Latest News Issue 113 10/10/2008

In Memory of Lorraine and Lauran Cullen
Serivce to be held on Tuesday October 14th at 4pm in
the main Church in L´Olleria

THE EXPATRIATE community in the L’Ollería area is devastated to hear the news of the death of Lorraine Cullen and her daughter Lauren.
Reports say Brighton-born Lorraine, 47, and Lauren, 14, were attempting to cross a ravine on foot that was barely a hundred metres from their front door on Thursday afternoon.
Usually, the ravine is dry and safe to walk across, but heavy rains had left them stranded with no choice but to brave the crossing.
Tragically, they were swept away by the current and found a mile away down the river, having lost their lives.
Lauren was a pupil at the local Spanish school in L’Ollería, and her classmates are reeling from the sad loss of their friend.
She also leaves behind her twin sister, Samantha who was also caught in the flood but survived the ordeal.
Lorraine moved to Spain four years ago with her two children, a the time of their move, the family were one very few British residents in their area. Integrating effortlessly into the local community, Lorraine and her two daughters immersed themselves into life in Spain.
They were very well-loved and popular, both among their British and Spanish friends and neighbours, and will be sorely missed by all those who knew them.
Lorraine will be remembered as a really likeable lady, easy-going in nature and a friend to all those who met her. We would like to offer our readers the chance to write personal messages to their departed friends and tributes to them.
Please share your fond memories of Lorraine and Lauren with other readers, so that they will live on in the hearts of those whose lives they touched.
 Please send your Tributes to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
By Samantha Kett

Spanish bank bailout? 

The government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has moved into action to alleviate the impact of the international financial crisis on the Spanish economy. The President has agreed to extend lending to banks to 30,000 million euros with a further option to increase to 50,000 million a bid to prevent a drought in currency markets. The agreement was reached in Luxembourg between European Union partners to raise the guaranteed minimum deposits. Spanish financial institutions will not have to contribute more to the Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD). The expansion shows commitment from the State that should a bailout "be necessary", "The State would respond." The creation of the fund "is not an initiative or rescue, or to clean up our financial system, it is to prevent risks, support the productive activity and credit," said Zapatero. He continued that "the performance of the fund is compatible with the standards of the European market" and added that it is temporary, "until the financial markets return to normal."

A beer a day keeps the doctor away

A beer a day a can prevent oxidation and aging of the body. This is according to Mercé Vidal, a researcher at the Center for Community Research at the University of Barcelona. Vidal explained that beer has always been present in the classic Mediterranean diet and in moderate consumption, a glass a day, can provide nutrients to the diet. Moderate consumption can organize folic acid, vitamins essential for maintenance of cellular life and assists bone formation. In addition it can prevent vascular disease and reduces the phenomenon responsible for the oxidative aging of the body. The consumption of alcohol-free beer may be included in the diet of people who suffer from hypertension, since a glass of alcohol-free beer a day provides calcium, potassium and sodium and is recommended in many slimming diets.

Batten down to hatches!

The State Meteorological Agency has released a high risk weather warning for the region. An area from Tarragona to Murcia has been warned that following torrential rains the temperature will drop considerably and used the phrase “Gota Fria” to describe predicted weather for the next 4 days. The Weather Agency warned that rain could be as heavy as 200 liters per square meter in places. Experts said "We expect rainfall to reach up to 200 liters per square meter in some places accompanied by strong winds.” The announcement coincides with the first anniversary of the October 12th storms when 400 liters per square meters of rain fell in just a few hours. An elderly lady died during this storm, 200 were rescued, 17 roads closed and part of bridge in Beniarbeig collapsed.


Ontinyent Local Police has launched a new security plan to prevent a repeat of the wave of burglaries experienced in 2007. Officers will carry out ongoing surveillance in the city centre and countryside areas of Ontinyent. This security measure is possible following the recent allocation of ten new officers to the cities force. By the end of 2008 it is hoped there will be an additional three officers. "In the past we have had only four officers and an alternate night patrol, now we have seven officers and an alternative night patrol," says the head of security. This will enable more “officers out on patrols dedicated to monitoring the outskirts of the town and public safety."


Bétera is to open a training centre for electricians, plumbers, carpenters and stone masons. The UGT and CC. OO. is opening in the industrial area of L'Horta Vella. The 25,000 square metre property selected by representatives of the UGT and CC.OO, can be accessed from the bypass from both Castellon and Valencia which makes it an ideal location. The centre will be open to anyone looking for a professional career in the building industry.


Local Police in Mislata received a call that a human skull had been discovered in a trench in the town. After ensuring there were no other remains in the trench the skull was transported to the Anatomical Institute for Forensic analysis. The size of the skull suggests that the deceased was a young person. The discovery has aroused great excitement among residents, as the area is very old and many discoveries have been made revealing the true history of Mislata. Previous discoveries include the underground galleries found on Calle Ramon y Cajal although no official documents record these tunnels.


According to Torrent City Council Environmental Department they have received dozens of calls from residents requesting assistance with a plague of Red Weevil. The plague, which has no cure, is affecting dozens of palm trees in the city and is bad news for Canary Palm trees. The mild autumn temperatures encourage the spread of the Red Weevil plague which is lethal to palm trees. Almost all trees in villas in the El Vedat area have been hit by the plague. The Town hall are currently trying to save a further 60 palm trees in the area by applying material, which they hope, will prevent the weevil from attaching to the tree.


A fashion in aid of the Red Cross will be held in Sax on October 29th. The show has been organized by the Merchant Association and Sax Town Hall. Ticket money collected will be donated to the Local Red Cross Assembly. Shops in the town will be taking part in the event which will display the new fashions for the autumn-winter season.


Around 35 children in Sax have not been allocated a place at El Parque nursery school. Parents have joined together to call for better services and more places at local schools. The parents have collected more than 500 signatures from supporters in the area.


Ontinyent town hall is warning the public of the fraudulent use of 905 telephone numbers. The Consumers Office have noted that in recent months there has been a substantial increase in people who have reported unusually high telephone bills, in some cases amounting to over 500 euros. "These numbers are normally used by TV shows and quizzes, where the 905 number is used to avoid the stricter regulations than the 806 number, although they should use the 806 number in these types of competitions” said the Consumer Affairs councillor. According to information provided by the Consumers Office the 905 number "is only supposed to be used to provide an enquiry service line, not to participate in televised competitions." These TV shows have one aim and that is using simple questions as bait for more viewers to call.  


Sewage problems have become a major concern for the 2,500 residents in Requena and surrounding areas. A Special Purification Plan has been developed by town hall technicians which includes up to eight stages of treatment for the wastewater. But work cannot begin until the grant is agreed. The town hall has requested a grant from the Regional and Provincial Council, to enable the project to start but "haven’t received a response yet," according to municipal sources. The project is expected to cost around four million euros.


Buñol’s priest is angry after continuous attacks against him and the church remain unresolved. The priest has made five official complaints to police since the attacks began in 2005, but no arrests have been made and the vandals continue their reign of terror.  The most recent incident occurred on October 5th when "A group of people threw oranges and stones at the windows of the church," claimed the priest. "They have been doing it now for about three weeks. Most of the 18 windows in our church are now broken because of these hooligans", he explained. The church and his home have also been plastered with a series of threatening and insulting graffiti.


A policeman was injured as he attempted to stop a car as it raced through the streets of Valencia in the early hours of the morning. The chase began at 4am when the car jumped a police patrol at the end of Avenida Blasco Ibanez. The young driver raced away from the scene as National and local police officers gave chase. After an hour of chasing through the streets the vehicle was stopped by a police motorbike. The officer suffered bruising to his leg. Both occupants were arrested at the scene.


Horse enthusiasts enjoyed a day of equestrian delights at a horse show in Canal de Navarres. The show presented the movement of the Spanish horse P.R.E, (Pura Raza Española) in many different categories including dressage and show jumping.


Ontinyent Town hall and social services have launched a new project aimed at reintegrating youngsters with criminal records. Social workers hope that enrolling youngsters in activities and providing supervised home visits will make individuals less likely to re offend. Youngsters joining the scheme will not be permitted to leave their homes or their assigned care centre over the wekend, with exception of participating in scheduled social-educational activities allocated to them by a judge. Social Services chairperson, María Amelia Martínez says, “This is a very strict program for youths who have carried out acts of vandalism or displayed aggressive behaviour. Once involved with the day centre, El Rogle, they can take part in activities, attend support sessions, educational programs and work projects.”.


National Police officers have arrested two men suspected of breaking and entering six properties in Alzira during September. Police received a call about a suspicious car parked by orange groves on the road between Alzira and Corbera and arrived at the scene to find the two men, both 23 and of Spanish nationality. It is believed the men stashed the  tools they used to break in to the houses, in nearby orange groves.


Central Government is to invest 2.2 million euros in the extension for the Hospital Virgen de los Lirios in Alcoy. The Alcoy PSOE spokesperson, Patricia Blanquer said “this investment was promised by Minister Bernat Soria on one of his visits to the town with Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Since 2004 central government have contributed towards health infrastructures, roads and cultural activities”. Work at the Alcoy hospital began tarted in January this year and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.


Many scooters in Villena do not have ITV certificate.  Young people are unaware of the new legislation on scooters to pass a technical inspection (ITV). A mobile unit, sponsored by the Department of Safety, has travelled to Villena to make it easier for scooter and motorbike owners to carry out a review before the 21 January 2009 deadline. From this date police will impose fines for failure to have an ITV. In the first two days in Villena just 18 bikes were presented for an ITV test, an insignificant number when you consider that 3,200 motorcycles are registered with Villena town hall, according to Police and Security councillor, Adela Serra.

Calpe rock is one of the seven wonders
CALPE’S famous rock has been voted one of the ‘seven wonders of the Comunidad Valenciana’ in a recent competition. Among the most unique and beautiful sites in the region, the ‘seven wonders’ website, which invited votes from surfers, included the Dama de Elche, the castles of the Vinalopó valley, and the botanical gardens in the Turia riverbed in Valencia. But monuments and natural wonders were not the only entrants – even fiestas were included with the winner being the Mare de Déu de la Salut procession in Algemesí and the Moors and Christians in Alcoy in fourth place.

Xàtiva castle won its section as did Valencia’s North Station, the Lonja, and palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas which is now the city’s ceramics museum.

The Lonja beat the Borgia palace in Gandia, the Santa María de la Valldigna monastery in Simat and the Roman amphitheatre in Sagunto. A high number of votes was also given to Valencia’s two famous markets and the Palau de les Arts.

Along with the Peñón de Ifach in Calpe, the Albufera wetlands between Xeraco and Valencia won their sections, beating the Penya de Foradà in the Vall de Gallinera.

Grants to homeowners to renovate their properties
OWNERS of around 600 homes in Potries and Palma de Gandia will be given grants to do up their houses. The regional government, the Generalitat Valenciana, intends to hand out funds to property owners in the old towns of the villages in order to improve the image of rural areas in the Comunidad Valenciana.

In fact, around 244 parts of the region – mostly in villages of less than 2,000 inhabitants – have been declared official ‘rehabilitation areas’, meaning the government is keen to invest in maintaining them. Palma de Gandia local council says it will offset the grants against planning permission fees, taxes on construction and those levied on occupying the street and pavement with skips and scaffolding. It is due to set up an information office to help those who may be eligible. In Potries, where 352 houses are affected – or those of 72 per cent of the population – the local government will discount the construction tax on any works carried out

Motorcyclist killed in Moraira

A YOUNG biker lost his life in a road-crash in Moraira on Saturday.

Emergency services say the youth was riding along the CV-743, the Teulada road, at around 16.30hrs when he came off his bike. The cause of the crash has not been revealed.

A SAMU ambulance rushed to the scene, and a doctor travelling by at the time of the incident attempted to help the rider. However, their efforts were fruitless and he died by the roadside.

Jávea’s grave appeal

JÁVEA is desperately seeking the family members of 300 dead people to take charge of their bodies. The council plans to demolish some of the oldest niches in its cemetery, some of which date back to the early 19th century. But to do so, they need to contact any surviving relatives to claim their remains. The niches are in such bad condition that some are already crumbling, although two years ago local authorities covered them with a tarpaulin to preserve them. If no relatives are found within three weeks, the bodies will be moved to a common grave.


Red-hot laughter in passion-filled comedy

STEAMING-HOT romance and amusing faux pas abound in the Castle Theatre’s November production at Dénia’s Casa de Cultura.

In The last of the red-hot lovers, ageing playboy Barry is sick of being single and wants to prove to himself he is far from past it, leading him to invite three women to his mother’s empty apartment in the last-ditch hope of recovering his misspent youth.

But his attempts at seduction are doomed to hilarious failure.

The unlucky-in-love Barry, fleshed out in a dry, witty and deadpan performance by the talented Roy Wickman is amusingly embarrassing and star performances are guaranteed by his new lady-friends, played by Christine Whitelock, Sue Harvey and Sue Lade.

Tickets for the performance on November 28 and 29 can be purchased by phoning 657 170 065, and further information is available by calling 662 267 367 or 626 201 636.

Woman ‘fakes kidnap’ for boyfriend’s ransom money

OLIVA police are investigating a case of a 20-year-old girl who reportedly faked her own kidnap. According to officers, she let her boyfriend, 60, believe she had been abducted in order to obtain ransom money from him. She is said to have plotted the incident with a male friend, with whom she was staying after she ‘disappeared’. Her partner reported the matter to the police after receiving a demand for 3,000 euros for the girl’s release.

He appeared convinced that she had been kidnapped.

Officers have since arrested the young woman and her friend, both Romanian nationals.

National Police in Alicante and the Guardia Civil in Oliva are carrying out further enquiries.

‘Suitcase murder’ suspect remanded in custody

A YOUTH is being held for questioning after a decomposed body was discovered in a suitcase near a vineyard. Alicante resident Daniel L.P., 21, was arrested in his home town this week in connection with the murder of a man whose remains were discovered by a farmer in La Font de la Figuera, near Xàtiva. National Police say Daniel, a Romanian national, confessed to having lent a suitcase to friends whom he knew had shot a compatriot in the head over a drug-related debt. He said he was aware that his friends, who reportedly killed the man during a confrontation in Alicante, intended to hide the body in a suitcase and dump it off the beaten track. Officers say a document bearing Daniel’s identity was found with the rotting human remains inside the suitcase.

They believe the suspect had been arrested in Romania some weeks prior to the killing.

He is being held in Picassent prison, near Valencia, pending further investigations.

Dénia’s first Oktoberfest is a roaring success

OKTOBERFEST celebrations in Dénia got off to a flying start last weekend, and the drinking and merriment is set to continue until this Sunday. A huge marquee set up in the Torrecremada car park, in the weekly market site, offers oceans of beer on tap with snacks and music typical of the Bavarian region of Germany. But outside the tent, more traditionally-Spanish food such as coal-baked fish and roasted meat from Galicia, plus pizzas, are for sale on various stalls. Souvenirs of the event, plus arts and crafts and costume jewellery, are also being sold on stands in the Oktoberfest grounds.

German sweets in the shape of a heart, which natives traditionally give to their partners during the festival, are on sale in the big top. Activities also include a prize draw for a Fiat 500, traditional dances and the crowning of the Dénia Beer Queen.

For the children, a carousel and bouncy castle have been set up.

The tent will remain open until late at night on Sunday, October 12.

Els Poblets demonstrates over rising council tax

ROCKETING taxes led to residents in Els Poblets demonstrating on the streets on Friday – the first time the village has ever held a protest march. The 200 participants – mainly of British, German and Spanish nationality – ended their march on the steps of the town hall, where they publicly demanded an explanation from mayor Jaime Ivars.

IBI taxes levied on property in the town and surrounding urbanisations has increased by 50 per cent, and a 100-euro annual fee for rubbish collection has been imposed.

Previously, residents did not have to pay for their refuse to be collected.

They say water rates have also gone up in the town. Els Poblets is not the only municipality to increase its financial burden on townspeople, however.

Water rates are set to rise in Pedreguer, whilst IBI has increased slightly in Gata de Gorgos and has shot up by 70 per cent in the last four years in La Nucía.

Last week, Benidorm residents also protested over IBI hikes.

Suspected burglars arrested

BURGLARS who terrorised homeowners in the Marina Alta area have been arrested in Dénia. National Police officers detained three individuals, all Romanian nationals, on Saturday. They believe the suspects are part of a gang who carried out a series of break-ins on homes on the northern Costa Blanca.

Free Dénia bus will be back, say councillors

A FREE night-bus running through Dénia in the summer will be back on the road next year, assure local authorities. They say the bus, which took residents and tourists from the town centre to the Las Marinas area and back between 19.00hrs and 01.00hrs throughout July and August was hugely popular. The service, which cost the town 60,000 euros but has had overwhelmingly positive feedback, will be offered again in summer 2009.

Thanks to the free bus, visitors could park their cars in Las Marinas and travel to the town centre to eat at their favourite restaurants. Many locals say they avoid travelling to Dénia town centre in summer due to the impossibility of parking. But the bus service means that this need not be a problem at night-time, says the council.

Formula One fraud suspect arrested

A GRAND Prix ticket scam has been uncovered in Valencia and an expatriate arrested.

National Police reveal that some 80 people acting as agents for ticket sales for August’s first-ever Formula One Grand Prix in Valencia were conned out of around 40,000 euros.

A man reported to police that he had paid 4,950 euros in a bank account after contacting a ‘company’ on the Internet purporting to supply Formula One tickets in bulk.

But he did not receive these tickets.

On investigation, officers discovered a total of 80 people who had paid similar quantities for bulk supplies of day and weekend passes for the European Grand Prix.

They arrested a 45-year-old man of Italian nationality in Valencia on Saturday.

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