A petition was presented to the OIC yesterday, regarding its plans to scrap the West Mainland Flexible Bus Service, better known as Octobus.

Councillors at today’s meeting of the full council, which was in private, were advised that the petition had been presented to the authority’s  chief executive Alistair Buchan.

Today’s meeting followed last Thursday’s meeting of the policy and resources committee, also in private, to consider tenders for the public and school bus contracts that will run for the next five years.

Following receipt of the petition, OIC procedure requires that the chief executive meets the convener, vice-convener – and the chairman and vice-chairman of the development and infrastructure committee – to discuss the appropriate course of action. This, says the OIC, will be arranged as soon as possible.

Mr Buchan said: “The issues raised in the petition will be carefully considered and we will report back to elected members in due course.”

 
Kirkwall Lifeboat Margaret Foster pictured approaching North Ronaldsay pier this morning. (Picture: Graham Campbell)

Kirkwall Lifeboat Margaret Foster pictured approaching North Ronaldsay pier this morning.
(Picture: Graham Campbell)

In thick fog, Kirkwall Lifeboat was launched shortly after 8am this morning to carry out the medical transfer of a patient from North Ronaldsay to Kirkwall.

The lifeboat, manned by second coxswain Dougie Bain and six other volunteer crew, arrived at the North Ronaldsay pier at 9.40am, departing with the patient just after 10am.

A doctor and nurse were also onboard the lifeboat during the transfer, which could not be carried out by an air ambulance because of the weather conditions.

The lifeboat returned to Kirkwall shortly after 11.30am and the patient was transferred to hospital by ambulance.

This was the 16th service for Kirkwall Lifeboat this year.

 

Orkney has the most polite Twitter users in the UK, according to a University College London report.

A team from the college’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) monitored geo-located tweets sent from smartphones in the UK over the period August 28 to September 4.

The study, which was for BBC Radio 4’s Future Proofing programme, found that Orkney, followed by Shetland, Oxford and Westminster, had the lowest percentage of profane tweets, with 0.81 per cent of all tweets sent in the county containing swearing.

Another other point arising from the study, which took into account 1.3 million tweets, were that rural areas, rather than urban areas, featured in the top ten areas with the highest percentage of profane language.

 

The run up to the Scottish Independence Referendum in Orkney has been marred by claims of vandalism and verbal abuse from campaigners on both sides.

The Orcadian has, in the past week, been contacted by supporters from both the Yes and No camps with allegations that signs on private property have been defaced, vandalised, and in some instances, stolen.

Others have been in touch to say they have been subjected to verbal abuse while out on the campaign trail, mirroring events on the Scottish mainland.

Inspector Gordon Deans from Kirkwall Police Station said the number of reported incidents was small, and appealed to both sides to take a common sense approach.

He said: “We recognise this is a significant event and that emotions are running high on both sides.

“We will take a proportionate response. People are entitled to express their views, but where property is being damaged, and there is potentially criminal behaviour, then we will investigate it as we would do with any crime.”

Insp Deans added: “Clearly it is a very small number of people doing this, and generally the campaigning from both sides has been very fair in the run up to the referendum, so we’re just appealing to the public to be sensible, allow people the freedom to express themselves, and not overstep the line.”

 
The scene last month. The Ruby Princess is pictured berthed alongside at Hatston Pier with the Thomson Spirit anchored in Kirkwall Bay. (Picture: Craig Taylor)

The scene last month. The Ruby Princess is pictured berthed alongside at Hatston Pier with the Thomson Spirit anchored in Kirkwall Bay.
(Picture: Craig Taylor)

The number of cruise ship visits to Orkney in 2015 is expected to exceed this year’s total of 79.

The giant MSC Splendida, with over 4,300 passengers on board, will call into Orkney for the first time and make four further visits during 2015.

Among other liners that will visit the islands next year is the Queen Elizabeth, which will be helping to mark the 175thanniversary of the shipping line Cunard.

This year’s cruise season ends on September 23, when the expedition ship Hanseatic brings just under 200 passengers to Stromness.

During 2014, income in the form of harbour dues paid to Orkney Islands Council Marine Services from cruise ship port calls has topped £1 million for the first time.

This is an increase of just under 30 per cent on last year’s figure of £790,000.

More details in The Orcadian, out on Thursday.

 

Orkney’s counting officer for the Scottish Independence Referendum, Alistair Buchan, is reminding voters to check the location of their polling station.

Stromness voters in particular should note that their polling station is now at the Eventide Club rooms at the pierhead.

The location of your polling station is on your polling card.

Polling stations open at 7am tomorrow, Thursday, and close at 10pm.  Votes will then be counted overnight, with a local declaration of Orkney’s votes in the early hours of Friday morning.  The national outcome should be known by breakfast time on Friday.

Mr Buchan, said: “This is the biggest electoral event to be held in Scotland and we are expecting an unprecedented turnout both locally and nationally with more people than ever registered to vote. There will be many people who have never voted before choosing to do so this time and we want to ensure that they are comfortable with the voting process and how it works.

“Our polling station staff will be on hand to answer any questions and don’t be embarrassed to ask if you don’t know what to do. The main things we would ask folk to remember are to check where your polling station is, take your polling card if you still have it — if you’ve misplaced it don’t worry you can still vote, it just speeds up the process if you do — and remember to vote using a cross.”

 

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