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Coastguard called to vessel in distress

Aith lifeboat approaching the fishing vessel Starlight Rays, around 35 miles northeast of Unst - Photo: Aith LifeboatTHE SUMBURGH based Coastguard helicopter and the Aith lifeboat where tasked on Saturday afternoon to assist a Norwegian fishing vessel that was in danger of sinking.

The Starlight Rays with seven crew on board was 40 miles northeast of Unst when her skipper reported that the 24-metre vessel was taking in water.

Westside artisan bakery on the rise

Robert Tonkinson of The Quernstone - Photo Elizabeth AtiaAN ARTISAN baker in the westside is set to expand his business by opening dedicated premises in Aith, creating new jobs in the process.

Robert Tonkinson launched The Quernstone last year, but there is no longer enough space in his Sandness Hall workspace for the baker to meet increasing demand.

Planning permission has now been granted for Tonkinson to renovate the disused upstairs of the Eid Community Co-op, with the baker hoping to recruit staff later this year.

Orca watchers have whale of a time

A pod of killer whales kept the crowds entertained as they came close in at Breiwick on Thursday - Photo: John CouttsAS SHETLAND recovers from three days of orca fever, the ultimate expert on killer whales living in the North Atlantic said the two pods of ten animals seen in the isles recently were regular summer visitors to our shores.

Dr Andy Foote has been instrumental in setting up the North Atlantic Killer Whale ID (NAKID) project, which gathers knowledge on the movements and behaviour of individual animals.

New houses for Hoswick

Designed by Alan Mckay, Irvine Contractors got permission to build eight new houses in Hoswick.THE SMALL village of Hoswick is set to experience something of a housing boon after a development of eight new houses was given the go-ahead by Shetland Islands Council's planning department.

Work is expected to start on six two-bedroom properties and two three-bedroom houses in the next few months once a workshop and an outbuilding on the site in the middle of the village have been demolished.

Big prize on offer, fishermen tell government

The newly-lengthened Alison Kay at Scalloway in April.A MASSIVE prize is at stake in a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to draw up a new deal for Shetland’s fishermen during negotiations over the UK’s impending exit from the EU, according to the local industry’s figurehead.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) chief executive Simon Collins was among an industry delegation who met the UK government’s Scotland Office minister Andrew Dunlop on Monday.

Man jailed after threats to 'slice' and 'stab'

A MAN from Lerwick who threatened to “slice the cheeks off” two people while holding a screwdriver has been jailed for nine months.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday, procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said John Hutcheson, of South Lochside, acted in a “deeply unpleasant” manner that caused terror for the young people who were involved.

The 25 year old previously admitted repeatedly shouting and swearing, behaving in an aggressive manner, uttering offensive remarks and demanding controlled substances be given to him at addresses in Lerwick’s St Olaf Street and St Magnus Street on 25 May.

Aloha to world champs for Ironman Davie

Davie Williamson crossing the finishing line - Photo: FinisherpixA SHETLAND athlete is enjoying an "unbelievable" experience after securing a place at the Ironman world championships in Hawaii this October thanks to an outstanding performance at last weekend's triathlon in Bolton.

Davie Williamson came second in the 18-24 age group and 46th overall in a time of 10 hours, 24 minutes and 34 seconds for a 3.9km swim followed by a 180km bike race and finished off with a marathon.

The 24-year-old naval architect, who now lives and works in Aberdeen, said he was chuffed that months of hard training had paid off.

"I always knew that if I could do ten and half hours then I had a good chance to hitting the podium," he said.

3 years in jail for fracturing friend's cheekbone

Lerwick Sheriff Court.A THIRTY two year old man has been jailed for three years after admitting to drunkenly punching a friend so hard that he required cheekbone surgery.

Damien Hunt, of Grampian Prison, admitted to assaulting the man and punching him on the head to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement. The incident occurred at North a Voe, Camb in Yell on the 8th of May this year.

MP: Trident renewal is 'missed opportunity'

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael voted against renewing the Trident nuclear submarines.NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has described the House of Commons vote to spend up to £40 billion replacing the UK’s fleet of Trident nuclear weapons submarines as a “lazy and expensive” missed opportunity.

The Commons voted by 472 to 117 to renew the expensive system, with the latest estimate that the four submarines will cost £31 billion.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has suggested the total cost of replacing the system – including warheads and decommissioning nuclear reactors – could exceed £200 billion over a 30 year period.

MSP presses Vodafone over signal troubles

VODAFONE has pledged that it will find a long term solution to the technical problems that have blighted the mobile signal for people living in and around Brae in recent months.

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said he had spoken to the company’s senior government affairs manager Graham Dunn about the problem, which has been repeatedly occurring since the end of May.

Cruise ships double up in Lerwick Harbour

Pacific Princess (left) and Costa Neoromantica (right) made their first visits to Lerwick on Sunday. Photo: David SpenceLERWICK was bustling with tourists from two large cruise ships on Sunday.

The 181-metre Pacific Princess arrived from Dover at around 7am and the 221-metre Costa Neoromantica came in from Amsterdam about an hour later. Both were visiting the islands for the first time.

Reid sisters revel in Reverie reception

RANT - (L-R) Bethany Reid, Sarah-Jane Summers, Jenna Reid, Lauren MacColl. Photo: Beth Chalmers.TWO Shetland fiddlers are currently enjoying big praise on the national music scene and beyond.

Jenna and Bethany Reid form half of Scottish fiddle quartet RANT, who unleashed their second album Reverie in May.

It's an at times rousing, rambunctious cocktail of high-jinx string work, while reflective moments of lucid down-time are chucked in for good measure too.

More villages set for faster broadband

HIGHLANDS and Islands Enterprise (HIE) says Bigton, North Roe and Ollaberry will be among the communities to gain access to faster broadband speeds later this year.

HIE says more than 7,500 premises in Shetland now have access to improved speeds as part of its £146 million scheme in conjunction with BT.

It aims to deliver broadband services to 84 per cent of Highlands and Islands premises, but only 76 per cent of households in Shetland are expected to get access.

Swimmer's dramatic encounter with orca

A WOMAN who swims in the sea near Lerwick every day has told of her "terror" at witnessing a killer whale emerge just five feet beneath her.

Catriona Barr took to the sea at Breiwick on Wednesday morning as usual, but her swim was cut short after she realised that a "huge" orca was in the water around one and a half metres below her.

Isles' first body-casting business launches

Shetland's first dedicated body-casting business launched in early July.SHETLANDERS now have the chance to immortalise their loved ones in sculpture form after a new body-casting business launched in the isles earlier this month.

Keepsake Castings will initially focus on creating plaster models of hands and feet, with casts of young children proving particularly popular with new parents.

Founder Laura Hodge has a family studio in her home in Walls, while she can also travel to take moulds.

Relief as emergency tug's future is secured

The Kirkwall-based coastguard tug MV Herakles.POLITICIANS have reacted with relief after the UK Government confirmed that it has again abandoned plans to remove the emergency towing vessel (ETV) covering the Northern Isles.

UK transport minister Robert Goodwill confirmed on Wednesday that the coastguard tug contract would be extended until around 2021 following months of uncertainty. 

Eleven arrested in raids on isles takeaways

The Hai Yang Chinese restaurant in Scalloway was hardest hit by the raids, with five people arrested. Photo: BBC Radio ShetlandELEVEN alleged immigration offenders were arrested by a Home Office enforcement team from restaurants and takeaways in Lerwick, Brae and Scalloway in an eight-hour period on Thursday.

The Home Office confirmed to Shetland News on Monday that, acting on intelligence, immigration enforcement action was taken at four different eateries in the islands. 

Attempts will now be made to remove all 11 individuals from the country - while threatened financial penalties could have ruinous consequences for some of the small businesses involved.

Fourth series of BBC drama gets go-ahead

Lead actor Douglas Henshall and Steven Robertson on set during filming for the last series. Photo courtesy of BBC.DETECTIVE Inspector Jimmy Perez is to return to TV screens after the BBC confirmed filming for a fourth series of popular crime drama ‘Shetland’ is due to start in early 2017.

The third series of the show, inspired by Ann Cleeves’ crime novels, enjoyed an average of 5.8 million viewers over its six episodes. It has also enjoyed strong viewing figures worldwide.

Shell aims to leave concrete legs in North Sea

Shell wants to leave the concrete legs of its Brent oil platforms in the North Sea after decommissioning. Image courtesy of ShellSHELL has drawn a mixed response from environmental groups after stating its intention to leave the huge steel-and-concrete legs of its Brent oil platforms in the North Sea when it completes decommissioning.

A company spokesman last week confirmed plans to seek an exemption from the UK government allowing the legs, which each weigh around 300,000 tonnes, to be left in the sea on safety grounds.

FAI hears of human tragedy involving cow

Lerwick Sheriff Court.A SHETLAND crofter died when a pregnant cow jumped on top of her and repeatedly kicked its legs, a fatal accident inquiry at Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Friday.

Patricia Wishart passed away at around 4.30pm on 6 March last year at the croft she had run with her husband in Tumblin, Bixter for four decades.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said a post-mortem confirmed that the 62 year old died from chest and abdominal injuries.

Sunny June creates feel good factor

Norwegian sailors enjoying the sun at Lerwick harbour.LERWICK was the second sunniest place in the whole of the UK in June.

The town basked in 226.2 hours of sun during the month, with the isles as a whole experiencing the largest percentage increase on average sunshine in the entire country.

Jail warning after behaving like ‘wild animal’

A MAN from Lerwick who bit another man's nose so forcibly that a large part of it was left hanging off has been warned that he could face a jail sentence.

Grant Harries, of 5 Browns Road, pleaded guilty to knocking a man to the ground, repeatedly punching him on the head, gouging his eyes and biting him on the face at Lerwick Boating Club, on Commercial Street, on 6 September.

The assault left the victim severely injured and with permanent disfigurement.

Chilcot inquiry is 'last chapter in sorry episode'

The much-delayed report by Sir John Chilcot (centre) was finally published on Wednesday.THE COUNTRY will “pay the price for years to come” for the New Labour government’s decision to go to war in Iraq back in 2003, Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has said following the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry.

The much-delayed inquiry report contains major criticisms of Tony Blair’s decision to commit UK forces to take part in the conflict “before peaceful options for disarmament” had been fully exhausted.

Farewell and all the best, Pete!

Shetland News founding partner Pete Bevington is stepping aside.SHETLAND News this week bids a fond farewell to long-serving journalist and co-partner Pete Bevington, who has stepped aside for family reasons.

Pete, 56, moved to Shetland in 1988 having worked in radio and print media in London and South Yorkshire.

He initially worked for The Shetland Times and has since contributed to the pages and airwaves of BBC Radio Shetland, The Shetland Post and, for the past 16 years, Shetland News. He has been an NUJ member throughout his career. 

Grieg drops plan to sell isles’ operation

Grieg Seafood's Hillbrook hatchery in Girlsta. Photo: Hans J. Marter/ShetnewsTHE SHETLAND operation of Norwegian company Grieg Seafood is no longer up for sale, according to the company’s local manager Sigurd Pettersen.

The isles’ largest salmon producer, Grieg Seafood Hjaltland, incurred heavy losses in the final quarter of last year, which led to job losses at the company’s farms as well as its processing plant.