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Concern over Spiggie Loch scum growth

THE SCOTTISH Environment Protection Agency has insisted there is nothing wrong with the water quality of Shetland's most iconic loch despite concerns raised locally.

Local fly fisherman Paul Bloomer, from Bigton, has been circulating photos showing reddish growth and a bubbling scum on the surface of Spiggie Loch.

New centre to help those affected by dementia

At the ribbon cutting of the new office are (left to right) Ann Williamson, Dementia Advisor, Henry Simmons - Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, Tavish Scott - MSP and Heather Fisher - Chair of the Shetland Branch. - Photo: John CouttsA RESOURCE centre to better support those affected by dementia, their carers and families, was opened in Lerwick on Friday.

The Shetland Dementia Resource Centre at 66 Burgh Road will serve as a drop-in for anyone seeking information about an illness that is affecting an increasing number of islanders.

Europe invests in Viking heritage

The reconstructed viking ship Sea Stallion, from Glendalough, in Ireland, seen here at Roskilde, Denmark - Photo: Davy Cooper, Shetland Amenity Trust SHETLAND Amenity Trust has been awarded €1.96 million (just over £1.4 million) from the EU Creative Europe Culture sub-programme for the transnational Follow the Vikings project.

The four-year project aims to make Viking heritage more understandable and accessible.

Election: rivals reject Lib Dem's claim on low pay

The five candidates: Donald Cameron (Tory), Alistair Carmichael (Lib Dem), Gerry McGarvey (Labour), Danus Skene (SNP) and Robert Smith (UKIP).SEVERAL of Alistair Carmichael’s general election rivals have rejected his claim that the Liberal Democrats are best placed to look after low-paid workers – with SNP candidate Danus Skene saying the poorest in society had suffered most at the hands of austerity.

Carmichael, who has served as Orkney and Shetland MP since 2001 and has been a cabinet minister in the Tory-Lib Dem coalition, pointed to his party’s “track record of success” in cutting taxes and raising minimum wage levels for those on low pay.

Shell pulls out of Scatsta airport

A S-92 helicopter operated by Bristow helicopters at Scatsta airport - Photo: ShetNewsSHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has called on Shell to explain its sudden change in safety policy after the oil company confirmed it is withdrawing from Scatsta airport later this year.

The LibDem politician said the move sent out the wrong message in the wake of numerous helicopter incidents in the north of Scotland over recent years.

Seven days a week for AHS construction phase

New AHS project manager Trevor Smith.BUILDING work on the new Anderson High School is to be carried out seven days a week after planners agreed to vary the project’s construction hours to include Sundays.

Meanwhile, due to a slight delay in reaching “financial close” for the project, which also incorporates a new halls of residence, it is likely to be the end of May before work on the school itself can begin.

Council managers said it was not likely to lead to any change to the proposed completion date – which should see pupils moving into the school in autumn 2017.

Tagon re-opens as Ryan fulfils lifelong dream

New shop owners Ryan and Lesley Thomson with their three boys Lewis (1), James (7) and Gary (2) - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNewsAN AWARD-winning Shetland country shop will open its doors on Wednesday morning under new ownership.

Tagon Stores, in the village of Voe, has just been taken over by young couple Ryan and Lesley Thomson, from Wadbister.

HIAL to table offer to resolve security staff dispute

Sumburgh Airport.THE PROSPECT trade union, whose members staged a 48-hour walkout last week, has welcomed airport group HIAL’s pledge to submit a formal offer to its members in an attempt to bring the industrial dispute to an end.

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon confirmed that a formal offer would be tabled to security staff employed by its subsidiary AMSL. He hopes it will “provide the basis for a meaningful, constructive dialogue” with the union.

Journeys beyond the imaginable

SHETLAND Arts is to host the concert part of the world premiere of Kai Fisher's new production Last Dream (On Earth) on Wednesday evening at Mareel.

The production opened in Glasgow earlier this month before going on tour to St Andrews and Paisley en route to Shetland.

Car destroyed in roadside blaze

One appliance from Lerwick attended the blaze on Sunday afternoon - Photo: ShetNewsA CAR was completely destroyed by fire on Shetland's main A970 road on Sunday afternoon.

Fire fighters from Lerwick were called to the blaze near Quarff at just after 3pm.

Flaws goal secures silverware for footballers

The victorious Shetland football team. Photo SFASHETLAND’S footballers are enjoying some silverware after triumphing in the final of the Jock Memorial Cup – seeing off Thurso 1-0 after extra time thanks to a goal from captain Leighton Flaws.

The boys in blue made the trip to Caithness, the game having been shifted from Orkney, for the match on Saturday afternoon.

Shetland were the dominant side during normal time but were unlucky not to find a breakthrough in 90 minutes. Conditions were described as tricky on a windy day, with Sir George’s Park – also known as the ‘Dammies’ – proving a bumpy surface.

Hopes for airport dispute breakthrough soon

HIAL managing director Inglis LyonBOTH sides in the HIAL airport dispute are hoping to see a breakthrough in talks next week that could lead to some kind of settlement.

On Thursday 120 security staff working at 11 HIAL airports, including Sumburgh, started a protracted work to rule after completing a two day strike over pay and conditions.

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon has called on the union to return to the negotiating table, but the union has said they will only restart talks when the state-owned company comes up with an offer.

Unst plan to turn wind into gas…and sell it

Blue sky thinking on Unst could see a new economic driver for the innovative isle. Photo Unst PartnershipA GROUNDBREAKING project on the UK’s most northerly isle could see wind power and other renewables used to produce commercial quantities of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.

The local development company Unst Partnership Ltd has been awarded £25,000 by the Scottish government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) to investigate the idea with the PURE Energy Centre next door.

Debut author Tallack wins literary fellowship

Malachy TallackSHETLAND debut author Malachy Tallack has joined some of Scotland’s most illustrious writers with the award of a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship by the Scottish Books Trust.

The 34 year old, who is now based in Glasgow, will spend one month in the rarefied atmosphere of a French hotel once graced by the great nineteenth century writer where he hopes to complete the Shetland novel he is currently working on.

Previous RLS fellows, including James Robertson, Louise Welsh and Janice Galloway, have gone on to receive great critical acclaim.

Dunna Chuck Bruck challenges fast food giant

One of the McDonald's "happy meal" balloons that has washed ashore on Shetland's beaches. Photo courtesy of Jane Outram.AN ANTI-LITTER campaign group in Shetland is calling on global fast food giant McDonald’s to change its ways after finding four separate “happy meal” balloons on isles beaches in the first three months of 2015.

Environmental awareness group Dunna Chuck Bruck has raised the issue with the corporation – also pointing out that its nearest chain is over 160 kilometres from Shetland on the Scottish mainland.

Appeal against Barlow sentence fails

AN APPEAL against the sentence handed out to a Shetland teenager jailed for pointing and threatening to fire an air rifle at armed police has been rejected, Scotland's judicial office confirmed on Wednesday.

Sixteen year old Samuel Barlow, who subsequently apologised for his actions, sparked a major firearms incident in Lerwick on the afternoon of 23 September last year.

In a statement the Judicial Office for Scotland said: "I can now confirm that the application to appeal the sentence has been refused at both sifts. The appeal therefore fails."

Union rejects HIAL call to end strike action

HIAL has so far been able to keep flights running in and out of Sumburgh during the industrial action.

THE PROSPECT trade union has rejected a plea from Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd. (HIAL) to end the ongoing industrial dispute that has led to a security staff walkout this week.

The airport group’s managing director Inglis Lyon called for a cease to the strike midway through the 48-hour action, which began at noon on Tuesday and is due to end at noon on Thursday.

'Business as usual' at Sumburgh during strike

Sumburgh Airport.TRAVELLERS in and out of Shetland are being assured that it will be “business as usual” at Sumburgh Airport with a 48-hour strike due to get underway at midday on Tuesday.

Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd. (HIAL) is advising passengers to try to arrive 15-20 minutes earlier than normal for their flights.

The industrial action by members of the Prospect trade union, providing airport security services, coincides with the second week of the school Easter holidays in Shetland.

BAFTA nominated professor appointed

Professor Robin MacPherson.THE UNIVERSITY of the Highlands and Islands has appointed a BAFTA-nominated film and TV producer as its first ever chair of creative industries – a post to be based at Shetland College.

Professor Robin MacPherson has worked in Scotland since 1980, entering the film and TV industry in 1989 at the Edinburgh Film Workshop Trust, and has since produced numerous documentaries, current affairs programmes and dramas.

San Francisco accolade for Unst-made spirit

SHETLAND Reel Gin has won a silver medal in one of the world’s most prestigious spirits competitions.

Judges at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition highlighted the gin, produced in Unst, for praise.

Shetland Distillery Company managing director Stuart Nickerson said: "This is a very welcome accolade for us so soon after launching the gin in Unst in August last year, and naturally we’re very delighted."

“The San Francisco event is one of two major annual global spirits events, and the competition is fierce so it is particularly pleasing to win a silver medal.”

Airport strike goes ahead next week

Sumburgh airport will remain open next week despite a 48 hour stoppage by security staff.LAST minute talks to avert a strike by security staff at the airports in Sumburgh and elsewhere in the highlands and islands have broken down.

Late on Friday afternoon the trade union Prospect and Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) issued statements blaming each other for the failure to resolve the dispute.

However HIAL say the only airport that will close as a result of the action will be Dundee, with other staff providing cover for their striking colleagues.

Courageous young men boost whitefish fleet

The Courageous with her new owners (from left): Christopher Irvine, skipper Ian Shearer, Malcolm Reid and James Johnson.  Photo Ivan ReidTHE SECOND new white fish vessel to join the Shetland fleet this year set off on her maiden voyage in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Four young Whalsay fishermen sailed into Symbister harbour on Tuesday evening on board the 20 year old Yell trawler Guardian Angell, which they have purchased and renamed Courageous (LK 470).

Jail terms for separate knife and assault crimes

A THIRTY three year old man who was under the influence of "legal highs" while possessing a knife in Lerwick town centre in February has been jailed for a year.

George Hogg, whose address was given as Grampian Prison, admitted possessing the blade without reasonable excuse or lawful authority when he appeared from custody at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Hogg's behaviour in a shop on the town's Commercial Street on 17 February had been "extremely suspicious" – leaving staff and members of the public very concerned.

Tax fraud fisherman could avoid prison

A SELF-EMPLOYED fisherman who admitted fraudulently evading more than £26,000 of tax has been given four months to put a repayment plan in place before being sentenced.

George Gen, 51, who lives on The Ardent fishing boat at Holmsgarth, previously admitted committing the offence between April 2007 and April 2013 at a Fort Road address and elsewhere.

He failed to submit income tax self-assessment forms relating to £169,000 of remuneration for his work as a fisherman – on which he should have paid £26,419 in tax to HMRC.