Category: Local

Almoradi bank employee stole 1m from client

She was an ordinary bank employee in the small municipality of Almoradí, population just
20,000. Yet for 25 years she lived far beyond her means: she owned a big house, drove a
luxury car, and took expensive trips to exotic destinations with her partner, then openly
boasted about it on social media.
Now the mystery has been solved as the Guardia Civil has just discovered the origin of this
lady’s wealth: for a quarter century, she has allegedly been stealing from a Russian client
who had an account at her bank. The name of the bank has not been released either.
Investigators believe that the suspect, a 51-year- old woman whose identity has not been
disclosed, diverted around €1.28 million in funds from an account held by a Russian national
now aged 80. She is being charged with bank fraud and forging documents.
The investigation began a month ago, when the account holder filed a complaint with the
local Civil Guard in Almoradí. According to police sources, the Russian national arrived in
Rojales, near to Almoradí, in 1992. He then opened a bank account in the latter municipality,
and developed a relationship of trust with the suspect.
The account holder rarely checked his balance, but in June of this year he requested a detailed
statement because he was considering switching banks. That is when he realized that over
$1.5 million was missing. Investigators analysed all the transactions linked to that account,
and realized that most money transfers had taken place while the account holder was in
Russia, meaning that he did not authorise them.
Every time the man returned to Russia, his bank balance would be depleted a little more. But
every time he requested information about the balance, the employee would provide
unofficial documents forged by herself, to make it look like his balance had not changed.
The suspect was arrested and released pending trial following her arraignment.

Abandoned kittens

Local animal rescue charity APAH has asked us to help highlight the
enormous problem that APAH and other animal charities are facing given
the deluge of abandoned kittens. Litters of kittens are being dumped at the
Cattery, on the doorstep of the Charity Shop and even brought into the
shop in boxes and just left for volunteers to find.
The latest incident was last Tuesday when someone put a Supermarket
shopping basket containing five, four week old kittens over the Cattery
fence. They were terrified, dehydrated, starving and their fur had been
burnt by contact with a caustic substance.
The local animal charities are overwhelmed with the number of kittens that
are being dumped.  No-one stops to consider the implications, both
financial and practical of expecting charities to keep on finding the space
and the money to care for litter after litter of kittens.
There is never an attempt made to donate money towards the cost of
caring for the kittens. The food bill and veterinary care alone is a severe
strain on charities, which already have a Cattery full of cats to care for.
An APAH spokesperson said: “There is simply not enough money, space or
volunteers to deal with the problem, but the kittens just keep on coming.
If a charity was to turn away kittens, or have them put to sleep, the
backlash from members of the public would be enormous, and yet people
think that it's perfectly acceptable to dump them, that charities the have
limitless space and money to keep taking them in.
“One of the commonest terms used is 'it's only one', and surely you have
room for one more. When you have taken twenty or more calls in a day,
that 'one more' becomes twenty or thirty. Four calls taken in a day with
litters ranging from four to eight, can mean sixteen to thirty two kittens, and
that's in an average day.”
No charity wants to have to refuse help, but with the best will in the World,
full has to be full. You cannot just keep squeezing more and more cats and
kittens into a space and expect it to be okay. The cats already in the
charity’s care begin to suffer, and that cannot be allowed to happen. So
unfortunately, people's request for help is sadly refused. Unfortunately, the
next step is often to dump the kittens somewhere and just walk away.
Solution
Adult cats both domestic and feral have to be neutered. According to the
charities this is the only way this escalating problem is going to stop. Cat
owners themselves are responsible for the level of breeding that goes on
and responsible owners will do the right thing, but unfortunately some do
not. It is not easy to control the level of feral cats, but many charities are
willing to work with communities to try to keep the numbers down by
helping trap feral adult cats. If members of communities work together to
collect the money needed, charities would be able to help them keep the
cat population down.

A catalogue of closures

 
Councillor Fanny Serrano has an unfortunate name for her current position as
councillor for planning. In the Spanish press much has been made of the
resemblance of her surname ‘Serrano’ to ‘cerrado’ which means ‘closed’.
Councillor Serrano has got a reputation during her two years in office for
closing a number of public buildings and bars, restaurants and clubs.
The latest closures have been three beach bars in Punta Prima, an action that
has been noted by many people who enjoyed using the facilities during the
summer season. The question they have raised is – why now?
The majority of the premises being closed never had an opening licence in the
first place. Before any building is open to the public for trading, it must have
been checked and approved for use for a specified purpose. However, a
number of buildings in Torrevieja do not appear to have had this piece of
paper work in place but have been continuing to trade for a number of years.
Two of the beach bars that were recently closed had been trading since 2012
and one of them since 2007. They had also been paying to use a terraced
area without a closure order being put into place. For those who have enjoyed
the use of these facilities it now seems absurd to say that they must close
when they are part of the local landscape.
However, the opening licences are there for a reason. The council do make
money out of them and they are not cheap, but they are also a way of
checking that the correct facilities are in place and that the premises are fit to
use. Questions are now being asked about why so many buildings and
businesses have been allowed to continue to provide services for the public
without them.
There are allegations that people in office did know that licences were missing
but turned a blind eye to this. It is also argued that with the number of
businesses operating in a town like Torrevieja, it is very difficult to keep a
check on what’s on the right side of the law and what isn’t.
To keep regular checks on all the catering and business premises would
require a large administration backed up by police officers with the time to do
it. Without these it is difficult for the town to have systematic inspection in
place.
Perhaps what upsets people most about this subject is that some places are
still ‘getting away with it’ whist others are not. The beach bar owners are one
example of people who feel that one law is being applied to them but not to
others. What is more likely is that the town hall simply hasn’t got round to
checking up on everyone and, given the size of the task, are unlikely to do so
any time soon.
In the meantime, the question might be asked – what should be done? Should
we continue to turn a blind eye and circumvent requirements or enforce them
rigidly?
Perhaps what most people would like to see is a middle ground between the
two that allows businesses time to bring themselves into line without
necessarily imposing the hefty fines that can result. However, where laws are
in statute it can be difficult to apply ‘special considerations’ without breaking
the law.
In the meantime, the beach bars will be missed and those who usually
frequent them would perhaps have preferred that the town hall had targeted
somewhere else. Now, we wait with interest to see what Councillor Serrano
will close next.
 

Help home a young orphaned dog

Finca San Miguel de Salinas is looking for a kind-hearted person to offer a ‘forever home’ to
a recently orphaned young dog called Zara.
Zara and her mother Rita were rescued by Finca volunteers after reports that they were
malnourished and living on a chain. Both had marks from the chain embedded in their skin
and were very shy. Luckily, after a few days they were happier and eating from the hands of
the volunteers, allowing themselves to be petted and going for walks. However, Rita took a
turn for the worse and despite picking up for a while and the efforts of the vet passed away.
Zara is now an orphan and needs a loving home. She is just 2 years old, is a quick learner
with a wonderful temperament. If you think you might have a home for Zara and would like
to meet her, please can call Mona on 616792355.
Finca San Miguel de Salinas, founded by Mona Nowak, is an animal sanctuary which
currently cares for 8 horses, 4 ponies, 6 goats, 2 dogs, 13 geese, chickens, 4 pigs, circa 20
feral cats and is supported by the charity Happy Animals Orihuela.
To raise money for the animals, the Finca hosts an open day on the last Saturday of every
month between 5.30pm and 9.30pm. The next one will be held on 26 th September and
Mona and Sol will be raising money through a Bikini Ice Bucket Challenge and are looking for
sponsors. All sponsors will also receive a raffle ticket for the chance to win a Serrano
Ham…and the highest sponsor gets to throw the bucket of water.
Sponsor forms can be collected from Cheers Bar/Restaurant, Eagles Nest and Wolfies Bar,
Blue Lagoon. Donations can also e made to: IBAN 80 0075 1055 4806 0035 0496 or through
the PayPal account: happyanimalesspanien@gmail.com
More information on any of the above and directions to the Finca see the Facebook page:
fincasanmigueldesalinas. Alternatively, you can call Mona on 616792355 or email Sol on:
nicosolm@hotmail.com

Fire causes devastation

A fire destroyed three hectares of land belonging to an abandoned finca or
farm in Guardamar on 28 th July. It is thought to have started at around 8.30pm
in an area of palm trees bordering on the natural lake. Fire engines were
called out from Almoradí, Torrevieja and Guardamar in order to try and
prevent the fire from spreading to the parkland.
Altogether it is believed that 30,000 square metres of grassland, trees and
vegetation was destroyed in an area of agricultural land in Guardamar del
Segura. The fire stations of Torrevieja and Almoradí were alerted and
immediately sent out their engines. A special forest branch of the brigade was
deployed from Guardamar to quell the flames. The Guardamar branch is only
available during the summer months, specifically for this kind of incident.
After less than an hour and a half the blaze was brought under control
according to the information provided by the Consorcio Provincial de
Bomberos. The main concern of the fire service was that the fire did not
spread to the natural parks and lagunas of Torrevieja and La Mata. The risk
was reduced due to the type of vegetation that was alight.
Many palm trees were destroyed in the fire along with an abandoned house
and stables. The smoke generated from the fire could be seen from miles
away and was visible from the N332. The cause of the fire is not yet known
but there have been cases of arson in previous years in these areas.
The public are reminded about the need for care, particularly during the dry
summer months. One of our readers, John Hookings, from San Luis, became
aware of the fire on Friday evening when he spotted smoke in the sky. He
went to the area between the Lemon tree road and the lake and took these
pictures.

Two children saved from the sea

 
It could easily have been another fatal case on Wednesday 19 th July when two
children of 11 and 14 years old found themselves in trouble in the sea. After
20 minutes in the water, the two were exhausted and thought they were going
to die. However, they were rescued by two Guardia Civil police officers.
Their rescue wasn’t without complications because of the strong current and
waves. The waves were preventing the children from getting out of the water
because of the risk of them being bashed against the rocks in the Cala de los
Trabajos.
Jorge, a police officer in the Guardia Civil, went into the sea whilst his
companion, Justo, went to get help from the Policía Local. ‘There were
anxious moments which lasted an eternity for them,’ explained Jorge. ‘They
had wanted to get out of the water a lot earlier but because of the rocks and
the stormy water they couldn’t. They were at serious risk of being badly
injured.’
It was a race against time and the lifeguards advised that the best solution
was to get access by a jet ski. The area where the children were swimming
was not covered by a lifeguard.
‘I jumped into the water because there wasn’t time to wait for help as the
current was strong,’ explained Jorge. This is the second time recently that this
officer has been prepared to risk his own life to save another. He was involved
in a rescue from the sea a month ago when two people were saved from
drowning.
Swimming in the unsupervised coves continues to be a dangerous summer
pursuit as was seen recently with the sad deaths of a couple in Guardamar.
There is no lifeguard service in the smaller coves up the coast and those
bathing there take a risk.
In this case the two young people were lucky but we are already seeing
deaths as a result. There have already been seven drownings in this
particularly cove over a period of years. They are particularly popular places
for diving amongst young people, but the sea isn’t always as easy to leave as
it is to enter.
When the local police arrived with a boat they noted that the two young
people and their rescuer were all exhausted from the effort by the time they
were removed from the water.

Enjoy music in the park

 
Councillor for the environment in Torrevieja, Fanny Serrano, has organised a
classical music concert to take place on the 28 th July in the natural park. The
orchestra will play in the zone known as La Pinada del Parque Natural and is
part of a new initiative to get the town’s people to use its natural, open spaces
more and recognise its value.
The music will be provided by Torrevieja’s International Symphonic Orchestra
and the idea came from seeing the impact of a previous concert performed
there; ‘Habaneras en el Parque’. ‘It will be a unique concert,’ explained the
councillor, ‘set in the heart of this natural area.’ The music played will include
well-known pieces from the classical repertoire.
The audience for the concert will be limited to 100 people and you must
collect your invitation from either the Visitors’ reception centre at the park or
from Agamed. It will take place at 10.30pm, a time picked in order that
participants can watch the sunset too.
Paco Martínez is director of the park and considers that an event of this type
is completely compatible with the park’s environment and that it will not
disturb the animals. ‘It will be a harmonious and a soft sound. The animals are
used to much louder noises,’ he explained during the press conference. ‘We
want people to link culture with nature, our goal is that people value the park
more highly.’
Agamed water company are patrons of the Symphonic Orchestra and are
delighted to be involved with the plans. They are very happy with the proposal
as are the members of the orchestra too.
The concert is planned during an important year for the park which is currently
celebrating its 20 th anniversary. ‘It’s a good present for the park,’ said
Councillor Serrano, ‘and for nature lovers.’

Valencian officials shown the traffic problems of Torrevieja

 
Torrevieja was visited on the 14 th July by the Councillor María José Salvador
from the Valencian community government. She is responsible for public
works and property in the community and came to Torrevieja to see the
difficulties experienced on its road network.
The mayor, José Manuel Dolón, outlined the work needed to improve the CV-
95 where it meets the N-332 and the councillor visited the site to see first
hand the difficulties there are. The mayor explained that the current situation
is dangerous and requires an immediate solution.
There are problems not only with congestion itself but the difficulties then that
emergency services face when trying to use this route. Particularly as the
main access to the hospital is also from the N332. During the visit the Guardia
Civil had to make way for an ambulance that was unable to get past. ‘This
isn’t a joke or a political tool,’ explained the mayor. ‘It’s a real need in this
town that has to be resolved.’
The first priority is the widening of the N332. The Generalitat, the Valencian
government, has offered its support to Torrevieja’s campaign for national
government to help with this. The N332 is the responsibility of the Spanish
government in the end and the ministry has been asked to address the day-
to-day problems that people experience who use this stretch of road. The
councillor has pledged to go herself to central government and argue the
case.
Another area for improvement is that of the port in Torrevieja. ‘We will study
the options and look for a solution to ensure the better integration between the
port and the town,’ said the councillor.
However, there were some positive topics of conversation. The councillor was
able to see the works done to the CV-95 at Los Balcones which have resulted
in improvements to pedestrian access and increased safety. ‘This is a priority
for our government,’ said Councillor Salvador. ‘Even more so in an area as
densely populated as this.’ María Salvador was accompanied by the mayor,
Councillor Fanny Serrano and Carlos Domingo. Carlos Domingo is the
director general of public works, transport and mobility.
The works cost the Generalitat €233,000 and have included the reinforcing of
1.50km of the road, improving accessibility for pedestrians and extension of
the pavement in front of the Doña Monse Hotel. The people of Torrevieja will
now be hoping that the success in alleviating difficulties in this area will be
extended to the N332 and that the Spanish government will listen to the
request for help with this project.

Salt tours in Torrevieja

 
On the 3 rd and the 10 th August there will be the first pilot tours of the salt works
in Torrevieja. The councillor for the environment, Fanny Serrano, presented
the proposals with the Director of the Grupo Salins, Emilio Díaz Caneja.
Alongside the tour there will be the opportunity to purchase some products
including bags of salt that are linked to the Parque Natural de La Mata-
Torrevieja.
The tour will include information about how salt is produced in Torrevieja and
includes the marketing of the fine sea salt which is used on the table and the
courser salt that is used for cooking. The design on the packets includes a
picture of the salt mountains and the logo of the Parque Natural.
The intention is to clearly display the link between Torrevieja and the products
as well as the natural park lands and lakes in the area. The salt products will
be displayed and sold in a number of outlets including a number of shops in
Torrevieja.
The production of these items has been taking place at the same time as the
salt company has been developing the idea of guided tours over the past
three years. Finally, the plans are coming to fruition with the trial tours this
August. Councillor Serrano explained; ‘The pilot will take place with two
guided visits in a bus to the salt works in order to demonstrate the process of
salt extraction.’
The bus will leave at 10am from the bus station at the Eras de la Sal and
those who are interested in taking part can register at
visitatorrevieja@salins.com leaving your full name, identity number and a
telephone contact. If you haven’t electronic means of registering then you can
register at the Tourist Office on the Paseo de Vista Alegre in town from
Monday to Friday from 9am until 8pm and on Saturday from 10am until 2pm.
These pilot visits are free.
Díaz hopes to finalise this project in the spring of 2018 and make the visits a
regular part of the salt work schedule. The trial tours on the 3 rd and the 10 th are
to test out what works well and what they need to change. When the visits are
firmed up then they will be conducted using the tourist train. It is expected that
the visits will include a stop at the salt lake and the salt mountains in order to
take in the view. Visitors will also then be able to visit the Centro de
Interpretación de la Industria Salinera where there is a little museum and a
shop dedicated to salt.
The salt company also owns a salt works in France where they operate a
similar tour. It is anticipated that Councillor Serrano might visit this too in order
to see how it works there and see what might be applied equally well in
Torrevieja.
Salt tours in Torrevieja
On the 3 rd and the 10 th August there will be the first pilot tours of the salt works
in Torrevieja. The councillor for the environment, Fanny Serrano, presented
the proposals with the Director of the Grupo Salins, Emilio Díaz Caneja.
Alongside the tour there will be the opportunity to purchase some products
including bags of salt that are linked to the Parque Natural de La Mata-
Torrevieja.
The tour will include information about how salt is produced in Torrevieja and
includes the marketing of the fine sea salt which is used on the table and the
courser salt that is used for cooking. The design on the packets includes a
picture of the salt mountains and the logo of the Parque Natural.
The intention is to clearly display the link between Torrevieja and the products
as well as the natural park lands and lakes in the area. The salt products will
be displayed and sold in a number of outlets including a number of shops in
Torrevieja.
The production of these items has been taking place at the same time as the
salt company has been developing the idea of guided tours over the past
three years. Finally, the plans are coming to fruition with the trial tours this
August. Councillor Serrano explained; ‘The pilot will take place with two
guided visits in a bus to the salt works in order to demonstrate the process of
salt extraction.’
The bus will leave at 10am from the bus station at the Eras de la Sal and
those who are interested in taking part can register at
visitatorrevieja@salins.com leaving your full name, identity number and a
telephone contact. If you haven’t electronic means of registering then you can
register at the Tourist Office on the Paseo de Vista Alegre in town from
Monday to Friday from 9am until 8pm and on Saturday from 10am until 2pm.
These pilot visits are free.
Díaz hopes to finalise this project in the spring of 2018 and make the visits a
regular part of the salt work schedule. The trial tours on the 3 rd and the 10 th are
to test out what works well and what they need to change. When the visits are
firmed up then they will be conducted using the tourist train. It is expected that
the visits will include a stop at the salt lake and the salt mountains in order to
take in the view. Visitors will also then be able to visit the Centro de
Interpretación de la Industria Salinera where there is a little museum and a
shop dedicated to salt.
The salt company also owns a salt works in France where they operate a
similar tour. It is anticipated that Councillor Serrano might visit this too in order
to see how it works there and see what might be applied equally well in
Torrevieja.

Beach drill

It is a huge responsibility being a lifeguard on the beaches of Torrevieja in the
summer. Every year there are fatalities and anyone who has watched them
supervising bathers and swimmers must wonder what would happen if they
had a call out.
Those out on the beach of Los Náufragos on the 12 th July had a chance to
see. The councillor for beaches, Javier Manzanares, went to Los Náufragos
beach to watch the second simulation of the lifeguard service. The rehearsal
was intended to check the efficiency of the procedure to be put into place if a
bather needs rescuing.
The lifeguards were called to attend to someone who had suffered a heart
attack whilst in the water, 100 metres from the shore where the rocks are.
This presented as a difficult area to access for the lifeguards and was chosen
to test their ability to retrieve a person. The person was placed on a jet ski
with a built-in stretcher and taken back to the beach.
On arrival back at shore, the lifeguards had to perform resuscitation using a
defibrillator until the ambulance arrived and were able to take over. After the
‘victim’ was stabilised he was taken to hospital in the ambulance.
‘Last year was the first year that there was an official contract with a lifeguard
service,’ explained the councillor. ‘The company Unión Temporal de
Empresas are providing this service which can continue until 2022. One of the
stipulations of the contract was that there should be on going training of the
life savers and others who are responsible for bathers’ safety.
It is important that there are rehearsals which allow a very accurate trial of
what would happen if this situation did take place. We want to be sure that we
can guarantee that the fifty people engaged in this service are as prepared as
they can be to provide assistance across our beaches from La Mata to Punta
Prima.’

Orihuela Costa cheated again

The Popular Party/Citizens government has announced a programme of investments to be approved in a plenary meeting of the Orihuela Town Council this week. The investments result from the sale of municipally owned land, almost exclusively in Orihuela Costa, before 2005 and in the period 2012-2014. The total is €6.3 million.
The Mayor stated in his announcement that these important investments would respect the agreed distribution of 40 percent for Orihuela Costa, 30 percent each for the city and surrounding villages of Orihuela.
This sounds like good news. However, local political party C.L.A.R.O claims that this is not the case. The formula of 40 percent for Orihuela Costa will only apply to the land sold between 2012 and 2014 for a value of €3.7 million. The land sold before 2005 for a value of €2.6 million will be, in rounded sums, distributed as follows: Orihuela City – €1.36 million which is 52 percent, surrounding villages – € 755,000, 29 percent and Orihuela Costa – € 385,000, just 15 percent.
The so-called sacred formula for Orihuela Costa’s share of investments, agreed by all parties in 2012, with strong support from C.L.A.R.O’s councillor at the time, to compensate for the historic discrimination against Orihuela Costa, with the resulting deficiency in infrastructure and services, is being completely ignored.
This should not be a surprise to those living in Orihuela Costa. A package of so-called “priority investments” for €1.3 million announced in May, allocated Orihuela Costa with the derisory amount of €57,000, equal to 1.3%.
Discrimination is one thing Orihuela Costa is used to. The coast contributes something like 60 percent of the total revenue of the municipality and receives in return less than 10 percent of expenditure.
A C.L.A.R.O spokesperson said: “To pretend that the governing Popular and Citizens parties are respecting the agreed formula of 40 percent of investments for Orihuela Costa is shameful deception. It is equally shameful that municipally owned land in Orihuela Costa was sold to developers for house building when more houses are not needed and will only lead to a greater number of people sharing the existing inadequate services and infrastructure.”
As to the investment projects themselves, Orihuela Costa will have nothing to compare to the major project to convert the concrete cover over the high speed rail lines in Orihuela city into a leisure and green area at a cost of over €1.5million. The investment money coming to Orihuela Costa will be spent mainly on upgrading streets and pavements and parks and gardens. A strong argument can be made that this expenditure should not be regarded as investment but should instead come from the normal budget for maintenance. After decades of neglect instead of proper maintenance, this new money will amount to no more than a drop in the ocean.
 
Walkway
Around €500,000 will go towards improving the coastal walkway between Cala Capitan and Cabo Roig. No one can question that this is necessary; part of this coastal walkway was closed for 4 years because of the danger to pedestrians from falling rocks. A considerable sum has just been spent to prevent future rock falls. C.L.A.R.O and other associations on the coast will be watching carefully to see that the €500,000 is additional money and results in real improvements.
It is bad news that the principle of a 40 percent share of Orihuela Costa in investments is not being fully respected by the PP/Ciudadanos government.   It is even worse that the government parties are claiming that they are doing so while, in fact, they are slicing and dicing the principle and in the process, merrily cheating Orihuela Costa out of its rightful and necessary share of municipal investments.

Alternative festival

The Alternative Festival (Alternative Fest) will be celebrated for the first time in Torrevieja on the 5 th August. Information about this new event was presented
at a press conference and the festival has been organised by the department
of youth. It will take place in las Eras de la Sal between 5pm and 1.30am the
next day.
There will be workshops, creative activities, music, raffles, food and a
programme of activities and events for all the family. One of the children’s
workshops will be making instruments from recycled materials and these will
later be played in a concert.
The groups who will be playing include El Seko Band, Dr. Falma and La
Bongo and the Cuban Rxnda Akozta will also be taking part. It will cost nine
euros for a ticket but this also includes something to eat and a donation of one
euro to la Red Solidaria Popular. Children under 12 can go for free.Tickets
can be obtained from Origami art Tatoo (Orihuela Costa), Monroe’s Music
Pub (Torrevieja), Pub Labohémia (Guardamar). More information is also
available on Facebook.

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