Sunday, 28 June 2009

Penedès News in English

Local news from Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú and the rest of the Gran Penedès.

Gran Penedès

L’Extra – the only news paper which consequently presents the Penedès area as a totality, is making a come-back. Calaix de Sastre, however, will disappear as a separate publication and instead be integrated as event and leisure sections of l’Extra.

Some 200 people turned up at an end-of-semester gathering which the Centre de Normalització Lingüística recently held at the historic monument of Olèrdola. During the education year 2008-09, in total 2.617 adults from Alt Penedès and Garraf have taken part in the Catalan courses. (Xtra)


The comarca Garraf registers a reduction of the unemployment rate. From a familiy income perspective, the change only influences 58 people, but it represents a break after 20 months with a negative trend. Sadly enough, the whole improvement can be explained through the jobs created by the government’s financial boost plan (“Pla E” or “pla Zapatero”) and temporary contracts for the summer tourism season. (DdV)

The celebrations of the Nit de Sant Joan were relatively calm. The hospital group of Garraf reported only light burns from firecrackers and 12 cases of alcohol intoxication. However, from midnight and onwards at least the police of Vilanova was constantly busy. One person attacked with a knife was the most serious case of violence, but there was a lot of vandalism, eg. burning waste containers. (DdV)

Tuesday 24, Renfe’s rodalies again challenged the patience of the passengers on line C2-South - connecting Garraf to Barcelona. Due to technical problems, a train stopped near the tunnels between Sitges and Vilanova and those on it had to wait for 1 hour and 40 minutes – without information - before they could continue their journey. (DdV)

Six beaches in SitgesSant Sebastià, Balmins, Les Botigues de Sitges, Garraf, la Ribera and la Barra – have obtained ISO 14001 certificates for 2009 in recognition of their cleanliness and life guard services. (DdV)

Avui fa un dia Sitges’ - or 'Today is a Sitges Day, in English - is the new tourism slogan of Sitges. It has been created by the company Imagina and is a continuation of earlier ones like “Sitges això és vida” (‘Sitges, this is life’) and “Sitges joia de la Meditànnia” (‘Sitges, the gem of the Mediterranean’). The slogan will be used in a € 80.000 advertising campaign in July, sponsored by Martini (Bacardi Group) and targeting the population of Barcelona. Other initatives will promote Sitges in Bilbao, Zaragoza and Madrid. (DdV)

This summer there will be three computer based information kiosks in Sitges, located at the passeig de la Ribera, la Fragata and the train station. Tourists will be able to print out city maps and find information in Catalan, Spanish, English and French. (DdV)

The PSC government of Sitges would want to reinsate Montserrat Arnau as director of the local Tourism Promotion Agency. She stepped down in April, after the CiU opposition revealed that she did not meet the formal profile of the position. (DdV)

New measurements of the radiation caused by mobile phone antennas in Sant Pere de Ribes and Roquetes prove that levels in the whole inhabited area are 20 to 50 times below the limits set by the Generalitat. Mayor Josep Antoni Blanco indicates that if people continue to talk about health problems, the real issue is a lack of trust in local authorities. (DdV)

The two sides of the river Foix in Cubelles have been united through a new bridge. The construction plans, first made in 2005, were repeatedly delayed and revised since the area is protected for ecologic reasons. (DdV)

The scaffolding which for more than four years has covered a part of the town hall (ajuntament) of Vilanova i la Geltrú has been removed, but the façade renovation work will last until November 2009 and there is not a timeframe for when the building behind will be finalized. (DdV)

Vilanova has introduced a program called La ciutat t’acull ("the town welcomes you") for newcomers; foreigners as well as Spanish nationals. A week ago, at the first session, Mayor Joan Ignasi Elena gave his personal welcome to some 60 participants. (DdV)

Alt Penedès

July 2-3, Vilafranca del Penedès will house a conference called Rutes del Vi ("Wine Routes") in connection with the ViJazz Wine and Jass festival. With the participation of wine chef Joan Roca and speakers from Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, and Portugal, the aim is to consolidate the town as an international wine and cava meeting point. (Xtra)

Last week, the plans of the Cultural Centre of Caixa Penedès – one of Catalonia’s biggest savings banks, with its head office in Vilafranca – were presented. In 2011, it will be opened in C/ Princesa, Barcelona, and it will have a permanent exhibition by artist Josep Maria Subirachs, an exhibition area and an auditorium for 200 people. (Xtra)

With the clogan 'Puja Finet!' – which I would translate as “Climb light” - the Castellers de Vilafranca have started a campaign to win new human towers team members among the secondary school youth. (Xtra)

From July 1, the language institution Servei de Català of Vilafranca and the rest of Alt Penedès will move to a new address: C/ Pere el Gran, 32, 1st floor. (PD)

For the education year 2009-10, a new municipal school of music will open in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, after a fusion of the two current private ones, Escola de Música de la Llar and Racó de la Música. (PD)

This summer, Gelida will see its population grow with 24 children from Belorussia, aged 7-17 years. They will stay for 40 days, the time needed to clean their bodies from the radioactive radiation they are constantly exposed to at home since the 1986 catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear plant (Ukraine). (3d8)

Baix Penedès

In Calafell’s efforts to develop from a mass to quality tourism destination, it has decided to meet the regulations for family friendly tourism destinations (destinació de turisme familiar) set up by the Turisme de Catalunya. The 2009 target for 25% of private hotels and restaurants to be individually certified has been met and the local authorities will provide a kindergarten service on the beach, another one of the requirements. (PD)

A team (colla) of young people in Albinyana, have created and baptized a new fire spitting monster (bèstia). Its name is Nyctalus Alinyanensis and it has found its inspiration in the bats of the cave Vallmajor. (Xtra)

The parties PSC and PP of Cunit have decided to, in 2010, sell municipal property (patrimoni) to a value of € 2,29 millions in order to cut the local budget deficit. The move has been criticized by the ICV opposition. (Xtra)

Spanish Industry Minister Miguel Sebastián has promised to scrutinize Enagas’ work to double the gaz pipeline between Barcelona and Valencia. Farmers along the route from l’Arboç to Barcelona have complained about the impact it has on the irrigation and drainage of their fields. (PD)


June 19, at the age of 89, Barcelona born aid worker Vincenç Ferrer passed away in Anantapur, India. Ràdio Igualada and Conca TV were present at the funeral and, as a part of their support for charity work, they will make programs about how the Vicente Ferrer Foundation over 40 years have built 5 hospitals, thousands of schools and medical centres plus some 26.000 houses. (Xtra)

Construction works are being carried out day and night to prevent landslides at a slope near Montaneu. Until the end of July, Lledia bound traffic on A2 - the main highway between Barcelona and Madrid – has to make a detour in this area. (AD)

On Thursday June 25, many parts of the comarca Anoia were surprised by a spectacular hail storm. In Igualada, the biggest hails stones had a diameter of 3 cm. (VD)

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Penedès News in English is a subjective compilation of local news, aimed above all for the expats living in this part of Catalonia but, possibly, interesting also for tourists. The main sources of information are L’Extra (Xtra) (pdf), Vilanova Digital (VD), Sitgesblog (SB), El 3 de Vuit (3d8), Penedès Digital (PD), AnoiaDiari·cat (AD), La Veu Digital (VD) plus the print version of Diari de Vilanova (DdV). All opinions expressed are my own.

A brief on the political party system of Catalonia can be found here.

Earlier editions can be found under the label Penedès News.

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Technorati tags: Barcelona, Calafell, Castellers, Català, Catalan, Catalonia, Catalunya, CiU, Cunit, Expat, Garraf, Human Towers, Igualada, Penedès, PSC, Sant Sadurní, Sitges, Spain, Vilafranca, Vilanova, Zapatero

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