News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Week 5th April - 11th April 2007
Grateful mum thanks Guardia Civil after boat fire during son’s party
BY OLIVER MCINTYRE
A FAST RESPONSE BY 061 EMERGENCY SERVICES AND THE GUARDIA CIVIL KEPT A NINE-YEAR-OLD BRITISH BOY’S BIRTHDAY PARTY FROM TURNING INTO A POTENTIAL TRAGEDY LAST WEEK IN BENALMÁDENA.
Jane Dennis and her husband had taken their son Tom and five of his mates – all aged eight and nine – out for a ride in their eight-metre motor cruiser on Wednesday evening for Tom’s birthday. “All of a sudden there’s this smell, and it turns out the engine is on fire,” Mrs Dennis explained to Costa del Sol News. They were around 400 metres out to sea at the time.
They turned the boat towards shore and made it to within about 200 metres of the beach before the engine conked out. Meanwhile, Mrs Dennis called 061, where an English-speaking attendant was put on the line to talk her through the situation until Guardia Civil patrols arrived, which to her great relief was not long at all.
“Within seven minutes they were with us,” she said, explaining that patrol boats were sent from both Benalmádena and Fuengirola. “They were absolutely fantastic. They made the children safe, they made me and my husband safe and they made the boat safe.”
Mrs Dennis said she could not be more appreciative of the fast and efficient response. A boat fire is scary enough, she said, and the situation was even more worrisome knowing that she was responsible for other people’s children.
‘BEST BIRTHDAY EVER’
As for the kids themselves, they seem to have taken it all in stride. “They were frightened to death at first, but we turned it into a big adventure,” said Mrs Dennis. “The next day one of the other children’s parents told me, ‘Thank you – that was the best birthday party my son has ever been to’.”Mrs Dennis, a Leicester native who has lived in Benalmádena for four years, has her own words of gratitude. “I just want to say thank you so much to the Guardia Civil and emergency crew,” she said. And young Tom thanks them too, for helping provide one birthday he’ll never forget.
British and Irish fugitives arrested
By David Eade
The National Police have arrested two Britons and an Irishman along with a Russian and Rumanian for crimes in their home countries. The five fugitives were detained in various locations in Spain under international warrants issued in their countries of origin.
One of the two Britons, Vaughn Lee C., aged 32, is from Northampton but was residing in Benalmádena, according to police officials. He was arrested by police in Marbella on a warrant for drug-related charges. The other Briton, William David J., 42, from Worksop, lived in Orihuela Costa in Alicante and was arrested there as he was about to give a concert as a Rod Stewart imitator. He is accused of a 2005 house break-in in the UK during which he and another culprit allegedly hit the victim repeatedly with a hammer. The Irishman, Paul B., a 40-year-old from Dublin, was also arrested in Orihuela Costa. He was detained as he left a bar in Torrevieja, where he occasionally worked as a painter. He is wanted back home on drugs’ charges related to the possession of 13,000 euros of cocaine in January 2000.
Bank manager accused of pocketing deposits
Lack of in-branch computer allowed alleged pilfering of 725,000 euros
By Oliver McIntyre
THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE IS SEEKING A FIVE-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE FOR THE FORMER MANAGER OF THE CAJAMAR BANK BRANCH IN CARRATRACA, WHO IS ACCUSED OF POCKETING 725,000 EUROS FROM BANK CLIENTS.
The case dates back to 1995, when the Carratraca bank branch had no computer terminal and transaction data was noted by hand and then later entered into the computer at the Árdales branch. The bank’s then manager, Antonio P.B., now 52, allegedly took advantage of this arrangement by keeping clients’ deposits for himself and not passing the transaction information along for computer entry.
The prosecutor says the accused kept everything from basic savings account deposits – duping the customers by manually filling in their bank books so that all appeared to be in order – to money that was supposed to be destined for investment products. The transactions ranged from 10 euros to as much as 25,000 euros. In all, 44 bank clients were affected, including individuals as well as Carratraca town hall (5,200 euros) and a local agricultural cooperative (20,000 euros).
In seeking the five-year sentence for misappropriation of funds, the prosecutor has taken into account as a mitigating circumstance the fact that at the time of the crimes the accused was suffering “depression due to the loss of a son.” The sentence request also includes a fine of around 4,400 euros and repayment of the amount taken from each victim.
German couple rescued from Marbella mountain
Mobile phone allowed them to guide rescuers to their location
BY DAVID EADETHE MARBELLA FIRE BRIGADE ON MONDAY RESCUED A GERMAN MAN IN HIS 70s AND A WOMAN OF AROUND 65 FROM THE SIERRA DE MARBELLA NEAR JUANAR.
The couple had been walking in the mountains and were brought down by a rescue team in the early hours of the morning.
According to fire service officials, the woman had suffered a fall and had cuts that were treated at a Marbella health centre. However, overall the couple were said to be in good and neither of them had suffered from hypothermia.
The couple were rescued thanks to the fact that the woman had her mobile telephone with her and was able to give the fire personnel directions to where they were. The 112 emergency coordination centre was alerted to their plight at 20.20 Sunday after the Guardia Civil in Fuengirola reported that the pair had not returned from a walking trip to La Concha in Marbella.
FEAR OF WOLVES
The fire service and Guardia Civil in Marbella sprang into action and were helped in the rescue of the walkers by local Protección Civil and Red Cross volunteers. The couple were finally reached at 00.45 many hours after they had set off for their walk at 16.00 on a defined route. While talking to the rescuers on the telephone, the German couple had expressed fear of being attacked by wolves, although there are in fact no wolves known to live in the Sierra de Marbella.
Maro school threatened by low pupil numbers
By Dave Jamieson
The state primary school in Maro may be forced to close through a lack of pupils. Las Maravillas caters for children between the ages of four and 11, but when two of the present students leave to go to senior school in the autumn, there will be just nine pupils left. The school has four classrooms, but only two are now in use and there are only two teachers.
In an effort to boost numbers, parents in Nerja and other neighbouring towns are being asked to consider moving their children to Maro. Debbie Fountain, president of the Parents’ Association, told CDSN that the school had a friendly, family atmosphere because of its small size and it was distressing to see two classrooms standing empty. She said she was aware that some non-Spanish children are subjected to bullying at larger schools which, in the case of Nerja, have class sizes of around 28, several with waiting lists. There is no bullying at Las Maravillas, she reported, where five nationalities are represented among the pupils, most of whom are bi-lingual. In addition, one of the teachers speaks fluent English so, she suggests, it could be the answer for concerned parents. If attendance rose as high as 25, the school would get a third general subjects teacher, and a music teacher would visit the school, but if it falls and the school closes, the Maro children would have be found places in Nerja’s already over-crowded classrooms. Anyone who would like to visit the school or to find out more about sending children there is invited to contact Debbie on 600 275 100.
Río Grande defence group wins water award
Accolade is given to groups that fight in favour of the 'New Water Culture'
By Oliver McIntyre
THE RÍO GRANDE DEFENCE GROUP IN COÍN, HAS BEEN NAMED THE 2006 GROUP OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW WATER CULTURE FOUNDATION, WHICH PROMOTES SUSTAINABLE WATER-RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN SPAIN AND PORTUGAL.
The distinction is awarded annually to “a citizen’s group or collective that has stood out in its fight in favour of the New Water Culture.” The Río Grande Defence Group was selected for its “intense labour, enthusiasm and contagious excitement in its defence of a living river in an exceptional surrounding,” according to the foundation.
“This award is in recognition of the mobilisation of the town of Coín and other affected areas of the Guadalhorce Valley” against a government project to take water from the Río Grande to Málaga, said a spokesperson for the Río Grande Defence Group.
A wave of protests spearheaded by the Defence Group last year resulted in government officials agreeing to back off the initial plan for a small dam and reservoir at Cerro Blanco to divert water into a pipeline to Málaga. But the group is still wary of the government’s intentions.On at least two occasions the agencies involved in the project have stated that the dam at Cerro Blanco has been discarded, but “never mentioning the small reservoir or the pipeline,” says the Defence Group. Its representatives are awaiting promised meetings regarding the project and say they expect to be treated as “active participants in drawing up new alternatives to the plan, not merely spectators.”
Tranvía extension plans go ahead
NEWS Staff Reporter
The extension of Vélez-Málaga’s tranvía tramway west towards Málaga has come a step closer, with the Junta de Andalucía awarding the design and construction-planning contract. The project went to a consortium of three companies – Ingerop T3, Pereda and TRN – with a budget of 2.23 million euros and a timeline of 14 months.
The Junta has made it clear that it favours an integrated public transport system for Málaga, with passengers from the tranvía able to transfer easily to Line 3 of the future metro system for onward journeys to the main rail and coach terminals in the city. Under the proposals, the tranvía lines would be extended 17 kilometres, from the present terminus in Torre del Mar to Rincón de la Victoria, where it would share an interchange with the metro.Once the detailed development proposal has been delivered, the project will undergo an environmental impact study and a public-comment period. However, the plan as it stands has already received opposition from Rincón de la Victoria town hall, which has asked the Junta to extend the metro from its proposed terminus at it’s the town’s western border at Huerta Julián as far as its eastern border at Torre del Benagalbón. Councillors are concerned that the tranvía tracks through the town would cause severe traffic congestion.
Guadalhorce valley to Mijas road upgrade
Additional overtaking lanes will make travel safer and faster
By Oliver McIntyre
THE JUNTA DE ANDALUCÍA HAS PUT OUT TO TENDER A 30 MILLION-EURO, THREE-PHASE PROJECT FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO THE ROADS FROM COÍN AND ALHAURÍN EL GRANDE TO MIJAS.
Work will include widening and reconditioning the roadways, and in some places creating additional lanes.
The first phase, budgeted at 22.2 million euros, will affect 8.8 kilometres of the A-7053 between Puerto de los Pescadores and Entrerríos in Mijas, the most mountainous stretch of road in the project. Along more than four kilometres of it, an additional lane will be created for slower traffic.
The second phase will address 5.6 kilometres of the MA-3303 between Coín and Puerto de los Pescadores. It is budgeted at 5.1 million euros. The 3.3 million-euro third phase will see improvements along slightly more than two kilometres of the A-387 between Alhaurín el Grande and Puerto de los Pescadores. Plans also call for a bicycle lane to be created along this stretch.
NO DATES TO START WORK YET
Each phase has been put out to tender separately and all have bid deadlines in early to mid-May. The timeline for the start and duration of construction work has not been announced.
Residents want Málaga to clean up
By Dave Jamieson
A new survey has shown that while Málaga is not among Spain’s dirtiest cities, residents are dissatisfied with the standards of rubbish collection. The consumer group Organización de Consumidores y Usuarious (OCU) gathered data from 59 cities and while Málaga does not appear among those at the top of the table, including Oviedo, Pamplona and Bilbao, neither does it sit with the worst offenders which include Alicante, Sevilla and Jaén.
The study took particular note of the treatment of selective, recyclable waste including paper and card, glass and packaging, and concluded that only 27 per cent of the cities surveyed have a system of collecting these from domestic premises. Further, only 18 per cent collect organic waste separately, while half have municipal dumps considered to be too far from residential areas.The average person generates almost 1.5 kilos of rubbish per day and Málaga provides a container for selective wastes for every 500 residents. The OCU report says that, including cleaning containers every 15 days, this operation costs the Town Hall around 30 euros per resident per year. However, only 61 per cent of the city’s population knew where they could find an official rubbish dump while a mere nine per cent claimed to have used one in the last year. Málaga’s most serious problems of cleanliness were seen by local people as excrement, graffitti and building works, while arrangements for the collection of rubbish also produced high levels of dissatisfaction.
Málaga wine waiter is new 'Mr World'
The winner beat 55 other contestants
By Dave Jamieson
A MÁLAGA MAN, 25-YEAR-OLD JUAN GARCÍA POSTIGO, WON THE MR WORLD 2007 TITLE ON SATURDAY AT THE FINALS OF THE CONTEST HELD IN THE SOUTHERN CHINESE CITY OF SANYA TO FIND “THE WORLD’S MOST DESIRABLE MAN”.
He defeated 55 other contestants from around the world in the event which was seen live by an estimated 1.4 billion television viewers in 100 countries.
Juan García, who won the Mr España title last year, wore a black Hugo Boss suit, white shirt and black tie for the event in which he beat Mr Brazil and Mr China into the runners-up placings. He describes himself as an ordinary man and wants to restart his studies in dramatic art and perfect his English, as well as learning more of the world of fashion. His job as a wine waiter in his brother’s restaurant on the coast is now likely to be vacant as he has signed a 12-month contract, believed to be worth up to 120,000 dollars, to appear as a model and to present a number of gala events.
In the three weeks Juan García spent competing for the title, contestants were stretched to the limits in a series of challenges, devised to test fitness, fortitude and form, to win a place in the grand finale.
FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE
The new Mr World returned to Málaga on Sunday, along with his two sisters, Belén and Ana, who accompanied him on his visit to China It was their tears of joy at the result, he said, which made him realise that winning the title was not just a dream. However, his first public appearance was due yesterday, when he was expected to appear, as he has for many years, as one of the throne bearers of the Nueva Esperanza cofradía as they processed through the streets of Málaga.
Beach walkway around building denied
NEWS Staff Reporter
The Environment Ministry’s Coastal Authority (Costas) has denied Benalmádena town hall’s request for the creation of a promenade around the front of the Marymar building, which cuts off the Paseo Marítimo between the Los Maites and Sunset beaches. Costas called the project “unfeasible” because the promenade “would be located in the centre of the beach.”
The Marymar building, which has been declared illegal because it invades protected shoreline land, has for years been slated for teardown, but the central government has yet to carry out the demolition. “They say they are in conversations with the owners of the building,” said the town’s councillor for beaches, Sebastián Carretero. “But we’ve been waiting for a decade now to be able to connect the [two sides of the] Paseo Marítimo.” Currently pedestrians have to go up to the coast road along this stretch.
Until the building can be torn down, Costas has proposed the installation of a temporary wooden walkway during the busy summer tourism season. Although criticising the proposal as a “botch job” unbefitting of a “tourism town of Benalmádena’s category,” Councillor Carretero said the town hall will ask Costas to build the temporary walkway, completely at its own expense, before the start of summer. The town’s mayor, Enrique Bolín, has reiterated his call for the Environment Ministry to expedite the demolition of the Marymar building so that the Paseo Marítimo can be extended between the two beaches.
Jerez mayor sacks Pacheco and will governa alone
Rift between the two governing socialist parties causes dismissal
By David Eade
THE MAYOR OF JEREZ, PILAR SÁNCHEZ, AND HER PSOE PARTY WILL BE RUNNING JEREZ ALONE UNTIL THE LOCAL ELECTIONS IN MAY, AFTER DISMISSING PEDRO PACHECO AND SEVERAL OF HIS SUPPORTERS EARLIER THIS WEEK.
The decision to break the pact between the PSOE socialist party and the Andalucian socialist party (PSA) came after Pedro Pacheco criticised the organisation of last week’s motorcycling championships and the city’s traffic and safety plans. This was the final straw on an already heavily-laden donkey’s back, as the mayor insists that for some time the PSA had been acting in opposition to the PSOE instead of working together and she lays the blame for the rupture firmly at the PSA’s door. She told reporters that she had decided not to make this move unless the PSA’s behaviour affected the general interests of Jerez or the dignity of council members, but they had done so consciously, deliberately, and repeatedly. She also accused her former colleagues on the council of unofficially joining forces with the Partido Popular to vote against proposals made by the council.
END TO CRISIS
Pedro Pacheco has spent 27 years on Jerez council, 24 of them as mayor, and Pilar Sánchez described his dismissal as the end of an era but insisted that the rupture of the pact between the PSOE and the PSA would not cause a crisis in Jerez, but would instead bring one to an end. The duties which until now have been carried out by members of the PSA have now been redistributed among other members of the council. Juan Manuel García Bermúdez and Francisco Lebrero will be deputy mayors instead of Pedro Pacheco and Juan Román, Pilar Sánchez has replaced Pedro Pacheco at the head of the ‘Política Territorial’ department, Francisco Lebrero has taken over Ciudad Sostenible and Culture from Juan Román, and Irene Canca is now in charge of Desarrollo Ciudadano and Planes Sociales instead of Antonio Sánchez.