Latest News 01/08/2008 Issue 9

Inland News
Lucky Escape 

A local women had a lucky escape after the roof of a house collapsed as she walked past it in Ontinyent. The 37 year old escaped uninjured, but was treated for shock. The roof collapsed after the central beam gave way on Friday, July 25th at 6.30pm close to the park in Plaza Concepcion. Fire crews were able to make the building safe until a crane arrived the following day to remove the roof beams.

World record Spinning

Keep fit enthusiasts in Xativa have broken the Guinness world record for the largest number of people Spinning (pedalling on exercise bikes) at one time. The event was held in Alameda Jaume I on July 27th and was set to start at 10pm. Officials delayed the start of the World record attempt when it became obvious they were short of the required number. The previous record of 323 spinners was broken in the Valencian city when 342 spinners pedalled for 20 minutes putting them into the Guinness Book of Records. Mayor Alfonso Rus gave the signal for the attempt to start and the pedalling began. Participants were required to “travel” at least 2,000 metres during the test. The record breaking attempt will appear in the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records.

Bull running a week early

El Bou en Corda celebrations in Ontinyent will be held earlier than usual this year on the weekend of November 29th and 30th. This is the first time in the modern history of the celebrations that the dates have been changed. Traditionally Bou en Corda takes place the weekend before the Purisima celebrations, but this year the two events fell over the same weekend.

Man abuses child in supermarket.

A man from Mislata has been sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting a child in the aisle of a supermarket in the town. The child was approached by the man after she became separated from her father and was then taken to quiet aisle where he assaulted her. On arriving home the girl told her father what had happened and the police were contacted. With the help of the supermarket management the police were able to identify the 41 year old man. Police have revealed that the man, identified only as LSA, has previous police records relating to sexual crimes committed between 1987 and 2001.

More mailboxes

Delays in Chiva town postal system causes problems for local residents. According to Chiva Mayor José Manuel Haro, important mail including medical, social security and Treasury letters have been delayed. The council is now set to install more than 2,000 mailboxes in residential areas to ensure that mail is delivered every two days, rather than every three weeks.  Residents living in seven housing estates including Sierra Perenchiza; Olimar; Carambolo, Atalaya and Las Pedrizas will be able to apply for one of the new mailboxes.

Farmer dies in stubble fire

An 82-year-old farmer has died after suffering burns to 40% of his body. The man, from Benigànim, lost his balance and fell into the flames as he burnt stubble in a field near the Cami de Gandia. His family became concerned when he failed to return home at the normal time and found him in the fields. He was transferred to La Fe Hospital in Valencia, but later died.

Earthquake zone?

Residents in Barxeta and surrounding areas of the Vall de Albaida were woken at 4:30am on July 21st by an earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale. According to information from the National Geographic Institute the earthquake was "of a fourth degree intensity at its epicenter area and was widely felt throughout villages in the south of the province.” Residents in the area claim the quake lasted up to 5 seconds and caused ceiling lights to sway and doors to slam. The earthquake was the strongest of all those registered in recent months in the La Vall d'Albaida.

A man dies in an ambulance crash

A man has died and four others seriously injured after the ambulance they were travelling in crashed on the A-7 between Valencia and Albacete near Alberic. The ambulance was carrying patients to physiotherapy sessions when it rolled onto its roof trapping passengers inside. No other vehicles were involved in the incident.

Sobre los motivos por los que hasta ahora no se había dado a conocer esta modificación del calendario festivo apuntaron que desde la asociación "respetamos el tiempo de los Moros y Cristianos. Nuestra intención era comunicarlo a partir del mes de septiembre".

minors must me accompanied at fiesta.

Xativa Mayor, Alfonso Rus has announced that "strong measures will be taken to prevent unaccompanied minors from entering the Fira paella party", which takes place in the city on August 19. Local Police, will be focusing on irresponsible alcohol consumption said the Mayor.

Scrub fire

A scrub fire in Pinoso destroyed three hectares of pines according to the Provincial Fire Consortium. Three water helicopters and 15 crews from Villena, Petrer and Biar were called to the scene on July 25th and took fire hours to control the blaze. It was not necessary to evacuate residents and the cause is still unknown.

An alarming weekend

Engine sounds from the Valencia urban circuit over the weekend were the least of residents problems in Algirós. Police were unable to stop an alarm fitted to the Hacienda head offices which went off at around 5pm on Saturday. By Sunday afternoon the emergency services had received many calls about the alarm. Residents claimed "Local Police told us to call emergency services and National Police told us that they are unable to do anything because it is a public building and they could not track down anyone to open the door." The alarm was finally switched off after 36 hours on Monday morning when employees arrived at the building to start work, residents had been told “Until Hacienda open again on Monday morning we cannot turn the alarm off”.

Parade dinners

For just 30 euros visitors to Ontinyent Moors and Christians on August 22th can enjoy the main parades followed by dinner to be held in the patio of Carmello Ripoll school, which overlooks the route. Most of the city's bars and restaurants are usually fully booked with their own comparsas and so people who are not part of these parades struggle to find somewhere to eat. Dinner will be provided by four local restaurants, Tinell de Calabuig, Casa Luis, Cúgol Restauració and El Taulell. Ontinyent nightclub, La Lima is also offering place to dine during the celebrations although tickets do not include a seat to view the parades. Tickets Chair for processions + dinner August 22th 30€.

On sale: Sociedad de Festeros (Festeros’s Headquarter): 962380252
Tourist Info Ontinyent: 962916090

Local police attacked

Police officers were attacked by youths after they attempted to disperse a crowd drinking in a sports stadium in Valencia. Officers were called to the area at 5.30am after receiving various calls complaining that around 50 youths were drinking, smashing bottles and fighting. Police officers approached the group asking to see identification but were attacked as the drunken mob became violent. Arrests were made and one officer suffered serious blows to the chest.


Coastal News 

Family loses home to bulldozer – 30 years on

A FAMILY who has owned their summer house for 30 years have seen it reduced to rubble by government officials. The country home, known locally as a caseta – a summer or weekend residence – has been knocked down because the Dirección General de Costas says it is too close to the beach. A property of 100 square metres on a rural stretch in the Oliva Nova area, the caseta was built 45 years ago with the required planning permission.

But its owners, who watched their children grow up in the property, say they have received no compensation. “It might be legal, but it’s not just,” say the couple, Spanish nationals who were born in Oliva. “It’s not ethical – and it doesn’t damage the environment at all. “And we pay a fortune in council tax, rubbish rates, electricity and water.” They suspect the move is merely to help sell a new apartment block being built just behind where their house used to be. “with our house out of the way, it will have an uninterrupted sea view.” “A more human approach would have been to at least let the owners continue to use the house, even without the possibility of inheritance, until they died, but it seems as though this government isn’t bothered about such things,” lament the distraught property owners. They say when their house was demolished on Friday, six Guardia Civil patrol cars surrounded the property. “We don’t understand – we weren’t going to cause a scene,” say the perplexed couple. Along Spain’s coasts, around a million properties are set to be bulldozed because they were legally built within 100 metres of the beach. The ministry says this is to stop coastal erosion.

Around 50,000 homeowners in the Comunidad Valenciana who are affected by the abusive legislation have decided to stop paying their mortgages, it was revealed last week.

Gata de Gorgos encourages summer visitors

GATA de Gorgos shopkeepers have launched a campaign to promote the town’s exciting and unusual wares to holidaymakers and residents this summer.

The Asociación de Comerciantes wants to attract those spending the summer on the beach in Dénia, Jávea and Moraira. Just a short distance away, Gata’s numerous traditional craft shops sell a vast range of unique gifts, household items and furniture.

Many of these items, such as its textiles, baskets and other wickerwork, are fruit of the dying-out traditional crafts and industries in the Marina Alta. One of these is the raisin trade, since Gata is now the only raisin-producing town in the area and sells its wares in craft shops along with other homemade foodstuffs. Brochures describing the town, its local fiestas, walking routes through the surrounding countryside and its traditional cuisine are being printed. These also contain useful telephone numbers and restaurant guides. Some 20,000 have been printed in English, Spanish, valenciano, German and French. A further 10,000 miniature maps have been produced, which clearly state where to park. They will be distributed in tourist offices and in shops in Gata de Gorgos.

Special hunting licence granted

Javea City Council has given authorisation for wild boar hunting as their numbers have soared recently. Wild boars have become a big problem for farmers in the area who are only just managing to survive in the current economic climate. In recent months the number of pigs has increased at alarming rate and the majority of them seemed to have settled in farming and urbanised areas in the town. According to Agustin Esteve, chairman of the Valenciana Farmers Association (AVA) in Javea “it seems that the pigs have left their mountain habitat and headed for the surrounding fields and housing estates where food and water are easier to find”. "They have damaged orange and olive trees, and vegetable crops," said Esteve. The pigs not only eat crops, but destroy irrigation tubing and dig holes in fields.  The Ministry of the Environment has issued a special permit to allow the hunting of the animal. Up to 17 hunters at a time search for the elusive wild boar and this will continue well into September if the numbers cannot be considerably reduced.

Benitatxell mayor ‘loves his village’ and ‘will not resign’

A MAYOR who was arrested last month on suspicion of taking a bribe from a local resident says he wants to ‘carry on working for his people’. Benitatxell mayor Juan Cardona, who protests his innocence, says he will not contemplate resigning from his position because he ‘loves his village’. Along with his right-hand woman, Austrian national Hannelore Rheindorf, Cardona was taken into custody after allegations that he accepted 50,000 euros from a man living in the town to protect his land from being reclassified as rural. This would have meant that the homeowner could not build on the land in question after the new town plan was approved and stripped the plot of its ‘urban’ classification. Yet Cardona and Rheindorf say: “we have nothing to hide.”

The new town plan may be passed without honouring the wishes of the resident in question. New developments contained in the plan are expected to treble the population within the next 20 years.

Travelling salesmen arrested with fake designer goods

A NUMBER of travelling vendors selling fake designer goods on Gandia beach have been arrested. National Police caught two Chinese citizens, three Senegalese men and a Moroccan national with vast quantities of handbags, belts and watches purporting to be made by top brands. Among the goods seized were Breitling watches, belts and bags by Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Tous, and T-shirts by Lacoste and Ralph Lauren.

In addition to clamping down on the falsifying designer produce, National Police in Gandia are taking a zero-tolerance approach to travelling salespeople on the beach.

During their vigilance campaign on Gandia beach last weekend police also arrested 15 people on suspicion of attempting to steal various personal effects belonging to bathers whilst they were otherwise occupied. But they were later released as they were not found to be in possession of any stolen goods. 

Tourists rescued from Ondara mountain

EL Verger police were called out to rescue two tourists stuck on the Segària mountain late at night last week. Guardia Civil officers have just revealed that two boys, aged 18 and 20, we our walking when they became lost.

They were trapped on top of a rocky cliff on the mountain in Ondara, and unable to get down. Police say the boys called the emergency services at 11pm from their precarious position. The mountain rescue squad from Ontinyent and police from El Verger combed the area before finding the boys atop a ten-metre-high rock-face.

They were shown how to abseil down the mountain in a harness, and reached terra firma just after 1am. Police say the walkers, who are from Madrid but were spending their summer holidays in El Verger, were shaken but unharmed by their ordeal.

Jávea’s Ronda Norte now open to traffic

ACCESS to Jávea’s Ronda Norte and Sur areas is slowly returning, reveals the town hall.

Traffic is now able to flow through the Ronda Norte as far as the C/ Buenarie, after months of renovation works that caused chaos for residents and loss of business for shopkeepers. But the work will not be complete until at least next week, say local authorities. They estimate that by Tuesday, both the Ronda Norte and Ronda Sur will be open to traffic again. Although the renovations were finally finished a fortnight ago, for security reasons the area had to be cordoned off for a further three weeks to allow the road surface to settle. This news is very welcome to shop and bar owners in the area, who have struggled to keep their businesses profitable with customers unable to reach them by car or park nearby.

Mayoress will ‘do the rounds’ to hear residents’ complaints

DÉNIA’S new mayoress has announced that she will ‘walk the floor’ to hear residents’ gripes. Ana Kringe met with the Federation of Residents last week and announced that from Monday she would go round the town to listen to inhabitants’ complaints.

Paqui Viciano’s successor wants to hear townspeople’s worries and needs first-hand in order to take the correct measures to redress them.

She will do the rounds of each neighbourhood in Dénia, accompanied by the councillor for public works, services, and parks and gardens – Sisco Signes; head of street-cleaning Juan Collado and public safety councillor Miguel Llobell.

Once she has visited each part of town, Kringe will return once a week.

She explains that the aim is so residents do not feel helpless and unsure where to turn when problems arise.

Wanted expat caught in Gandia

AN expatriate wanted by Interpol has been caught in Gandia, National Police report.

The 30-year-old Armenian-born man has an international arrest order hanging over him from Belgian authorities. He is said to have committed a murder in Belgium in 2005, before fleeing the country. The suspect was caught in C/ Santa Ana in Gandia on Monday and taken to the police station when he failed to show sufficient evidence of his identity.

They later discovered he matched the description of a man wanted for a fatal shooting three years ago. He will shortly stand trial in a Madrid court and if found guilty, will be extradited to Belgium.

New ‘safe house’ for battered women

DÉNIA’S planned women’s shelter will be one of the most sophisticated in the Comunidad Valenciana if it goes ahead, say authorities. The ‘safe house’, for battered women and their children, will have secure apartments with experts on tap in the event of crises. Victim support centres and a 24-hour helpline will be available, as well as counselling and assistance with re-integration into society following an abusive relationship. The ‘safe house’, the second in Dénia, will be open in the next few months.

Police in Dénia say they have dealt with 33 reports of domestic violence so far this year, 19 arrests and 11 court cases. But they say not enough victims report abuse within the home, making it impossible for authorities to offer assistance.

Oliva’s new primary school ‘will be open in 2010’

A LONG-AWAITED new primary school will be built in Oliva in time for the academic year starting September 2010. The green light has finally been given to start work on the school in the Hort de Palau area towards the end of August.

Authorities, who have finalised their paperwork and allocated a developer, say the project should take around 18 months to complete. Education authorities say the school will be of a futuristic design with a spacious garden and sports area. Oliva’s schooling system has come under pressure in recent years with the influx of foreign children, from all over the world, causing a shortage of places. The news of the Hort de Palau centre has been very welcome by parents of all nationalities in the town.


General News

Pool Caution advised  ****  pic  ****

At this time of year the number of children who drown in private swimming pools soars. Between 70 and 150 children die every year in Spain as a result of lack of supervision. The State Accident Victims Association (DIA) has launched a campaign in Alcoy aimed at increasing parents awareness of the dangers faced by children aged between 1 and 4. DIA Chairman, Francisco Canes commented that during 2006 there were 700 deaths in Spain caused by drowning, of which 68 occurred in the Valencia region. "It is quite alarming that of all the cases registered across the country 150 of them were children." said Canes. The association revealed that 86% of accidents occurred in private pools and 60% of those who were resuscitated suffered irreversible brain damage. The DIA recommends that parents be extra observant when their children nr a swimming pool. A study reveals that 77% all children who drown were out of sight for only five minutes or less.

Don’t drink the water *** PIC ***

A recent study has revealed that 90% of residents in the Comunidad do not like drinking tap water. The majority of those questioned did not think tap water was of a good quality and 76.1% bought bottled water although 43.5% considered it inconvenient to have to carry the heavy bottles. The environmental impact of buying bottled water was of concern to 32.6% of those questioned.  And 23.9% considered the cost to be the biggest problem.

No Skating  ***  PIC ****

Valencia City Council has approved amendments to the council guidelines which now prohibit the use of roller-skates, skateboards or scooters on the cities streets in a move to increase pedestrian safety. The initiative, which has the support of both the local government and the socialist party, has been rejected by skaters who have made their opinions clear to the council. Councillor for Public Safety, Miquel Dominguez, explained that the Local Police will pursue any skater "abusing" the guidelines and fines will range between 90 and 500 euros. He clarified that "we are not criminalizing the use of skates, skateboards and scooters," but want to encourage people to use the areas dedicated to these activities. The recent changes have been made following numerous complaints from residents.  

Duck deaths

Hundreds of ducks on the lake at Goleta Beach Tavernes de la Valldigna have died from Botulism. Mayor, Manolo Vidal, said that the disease appears only to have affected wild ducks and as yet there has been no official confirmation of Botulism, but all indications suggests there has been an outbreak. Vidal continued "We must remember that there is no danger to the public.  The natural park, El Hondo in Elche has also reported a recent outbreak of Botulism which was put down to the lack of water in ponds.

Beach Bomb

A small bomb which exploded in the Sol Aloha Puerto in Torremolinos is believed to have been the work of ETA. The device was placed under a pedestrian bridge on the promenade close to the beach. It was detonated just after midnight on July 29th and despite there being many tourists in the area only a 16 year old required treatment for shock. It was the fifth bomb linked to the Basque separatists ETA this summer.

One million euros as fire risk reaches peak

One million euros has been dedicated to employing personnel to help in the summer long campaign to prevent forest fires. Anyone registered as unemployed with the Service Valenciano Employment and Training (SERVEF) may be hired during the summer months. Towns within the Valencian Province who have forest areas will benefit from the grants. The funding has been revealed at a time when 15 areas in the Province have had their fire risk level raised to category 3 – maximum risk. Those at particular risk are Rincón de Ademúz, Los Serranos, Camp del Túria, Plana de Utiel-Requena, Hoya de Buñol, Valle de Cofrentes-Ayora, Canal de Navarrés, Ribera Alta, La Safor, La Costera and Vall d'Albaida. All special permits for burning have been revoked until further notice.  

Condemned for Traffic safety

More than 26,000 people have been charged in line with the penal code for traffic offences since its introduction on December 2nd, 2007. According to information provided by Road Safety representative, Bartolome Vargas the majority of offences were speed related, driving without a licence or driving under the influence of alcohol. Of the 26,820 sentences handed out by the courts over 90% were in connection with drink driving offences. In the past six months a hundred drivers have received prison sentences for offences. It is estimated that nearly 60,000 drivers will have been charged with traffic offences under the new laws by the end of the year.

'I'm sorry', sólo hablo español

Nearly half of all Spaniards only speak Spanish and have no understanding of another language. A study by the Foundation of Savings Banks (FUNC) has revealed that (49.7%) of Spanish people over the age of 18 can only speak their native language. The report highlights that 67% of people from Castilion de la Mancha, 64.4% of Andalusians and 63.7% of Cantabrians cannot speak a second language. People in Valencia are more likely to speak a second language.  94% of Spaniards believe that foreign language proficiency is essential in today’s world, but 55% of those older than 54 years say they have no interest in learning languages.

Summer staff shortage

Medical unions have claimed that medical staff in the Provinces hospitals "are conspicuous by their absence". Staff summer holidays have left many services short staffed at a time when the population is increased with tourists visiting the area. Staff shortages at Elche hospital have resulted in anaesthetists and gynaecologists having to endure 24-hour shifts.  At Alicante General Hospital primary care area continue to run short staffed.

Natural births

Midwifery staff  in the Comunidad claim government plans to increase natural birth facilities are unrealistic. The nursing union Cecova has revealed that more than 170 midwifery and nursing staff would be required to meet recent proposals. Hospitals ear marked to provide natural birth facilities include Alicante, Elche, Valencia and Requena. Currently only hospitals in Plana de Castellon and Alcoy offer expectant mothers the choice of a natural birth. Of the 22,000 nurses registered in the Comunidad, there are only only 828 midwives. 

Vaccines purchased

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that 75,000 doses of cervical cancer vaccines will be available from October.  25,000 doses have been earmarked for girls aged 14 between October 2008 and June 2009. The vaccine protects against the human papilloma virus and genital warts and comes in a course of three separate injections.

Mutual recognition of divorce judgments

Spain has announced, along with several other European Union countries, a new initiative for the mutual recognition of judgements on divorce. The initiative aims to ease the process of divorce for couples of different nationalities and those who live abroad. Justice Minister, Mariano Fernandez Bermejo said that the new agreement will give "legal certainty" to EU members. In a time when there are increasing numbers of mixed marriages in the EU which causes "enormous difficulties" for the courts who have to determine which country has jurisdiction over a divorce case.

This "enhanced cooperation" has the agreement of eight member states including France, Italy, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovenia.

Child dies from heat stroke

A two year old boy has died from heat stroke in Sevilla. The child’s father had left the family home at 9.30am but forgot to drop him off at playschool before going to work. The child was only discovered three hours later when the father returned to the car. He was rushed to the Virgen del Rocio Hospital in Seville suffering from extended exposure to the sun, convulsions and a temperature of 43 degrees. Medical staff battled to save the boy but he was pronounced brain dead just a few hours later. Medical staff reported the incident to the local courts that will carry out an investigation into the infant’s death.

Beach thieves

Thieves are using cunning methods to steal from unsuspecting bathers on beaches in the Comunidad. Working in groups of three or four they comb the beach grabbing bags, wallets and valuables which they put inside plastic bags and bury in the sand. When the beach is empty they return to dig up their haul. Local Police continually patrol the promenades making it difficult for thieves to run from the scene so they have devised this new way of storing the stolen items until they can safely collect them. Officials discovered this new technique during routine cleaning of beaches. Cleaning staff found all sorts of objects including rucksacks, bank cards and passports. Police have warned beach goers to be on their guard and take care to secure personal items.  

Officers injured

Two police officers have been injured attempting to prevent a man from setting fire to himself at a petrol station in La Vila Joiosa. The 35 year old sprayed himself with petrol from a pump while he sat in his car. Staff at the station cut the supply to the pump and called police. Officers approached the car to persuade the man to hand over the cigarette lighter. As they attempted to open the door of the car the man set fire to himself causing a large explosion and burning the face and arms of both officers. All three were treated for second degree burns.

Summer has arrived

Temperatures in the province reached a staggering 38 degrees in inland areas, but Climatology experts say it is not a heat wave. In Vinalopó, L'Alcoià and Vega Baja the thermometer soared, but Enrique Moltó of the Laboratory of Climatology at the University of Alicante says "38 degrees in inland zones or on the coast is normal at this time of year." and we expect temperatures to remain the same as we enter into August. However, the Ministry of Health suggest temperatures will soar into the 40s and have placed warnings in 6 areas of the Comunidad affecting 70 towns and villages.


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