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Formentera's Festa Intercultural is back

Foto interculturalFormentera's Office of Social Welfare unveiled today the programme of the sixteenth Festa Intercultural. The gathering was attended by Vanessa Parellada, Maribel Jiménez, and Marta Clavelo, the island's social welfare secretary, the organiser of the event, and the chairwoman of one organising body known as Associació Intercultural.

With a title meaning “Multicultural Party” in Catalan, the Festa will take place Sunday, April 8. This year organisers have opted to hold the event in es Pujols's plaça d'Europa, where some twenty countries and Spanish provinces will have representation. In the words of Councillor Parellada, “the idea is to experience, feel and thoroughly enjoy the cultures here that make us richer”. Indeed, a handful of associated activities (regional dance classes and world storytelling, for example) have already provided islanders a taste of some of that cultural richness.

Ticket sales
With the Festa's move this year to plaça Europa, an open venue, admission to the event will remain open as well. Tickets, which can be purchased for four euros at two different vending stands, permit their holder to enjoy five sample dishes. Children under 12 will be offered a free ticket entitling them to three sample dishes.

From 2.00pm to 3.30pm, attendees will be treated to an assortment of fine-dining flavours from the event's various stands. Among the signature world dishes expected to make appearances are asado, paella, couscous and nasi goreng.

Cuba, Chile, Italy, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Argentina, Bolivia, Indonesia, Paraguay, Germany, Ecuador and Venezuela, plus Catalunya, Galicia, the Valencian country, Asturias, Castilla la Mancha, Andalusia and Formentera, are some of the twenty nations and peoples whose cuisines and cultures will be represented at the event.

Games for children
The Festa Intercultural begins at 12.30pm. Then, at 1.00pm, island youth will find a dizzying array of kid-friendly activities like workshops, inflatable toys, traditional games and even a pint-size gymkhana. Boots on the ground for the event will be provided by youth workers from s'Espurna on Eivissa and support from Fundació Obra Social “La Caixa”.

Musical performances
Many countries and regions will also stage musical performances at the event. There will be African dance, Formentera's own ball pagès, salsa, performer Ricardito (alias “el sabor de Cuba”), Venezuelan folk music, Galician gaiters, bachata, merengue, cumbia and a show-closing set by DJ Pharma.

Green practices and event security
Hoping once again to place special emphasis on being earth smart, the Festa's organisers are asking attendees this year's event to bring their own reusable plates and glasses (glass no, please—help avoid potentially dangerous accidents). Recycling bins and ashtrays will be arrayed around the grounds.

Organisers are also calling on islanders to participate by volunteering at this year's Festa. Interested parties can click here or visit the social welfare office (àrea de Benestar Social) for more information about volunteering at this and other events.

Council officials face investigation into 2013 contracting of firefighters

On April 24 the Formentera Council's president, Jaume Ferrer, and chief officer, Isidor Torres, will testify before the number-three investigating judge of Eivissa concerning alleged administrative wrongdoing in the 2013 contracting of staff to the island's fire brigade.

The hearing arose from the original 2016 ruling against the Council which turned confusion as to how much time would-be firefighters were given to obtain lorry permits into a red flag for the prosecutor about possible criminal offences.

Still in proceedings, the case has been reviewed by the high court of the Balearic Islands, which ordered the original claim of damages cut in half and supported the Council's request to have the case heard before the Supreme Court.

Justification for termination

The plaintiff requests pay for a period from 2013-2015, during which time he occupied the Council's list of reserve staff despite the fact his services were not retained. He is also party to further litigation against the Formentera Council involving compensation for work that was, again, never actually completed.

In January 2017, one year into his employment with the Council, the plaintiff declined to extend his contract. Subsequently, he sought reimbursement for damages based on the allegation that he had been wrongfully terminated, a claim which was ultimately rejected by the court.

These facts notwithstanding, the Formentera Council contracted the plaintiff once again in January 2018, citing a lack of other eligible candidates on its list of reserve staff. The plaintiff asked to end his contract on February 24, one and a half months after starting. The president and chief officer's testimonies will come two months after that termination.

'Earning without working'

The president and chief officer of the Council have both described the plaintiff as “someone who wants to receive money without working for it”. They have voiced their hopes that the related proceedings do not sully the image of the rest of Formentera's firefighters, who are, in their words, “out and out professionals whose efforts on the island are crucial”.

President Ferrer's handling of the 2013 incident was in accordance with technical reports drafted on the subject. Torres, for his part, began employment with the Council in 2015, two years after the period of time in question.

This Easter, Formentera becomes a judo stronghold

Foto judokesFrom Thursday to Sunday, the Antoni Blanc fitness centre will play host to two judo-related events: the 26th edition of an educational retreat, el Stage Internacional de Judo; and the Frutos JL, a memorial cup, or torneu, now in its twelfth year.

Approximately 170 martial arts buffs are anticipated when the pair of events return to the island for another long weekend of competitions, learning and training. Judokas (“judo students”) from Formentera's Club Dojo will be joined by their counterparts from Eivissa, Mallorca, Alacant and Toledo as well as the top competitors of the region in the sènior, júnior, cadet and infantil categories.

Sports secretary Jordi Vidal highlighted the instructional retreat's “long history of attracting talent—from Formentera, the Balearics and mainland Spain”. He called the day “a special chance to enjoy the sport and promote teamwork and camaraderie among our youngest participants”.

This year, classes will be led by national master and sixth dan, Carlos Montero. The special guest at the event will be Maria Bernabeu, who won the bronze medal at the most recent worldwide event in Budapest.

Sports-filled spring on Formentera
Other sporting events are on the horizon, too—Regata Ophiusa, a sailing regatta; Far a Far, a footrace; the island's yearly half marathon and a road bicycle race called “el Trofeu” are among the other trials and competitions aimed not just at showcasing Formentera as a destination for tourism and fitness out of the traditional summer season, but also promoting active lifestyles among islanders.

Neighbours in Es Pujols get a look at impending metred parking rollout

foto presentacio parking regulat epThis evening, the conference hall of local hotel sa Volta was the site of a presentation on the proposal to extend metred parking to Es Pujols. Islanders in the crowd heard explanations from Formentera Council representatives on plans for a pilot run in June ahead of a full rollout by July. The definitive system will mean 455 regulated, blue-zone parking spaces (320 new spaces plus 135 already-available spots in the underground car park at plaça Europa). Overflow parking, meanwhile, will remain unchanged—free and unmetred.

Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer explored some of the rationale for taking the system to Es Pujols roads—“more rotation in blue-zone areas and more vibrant commerce”, he offered.

Mobility secretary Rafael González spoke about the success of a similar venture in La Savina, a town whose historic parking crunch was brought to heel by regulating how drivers park—a move that involved rebranding commercial areas as “blue zones” and residential ones “green”.

González said officials hoped blue-zone parking would have a similarly soothing effect on the situation in Es Pujols. While drivers must respect metred parking rules across the town's network of non-pedestrian roads there, overflow car parks and spaces next to the town's roundabout will remain open.

Es Pujols's blue zone
Formentera residents will receive full rebates on parking fees up to one car per person. By means of one yearly application, local drivers can get authorisation to park across the island, much as with the current system in La Savina. Blue-zone passes will be valid island-wide, for 24 hours in summer.

Non-residents must pay to park (€1.20 an hour) from 10.00am to 12 midnight, Monday to Sunday, from May to October. Patrols will continue until 2.00am.

To meet parking demand near popular shopping areas, a new, 15-minute pass will be available to all drivers. Parking in Es Pujols will be free from November to April.

Some motorists —individuals with reduced mobility and scooter drivers— will enjoy free parking. So will people operating electric vehicles. Drivers of hybrids will get discounts of 50 per cent. Lorries used for loading and unloading commercial goods will be limited to 30 minutes in appropriate areas. Quad bikes meanwhile, are prohibited everywhere—in metred zones and overflow lots.

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