Category: Local

Let there be light in the Semana Santa Museum

Plans for the new Semana Santa Museum are currently on hold whilst the town council waits for Iberdrola to connect the electricity. The museum has been reorganised and is due to host the Museo del Mar y de la Sal (Sea and Salt Museum) too.
It has been a controversial reorganisation as it means moving around the effigies that are a feature of the traditional Easter time processions. It has also raised debate with the announcement that these effigies will share floor space with evidence moved from the courts. This is currently stored in boxes on the fifth floor of the court building.
The Semana Santa Museum building was handed over to Torrevieja town last September by the Valencian regional government. It has five floors above and three floors below ground level and cost more than six million euros to build. It is planned that other local council departments will also be based here, reducing the monthly fees that the local government has to pay out for renting premises.
It is claimed that it could already be in use but for the fact that Iberdrola has not yet connected the electricity. Only when this final act has been completed can the building be given its licencia de actividad and open its doors.

First motorway to scrap toll sees 58 percent traffic increase

Traffic on the AP-1 motorway has rocketed by 58percent since the government scrapped the tolls on 1st December, giving an idea of what is yet to come when the next batch of pay-per-use highway franchises come up for renewal.
Public works minister José Luis Ábalos opted to continue with the previous government’s plans not to renew any of the toll contracts on Spain’s motorways once they expired, and a sub-commission in Parliament has been set up to work out how they will fund their maintenance in future.
The AP-1 was the first, and another nine followed a fortnight ago – the AP-7 between Cartagena (Murcia) and Vera (Almería) and the Alicante ring road on the same motorway; the AP-36 between Ocaña (Toledo province) and La Roda (Albacete province); the AP-41 from Madrid to Toledo; the M-12 Madrid airport link road, and three Madrid outer-suburban ‘radial’ highways, the R-2, R-3, R-4 and R-5.
These nine, however, are only toll-free overnight from midnight to 6am but fees for their use during the day have been slashed by 30 percent to encourage users.
Toll motorways in general have been losing traffic – and money – since the start of the financial crisis as drivers sought to save cash, and the firms’ response of putting up prices to claw back more backfired, with vehicle numbers plummeting as a result.
This has become patent in year-end traffic figures for the AP-1 between Burgos (Castilla y León) and Armiñón (Álava province, in the Basque Country), with a 58 percent rise in a month, skewing the total for 2018 to show an annual increase of 5.26 percent.
Since 1st December, the AP-1 has witnessed the passage of 26,516 vehicles a day on average, compared with 16,703 a day over the rest of 2018. This translates to a year-on-year rise of 40 percent – in December 2017, an average of 18,900 cars, vans and lorries used the AP-1 every day.
Lorries are using the motorway far more now the tolls have been scrapped – with 68.6 percent extra being recorded, or 6,400 a day, compared with 3,800 as at November 2018.
Assuming the current government stays in power until the next general elections are due in November 2020 – or a new government decides to continue with the motorway ‘buy-back’ plan – another handful will be toll-free by then.
Franchise ends
On New Year’s Eve this year, the toll franchises for the AP-7 from Tarragona (Catalunya) to Castellón and from Silla (Valencia province) to San Juan (Alicante province), plus the AP-4 in the provinces of Sevilla and Cádiz will also end and not be renewed, meaning these roads will become free of charge from 1st January, 2020.
So far, of the 10 toll roads now back in State hands, only two have seen a reduction in traffic rather than an increase – the R-3 Madrid-Arganda del Rey ‘radial’ highway, and the R-5 between Madrid and Navalcarnero (Toledo province) – the first of these by 24 percent, down to 8,214 vehicles a day, and the second by just 0.85 percent, to 10,868 per day.
Traffic volume hikes on the other seven – excluding the AP-1, R-3 and R-5 – range from 1.8 percent on the AP-7 Alicante ring-road up to 15.7 percent on the AP-41 Madrid-Toledo motorway. However, the latter has long been the motorway with the lowest volume of traffic in the country, at just 1,193 vehicles a day.


Your ideas and skills are URGENTLY required. Tuesday 12th February Costa Arts And Crafts Workshop will be launching a new gathering based on your ideas and influence. Over a glass of bubbly and a few nibbles at the Cultural Centre in Quesada starting at 2.30p.m. your ideas will form the basis of the new group. Of course there are plans in place but new ideas will form the foundation for moving forward into a strong friendly group. There are no boundaries or restrictions, every idea will be welcome. So this is the moment to dig out those hidden canvases, don that smock and beret, put those brushes between your teeth and join a new group bursting with fun and energy. Come and muck in, don’t miss this exciting opportunity! So that we can ensure we have sufficient supplies of bubbly and caviar (ha ha!) please contact Susan by email to or on 966 713 503 or Roger on 653 433 933 to confirm your attendance. This will be a day to remember YOUR COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU. Don’t miss it.

Boxes and bags of evidence

The 5th floor of the Palacio de Justicia can only be described as clutter of boxes and bags. What must cause concern is that in these are kept a variety of evidence and other items that have been seized in criminal proceedings. The whole floor is littered with objects and it is difficult to imagine how any kind of a filing system exists.
However, there are plans in place to transfer all these items to new premises in the Museo de la Semana Santa, or holy week museum. The allocated storage area is in part of the basement of the museum and will sit alongside items from the Sea and Salt Museum and Semana Santa artefacts.
The current storage area is in an unfinished part of the Palacio de Justiciabuilding. It suffers from missing plaster, is without lighting and has exposed wiring. It is hard to see how anything could be found in this labyrinth of piles of boxes. It was never intended to be used as a storage area but was designatedas more judicial offices. The building of these has never taken place.
The items that are kept here have been collected over a period of 12 years. They comprise of items that have been presented as evidence in criminal proceedings. It was in 1999 that Torrevieja established its own courts, separate from those of Orihuela. The judicial buildings in avenida de Las Habaneras are five storeys tall and now they struggle to handle all the cases that come their way.
In 2007 the courts were extended with another similar building constructed by a construction company in exchange, it is claimed, for receiving the area of Torreblanca from the City Council. However, the construction company never completed the fifth floor which currently houses this medley of evidence

Body of missing Irishman found

A body, believed to be that of missing Irishman Carl Carr, has been recovered from an area near the motorway between Algorfa and Benijófar. Sources claim that preliminary checks indicate that the body is likely that of missing 38-year-old Carr, given information about his tattoos and metal bars in his legs from a car accident. DNA samples have been taken from the remains to confirm his identity.
Five arrests were made and four people have been remanded in custody without bail – one for alleged murder and three for concealment.
Carr was reported missing by his girlfriend in September last year after he had been at a dance event in Cabo Roig and had not returned. The body was discovered by police buried in a shallow grave near the motorway. It appears that he may have been beaten to death. Despite Carr’s previous criminal record for drugs charges – he served an eight year jail sentence in Ireland after heroin and cocaine worth €1.43 million was seized – police believe that the alleged murder is not drug related. Speaking to the press in Ireland, Carr’s mother claims that her son was involved in a ‘love triangle’ and that this is what led to his demise. However, a motive for the alleged murder has not been formally confirmed.
Five people were arrested – identities have not been released but they are believed to be of Irish, British and Spanish nationality. One individual was released but remains under investigation. The other four, including the one accused of the alleged murder, appeared in court at the weekend and have been remanded in custody. The court appearance is believed to have taken place after the body was located but no formal charges have yet been brought against the four – two men and two women – as is the norm here in Spain where charges are formalised closer to trial. The investigation into Carr’s disappearance was initially led by authorities in Orihuela but was moved when investigators suspected that the alleged murder took place within the jurisdiction of Torrevieja. The main suspect is also believed to be under investigation for extortion as part of a separate case.

The best sales have arrived at Habaneras Shopping Centre

As well as enjoying incredible discounts in all its retail premises, the Centre will
be giving away loads of prizes through its App.
With the slogan “Enjoy Sales”, Habaneras Shopping Centre, managed
by JLL (real estate consultancy firm), is determined to start 2019 in a
big way by offering customers the best sales and discounts, along
with some fun ways of obtaining loads of direct prizes.
From today, 7 January, you’ll be able to get yourself the best bargains
at all the retail premises inside the Shopping Centre and, while the
sales are on, customers can collect their shopping receipts and
exchange them for gift vouchers and tickets to enter the prize draw
for €300 worth of gift cards. All customers shopping in the January
sales are eligible to take part.
To take part, all you have to do is be a user of the Habaneras Shopping
Centre App and exchange your shopping receipts at any of the
Centre’s retail premises and kiosks. Every weekend you can go to the
information point to pick up your vouchers and, for each 20 euros
spent on shopping, [H]Addict users will get a ticket for the prize draw.
Gifts include selfie sticks, mobile batteries, cinema tickets, notebooks
with inspiring messages, backpacks, gift cards and lots more prizes.
Everything is subject to availability, as the promotion is valid while
stocks last.
Plus, both Shopping Centre visitors and social media followers, as well
as [H]App users, can get extra vouchers to exchange for direct prizes.
But they’ll have to be alert because, at weekends only, the Centre will
be running a fun event called #loquemivecinasellevo when you can
get these special vouchers, but stocks are limited. So keep an eye on
the Habaneras channels and don’t let your neighbour get there
before you!
For another year, Habaneras welcomes the start of the winter sales
with lots of surprises and gifts for all Shopping Centre customers. Are
you going to miss out?
Habaneras, Enjoy Sales!

Emirates cabin crew recruitment in Alicante this week

The airline Emirates is looking for flight attendants in Alicante and is set to hold a recruitment open day this Wednesday January 9th. The airline is also holding recruitment events in Mallorca and Barcelona.
The recruitment conference will be held at the AC Hotel Alicante, starting at 8am.
The airline is looking for “open-minded, attentive, friendly and service-oriented” candidates to offer customers a good on-board experience. Candidates can present themselves with an up to date CV in English, in addition to a recent photograph. Although it is not mandatory, candidates are recommended to complete the online application on the Emirates Group Careers website before attending.
According to the airline, there are a few qualities which will make you stand out on recruitment day. Namely, you’ll be positive, confident, flexible, friendly and very keen to help others. Emirates also requires that candidates are:
• At least 21 years of age at the time of joining
• Arm reach of 212 cm while standing on tiptoes
• Minimum height of 160 cm
• High school graduate (Grade 12)
• Fluency in English (written and spoken)
• No visible tattoos while you’re in Emirates cabin crew uniform (cosmetic and bandage coverings aren’t allowed)
• Can adapt to new people, new places and new situations
• Physically fit for this demanding role with a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI)
More information on applying, and on the dress code for recruitment day can be found at

Planning the next Habaneras competition

It’s a popular annual event. The International Habaneras and Polyphony Competition will take place this year from 22nd to the 28th July in Torrevieja. It’s an international singing competition that gives the town good publicity and provides entertainment at the height of the summer.
This year will be the 65th version of this event that takes a great deal of planning. Announcements are made throughout the year on the lead up to it and there is always some controversy surrounding where it is to be held and whether any tradition is broken.
Alongside the main adult competition a junior version has evolved. The 25th youth competition will take place on 6th April and there will also be a soloist competition from the 8th to 9th November. The choirs who take part sing a song of their own as well as there being a compulsory element. This year the song that every choir must sing will be ‘Rosita de un verde palmar’. As usual, it is the Cuban ambassador who will raise the flag on the event.
The Habaneras competition has strong links with Cuba. This type of music originated there and was brought back to Torrevieja by its sailors. Boats traded with Cuban ports in a number of products and sailors found themselves the carriers of this singing tradition too. The competition is a time of reflection on Torrevieja’s past and its links with Cuba which go back 500 years to the town of Habana.
Once again the event will be publicised on television by Televisión Española (TVE) and it is hoped that a Cuban personality will be able to attend. The actual event will be hosted by whichever party wins the local elections in May. The councillor currently responsible, Domingo Soler, has expressed his wish that the plans should be sufficiently in place so that whoever is in charge can make sure the event goes ahead with as few difficulties as possible.

Death of baby donkey inspires incredible kindness

Kisses the baby donkey that was rescued by Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre (EHCRC) recently, having been found tied up in a bag but who sadly couldn’t be saved, has stirred the hearts of thousands of people around the world.
There was such an out pouring of grief, particularly on social media, over the brutal mistreatment and ultimate loss but also anger towards the inhumane treatment this poor little creature suffered at the hands of a human being. The messages flooded in from across the globe but none so much as from the Spanish people right here. The Spanish nation are often criticised for some of their traditions involving animals but there is a very active movement of young and old alike who are vehemently against any kind of animal cruelty for any reason. Many of these people have kindly donated money which has enabled the Centre to pay for the costly hospital bill which resulted from trying so hard to save Kisses.
EHCRC’s monthly Open Days are now testament to the increasing interest in its work and the thirst for knowledge on how everyone can work together to advance animal welfare in Spain. The free Open Days are jam packed with multinational supporters who come to join in the activities by taking part in one of the guided Tours which are available in Spanish, English, Russian and French and participating in the raffle and enjoying a vegetarian lunch. All proceeds go directly towards the animals’ care.
Sue Weeding co-founder said: “We are so grateful to all our supporters and we could not continue to care for our current 123 rescued equines or develop our services for the future if it wasn’t for the public’s help, donations and fundraising. Rod and I will not be here forever and we need to ensure that the Foundation is well established to continue our work.”
One example of outstanding support comes from Louise and her team at Looking Good Boutique in La Zenia. They have been staunch supporters of EHCRC for many years but following the horrendous story of Kisses they have taken up the challenge of doing some serious fundraising. Not only have they installed a very special rail of designer clothing donated by their loyal customers with all or a percentage of the sales going to EHCRC but they have also held fashion shows and have had some incredible donations for example a brand new smart phone, designer outfits straight from the Joseph Ribkoff company and incredible donations of money with one particular customer donating €1,000.
There are so many other ways for people to show support, and although monetary donations are vital, it isn’t always about money. One of the most useful ways to help is for people to donate their unwanted furniture to the Charity Shops as this is a valuable source of financial income for EHCRC.
Finally Sue said: “Sadly the story of Kisses is not an isolated case. We have had many situations of a similar nature where the poor animals had been abused and left to suffer and die in solitary, lonely, off the beaten track places where the perpetrators of these horrendous acts of cruelty hoped their deeds would never be seen. We are sure there are many more unknown cases and we are determined to work closely with the Police and the local authorities striving to grow the organisation to build a better future for all animals.”
The non-profit Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre relies entirely on donations to fund its important animal welfare work. Those interested in volunteering at the rescue centre or in the charity shops can call Sue on 652 021 980.
The Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre, located just outside Rojales at Partido Lo Garriga, 59, opens to the public on the first Sunday of every month between 1pm and 4pm. Free horse tours run throughout the afternoon and refreshments are available in the café. For more details and directions, please visit

Come and Join the Band!

You’ve probably already heard the Phoenix International Concert Band play. They were the musicians who accompanied the singing at Torrevieja’s carol concert in December. Every year they have been entertaining the international crowds in La Plaza de la Constitución with their music.
Whilst continuing with their usual bookings the band has also undergone some changes. They wanted their name to reflect the very international nature of their members. So, instead of being called The Phoenix Concert Band, they are now the ‘Phoenix International Concert Band, Costa Blanca’.
And they are truly international with Dutch, Norwegian and German players alongside players from every part of the UK. They also have a new Musical Director. Capt. (retired) Robert (Bob) Wilson who has brought a new lease of life to the band along with the very able support of Gordon Jamieson B.A. The band now has 26 players with nine extras who support when needed.
The band has set aside its old military image and are moving forward as a more progressive concert band. They have many modern and international pieces in their repertoire including the Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Medley’ and Phil Collins’ ‘Another Day in Paradise’. They have a bass guitar, rhythm guitar and keyboard section and are a not for profit group who support many charities in the local area.
The band is growing week by week but they still have vacancies for many instruments and are aiming to be one of the leading concert bands on the Costas. They would welcome new players of all instruments, including strings. Many members are retired professional and amateur musicians but there are no age restrictions or ability barriers stopping anyone from coming along and joining them in playing music.
They are now planning their 2019 season of events and if you think you might like to take part then they would love to hear from you. You can show your interest by contacting Gloria via e-mail or by calling 679 576 591.
Alternatively you can just come along to one of their rehearsals every Tuesday (starting January 16th) from 1.30pm until 4.30pm below the public library at Biblioteca Publica de San Miguel de Salinas calle Vicente Blasco Ibanez. You will be made very welcome and tea and coffee is available during the break.

Clothes and toys given to hospital

Following the confiscation last year of thousands of illegal goods, some of these have now been handed out by the police to children at Torrevieja hospital as well as some local charities. Many of the confiscated items had to be destroyed because they copied brand names and were counterfeit. However, those that were not and were considered to be of sufficient quality could be given away instead of being destroyed.
Altogether there were 15,000 items that fell into this category and were able to be kept in use. The rest were destroyed last month. The parish Cáritas have been responsible for distributing the items which included around thirty toys. These were wrapped in paper by the police and delivered to the emergency units and paediatric wing of thehospital.
It is the GRO branch of the local police who have been active in tracking down illegal traders. This business causes much anger amongst those legal shop owners who compete with goods sold on the street without any additional cost to the sellers. Most of the seizures were made during the summer months when the men are seen on the paseos with their goods displayed on sheets and blankets.
The hospital also received gifts and donations following the collection at the local fire station and as a result of activities organised by the Social Welfare department. Every attempt has been made to ensure that children from disadvantaged homes have not been left with a toy at Christmas.

Get to know Spanish traffic law

Understanding Spanish Traffic Law has taken a huge leap forward this week, with the
publication of a new eBook by the N332 Road Safety Group.
A team of volunteers have been working on the publication for over a year, translating the
official Spanish traffic law, the ‘Reglamento General de Circulación’, into English, overseen
by Guardia Civil traffic officer, Francisco Morales, who has also added commentary and
pictures to the publication to ensure that there is no ambiguity in understanding every
single element.
The eBook was officially launched to a VIP group in the Quironsalud Hospital in Torrevieja,
where the attendees, including the Costa Blanca People, got a sneak preview of the eBook,
whilst presented with a talk about the history and reasoning behind the publication.
The eBook has already gained the support from the main traffic accident associations in
Spain, Stop Accidentes, Association for the Prevention of Traffic Accidents (P(A)T), AESLEME,
and the Federación Europea de Víctimas de la Carretera, as well as the European Council on
Road Safety keen to support the entire project.
With just over 500 pages of text and pictures, the publication, which has been edited by
Mark Nolan, who has also been involved in the project since the beginning, some 3 years
ago, is now available to download from the N332 website, at
The Reglamento General De Circulación is one of four main legal documents for driving in
Spain, and the most important, as it details the basics, and intricate elements of procedures
ranging from drugs and alcohol to children in cars, which includes many of the points that
drivers are still confused about, such as who can sit where, how goods are to be carried and
stowed, which lane to drive in, who has priority and when, and what the road signs and
signals actually mean.
The good news is that thanks to the support from the volunteers and sponsors, this eBook
can be downloaded for free, and so you can have your own copy on your mobile phone,
tablet, or computer, and can then either read it from cover to cover, or simply refer to it if
you have any doubts.
There will also be a supporting website launched in the New Year, followed by a mobile
phone app, as the development in this part of the project continues.
Although there may be some disappointment that the publication isn’t being printed, the
size alone would make it extremely expensive, but being a digital publication means that it
can be updated easily, without having to throw away the original paper copy. Moreover, the
website means that these updates can be published instantly.
In the second half of this year we have seen changes to the law such as all emergency
service vehicles having blue lights, taxis having blue number plates, and the introduction of
eco stickers. In the first half of 2019 we expect to see other changes such as the regulation
of personal mobility vehicles, such as scooters, and stricter controls for speed, and so, with
such a frequently changing canvas, the need for ease of updates is crucial in ensuring that
the information is always up to date and accurate.
Be sure to download your own copy of the eBook from the N332 website,