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  1. I've heard that Chief Exec Mark Boden said to SNP member for Highlands and Islands Mike Mckenzie that Shetland's future can only be secured by focusing resources in Central Shetland.
  2. Yes, every Monday evening at the Sellafirth hall. I've just copied and pasted from the Sellafirth hall Facebook page. Sellafirth Hall25 August 2015 · Also every Monday night from 6.30pm onwards till 9pm Needle Craft Club, come along and bring your knitting, sewing, spinning, or any craft really! Some experienced knitters, can help with any project if you get stuck!
  3. Where are these 80 students coming from?
  4. The financial situation is massively complex. Despite years of looking at various facts and figures to do with school costs I am none the wiser really, probably because they are compiled by the SIC and they can make things look any way they want. The nearest we got was with the school comparison report - comparing the 3 island authorities. Even then Hayfield house had the audacity to try and say Shetland was massively expensive in the covering letter/report but when you started pulling apart the figures and comparing like for like, it became apparent that Shetland's secondary costs are no more expensive than Orkney or the Western Isles. Any Councillor who wants to get to the bottom of the financial situation would have their work cut out for them but that is what needs to happen to get to the truth. From what I've seen Shetland's primary and secondary education is no more expensive than the other island groups. At one time Shetland had a massively inflated Quality Improvement budget (Hayfield house officers) but I'm not sure if that is still the case because some Quality Improvement officers have gone. The other cost which in the past has been huge is the Additional Supports Needs budget but no one wants to go there, at least to any great extent.
  5. Don't know a lot about this subject but I try to keep up with local issues and I've been reading this thread with interest so here are a few observations. Nobody likes an organisation that restricts your activities but it is tolerated by the vast majority because people understand that there is some sort of regulatory body needed. My understanding was that 25 people turned up at a meeting held at the Tingwall hall but only 6 were licence holders. I think there are currently over 90 licence holders in Shetland so this was a tiny majority of people who thought the SSMO should be dissolved. As has been said before many other industries are also a closed shop - white fishing, salmon and mussel industries to name a few. I don't hear many people complaining that they can't do a nice little side line in growing mussels but the fact is that they can't because all the suitable sites in Shetland have been bought up. Orkney has been mentioned a few times in comparison but the inshore fishing in Orkney is nothing like in Shetland - they have far more suitable grounds and that is why they have more boats. The SSMO is far from perfect and I don't suppose anyone on the Committee would say that it is. The simple fact is that you will never please everyone. On saying that I could see how things might be tightened up and improved - for example, if the vast majority of boats is part-time you could lower the max number of creels/dregs in water per boat and create more licences to the same number, therefore giving more folk a chance at it. Boats licences would need to be revoked far more quickly the at present - someone here has not landed in years and there licence has just been revoked recently. Lots of things could be looked at but at the end of the day it needs to be policed in some way and that is why the SSMO is needed. I hear the velvet fishery is pretty poor now around Scalloway and Whalsay as it is, fishermen themselves need to taking some responsibility and asking themselves why that might be and not just blaming the SSMO or others. Finally, I would just like to say that I read the letter in the paper slating Chairman Ian Walterson and thought it was a wholly inappropriate and personal attack on him and after speaking to someone on the Committee to ascertain if there was a grain of truth in what was being said I was told that he had found him to be fair and open at meetings with one vote the same as the rest of the men there, although as Chair he would have the casting vote. I think people who know Ian know that the person who wrote that letter was spaekin bruk.
  6. Booked my car in for a service and get the heater fixed as it was blowing out cold air only. Spent the whole day in Brae, 10am -4:30pm and they didn't get the heater fixed. I had filled the car up with diesel the day before and by the time I got home from Brae the fuel light was on. The mechanic hadn't put on the fuel filter correctly and lost the full tank of diesel. Nearly went off the road as I almost lost her on a corner on the way home as my tyres were so greasy with diesel. In all fairness they were very apologetic afterwards and sent someone up straight a way to fix it. The thing that annoyed me was they charged me for work on the heater although they didn't fix the problem. I claimed the fuel back but didn't bother querying the bill which if I remember correctly was well over £200. I just made up my mind I was never going back there.
  7. I don't know much about the Shetland Home Company or whatever they call themselves but I did wonder about Karibuni when it closed. Cope owned the building, were running a business which was subsidised, employing workers on relatively low pay. It was reported that they had about 100 regular customers a day. Yet they closed because they were having a 10% cut in subsidy. Something is wrong there. The person who runs it now has to pay rent to Cope and presumably gets no subsidies to run it and appears to have a thriving business. Could it be managerial and administration costs of running Cope means that some businesses will never be viable? Shetland Home Company could be the exception to the rule but it does make you wonder who they are actually helping and providing jobs for.
  8. I made my own pickling vinegar this year, I usually have to add loads of sugar anyway to the bought stuff. I boiled up malt vinegar with a sachet of the pickling spices from Scoop and brown sugar.
  9. It is possible that he is including the SIC contribution to running the college. I don't know about the funding of the college but someone has just said that he mentioned at a public meeting that £48.5m was for everything from Nursery to further education?
  10. Either Gary Robinson has got his figures wrong or Children's Services costs have actually gone up in the the past year. For 12/13 the budget was set at £45,278,000. Children's Services budget includes the library, sports & leisure, the play parks, flower park, Islesburgh and much more. The actual running of schools was costing £33.5m as of June 2013. This includes everything to run the school estate, including Quality Assurance. So I'm not sure where this figure of £48.5m is coming from.
  11. There isn't a nursery at Ollaberry, they go to Urafirth school for nursery classes. Nursery school travel can't be compared to primary school travel. Bairns travel in a car, usually with their parents, directly to the school. They are there for 2.5hrs, think it might be a bit longer now due to new legislation. Nursery education is not compulsory. My own bairns did not go full-time until they were 4 years old as I felt that it was too much for them. It took me 20 minutes each way in the car. The same journey on the school bus takes 40 minutes.
  12. Da Flea is like a stuck record. We've discussed this before on Shetlink, apart from what you've already mentioned above, the school which the pupils were moving to was a brand new purpose built primary school, which if my memory serves me correctly was no more than 3 or 4 miles away from the existing schools. The Northmavine schools are a completely different situation but it's easy to ignore that if you have a different agenda. I have to admit I've not studied these closure proposals very closely but I have learned a few things today: There is a problem with the time limit for pupils from Eshaness in that the bus journey could not be completed in under 40 minutes. There still seemed to be an insistence that this could be overcome - probably with an express bus or taxi which would of course cost extra money which has probably not been factored into the costings. My own personal opinion is that no primary age pupil should be travelling for more than 30 minutes to get to school, if at all possible. The majority of the savings which they stated would be saved if N Roe closed would only occur for a year, as school rolls are rising in Northmavine so Ollaberry would have had to employ an extra teacher, therefore knocking out the majority of the savings from closing N Roe. Da flea needs to start looking at the facts of the schools being consulted on instead of dredging up something which happened 50/60 years ago and which bears no relevance to this situation.
  13. I was driving north from Lerwick last night and it's a miracle that my windscreen was not chipped. Just replaced my windscreen about 6 months ago so was not a happy bunny when 3 white pick-ups in a row went flying past in the opposite direction over the chipped bit of road near the Nesting junction. Two caused stones to hit my windscreen. It would have been kinda funny if I hadn't been so angry, as I was ducking down in the car as the chips (which looked huge) came hurtling towards me, almost it seemed in slow motion. I would have said that the pick-ups were doing about 60mph and the cars travelling in the opposite direction were doing 30mph.
  14. I'm swithering about whether to sign this petition or not. Many people are signing it purely as a protest. They know nothing will happen but it is another way of making councillors aware of the strength of feeling against what is happening in Shetland. If I do sign it I would be doing so on that same principle. The problem is that I feel completely discouraged following the response from the education support march. This was more than likely the largest turn-out at a march in Shetland ever, with an initial estimate of over 600 people, to the Shetland Times estimate of nearer a thousand. I understand that someone filmed the whole thing and then went back over the video and counted heads. This should have been a massive message to councillors and I am so disappointed that councillors did not stand up in the Town Hall on Monday and call a halt to all consultations until at least the new AHS is built. School closures have rumble on for 10 years now, everyone is weary, including I would imagine, the education department. The SIC has closed 7 schools and they say saved £7 million from the Children and Families budget yet it is never enough. Many councillors may have been unhappy that we did the march but they have to understand that they are there for one reason and one reason only and that is to pay attention to what the people of Shetland, their constituents, want. I think the people of Shetland spoke loud and clear last Saturday and they would do well to remember that. The next election is 3 years away but we won't forget the ones who have listened to the people and the ones who think they know best.
  15. ^ ^ ^ It's also interesting that Andrea Manson said that they are still waiting on a report which will hopefully shed some light onto why secondary education is costing £3,000 per pupil more than other island authorities. Gary Robinson has publicly stated that it is the JHS system which is costing money. He must be very confident of that before he has said that but how can he be when councillors are still waiting on detailed information? Our net expenditure is on a par with the Western Isles but we have less teachers than them so that does not explain Gary's theory which presumably is we need more teachers in the JHS model, therefore extra expense. We do have about 200 less pupils in secondary so our cost per pupil will be slightly higher. Finally, I do understand that we need some sort of benchmark but it might be worth remembering that Shetland is not like either Orkney or the Western Isles but I personally compare us more closely geographically to the Western Isles, although I have read that all their isles are now connected by roads and causeways.
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