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Formentera lifeguards' first 'torxada'

Foto socorristesThe lifeguard service of the Formentera Council wishes to announce that Sunday, September 17 at 6.30pm, the island's coastal caretakers will meet on Es Pujols beach for the team's first ever torxada. The evening of cameraderie will see the lifeguards putting their swimming, towing and racing skills to the test, along with other good, clean fun. At sundown, they'll take to the water, equipped with flaming torxes (“torches”).

Team chief Marco Antonio Lage says it's about “coming together as a team as we prepare to say our first goodbyes to those leaving already”. The whole island, says Lage, is encouraged “to check out the spectacle, and get to know our service a little better”.

High season for Formentera's beach rescue service extends from June 15 to September 15. During that period, the service employs 24 lifeguards to hold watch over the island's waters and ensure swimmer safety. Beaches are patrolled May 1 to October 31. September 15-30, there are 15 lifeguards to surveil Formentera's coastline; September 30-October 31, a group of 10 remain at the season's close, as at its start.

Council issues invitation to 'discover Formentera in October'

Foto tardor descobreix for a loctubreThe Formentera Council's tourism office issued details today on this autumn's Descobreix Formentera a l'octubre (“Discover Formentera in October”). This time around the initiative takes on particular importance given its inclusion in the Save Posidonia Project festival programme. Every year, the initiative proposes special deals to attract late-season tourists to the island. Details about discounts on ferry tickets, car hire and overnight accommodation, as well as other up-to-the-minute information, can be found at www.formentera.es.

Tourism secretary Alejandra Ferrer cited “persistently pleasant weather, a packed ledger of cultural and sports programming and a laid-back atmosphere” as reasons to consider off-season travel to the island. She drew special attention to the green theme of this year's push—a nod, she said, to 2017's designation as Year of Sustainable Tourism.

Gastro weekends
The last weekend in September (plus October 1) and the second weekend of October, the 6th and 7th, restaurants across the island will offer special gastro spreads at €20 (drinks sold separately). All the info, along with complete meal details, will soon be online at www.formentera.es.

October 6-8 Formentera welcomes Son Estrella Galicia Posidonia, a total experience in gastronomy, music, outdoors and local heritage. Like all Save Posidonia Project-partnered events, money will be collected to safeguard tracts of the seagrass meadows. For all the fine points, visit https://estrellagalicia.es/son/festivales/posidonia/

Save Posidonia Festival
During Save Posidonia Festival, a four-day programme of culture, sport and earth consciousness beginning October 12, specialists will join average citizens in pondering environmental sustainability. Visit www.saveposidoniaproject.org/festival for complete programme information.

October 12-15, Formentera will play host to Formentera ZEN too. Three years old this October, the assortment of seminars and workshops promises a dynamic and spontaneous exploration of both the conventions that underpin our reality and our very perception of it. To get all the details and register, go to www.formenterazen.info.

Amics de Formentera are back with Volta a Peu's yearly autumn feature, a group “walk round the island” held in stages from October 12-15. Find the timetable and signup information at www.amicsdeformentera.cat.

Then there is the town of el Pilar de la Mola's annual festival, October 11 and 12—two days of live music, traditional dance, children's activities and a parade.

October's offering of fitness starts on the 7th with the Formentera Triathlon (www.triatlonformentera.com). October 12 runners make “the climb” to la Mola with the twenty-second Pujada. Two mountain-biking events take place October 27-29: a three-part race (BTT Cicloturista) and the one-day Challenge across la Mola. www.bttformentera.net.

Come out October 21 for the autumn favourite, particularly among German expats on the island, Oktoberfest. The party includes beer tastings, original deutsch eats and musicians performing live music.

Researchers' study of language trends among youth wins Formentera Council's 2016 grant

foto consell premsaAccording to an announcement from the Formentera Council's heritage office, a project titled “Formentera's changing Catalan: a look at language as spoken by young people,” headed up by Dr Francesc Josep Torres Tamarit, Maria del Mar Joan i Marí and Dr Rob Jelier, has been awarded the Formentera Council's research grant for 2016.

Of fifteen applications received, thirteen met the requirements for entry. The projects were then reviewed by a committee based on scientific interest, coherence, methodology and the researchers' professional credentials. As heritage secretary Susana Labrador reported, “One project remained at the end of our review: Aproximació al català de Formentera”.

Roughly translated as “A study of locally-spoken Catalan,” the project will explore intergenerational variations in language. Labrador says the study's practitioners have set their sights on another milestone too: a web-based collection of their related data, accessible to anyone. In addition to responses taken from language questionnaires (including information about verbal morphology and Catalan's so-called “weak pronouns”), the data would also encompass childhood anecdotes recounted by respondents. Councillor Labrador described the study's potential audience as diverse, enfolding “the general public, linguists, dialect specialists, professors and even social sciences researchers”.

One of the study's pillars, a reflection on the sort of Catalan taught in Formentera schools, will include a proposal emphasising spoken Catalan in the instructional approach to weak pronouns. Researchers will study the need to teach the grammar of a language as it is actually used by its speakers. Traditionally, the brand of Catalan spoken on Formentera differs from the mainstream written form, and, the researchers say, the local blend of the language is currently undergoing a metamorphosis.

More grant money
Labrador reported on the 9 September launch of a new call for applications, the conditions of which were recently published on the Official Bulletin of the Balearic Islands (BOIB for its initials in Catalan). The Formentera Council's 2017 grant will provide €6,000 to whichever individual or group study holds up to competitive review.

As in the previous two years, applicants' areas of specialisation can include the arts, humanities and social sciences. Researchers will have twenty business days to present applications.

Projects must have a title, description, theoretical plan, research methodology, objectives, detailed plan for work and cost estimates.

Special service to inform renters of benefits rights

Foto oac atencio al publicTo 21 September the administration's Citizen Information Office is offering islanders an information and help service to determine eligibility for the Govern balear's latest round of housing benefits. Renters are encouraged to visit the office (or OAC, for its initials in Catalan) for complete details about application conditions.

Locals have two days a week to present their applications at the Formentera branch of the regional housing authority (IBAVI), and officials hope the OAC's advisory service will simplify that process. The Govern balear tapped into their coffers to unlock the money for Eivissa and Formentera residents, who can request assistance if their monthly housing costs are between €600 and €800.

The deadline for requests is 21 September and complete application details can be found online at www.habitatge.caib.es or by phoning 900 780 000. The dwelling referred to when applying should be the applicant's regular place of residence, and claimants—necessarily residents of the Balearic Islands—must earn €22,365 or less per household to apply. Beneficiaries of the money are eligible for assistance of up to 40% of their monthly rent.

The benefits cover rent that falls due January to December 2017; payments already made since January will be reimbursed retroactively. The OAC is open Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 2.00pm and Thursday afternoons 4.00pm to 6.00pm.

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