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Response teams locate 12.5% of cases thanks to new geolocalisation system

foto reunio emergenciesBartomeu Escandell, councillor of the Formentera Council president's office, met today with head of emergency services Pere Perelló and representatives of emergency response services on the island including local police, ambulance crews, 112 urgent response, Guardia Civil, civil protection, Ibanat, firefighters, social workers and employees of the court, not to mention the heads of the company contracted to implement the geolocalisation system in Formentera's rural areas.

According to Escandell the purpose of the encounter was to “take stock of the first year of the pioneer service of the Formentera Council”. Of the 1,004 incidents reported on the island between May 13 and November 29, Perelló noted that emergency crews had been able to locate the site thanks to the geolocalisation service in 12.5% of the cases. Representatives of Formentera's urgent response services signalled improvements both in their ability to find sites and in their response time.

The Council gave emergency codes to 3,600 homes situated in remote locations. Approximately 1,000 more were assigned to sites on public land. The initiative receives 183,436 euros in funding, a sum that is provided in equal parts by the Council and the Leader fund of the European Union. The councillor highlighted special mention received by the programme in the Leader fund's magazine, which called it “an innovative project”.

In response to Formentera youth, Council to build skateboard park in early 2017

foto ple de la infancia i joventutFormentera's youth participation council met today and celebrated their plenary session in the administration's plenary hall. Formentera Council (CiF) president Jaume Ferrer was there to welcome the 28 pupils from the island's three primary schools and secondary school that the youth council comprises. An intervention followed from the youth participation council's vice president, Vanessa Parellada, in which she spoke about the activities organised in support of World Children's Day.

Parellada, who in addition to her other functions is Formentera's councillor of social welfare and youth services, gave her take on improvements that followed proposals in past plenaries. Namely, she highlighted efforts by the CiF Office of Festivities to incorporate activities geared toward young people in events the administration hosts. Parellada spoke about a project now in development to build a skate park, as per requests from local youth. She told meeting participants that the new park could be expected as soon as early 2017. Parellada also reported on the opening of a children's park at the Sant Ferran school, something that until now had not existed. The park is staffed by CiF employees Monday through Saturday from 4.30 to 7.00pm and the site is used to stage youth activities, a push intended to revitalise the area.

Other members of the meeting, several of whom recently participated in the Balearic Islands' youth parliament, reported on their experience and the travails of refugees, especially children. Among other things, the Formentera youth were keen to learn of the grants offered by the Council as well as developments regarding the creation of the island's future nautical sports centre.

The youth council began to convene its plenary sessions three years ago and since then the gatherings have taken place twice annually. Formentera, classed as a Child-friendly City under UNICEF, was visited today by one of the organisation's reps, whose tasks consist in ensuring full protection of children's rights.

This Christmas, Formentera turns on holiday charm

foto rdp festes de nadalToday the Formentera Council unveiled its events programme accompanying this year's Christmas holiday season. It is a fairly long list of activities for kids and teens, replete with family-friendly stage productions and other fun happenings to ensure this Christmas on Formentera is one you won't forget.

The starting shot will ring out on Thursday, December 1 with a children's show called La Deixalleria presented by Té a Tres theatre company. The production, which takes over Marià Villangómez library at 6.00pm, won't be the only holiday fun that Formentera kids have to look forward to. Complete listings of Christmas 2016-17 activities can be found on posters around the island. Plus, back for another year, December 17 to 21, is Diverespai, which features inflatable toys and a variety of activities for children.

Christmas market
Friday, December 2, local vendors will come out for the first day of Formentera's 2016 Christmas market, el Mercat de Nadal. The holiday market, which will once again occupy Sant Francesc's plaça de la Constitució, is conceived as a gathering place during the holiday season and a way to fill out the Christmas shopping availability. On the first day, at 6.30pm, students of Mestre Lluís Andreu will be on hand to sing traditional carols and christen what will remain the island's go-to live music venue until January 6.

Musical performances at the Mercat will take place from 8.30 to 11.00pm on December 2, 6, 9, 17, 22 and 30 and January 5.

Kids' activities
December 18 and 28 and January 7 and 8, Formentera will host a selection of children's theatre productions to fill Christmastime with fun for the island's youngest. The first show of the now ten-year-old initiative is Volen Volen. Produced by the theatre company Mariantònia Oliver, Volen Volen has aspects of both dance and circus and depicts a world underpinned by celebration, childhood, adventure, fantasy, imagination, friendship, understanding and emotional bonds.

The series continues December 28 with Menorca's DOSNOUDOSMIL presenting Quina Pescada, a production for young and old alike. Jordi Pérez and Anselm Serra take the stage as clowns, Suli and Monyaco, in a piece of independent theatre that is both fun and participatory.

On January 7, young hearts will skip a beat with Tots iguals però diferents, a work of fabulous storytelling by David and Monma that is slated for the Marià Villangómez library.

Rounding out the winter children's theatre calendar is Teatre Mòbil's production of Cösmix. Scheduled for the municipal cinema on Sunday December 8, Cösmix showcases two indefatigable —not to mention strangely extravagant— travellers who would appear to have been born to get laughs. Like two one-man-bands, the pair has an impressive arsenal: impossible music, recyclassic theatre, animal buffoonery, and —best of all— they take us to the future, live and in the flesh.

Casal de Joves
The winter holidays are a grand occasion for island youth. This year they have the opportunity to see Christmas-themed documentaries, create a related mural and and take part in hands-on classes on everything from cookie baking to interior design.

Tradition will also be thick in the air this Christmas season. On December 8 the local school of music will host the 1st Cantada Pagesa, an evening of traditional song, and another regional choral favourite, Caramelles, will feature in local churches on Christmas Day and December 26.

An evening of concerts
A heavy-hitter on this year's holiday programme will happen December 16, when Projecte Mut performs in the festival tent on plaça de Sant Ferran. Local musicians Marí will open the show that evening and Strombers will close things down. The evening gets under way at 10.00pm.

Nativity and Father Christmas
December 17 at 5.30pm, the students of the Verge Miraculosa school will stage a Christmas nativity scene in the school's courtyard. Then, December 22, the children of the island have a visit from old Saint Nick to look forward to. Santa Claus will be at the Sant Ferran holiday tent from 5.30pm.

Evening entertainment
The evening of December 23, a local association dubbed the Three Kings will host activities, a barbecue and music at the festival tent erected for the holiday season. The entertainment programme will continue December 30 and 31 as well, Formentera's final send-off to 2016. December 30 at 10.00pm a local DJ will take to the turntables to get the crowd dancing. The last night of the year (technically one hour into January 1), six-person musical group The New Tremendos will ring in 2017 with a show marked by rollicking covers. Since 1993 they adhere to one basic rule: rock 'n' roll and partying, really wild partying.

The Three Wise Men pay Formentera kids a visit
As is tradition, Thursday January 5 at 4.30pm the Three Wise Men (“the Three Kings of the Orient” as they are more commonly known here) are expected at the harbour in la Savina. From there the entire cavalcade will set out on its tour of the island. At 5.30pm they're awaited at Sant Francesc's plaça de la Constitució, at 7.00pm in Sant Ferran, and at 8.00pm they will make the trek up to la Mola.

Group art show
From December 19 to January 7, a Christmas exhibition from a group of local artists will be on display, Monday through Saturday, 11.00am to 2.00pm and 5.00 to 7.00pm.

Award for best window display
As in years past, the chamber of commerce for Eivissa and Formentera is once again pairing with the Formentera Council to organise the 10th Annual Christmas Window-dressing Contest, push to promote festive Christmas decorations at local businesses.

Buy local
To drive Christmas shopping on the island, participating shops will be distributing raffle tickets for a chance to win 14 prizes, including a weekend for two on Eivissa (rental car and lodging included) from the Viatges es Freus travel agency; a €150 gift certificate at Majoral jewellers; a Christmas ham and bottle of wine from Carbonicas Tur; a sampling meal for two at Es Marès hotel and restaurant; an €80 voucher at Supermercat La Savina; a €50 voucher at Can Jeroni bakery; dinner for two at Restaurant Acapulco; a visit to Raquel's Hairspray salon in la Savina (a wash and cut or dye and styling); a piece from artist Sol Courregues; SHELAC nail treatment at BSC salon in la Savina; breakfast for four at Racó des Pa café; breakfast for two at the Antoni Blanc fitness centre café; a pack of four books; and four tickets for the Formentera cinema in 2017.

Formentera plenary accepts €23.8m budget for 2017

foto conseller presidentToday at its November plenary, the Formentera Council granted preliminary approval for the administration's 2017 budget. “Yes” votes were cast by Gent x Formentera and the socialist party while Compromís opted for abstention and Partido Popular voted against the measure. As tax office councillor Bartomeu Escandell pointed out, the budget's nearly €24m total marks a 6.91-per cent increase on the 2016 figure (€22.8m).

Escandell also highlighted a few changes, like money for a traffic inspection crew, plus funding to expand Formentera's lifeguard and rescue service, fire brigade, school of music, childcare services, cleaning crews and administrative staff.

He added that Formentera currently has no debt, though said that could change with the Council's projected assumption of a loan linked to Consorci Formentera Desenvolupament.

On other spending, Escandell referred to “recent improvements in Formentera's residential and tourist urban zones, development of green and sustainable transport solutions, upgrades of out-of-use heritage sites and a continued push for community involvement through Formentera's Council of Entities.

José Manuel Alcaraz, spokesman of Partido Popular, bemoaned the absence of tax cuts in the budget, while Ana Juan, spokeswoman for  Partido Socialista, opined that the forecast was “very close” to her own group's vision for the island, citing projects like safety upgrades on camí Vell de la Mola alongside Formentera's football pitch. Explaining the group's abstention on the vote, Compromís's spokesperson said: “It's got plenty of good parts and then some not-so good parts”.

Other agreements
The plenary brought unanimous approval for a deal with Grup d'Acció Local to support local fishing, as well as a call from the socialist group for an educational effort to familiarise local associations with the technicalities of grant requests.

Another measure that received unanimous approval (excluding abstention from Partido Popular's) dealt with the language used on future roads and urban arterials. A forthcoming measure will address the official name of the island's new industrial park.

Verbal report from Sònia Cardona
This month's plenary featured an account from councillor of community involvement Sònia Cardona, who described her office's goal as “bringing resident participation to the fore of the administration's decision-making process”.

“We are seeing that local mobilisation can influence the decisions that are made,” Cardona said, pointing to the creation of local participatory budgets and the popular effort to stop a plan to move Formentera's landing at the Eivissa port.

Cardona trumpeted the list of 96 groups that make up the island's association registry and reported on recent upgrades of audio and IT equipment at the local space for associations, the Casal d'Entitats.

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