This week, most expats living in the Gran Penedès will have heard of the brutal murder of Joel Rodríguez in Sitges. Here is a summary of local news from that and other towns of the Penedès, starting with the region as a total, followed by local items, presented comarca by comarca, town by town. Sitges, for example, can be found under the headline Garraf.
Penedesfera – the Penedès region’s blogger community - have started to sell t-shirts with the text ‘London, Berlin, New York, El Penedès, Shanghai’, designed by the team behind Cava&Twitts. The profit goes to Catalan TV3’s charity project La Marató. (3d8)
A total of 122 Catalan wines have received 90 points or more by wine connoisseur Parker and have thus made it to his list of quality wine. Out of these, ten wines come from the D.O. Penedès, and another 11 the D.O. Cava. (3d8)
Vilanova mayor Joan Ignasi Elena was unanimously elected the new president of the administrative body (mancomuntat) Pendès-Garraf - in charge of services like water supply and waste treatment in three comarques - after Vilafranca's ex-mayor Marcel Esteva stepped down from the position. (DdV)
Due to the crises, prices of vacation apartments have dropped with 10-20% along the Costa Daurada and in Barcelona. Sitges, together with many resorts on the Costa Brava are exceptions, which manage to maintain the price level of last year. (LaVanguardia)
A Greenpeace report with the name Destrucció a tota costa (destruction along the whole coast) points out that 46,5% of the Catalan coast line has been urbanized, the highest figure in the whole of Spain. The sea water of Garraf is contaminated above all by the river Llobregat, but also from local sources like the Vallcarca cement plant, leakage from the old rubbish dump at Vall d’en Joan and the river Foix. Greenpeace reveals that Garraf mussels contain levels of risk substances above accepted limits and questions how Port Ginesta of Sitges recently added 404 moorings in a the natural park of Garraf while Cubelles plans to create a marina with another 553 moorings. (DdV)
Sitges is still in chock after the July 7 murder of Joel Rodríguez Osorio, especially since it had its origin in a simple quarrel in the queue to a french fries kiosk and was carried in the middle of the centre (C/ Parellades), in daylight and in front of ten direct witnesses. The person who stabbed this 20-year-old boy from Olivella was rapidly caught. The fact that the attacker and his three friends are all of Latin American origin (although three of them have Spanish citizenship) resulted in an march with some 200 participants angrily demanding the immediate expulsion of foreigners who commit crimes and protesting against “Latin Kings”. The four suspects had decided to remain silent when they made their first appearance in front of the criminal court of Vilanova i la Geltrú. (DdV, VD, LaVanguardia, Avui)
Together with the Sitges Tourism Promotion Agency, Brandon Jones - originally from Wales but who has lived here for 23 years and speaks a fluent Catalan – has launched the DVD “the Sitges Cultural Calendar” where he presents his recommendations to the annual events of the town. It is available in English, Catalan and Spanish. (VD)
To compensate for the parking lots lost after the remodelling of the beach front of Sant Sebastià in Sitges, from August this year, a new free-of-charge parking for 300 cars will be constructed next to office of the mossos d’esquadra police. (DdV)
With 3.500 visitors, the 2009 music festival Absolut Faraday of Vilanova i la Geltrú was a major success. Medusa which organises it now faces a dilemma: there is a clear demand for the festival to grow, but if it does it will have to leave the Molí de Mar, the idyllic premises above the sea which makes it so unique. (DdV)
Bosc – the cinema at the Rambla Principal of Vilanova – will open up again from July and onwards. The program will contain mainstream movies as well as alternative titles, managed by the ajuntament while the former owner will operate the kiosk. (DdV)
The municipal kennel (gossera) of Vilanova has been closed down and all dogs and cats which used to live there have been either adopted or moved to the kennel which the mancomunitat Penedès-Garraf operates in Vilafranca. The organisations of voluntary workers were not able to fully supervise the process since a PP proposal with that aim was not adopted by the local tripartit government. (DdV)
The presidency of the Consell Comarcal of Alt Penedès was handed over from CiU’s Francesc Olivella to PSC’s Jordi Girona, as foreseen two years ago when all parties with representation decided to split the time of office between the two biggest ones. (3d8)
A big choir from the Concordia University of Nebraska celebrated the US Independence Day, July 4, with a concert in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, after which they had their photo taken accompanied by the local giants (gegants). (PD)
Last week, a tourist guide called Excursións pel Baix Penedès (Baix Penedès Excursions) was launched. The book which presents 30 itineraries, complete with maps and an index, is now available at tourist offices and some book stores. (PD)
In spite of the crisis, the ajuntament of El Vendrell has decided to dedicate € 400.000 to investments in the preschool and school facilities of the town. (PD)
The viaduct where the old N-340 passes under railway north of El Vendrell is again open for traffic. Since a lot of pedestrians use it, work has been carried out to make it less steep, broaden the pavement and improve the illumination. (3d8)
July 9-12, thousands of visitors have come to see the sky over Igualada fill up with hot air balloons in the European Balloon Festival. The so called Night Glow part of the program was especially appreciated. Catalan TV3 contributed to the success since the children’s club of Super-3 arranged a lottery of free flights among its viewers. (AD)
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The main sources of Penedès News in English are Vilanova Digital (VD), El 3 de Vuit (3d8), Penedès Digital (PD), AnoiaDiari·cat (AD), La Veu Digital (LVD) 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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