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Formentera keeps investing in countryside

Cooperativa camp foto conveniAt a meeting today between Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer and Jaume Escandell, president of the Formentera farmers' cooperative (la Cooperativa del Camp), the two officials put their signatures on a joint action accord that Ferrer said is designed to «continue the rollout of the farmland reserve (Cens de Terres) and other projects to redevelop local farming and improve the Formentera countryside».

The accord amounts to an extension of a 2015 agreement of the same value, €95,000. In Ferrer's words, the deal demonstrates «the Council's ongoing commitment to redeveloping the agricultural sector and protecting the natural beauty of Formentera». Ferrer congratulated the collective's management on achieving their 2015 targets and encouraged them to keep up the good work in 2016.

In addition, the CiF president signalled good news in the form of more rollouts: the start of operations at the cooperative's industrial space and delivery of newly-acquired field equipment including a tractor, an excavator and a seed drill.

For his part, the farmers' cooperative president thanked the administration for its support while bemoaning predictions the season's entire forage crop would be lost to a particularly unsparing dry season. In that respect, the CiF president pledged to unlock funding «to help livestock farmers meet animal feed costs».

Slate of activities to help fete Balearic day

Ball pages 5 vertical moonkoala Dia IllesThe Formentera Council's department of local holidays has announced its plans for observing the Dia de les Illes Balears—the Balearic autonomous community's holiday for itself—here on Formentera. Department head Susana Labrador declared next Tuesday, March 1st, would be a day replete with activities (think Council ceremony at one p.m. on the Sant Francesc square) and festivities, including traditional colla dance groups Es Xacoters and Es Pastorells.

Before the midday ceremony and dance display get under way, participants in the Cursa Solidària per a la Dona—a footrace for female solidarity—will take to the blocks for an 11-a.m. start time. Runners will take one of two routes—one 5-km and one 10-km—both of which begin and end at the plaça de la Constitució in Sant Francesc. Each runner's 10-euro registration fee will go to support the Spanish Association against Cancer (AECC) and entitles participants to a commemorative T-shirt. Signups are being held at the Antoni Blanc fitness centre, the Citizen Information Office (OAC) and on the www.formenteraesport365.com website.

At two o' clock, local groups Disfruta Formentera and Grup Esportiu Espalmador have scheduled a community paella. Prices are set at €15 for adults and €10 for children and proceeds will once again go to benefit the AECC. Island band La 22 will cover the first round of musical duties, a job Councillor Labrador assured the group «has got under control».

Later on, residents will be treated to a concert called «Sons de les Illes». At eight o' clock, a group formed by a string-trio (Kepa Artetxe, Miquel Àngel Aguiló and Xisco Aguiló) and soprano Abigail Sardón will perform arrangements of homegrown popular songs in the Sant Francesc church.

Concurrent concerts across the islands

The councillor of local holidays was especially pleased to announce the simultaneous performances planned for 7:30 p.m., Saturday February 27th, on each of the four islands. In Formentera, Arrels will open the show for Mallorca-native Tomeu Penya and the rest of the islands will follow suit, each hosting an act from a different island, all at the same time. The idea, explained Labrador, is to promote cultural exchanges across the region. Eivissa crowds that evening will be regaled with the show Nits de Formentera.

More activities

Balearic Islands day doesn't end there. Saturday marks the fifth year of the Formentera All Round Trail (abbreviated as FART). The same day will include an open-house at the Formentera hospital and a presentation of the health services helicopter. Sunday the 28th, children aged 6 to 12 are invited to take part in an IBEAM-led discovery workshop of undersea architecture. Monday the 29th basketball teams from the four corners of the region will come together for the fourth Balearic Islands basketball tournament.

Balearic Islands Day celebrations will officially come to a close the weekend of 5-6 March, with two theatre productions to mark the occasion. As Councillor Labrador announced, Saturday the 5th at nine p.m. in the cinema, Eivissa theatre group Es Cubells will treat audiences to Peluts i Pelats (roughly translated as 'The Scruffy and the Shaven'). Then, Sunday the 6th at 5:30 p.m., Clownoscopio will take to the same stage for their performance of the slapstick clown show «Fràgil» for viewers five and under. We remind readers that, as per a joint accord valued at €8,000 and signed by the Palma administration and the Formentera Council, costs of the Balearic Islands Day celebrations will be covered by the Govern Balear.

More than 450 expected at Saturday's Formentera All Round Trail

Foto presentació FARTThis Saturday marks the fifth year of the Formentera All Round Trail (FART), a footrace with an expected participation of more than 450. The Formentera Council's head of sports, Jordi Vidal, unveiled details on the event at a press conference this morning. Participation in the FART has grown exponentially since the race first started a few years ago—from 50 runners to nearly 500 today. However, as Vidal pointed out, despite an exploding popularity, the FART is intended for experienced runners only.

The footrace follows a 72.5-kilometre circuit around the Formentera coastline. Runners will set out at 8 a.m. from la Savina. For those who are a bit less experienced, there are two shorter routes as well: the Half Round Formentera Trail, a 40.5-km run that leaves els Arenals at 11:30 a.m., and the Tros de FART (roughly translated as 'a little bit of FART'), which runs 21 km and has participants leaving the starting blocks in Es Caló at one midday. Five refreshment stations will be set up along the routes and all three competitions share a finish line in the la Savina port. The maximum run time is 13, 9.5 and 4 hours respectively. The event is sponsored by the Formentera Council (CiF), the Grup Esportiu Espalmador and Elitechip.

Athletes can sign up to participate at www.elitechip.net until Thursday, 25 February at 8 p.m. Numbers can be picked up in the organisation tent on Friday between 5 and 9 p.m. in la Savina. Also that evening, Pere Serra, a psychologist and specialist in this kind of competition and a specialist group from Eivissa will lead a conference on the so-called 'ultra trails' in general and one such trail in particular: the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB). Saturday morning at eight organisers will begin handing out numbers to participants of the two shorter races. Later on, runners will be transported to els Arenals for the Half Round and Es Caló for the Tros de FART.

Vidal thanked all the offices that had played a part in the organisation of this year's race, including the port authority of the Balearic Islands and the Govern Balear ministry of the environment. The councillor also seized the opportunity to highlight the important work of the Formentera local police, the Guardia Civil, civil protection services and other volunteers that have all signed on to ensure the race takes place safely. Saying he hoped everyone «gets into the spirit» and «gets an eyeful of Formentera's beautiful coastline», Vidal gushed about the FART's environmental commitment as well and reminded runners that anyone caught tossing rubbish along the way will be penalised. Also at this morning's presentation were Daniel de la Dueña, CiF department of sport staff specialist, event organiser Vicent Rosselló and Pere Serra.

Renewed joint action with Ràdio Illa

Signatura acord ACAFFormentera Council (CiF) president Jaume Ferrer and Paco Pérez, president of the Associació Cultural Audiovisual de Formentera (ACAF), have put their signatures on a joint action plan on content production at the island's public radio station, Ràdio Illa. The signing took place today at 12 midday in the plenary hall of the local administration.

President Ferrer said he was glad to be renewing the joint agreement, which this year provides a more substantial grant —40,000 euros compared to 33,000 last year—«so that Ràdio Illa can continue growing into its role and carry on providing more and better content». Ferrer congratulated Ràdio Illa on its work over the years, a quality service he says is appreciated by the Council and the people of Formentera alike.

The ACAF president gave special thanks to the CiF for trusting the group's ability to deliver results. Pérez also thanked Ràdio Illa listeners and the workers at the station that make daily operations possible. He noted, finally, that 2016 is a year of anniversaries: this year ACAF will turn 10 and the station will turn 30. He mused, «Ràdio Illa has become our island's go-to station, and we want to keep it that way». As for ACAF's biggest targets for 2016: «ever-increasing news reports and the creation a news portal».

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