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Transport minister Yousaf to visit the isles

Humza Yousaf will visit the Northern Isles next week. Photo: Shetnews/Hans J MarterSCOTTISH transport and islands minister Humza Yousaf is due to visit Shetland next week amid speculation that details of the roll-out of cheaper ferry fares for the Northern Isles could be announced.

SIC buys houses to resettle Syrian refugees

SHETLAND Islands Council has bought two houses in Lerwick for resettling Syrian refugees.

However, the council will only be ready to take in the two families later this summer once the necessary support is in place, such as translators.

Councillors unanimously agreed in November to resettle the families from war-torn Syria after signing up to the UK government Syrian Vulnerable Persons Scheme in 2015.

Concerns raised over salmon farm plans

CONCERNS have been raised over the prospect of a salmon farm being installed near to a beauty spot in Muckle Roe which is popular with both locals and visitors.

Grieg Seafood Shetland is exploring the possibility of installing eight 120m circumference cages and a feed barge to the south of Muckle Roe, which could create five jobs.

New indoor climbing wall to open in Aith

The climbing wall in use. Photos: Kevin LearmonthSHETLAND's climbing scene is set to receive a massive boost this weekend when a new indoor climbing wall opens in Aith.

The wall, which consists of nine roped routes reaching a height of 7.5 metres and a boulder wall for free climbing, will open to the public at the West Mainland Leisure Centre from Sunday.

Kevin Learmonth of local group Climb Shetland hailed it as "good news" for the isles.

Taster sessions for all ages and abilities will initially take place on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and booking via 01595 807713 is essential.

Body found in search for missing woman

Lorraine Grains.POLICE have confirmed that the body of a woman was found during searches in the Laxo area of Shetland on Tuesday.

The body has been identified as that of Lorraine Grains, 43, from the Vidlin area. Her next of kin are aware and there are no suspicious circumstances.

She was reported missing on Thursday.

The body was recovered during searches conducted by the Police Scotland Dive and Marine Unit.

Health board struggles to find savings

NHS Shetland chief executive Ralph Roberts. Photo: Shetland NewsNHS SHETLAND is facing a projected financial deficit of at least £1.6m for this year and is danger of not achieving a required balanced budget.

Chief executive Ralph Roberts admitted at Tuesday's board meeting that the figure was a "best case at the moment" as the health board continues to overspend on locum staff while being faced with rising costs.

It is projected that the board has to find savings of around £10 million over the next five years.

Chairman Ian Kinniburgh warned of the dangers of making "knee jerk reactions" to find savings that may have long term implications.

Search for Lorraine scaled down

POLICE in Shetland have scaled down the search for missing woman Lorraine Grains, but officers are continuing their enquiries.

A specialist police dive team is expected to arrive in the isles later this week to check nearby lochs.

Police are also looking to identify a woman who was seen walking through a field towards the main A970 south of Voe on Thursday between 8.30pm and 9pm.

Forty three year old Lorraine has been missing from her home at Laxo near Vidlin since Thursday morning.

Visit keeps Shetland Bus link alive

The Norwegian wartime vessel Hitra arrived in Scalloway on Friday morning for the 75th anniversary of going into service as part of the Shetland Bus operation, writes Alex Garrick-Wright.

The recently restored ship was escorted to Shetland by the tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl, which was carrying 80 members of the veterans' group Norges Veteranforbund for Internasjonale Operasjoner (Norwegian Veterans' Association for International Operations).

Search for missing woman stood down

Forty-three year old Lorraine Grains was reported missing on Thursday.THE SEARCH for missing local woman Lorraine Grains has been stood down for the day.

The 43 year old was reported missing from her home in Laxo, near Vidlin, on Thursday.

A decision on how to continue with the search will be taken following a debriefing later tonight.

On Friday, around 30 people joined voluntary coastguard teams in the search for the well known local woman.

Scalloway all set for Shetland Bus events

Statsraad Lehmkuhl. Photo Chris BrownThe Shetland Bus sub-chaser Hitra arriving back at Scalloway on Friday morning. Photo: Saro SaravananTHE RESTORED Shetland Bus sub-chaser Hitra and the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl arrived at Scalloway harbour on Friday morning for a weekend of events to commemorate the wartime operation linking the isles with Nazi-occupied Norway.

Their visits mark 75 years since the Shetland Bus operation suffered heavy losses in 1943 during the Second World War.

Search for missing woman resumes

Forty-three year old Lorraine Grains was reported missing on Thursday afternoon.THE SEARCH for missing local woman Lorraine Grains resumed on Friday morning.

The 43 year old was reported missing from her home in Laxo, near Vidlin, on Thursday afternoon.

An extensive search team involving the police, the Lerwick lifeboat, the coastguard helicopter, voluntary coastguard teams from Baltasound, Hillswick, Lerwick and Sumburgh was stood down on Thursday as darkness fell.

The postie is well known in the area. She is described as white, about five foot two in height and of slim build.

Police search for missing person

Police is trying to trace Lorraine Grains who is missing from her home in Vidlin.EMERGENCY services in Shetland were called out to Laxo in the north mainland on Thursday afternoon after police received reports of a missing person.

Lorraine Grains, from Vidlin, is described as white, about five foot two in height and of slim build.

She has long purple hair and is believed to be wearing black leggings or jeans and a long black overcoat.

Lerwick lifeboat is checking the coastline of Dales Voe, while police officers are searching the nearby area. The Coastguard helicopter is also involved in the search.

Inquiry hears local views on energy issues

Professor Gavin Little (left) and chairman of the inquiry Sir Muir Russell at the Shetland Museum and Archives on Wednesday evening. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland NewsVIEWS on fuel poverty, local democracy issues, the difficulties of getting community energy projects off the ground and the lack of an informed debate on energy issues were all aired during a public meeting in the Shetland Museum on Wednesday night.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh had invited to a 'call for evidence' as part of the academic body's inquiry into Scotland's energy future.

Dog owners bite back at airline's price hike

Kaylee Robertson enlisted the help of her seven dogs to show her displeasure at the price increase.LOCAL dog owners have criticised a move by airline Loganair to increase the cost of taking a pet on flights from £10 to £50 seemingly without warning.

Dog owner Kaylee Robertson said she was "disgusted and angered" at the price hike, which came into force from 1 April, and has decided to launch a petition.

Schools do poorly in Highers league table

Forty two per cent of pupils at Lerwick's Anderson High School achieved five Highers or more, fewer than expected according to a government benchmark. Photo: Shetland NewsA LEAGUE table published in a national newspaper which showed Shetland as being among the worst performing local authorities in Scotland when it comes to higher education has raised some eyebrows in the isles.

The table, published on the front page of the Scottish edition of The Times last week, compared the number of pupils who achieve five Highers or more against the government set benchmark of what each school is expected to achieve based on the characteristics of the roll of individual schools.

Man reversed into pensioner while drunk

Lerwick Sheriff Court.A MAN from Perth who admitted seriously injuring a pensioner after drunkenly reversing into him twice outside a Lerwick hotel will learn his fate in May.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday how Roy McLuckie, of Affric Avenue, Scone, struck the 70 year old man twice - breaking five of his ribs - after getting into a works van while over three times the limit.

‘Full steam ahead’ for new pizzeria

BUILDING work on a long-awaited Italian restaurant half way between Voe and Brae finally got underway on Tuesday.

Local businessman Henry (Francesco) MacColl hit the headlines in November 2015 after planners initially refused to grant him permission to build a 24-seat eatery opposite his home at Parkgate.

New Eric Gray centre nearing completion

The work to build the replacement Eric Gray centre is progressing well. Photos: Chris Cope/Shetland NewsTHE NEW Eric Gray centre for adults with complex needs is on course to be completed by the end of September.

Contractor DITT is putting the finishing touches on the £6 million Shetland Islands Council building at Seafield in Lerwick, with the main work expected to be completed by July.

Tavish: HIAL treating isles with ‘contempt’

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott: 'HIAL should be ashamed of its conduct.' Photo: Shetland NewsPRESSURE on the board of government-owned Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) is growing in the ongoing row over new airport car parking charges scheduled to be introduced at three island airports in July this year.

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has now complained to HIAL chief executive Inglis Lyon after receiving no response to a query directed at the company's chairwoman Lorna Jack as to why HIAL had not consulted on the highly controversial move.

Student flats 'taking much longer than hoped'

An image from the planning application of what the proposed student accommodation would look like from Commercial Road.CONCERNS have been raised over the length of time it is taking for the proposed 80-bed student accommodation block in Lerwick to come to fruition, with Brexit seemingly putting off European investors.

The new worries over the viability of plans by Chester-based developers Cityheart to build accommodation for the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) on Commercial Road come nearly two years after the project received its planning permission.

Grant secured to support vulnerable families

AGENCIES in Shetland have received over £300,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to put towards a scheme which will work with vulnerable families and place more emphasis on early intervention.

The initiative, led by police area commander Lindsay Tulloch through the community planning partnership, will undertake research with families and professionals to co-design services in the isles.

It has received £321,500 from the Big Lottery Fund as part of a series of grants for criminal justice and social projects in Scotland totalling nearly £6 million.

Strain on councils set to continue

SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison: 'the pressures are continuing'. Photo: Shetland NewsLOCAL authorities including Shetland Islands Council will be forced to do more with less money as austerity is set continue for many more years, according to a new Audit Scotland report.

Newly appointed SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison endorsed the Challenges and Performance 2018 report on the challenges of local government, which was published today (Thursday).

Move to make emergency helipad permanent

 The Clickimin landing site in use in March. Photo: Margaret ClarkPLANNING permission is being sought to retain the emergency helicopter landing site at Clickimin in Lerwick on a permanent basis.

The existing landing site, which has been in use between grass pitches south of the leisure centre since March 2016, received temporary planning permission for two years, but full permission was applied for in February.

New housing developments to get underway

Hjaltland Housing Association's proposed new development opposite Islesburgh Community Centre. Image courtesy of PJP Architects LLP.WORK is due to get underway soon on 27 new flats opposite the Islesburgh Community Centre in the heart of Lerwick after DITT was awarded the contract to develop the site by Hjaltland Housing Association (HHA).

HHA has also signed off a contract with builders E&H for an additional 24 homes next to its Gaet-A-Gott scheme in Tingwall at a cost of £4 million.

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