

The company came under fire from Sheriff Philip Mann after four men ended up late for appearances at the court on Wednesday and Thursday.

The sheriff described the situation as “highly unsatisfactory” and ordered a company representative to appear before him on 5 August to explain why three prisoners held on the Scottish mainland have not been flown to the isles in time for their court appearance.

Building industry plea for new blood

The local construction industry is desperately looking for young people interested in taking up apprenticeships - Photo: ShetNewsSHETLAND'S construction industry is putting out a plea for new blood to reinvigorate the sector after witnessing a steep fall in the number of apprentices over the past seven years.

While the number of young Shetlanders taking up some form of vocational training more than doubled in the seven years until 2013, fewer and fewer are taking up building trades.

Vehicles destroyed in car park blaze

Fire fighters tackling the blaze on Wednesday morning - Photo: ShetNewsTWO CARS were destroyed and a third vehicle damaged in blaze at the old swimming pool car park at the Hillhead, in Lerwick, on Wednesday morning.

Two fire crews from Lerwick were called out at just before 9am to find one of the cars well ablaze.

Sandwick nursery tackles critical report

The newly painted Central Private Nursery in Sandwick's former Central Bakery.A PRIVATE nursery in Shetland is tackling issues raised in a critical report from the Care Inspectorate that saw some of its gradings plummet in the space of just two years.

Mairi Jamieson, who manages the Central Private Nursery and Out of School Club in Sandwick, said she was taken aback by the strength of criticism in the report that followed an unannounced two day inspection carried out in April.

Island musician heads up the charts

Prides pose: Callum Wiseman (right) with band mates Lewis Gardiner (left) and Stewart Brock.A SHETLAND musician has been riding high on the UK albums chart.

Callum Wiseman, who lived in the isles before leaving for Glasgow at the age of 16, plays guitar, keyboards and sings in Scottish synth-pop trio Prides.

Their recently released debut record The Way Back Up shot to No.24 on the national albums chart last week.