Category: Local

Orihuela Patron celebrations

It’s fiesta time in Orihuela as the municipality prepares to honour its patron saint, the Virgin of Monserrate. The celebrations include a full schedule of entertainment featuring a variety of fun performances and musical concerts.
The Councillor for Festivities, Mariola Rocamora, has detailed the entire programming lined up for the traditional festivities which will run from Thursday 6th to Sunday 16th September. Whilst announcing the programme of events, the Councillor was accompanied by Paco Serna, vice president of the Archconfraternity of the Virgin of Monserrate, who was in charge of ensuring the liturgical and religious events are at the centre of the celebrations.
The event began on Thursday with a mass at 8pm, which has been celebrated by the residents of the Rabaloche for the last 10 years, this was followed by the transfer of the icon from its Sanctuary to the Cathedral of El Salvador and an evening serenade concert. The events continued over the weekend and this week, on Wednesday the 12th, the programme resumes with the representation of the children’s musical concert “La bruja Eloise”, which will take place in the Ramón Sijé square starting at 9:30pm, with an evening of fun theatre and music for the whole family.
On Thursday 13th September at 9:30pm, also in the Ramón Sijé square, a concert will be given by the Orihuela-based “Troupers Swing Band” combining their own songs with versions of swing and rockabilly.
On Saturday, 15th September, there will be the traditional ‘besamanto’ of the Virgin of Monserrate, taking place from 10am to 2pm and from 6pm, “where the Association of Agronomist Engineers of Orihuela will celebrate the Virgin from 12.00 noon.
The celebrations will finish with a spectacular fireworks display which marks the Virgin Monserrate’s transfer back to her sanctuary on Sunday 16th September at 8pm just after the final mass of the fiesta, which starts at 7pm which will be presided over by Jesús Murgui, Bishop of the Diocese of Orihuela-Alicante.
All residents from across the municipality and beyond are invited to celebrate this fiesta of honour, as Orihuela´s patron is once more given the tribute she deserves, before resting for another year.
History
The Virgin of Montserrat, popularly known as La Moreneta, is also the patron saint of Catalonia. Our Lady of Montserrat or the Virgin of Montserrat is a Marian title associated with a venerated statue of the Madonna and Child venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery on the Montserrat Mountain in Catalonia, Spain.
The famed image once bore the inscription ”Negra Sum Sed Formosa” which translates from Latin as: I am Black, but Beautiful.
Pope Leo XIII granted the image a Canonical coronation on 11 September 1881. The image is one of the Black Madonnas of Europe, hence its familiar Catalan name, La Moreneta (“the little dark-skinned one” or “the little dark one”). Believed by some to have been carved in Jerusalem in the early days of the Church. However, it is more likely a Romanesque sculpture in wood from the late 12th century.
An 18th century polychromed statue of the same image is also displayed in Saint Peter’s basilica, previously stored in the Vatican Museums which was gifted by the President of Brazil, Joao Goulart on the Papal election of Pope Paul VI in 1963. The image has been on display for Papal masses since the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI.

Symphony orchestra programme 2018-2019

Symphony orchestra programme 2018-2019
Torrevieja Symphony Orchestra (OST) presented their annual programme for the year 2018-19 to the press. This year will be the 10th anniversary of the orchestra and will include six concerts with European artists and four concerts of Chamber Music. A book has also been produced that summarises the history of the past decade for the orchestra and will be presented on the 24th October to the public.
The classic performances will begin with the music of Tchaikovsky and Dvorak on 27th October. On 2nd December there will be a soloist flute performance by Jordi López who will play an interpretation of Mozart and Schubert. There will be two concerts to celebrate the new year and the Christmas Kings on 5th and 6th January. This will include waltzes, polkas and Spanish music. On 2nd March a concert will be held in honour of the Nordic audience with the music of Grieg.
In the spring, the OST has prepared a concert of popular movie sound tracks such as Out of Africa, Jurassic Park, Gladiator and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The spring programme will conclude with Spanish music on 11th May.
Director, José Francisco Sánchez, took time to thank the board of directors who have helped the orchestra to grow from a chamber group to the orchestra it is now. ‘I always had the goal of filling the International Auditorium,’ he explained. ‘That dream has been fulfilled with more than 20 concerts being held this year.’
The OST’s performances at the International Auditorium have proved to be particularly popular with residents from many different countries including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Sweden as well as amongst those resident torrevejenses who are now taking up the opportunity to make the most of the auditorium on the hill.
Along with the OST programme there will also be four concerts of Chamber Music that will be held in the Auditorium chamber room. This room has 420 seats altogether. The cost of this is reasonable at only eight euros entry for the general public and seven euros for those who are members.
The violinist, Stanislav Tkach outlined the dates for the four Chamber Music concerts and said that throughout his travels to 22 different countries he had never met such a welcoming audience. The performances will begin on 15th September at 8pm and the first one will include a selection of Beethoven and Shostakovich.
The second concert includes compositions by Mozart and will take place on 26th January. The third is scheduled for 20th April and will celebrate Holy Week with the music of Handel, Vivaldi and Bach. The last concert will be on 8th June and will include interpretations of Mozart and Haydn.
The president also pointed out that this year there will be a bus service up to the auditorium with pick up from the Eras de la Sal, the Hotel Fontana and the BP petrol station in town. A service that’s believed to be particularly useful for pensioners and those who live further away.Anyone wishing to buy tickets for the concerts can do so between 10am and 1pm and from 5pm and 7pm at calle Vicente Blasco Ibáñez number 23.

Bullying and harassment in the police force

This is the third time that that the local police force in Torrevieja has been investigated for the possibility of bullying at work. This time the court number 1 in Elche has criticised the previous administration at the town hall for its involvement.
The bullying and harassment of a Local Police officer is thought to have been going on for years. Now, the victim has been awarded €95,816 in damages for psychological difficulties resulting from the continued behaviour of his colleagues.
The court accused the town hall of not intervening in the bullying at any time during its jurisdiction. It is claimed that councillors were aware of the situation due to the number of denuncias that had been made about it.
The police officer began working in 2010 and recognised that there were irregularities in the control of cash that was being collected from fines. He also realised that there were frequent inspections of some leisure facilities whilst others remained unchecked even though there were bad reports about them.
The police officer, along with two colleagues, reported the incidents and following this his persecution began. It included changing shifts without warning, being denied holidays, having to carry out numerous shifts without a break and word being spread to the traffic division that he should no longer drive.
The officer was denied extra pay, received humiliating correspondence and was subjected to degrading situations. He was insulted on almost a daily basis and in front of everyone but no one did anything. The investigating magistrate said that those complicit with the crime, including councillors and inspectors, tried to justify their approach but statements were contradictory to the evidence given by others.
The two police chiefs accused of this crime have already been convicted for workplace harassment twice before. In these cases compensation had to paid out of €48,500 and €23,450.

British men seriously injured in stabbing

Two British men were left seriously injured after an attack in Torrevieja. The two men were stabbed during a fight which happened early Thursday morning. The fight took place in the San Luis/ El Chaparral urbanisation when the English confronted some individuals of Romanian nationality. The injured were taken to Torrevieja hospital for surgery.
It is believed that the origin of the dispute began at 1am in a bar on calle Rodrigo. For reasons unknown, a fight started and punches were thrown. Later the Romanians are believed to have returned to the area this time with knives.
During the attack two British men were stabbed, one of around 60 years old was stabbed in the back and in the thorax and the other of around 30 years old received a stab wound in the left armpit near his heart. The wounds led to the loss of a great amount of blood as could be seen in the street where the stabbing took place.
The incident was attended by the Local Police and the Guardia Civil as well as two SAMU units and an ambulance. The men were treated at the spot and then transferred to the hospital. News from the hospital confirmed that the men were operated on after being admitted into A & E. It is believed that they are now out of danger and are stable but will remain in hospital due to the severity of their injuries.
It is believed that one of the attackers lost his mobile during the incident and this has now been retrieved by the police who have been able to identify him. The man is now being sought by the Guardia Civil who are leading the investigation.

School year dates released

The dates for the Alicante province have now been released for the new
school year. Hopefully students should already know that:
 Primary schools in Alicante city begin on 7 th September
 All other schools in Alicante Province begin on 10 th September
If you have a child in a school in Torrevieja or Orihuela and surrounding towns
then they should have their bags and equipment ready for Monday 10 th
September. For children starting at primary schools, classes will only be from
9am until 1pm for the month of September. The full school day resumes from
October until May. June again reverts to a 1pm closing.
Public holidays in Alicante Province mean that the terms will be:
First term (Autumn term)
Monday 10 th September until Friday 21 st December (inclusive)
Schools will be closed for bank holidays:
 9 th October (Valencia Day)
 12 th October (Spain Day)
 1 st November (All Saints Day)
 6 th December (Day of the Constitution)
Second term (Spring term)
Monday 7 th January until Wednesday17 th April (inclusive)
Schools will be closed for bank holidays:
 19 th March (San José Day, Father’s Day)
Third term (Summer term)
Primary schools: Tuesday 30 th April until Thursday 20 th June (inclusive)
Secondary schools: Tuesday 30 th April until Tuesday 18 th June (inclusive)
Schools will be closed for bank holidays:
 1 st May (Workers Day)
Although these dates are the ones currently released for the Alicante Province
be aware that there will be some additional ones to follow that are determined
locally. At least though parents across the province can start planning their
year.

Does the Eras de la Sal need a licence too?

The subject of opening and activity licences in Torrevieja continues. Now it’s
the Eras de la Sal that’s in the spotlight. The Eras de la Sal is the old part of
town where many concerts and outdoor events take place, including the
international Habaneras choral competition.
There now seems to be uncertainty as to whether the area has the necessary
activity licence to host the events that it currently does. The use of the Eras de
la Sal has become particularly important as the previous location for many
events, the Municipal Theatre, remains closed.
According to a report from the town planning department, a license is
necessary and currently is not in place. The activity licence guarantees that a
public show has the minimum safety and evacuation measures along with the
correct insurance, medical cover and private security. This applies whoever
the show is organised by, whether it is a private company or a town hall
project.
The delay in the performance of La Unión and the cancellation of the Luz
Casal concerts are believed to have been linked to this controversy. With
more concerts to come, including that of Kiko Veneno and Los Secretos on
Friday, it is hoped that the confusion is rectified soon.

Agamed and the town hall working together

Monday 27 th August saw representatives from the town hall and Agamed, the
local water board, coming together, to look at the ways in which they can work
for the improvement of the town. Present at the meeting was the Councillor for
the environment, Fanny Serrano, the managing director of Agamed, José
Manuel Nadal and biologists Jesús Sánchez and Juan Antonio Pujol.
The meeting began with a review of the projects that have been developed
and carried out in previous years. Consideration was given to existing
programmes and how they might be continued and developed. This has been
a beneficial collaboration that is entering a more formal phase.
One area where it is agreed that more work should be done is in that of
education. ‘We need to carry out more environmental education activities,’
explained Councillor Serrano. ‘This is an area for development particularly
when it comes to work in schools. The youngest in our community need to
learn how to use water in a sustainable way.’
In July a campaign had been carried out to advertise the fact that you can
drink the water locally. Tasting sessions were held in La Mata weekly market
and in the Avenida de Los Marineros close to the tourist information point.
The idea was to encourage people to taste the water and see that it need not
taste of chlorine. This is an environmentally friendly project as the use of
plastic bottles in drinking water production is a major source of concern.
‘We will organise new tasting to continue informing the public of the quality of
the drinking water,’ José Manuel Nadal said at the meeting. Other planned
activities include an environmental and tourism event in the natural parks.
‘Music in the Park’ will take place featuring members of the Torrevieja
Symphony Orchestra by the end of September.
Other plans include the re-vegetation of the area around the water mill and
the replanting and preservation of rare species around the natural park. There
have already been a number of activities involving the removal of invasive
species and these are set to continue.
‘We have been collaborating on environmental matters since our local
government was formed,’ said Councillor Serrano. ‘We have now entered into
a formal agreement that will underpin our joint efforts in preserving and
improving the environment.’

HELP Vega Baja aims for ‘green bags’

Following new legislation that shops, including charity shops, must charge customers for
plastic bags, HELP Vega Baja thought they would look for an alternative solution. After
looking for sponsorship, President Michele Masson met up with the José Miguel Perez from
Grupo ASV and discovered that both organisations wanted to do what they could to help
the environment.
“We are keen to do what we can to not only help keep costs down for the charity but to
consider the environment too. When we met with José it was wonderful to hear that he
shared the same views and we agreed to work together to produce carrier bags made of
paper! Grupo ASV covered the cost of the bags and we were delighted to take delivery of
1,000 bags last week.”
As charities have to now charge for plastic bags the situation can be a little crazy. For
example, we have heard from other charities that in some cases customers insist on new
bags as they are paying for them, rather than accept used bags that are often donated to
charities. Sadly this could lead to charities having to purchase plastic bags, which obviously
negates the whole benefit of the legislation.
The sponsorship and support we received from Grupo ASV has been terrific and the bags are
now available in the Help Vega Baja shop in San Miguel. The charity is still asking that
customers bring along their own bags when shopping and that any donations for the paper
bags will go towards future stocks. The aim of the charity is to go completely “plastic free”
for bags and it is working towards this.
Help is a registered charity which helps people of all ages with all sorts of problems within
the Vega Baja area from La Marina to Pilar de la Horadada. It has a centre at San Miguel de
Salinas which includes a charity shop and a hire centre for mobility equipment and a
helpdesk in La Marina. Each supplies a wide range of information and advice to members
and non-members alike. Typical enquiries include questions on residence, health care,
driving, bereavement, wills, burglaries and much more. If the answer to a problem is not
known immediately, every effort is made to obtain the appropriate information. 
The charity has the support of a hospital visiting team which visits the Vega Baja Hospital
and is also able to send a visitor to Torrevieja hospital upon request. Help has a welfare
officer who is able to offer advice and assistance. All requests for any of these services
should be made via the San Miguel centre.
If you would like to find out more about sponsoring HELP Vega Baja with any of their
projects (bags, leaflets, posters etc), volunteering or if you have a group and you would like
the team to come along to give a talk on the charity, please contact their San Miguel Centre
on 966 723 733 or Michele Masson direct on president@helpvegabaja.com or 661365606

Rotary Club helps Ukrainian children

The Rotary Club of Torrevieja has put in a request for donations to help 13
children who are victims of the troubles in Eastern Ukraine. The children have
been brought by the club to Torrevieja to have a holiday away from the
problems in their homeland.
The children have all lost close family members in the conflict or come from
families who are struggling to survive without basic necessities. They were
selected and brought to Torrevieja in conjunction with ‘Global Christian
Support’. Now, during their stay in Torrevieja, they have been given
opportunities to enjoy different activities and to be children.
The children originate from Kramatorsk, Donetsk, Slavyansk and Avdeevka
and are all between the ages of three and 11. Their families are without the
basic necessities and the Rotary Club has also been asking for support in
providing them with these basics for when they return to their home country.

Volunteers and homes wanted

Torrevieja’s animal shelter (Albergue Municipal de Animales) is urgently
seeking homes and volunteers to help lost and abandoned cats. There are
dozens of beautiful domestic cats and kittens in the shelter waiting for
adoption but not enough people are coming forward to adopt them.
‘We do everything we can to care for the cats and kittens,’ says Councillor
Carmen Morate, ‘but shelter life can be distressing for them so we really do
need more people to come forward and adopt now.’
Most of the adult cats were pets but because of different circumstances they
have ended up in the shelter. Many crave human attention and anyone taking
them home would be rewarded with an affectionate pet. Alongside the adult
cats there are many kittens that are desperate for a home. They are young
and will bond very quickly with a new family.
People are usually aware that the shelter takes in dogs but may be less aware
that it’s also the home to a number of abandoned cats. This may be
contributing to the lack of adoptions and it is hoped that word can be spread
that homes for cats are desperately needed too.
Volunteers
It’s not only homes that are needed. The shelter also urgently requires
volunteers to help care for the cats whilst they are waiting. They need
volunteers to clean the cat area and feed them. They also need someone to
spend time with them, keeping them socialised and ensuring that they are
ready for adoption when the right person comes around.
If you think you can help out, either by adopting or volunteering, then please
visit the shelter between 10am and 2pm from Monday to Friday or between
9am and 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The Albergue (shelter) is in
Avenida Los Nénufares, which is just off the CV905 close to the Habaneras
commercial centre. It is now signed posted, Albergue, from the slip road just
before the local police station.
Further information and details of lost and abandoned animals can also be
found on the Facebook site Concejalia de Proteccion Animal de Torrevieja.

Private motor home park to be opened

The mayor, José Manuel Dolón, has made the announcement that a decree from the Valencian community does regulate the parking of motorhomes on public land. Until now, this particular law does not appear to have been acted upon. However, the intention seems to be that it will be in future. The regional law states that vans should not remain in the same public place for more than 48 hours. In fact, the mayor suggests, it should be less than this where there are no services available to accommodate the vans.
At the moment campervans and other types of motor homes are scattered at different points across the town, often frontline to the sea. They can be seen in the coves between the beaches of Los Locos and Torre del Moro and next to Cala Piteras. The official line now seems to be that the law must be complied with and that we can expect those staying longer than their welcome to be moved along.
At the same time it has been announced that an individual has got the go ahead to process their application to construct a private motor home park in the urbanisation La Veleta. Plans are already underway to convert the area, which should begin in October. The town council is expecting that there will be some opposition to the scheme as announced in the paper Informacion.

Police torture trial continues

The trial of five police officers from Torrevieja has continued in Elche with further revelations. Now, recordings from phone calls made at the time, present new evidence to support the allegations of torture.
The alleged mistreatment of the two detainees happened in 2006. One of those arrested had two broken ribs when taken to the hospital to deal with injuries that the police claimed were sustained during a fall downstairs. The two detainees were a Spanish woman and a Colombian man who were caught after entering and robbing the property of a police officer.
The officers are accused of torture, making threats and harassment and the subsequent cover up of events afterwards. The length of time between the incident and it coming to court has created difficulties for the prosecution including that of locating the two criminals concerned.
According to one of the phone calls officers are heard saying: ‘I have a problem. There is a detained person here who robbed a police officer’s flat this morning and has been beaten and now when we take him to the doctor and to the court he will talk.’ The phone call continues; ‘Although he is a criminal, he has serious injuries.’
Those at the trial heard fragments of further telephone conversations that appeared to substantiate the accusations against the officers. The court had already heard how official video recordings of the two detained criminals had been erased. Further snippets of telephone conversations further suggest that these recordings had been deleted deliberately.
The trial continues and it is expected that sentence will be passed in the middle of September.

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