Coastal News round up 23/01/09

Pego mayor under fire over Fadesa funds
PEGO'S mayor has admitted that he used money given to the council by property developers Fadesa to pay off public debts. But Carmelo Ortolà says Fadesa was aware of this move and approved it. Legal action was taken against him by Pego's right-wing PP party for alleged misuse of public funds after it transpired that the tripartite council had spent 1.92 million euros on clearing up the town's debts. The money had been paid to Pego by Fadesa, the developers behind the new Penya Rotja urbanisation, to pay for infrastructures needed as a result of the population increase that would result from the new development. Ortolà says Fadesa agreed that 1.7 million would be used to pay off outstanding bills and the remainder in building a public football ground with an artificial lawn. He believes the PP's action against him is merely political and that he has acted correctly, but that if the courts say this is not the case, he will take the consequences.


Rare species of seaweed found in Pego marsh

FOUR new species of seaweed have been discovered in the Pego-Oliva marshes and are thought to be the only ones of their type in Spain. The species are known as the vaucheria frigida, botrydium granulatum, vaucheria compacta and vaucheria dillwynii. They are only known by their Latin names as they are so rare. A team of scientists from the university of Murcia is studying the plants and has not ruled out finding further rare species in the future. These types of seaweed contribute to the conservation of the wetlands since they provide oxygen and shelter to aquatic creatures.


Huge hash haul found on Cullera beach

A MASSIVE haul of hash has been found on Cullera’s El Brosquil beach.

Customs officers seized around 3,300 kilos of the drug that had been abandoned on the shore shortly after being alerted that a boat, whose crew were acting suspiciously, was docking on the beach. A large pneumatic vessel with four engines of 250 horse-power seemed to be weaving around in the water near Ibiza on Friday night.

Police sent out an aircraft to investigate.

They followed the boat in the air and it docked on Cullera beach at around 06.00hrs on Saturday. Guardia Civil officers arrested the crew.

Dénia’s new hospital operates on 135 patients

JUST five weeks after opening its doors to the public, Dénia’s new hospital has already carried out 45 major operations and 90 minor ones. The majority of the serious surgical interventions related to traumatology – bones and muscles – and otorrinology – conditions affecting the ears. Since the wards opened on December 28, 44 patients have been admitted and 24 of these already discharged. Also, in the past five weeks, the new Beniadlà hospital has held over 600 consultations with outpatients.

Calpe will create 167 new jobs

CALPE council plans to spend its New Year funds from the Spanish government on creating jobs for out-of-work construction employees. Mayor Joaquim Tur believes the 4.9 million euros it intends to invest in revamping the town will give temporary work to around 167 people. He has outlined projects for resurfacing roads, renovating the Casanova, repairing old footpaths, expanding the nursery school, town hall and police station, and planting trees. As an aside, Tur complained that Calpe’s padrón registers a total of 27,768 inhabitants, yet the volumes of rubbish and consumption of water indicates that the total population exceeds 30,500. Tur stressed the importance of all residents registering on the census at the town hall to allow the council to allocate sufficient funding for all necessary facilities for those living in Calpe.

Pupils left out in the cold

CHILDREN who are fed up with freezing their socks off in the classroom staged a peaceful demonstration outside the town hall in Gandia last week.

Kids from primary schools in the town, who say they have regular power cuts affecting their heating system, sat outside the council offices wrapped in blankets.

The problem of cold classrooms also extends to those forced to take lessons in prefabricated buildings, set up to provide places in oversubscribed schools in the La Safor area.

Lottery-winners go home empty-handed as shops run out of cash

LOTTERY shops in Dénia have been unable to pay out prize money because they do not have the cash in the till. Faced with a barrage of complaints, two betting shops have put up posters warning customers they cannot pay out on décimos that have won money.

This applies to both the El Gordo and El Niño lotteries, over Christmas and the Three Kings respectively. The problem is largely because the lottery administration board sends the shops 70 per cent of the prize-money won by tickets sold there the day after the draw.

But if someone tries to claim their prize money from a different shop, they cannot be paid unless the outlet has sufficient funds in the till. Despite lengthy explanations by lottery shop attendants, many customers have become angry and complained loudly.

The shops stress that prize-winners will receive their money, but they may have to return the following day or in a few days’ time in order to collect it.

History to be revived on the Sierra de Bèrnia

ANCIENT walkways on the Sierra de Bèrnia dating back to the Arab occupation of Mediaeval Spain are to be restored. The councils of Xaló, Benissa, Altea and Callosa d’En Sarrià are in talks over plans to retrace the paths of the sierra’s former owner, Mohammed bin Al-Azraq. Using information compiled by local historians, they want to uncover what used to be roads and cart-tracks across the mountain and recondition them for ramblers. This will allow walkers to visit some of the Moorish ruins in the Sierra de Bèrnia, such as a snow-well, two castles, dry-stone walls and rain-catchers.

Once restored, the footpaths will have informative plaques dotted along them to tell walkers of the exotic history of this former Muslim-owned territory.

Dénia hospital shuts down its dialysis room
DÉNIA hospital has announced that it intends to close its dialysis room and move patients to private health centres.

Most will go to San Carlos hospital, a private centre on the main road into Dénia from Ondara. But San Carlos hospital does not have a dialysis room for those with acute kidney failure, rather than an ongoing, chronic condition.

This means if the patient suffers side-effects such as respiratory failure, there may not be sufficient resources to treat them.

Staff at La Pedrera hospital are not aware whether the decision to shut down the dialysis room has come from the regional Ministry of Health or from Marina Salud, that company that manages the new Beniadlà hospital in Dénia.

Police officers' gun holsters 'unsafe'
A LEADING union has complained that Oliva's 25 Local Police officers have unsafe holsters for their guns. Officers have asked the local council to give them safer holsters because they say their revolvers can fall out or be stolen too easily.

But despite numerous requests by the police, Oliva council has still refused to replace the holsters, the union claims. As a result, the union intends to take the matter to the courts.

This issue has been ongoing for about six months, since the council replaced the Local Police force's guns. In 2005, the regional government passed a decree requiring councils to equip its officers with either nine-millimetre Parabellum pistols or calibre 38 revolvers.

Councils have the power to choose the type of arms that Local Police carry.

In Oliva's case, despite the fact the officers prefer pistols, the council gave them revolvers meaning their holsters are the wrong size. Officers fear that if their guns are stolen from their holsters, they could fall into the wrong hands and lead to violent crime.

Anti-Israel protest takes over Dénia
HUNDREDS of protesters gathered outside Dénia's Red Cross to demonstrate over the mass genocide in Palestine. With cries of “Israel, assassins and terrorists,” and beating drums, they marched down the main Marqués de Campo street waving banners calling for a halt to the Israeli invasion of the Gaza strip. Among those present were local councillors and politicians as well as cultural and social associations from all over the Marina Alta. A manifesto written by the dean of political sciences at the UNED (distance-learning university) was read out in the end, proclaiming that the Israelis were only attacking civilians, not the Palestine military. Rosa Mustafà, who has a Valencian mother and Palestinian father, read a speech calling for international authorities to sanction Israel and stop the bloodshed.

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