Category: Local

Kolted guitars stolen

Popular rock band Kolted were devastated this week when the band’s van was broken into and a number of valuable instruments stolen. At the time of the robbery, the band were playing a regular live gig in the Flamenca Beach Commercial Centre in Playa Flamenca. A spokesperson for the band told the Costa Blanca People, “They must have known what they were looking for – the windows of the van were smashed and they took very specific instruments. We were playing a gig at the time, so it is clear they knew that the van would be unattended.”
The incident occurred on Thursday night and the band are appealing for eyewitnesses who may have been in the vicinity of Playa Flamenca between the hours of 10pm and 1.30am when they believe the robbery took place.
The instruments stolen included a valuable Limited Edition Gibson Les Paul guitar (in pine with KOLTED printed on the front), a Sigma semi acoustic guitar and an Ibanez Special Edition bass guitar.
The police are looking into the robbery and fans of the band have been frantically sharing an appeal on social media in a bid to have the instruments returned. It is hoped that the distinctive nature of the instruments will prevent their resale on the black market but these hardworking local musicians just want their guitars returned.
The robbery comes as a huge blow as the band has just released its official music video for new single, Times Two.
If anyone has information about the robbery or the whereabouts of the stolen instruments, please contact the band on + 34 603 386 402.

Fatal hit and run in Torrevieja

A 66 year old Russian cyclist lost his life in a fatal hit and run which took place in Torrevieja on Tuesday last. The incident took place shortly before 4pm just before the northbound exit for the ‘Park of Nations’. The car allegedly involved in the incident was driven by a 33 year old British man.
Medical crews arrived at the scene but were unable to do anything to save the man’s life, having been thrown several metres by the impact of the car, his injuries are thought to have proved fatal. An autopsy will be carried out to determine the cause of death.
The driver later handed himself in at Rojales police station. His car is believed to have evidence of damage to the front window.
The incident occurred in a notorious black spot for accidents and congestion with a large volume of traffic throughout the year and especially in July when huge tailbacks are often witnessed. Overtaking is not allowed with a continuous double line indicating so, which runs for eight kilometres along the stretch of road. The fatal accident took place a few meters from a section considered a ‘black point’ due to the frequency of serious accidents by the Ministry of Public Works.

BIG SUMMER CLEANUP BEGINS IN TORREVIEJA

The Mayor of Torrevieja, Eduado Dolón, has announced the commencement of a big cleanup operation which is being rolled out across the town this week. The plan sees 23 new workers hired and special equipment acquired to undertake the cleaning works, with a budget of €117,000.
The move comes as a response to citizen complaints about the lack of urban cleansing, claims Councillor for Sanitation, Parks and Gardens, Carmen Gómez Candel. The cleanup operation began on July 3rd and will continue until around the end of August.
As part of the plan, roads and pavements will be cleansed, weeds removed and weedkiller sprayed. Bins will be washed and fly tipping spots will be cleaned up. 30 glass recycling bins will be replaced.
The areas to be cleaned will be as follows…
1st AREA: El Chaparral, La Siesta and San Luis.
2nd AREA: El Limonar, El Salado and Altos del Limonar.
3rd AREA: Torreta III, Torreta II and Torreta-Florida.
4th AREA: Lago Jardin, Los Balcones, Los Altos, La Veleta, Mar Azul and Punta Prima.
5th AREA: Aguas Nuevas, Calas Blancas, Torreblanca, Los Frutales and Villasol.
The Mayor also annoucnesd that while the cleanup plan is being rolled out through the above urbanisations, work is also being undertaken to clean the city centre.
Councillor Gómez also referred to the problem of abandoned cars and was keen to remind readers that there is a citizens phone number which residents can phone to report abandoned vehicles: 966 70 23 90 (Spanish).

N332 honoured with party invite

Founder of the N332 Facebook page, Francisco Morales, was honoured guest at a party in the British Embassy in Madrid. Guardia Civil traffic officer Morales was among guests invited to the Embassy to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. Francisco told the Costa Blanca People, “We were invited in recognition of the service we provide to the British Community.”
The N332 Facebook page and related website, N332.es, provides information on driving in Spain to help foreigners stay safe on the roads. With many rules and regulations different to those of our home nations, the information provided by the N332 group has proved useful to many road users here – including the 128,000 people that follow the page on Facebook.
At the party, both the British Ambassador, Simon Manley and the Congressional spokesperson for Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas, commended the N332 project and the recognition that it has now achieved by the DGT, Spain’s transport authority.

Second heatwave on the way

A second heatwave is due to hit the Alicante province, driving temperatures up to 40 degrees. The mercury hit 36 in Alicante on Sunday with temperatures in Rojales reaching 34 – although with the humidity factor the ‘real feel’ was higher still. Monday saw some reprieve from the severe heat with a slight drop in temperatures and for the most part of this coming week, the heat should be typical for July. However, a second heatwave is due to descend on Friday.
Director of the Climatology Lab at Alicante University, Jorge Olcina warned that the second heatwave, due to manifest on Friday July 5th, will affect the entire Alicante province and temperatures throughout the weekend will be exceptionally high. So, until Thursday, maximum temperatures predicted for the Alicante province are 29 degrees on the coast and 31 inland. On Friday however, these figures will shoot up to 35 degrees in seaside towns and as high as 39 inland. Moreover, according to the Climatology Lab’s weather models, we can expect temperatures of 42 degrees in places of the Vega Baja.
Experts say that the second heatwave will not last as long as the one we have just experienced, but the heat will be “especially intense”. According to Sr. Olcina a wave of Saharan air will blow across the peninsula and bringa very warm, dry air mass from Africa over to Alicante and Murcia.
Olcina also warned that these bursts of heat will cause the area to become very hot over the coming weeks so another risk factor to consider are torrential rains – not necessarily immediately, but in the long term.
Murica man one of several heat related deaths
Two people have already died from heatstroke in Spain and two more have been hospitalised.
Locally, a 45-year-old farmer was admitted in a serious condition with heatstroke symptoms in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Murcia, and a fire fighter from the Catalan Fire Department has also been taken to hospital after suffering from heatstroke while fighting the wildfire in La Ribera d’Ebre in Tarragona.
A 17-year-old man died in the early hours of Friday morning in a hospital in Córdoba after being admitted for heatstroke, according to the regional health department. The man was working outside when he began to feel dizzy. He jumped into the pool on the rural property to cool down but when he got out he began to suffer convulsions. The 17-year-old was taken to the Reina Sofía Hospital in Córdoba and died after CPR failed to revive him.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, an 80-year-old man died from a possible case of heatstroke in Valladolid. The elderly man died a little before 5.50pm at a street intersection in the city. Emergency services rushed to the spot but when they arrived there was little they could do as the man had already passed away.

Jacksons concert to go ahead as planned

Following claims that permission had been withdrawn for the use of the Eras de la Sal venue for the forthcoming Jacksons concert in Torrevieja, the promoter has now revealed that the concert will be going ahead as planned. John Khan of Heatwave Promotions told the Costa Blanca People, “The concert is 100 percent going ahead at the original venue, Eras de la Sal, on August 9th.”
Commenting on the claims made that the concert would be cancelled, John said “The issue was firstly that we had permission to use the venue – this was granted on March 14th. We then have to wait for a period of time to put in place the correct paperwork and on the day of the concert, the final inspection takes place and we are issued with the final licence. This is the way we have done it for the last ten years without ever having any problem. The Councillor, Fanny Serrano, announced that she was cancelling our use of the venue because we had started advertising without the permission in place and that we did not have initial permission which was not at all the case. She announced this claim two weeks before notifying us which I believe should have been her first action – some sort of official notification to withdraw our permission. In any case, we appealed against her claim and had permission reinstated again on June 21st. As is usually the case – even in concerts featuring megastars, tickets are sold with the small print ‘subject to licence’ as the authorities often inspect the venue the same day in order to issue final paperwork.”
In response to claims that the concert could have been cancelled, John was keen to clarify matters, saying “I want to be clear that the concert was never cancelled and we had contingency plans in place to move the venue to Alicante or the Murcia Bull Ring if necessary. Had we needed to do this, existing ticket holders would have been offered free transport to and from the new venue. Thankfully though, we did not need to go down that road.”
John continued, “We are a responsible promoter and have, for over ten years, always had the interests of our clients first and foremost.”
So, with the good news that the venue remains in place as the beautiful open air theatre, Eras de la Sal in Torrevieja, fans will be glad to know that there are some tickets still remaining to see the legendary Jacksons in concert. Tickets are being sold via ticketmaster, El Corte Inglés, all Correos (post office) outlets and also via the promoter’s own website www.heatwavepromotions.com and the ticket hotline numbers 0034629056720/0034663385757.

Flying the flag on Orihuela Costa

The Mayor of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana, has participated in the official raising of the Blue Flags and the Q Quality Flags on the beaches of Orihuela.
“This year we have retained the 11 Blue Flags and the 5 Quality Q Flags that we achieved in 2018. These awards raise the prestige of our beaches and speak for themselves. We have to continue taking care of our beaches, promoting tourism and putting Orihuela in the national and international spotlight, “said Mayor Bascuñana.
At the event, which took place at the Playa La Glea in Campoamor, the Mayor was accompanied by Rafael Almagro and Sabina-Goretti Galindo, from the Government team and by local councillors Luisa Boné and Ángel Noguera. The parish head of Campoamor, Raúl Fernández was also present.
Orihuela has once again obtained the eleven Blue Flags on all its beaches and the Nautical Club Dehesa de Campoamor has achieved an additional flags. The beaches are: Punta Prima, Cala Bosque, La Caleta, Cala Capitán, Aguamarina, Campoamor, Rubio Ravine, Cala Estaca, Cala Mosca, Cala Cerrada and Mil Palmeras.
Emilio Bascuñana explained that: “Orihuela is the municipality of the Valencian Community with the largest number of Blue Flags, and the second in Spain, something that demonstrates the clear commitment of our city to the coast. The city heritage and the beautiful beaches makes our municipality most attractive to tourists.”
The Blue Flag is an annual award and a system of environmental quality certification developed by FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education). It promotes and rewards participation in voluntary environmental initiatives by municipal authorities, the local and visitor population and agents of the tourism sector. The organisation takes into account several criteria including: quality of bathing water, information and environmental education, environmental management and security, services and facilities.
In order for a beach or a marina to achieve a Q Flag it must carry out an audit that analyz¡ses the equipment for public use, the cleaning services and the collection of waste, the safety, rescue and first aid facilities, information services for tourists, access to bathing, hygiene services and leisure establishments.

Arsonists believed responsible for Elche palm attacks

Thousands of date palms have been burnt in UNESCO World Heritage orchards in Elche. Thousands of palm trees were scorched in four separate orchards during the early hours of Saturday morning, according to Alicante’s Provincial Consortium of Fire fighters.
The first fire was reported around 0.50am, in a palm orchard in La Hoya. Later, at around 2.25am, there was a second fire in palm orchard near Algorós. Minutes later, another garden had started to burn, this time next to the CV-856 at the 1km mark. Finally, at 6 o’clock in the morning, a fourth fire was reported next to the CV-851 at the 2km mark.
A total of 25 fire fighters from the Provincial Consortium arrived from Elche, Crevillent, San Vicente and Almoradí to put out the blaze, alongside a six-strong unit of forest fire fighters.
The Palmeral of Elche has close to 200,000 date palm trees, covering 3.5 sq km. It is the only palm grove in Europe, and palmeros still honour agricultural traditions passed down from the Moorish civilisation.
Initial signs reportedly indicate the fires were intentional. The Local Police of Elche, together with the Fire Department and the National Police have announced that an investigation has been opened to clarify the causes.

Heatwave claims lives

Spain’s soaring temperatures continue with severe hot weather across most of the country set to remain over the weekend. Two people have died and another is fighting for life as a direct result of the searing heat.
Temperatures are said to reach up to 42 degrees in parts and already the heat has claimed at least two lives. A 17 year old died in the early hours of Friday morning in Cordoba. He is believed to have suffered heat exhaustion while working outside. Officials said the youngster collapsed after feeling dizzy and jumping into the pool at the property where he was working.
The regional Junta de Andalucia government said it “regretted the youngster’s death and sent its condolences to his family and friends for their loss” in a statement.
The death of an 80-year-old man in Valladolid, northern Spain, has also been blamed on the extreme temperatures. The man had been walking to a dental appointment when he collapsed at around 6pm on Thursday. Police sources said they believed he had been wearing too many clothes for the 37 degrees temperature at the time.
Meanwhile, fire crews are battling a major wildfire that probably started after a heap of manure self-ignited amid the intense European heat wave.
Around 10,000 acres of forest and other vegetation were affected by the blaze near Tarragona, according to the Catalan regional government.
Authorities said the fire likely began when an “improperly managed” pile of manure self-combusted in the heat, causing sparks.

Cabo Roig business owners want illegal traders out

Business owners in Cabo Roig, particularly those on the area known as ‘The Strip’ are calling on the police and local councillors to help rid them of illegal traders who set up wares on the pavements and terraces harassing tourists and general making the area look inhospitable. The ‘Looky Looky’ men have become the scourge of the area and refuse to move even when asked to do so by the business owners.
One owner said: “Last night there were 57 of them, with blankets on the streets and more of them walking around with handbags, hats and sunglasses for sale. We also believe that they could even be selling drugs and want the police to come and clear them from the area once and for all.”
However, the bar, restaurant and business owners claim that despite calling the police on several occasions nothing is ever done, in fact the police don’t even come to the area to see what the situation is and if they do turn a blind eye and don’t make any arrests.
Another owner said: “These traders are illegal. If we call the police to report illegal selling, you would think that they would respond but they aren’t bothered.”
Owners claim that if confronted the illegal traders get aggressive and have even physically attacked owners who try and remove them from their terraces. Legal owners believe that this is already affecting their businesses and will have even more impact on profits through July and August if families are put off and keep away. Many of the legal businesses in Cabo Roig, which, unlike the illegal traders, are contributing to the national economy, employing staff and paying their taxes, are concerned that if the problem is not dealt with as a matter of urgency there will be a lot of establishments closing at the end of the season and they won’t be reopening.
Hassle
The Looky Looky men block the pavements and even hassle families and couples eating meals on terraces. Whilst other areas seem to be tackling the issue, the powers that be in Orihuela Costa are not. Pilar de la Horadada and Torrevieja have run specific clean-up campaigns over recent years dedicated to getting counterfeit goods off their streets and to curb the numbers of Looky Looky men. Unfortunately, this means these dodgy dealers are now plying their counterfeit goods on The Strip because they know they can get away with it. It seems that all of the Looky Looky men moved on from surrounding areas are now dealing knock-off trainers, t-shirts and designer goods in Cabo Roig.
Given the lack of action by the authorities local business owners have this week set up a Business Association for Cabo Roig and are demanding that something is done to address the despicable situation. They are calling for police and politicians to take back control of the area and restore it to the tourist hot-spot and family friendly area it always has been.

Winners of the ‘ephemeral’ architecture award

The councillor for commerce, Manuela Osuna, has announced the winners of the project ‘Ephemeral Architecture’ which saw students from Alicante University decorating 15 shops around the town centre. This is the second year that the competition has taken place and their designs have brightened up many shop windows and interiors.
The first prize was awarded to ‘Holo’ which was installed in Óptica Chantal, this group of students, led by María Antón Ripoll, picked up the €500 prize money. Their work included a tapestry showing aspects of the salt industry.
The second prize, worth €350, was picked up by a team led by Pascuel Abel Escorza who decorated the front of Nichi Seijo as well as areas inside. Their work was entitled ‘Shine’ and played on reflection and light.
The third prize went to the team led by Laura Lizcano and entitled ‘Reality’. This was placed in an Óptica Mar outlet and is an image linked to the Eras de la Sal. This team has won €250.
Around 46 students were involved altogether in creating designs inspired by the salt lakes. The students were organised into 15 groups and had four months to put the designs together with the final work being judged by a jury.

The ongoing story of rubbish collection

Once more the rubbish collection contract is in the news. For the past four years the local government in Torrevieja has struggled to find a solution that’s both good value and contracted correctly. The subject is always in and out of the papers in Torrevieja and in Orihuela Costa. The reason, is that collecting and disposing of refuse commands big money, around 16 million euros a year.
As the four party council is in its last weeks of government it is making one last attempt to put this issue to sleep. Torrevieja Town Council is planning to tender the waste collection contract, street cleaning and beach cleaning before the hand over to the next government on May 26th. The specifications for putting the contract to tender have more or less been in place since the beginning of 2017. However, the minority position of the four-party councillors has meant that they have been unable to pursue their wish to have a correctly contracted cleaning service.
Now, however, we are told that they no longer need the agreement of the majority of the councillors including those in opposition, and that they can go ahead with the agreement of governing councillors only. If this is passed then the publication of the details of the contract can take place and the process can begin.
The current cleaning service is carried out by Acciona. They have done so without a contract since June 2016. Their contract was originally first awarded in 2004 and was guaranteed for ten years. After the 10 years expired it was extended for another two years. However, the four-party government team has always had in mind to put the contract out to tender again and take over control of its management. Without having a clear majority, this has proved impossible to do.
Many people are unhappy with the current cleaning service. People complain both in the urbanisations and the town centre itself. There are concerns about insufficient containers, lack of litter bins and the use of old and outdated machinery. Certainly the need to look afresh at how the contract is carried out and the stock of trucks involved is evident.
The new contract will require environmental quality certificates and the electric operation of auxiliary vehicles. The government wants the collection to be done through a lateral loading system and street washing to be extended beyond a few areas in the very centre of the town.
The former mayor of Torrevieja and PP councillor Pedro Hernández Mateo.was imprisoned for three years for falsifying documents and had another 11 years of disqualification from public office imposed. The fraudulent awarding of the 2004 contract to Acciona was at the centre of his conviction. With such big money involved it is surely time to have a clear, transparent tendering and contracting process in place.

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