Monday, 20 July 2009

Penedès News in English

This week, an underwater laboratory and a unique giant exhibition has made even Catalan national media put an extra focus on Vilanova i la Geltrú. However, as always there are news from the whole of the Penedès, including its number one expat town, Sitges. The presentation starts with the region as a total and continues with local items; comarca by comarca, town by town:

Gran Penedès

Xavier Cardona, president of ADEG (the Business Association of Alt and Baix Penedès plus Garraf) considers the Catalan part of the new model for the financing of the autonomous communities – as recently agreed between Zapatero’s state government and the Catalan Generalitat - “not perfect, but sufficient”. At the same time he regrets that PP has adopted an anti-catalan campaign, insinuating that Catalonia does not any longer show solidarity with the rest of Spain, while figures reveal that the opposite is true. (PD)

Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú and el Vendrell are among the thirteen Catalan coastal towns where there will be mobile phone coverage problems during the summer, since the arrival of tourists sharply increase the number of users. (Avui)(Punt)


Sant Camil – the main public hospital of Garraf – has reported its first four cases of swine flu (grip nova or grip A), all with mild symptoms. The Generalitat reminds everyone to take hygiene measures like covering nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, immediately bin used tissue handkerchiefs and wash the hands regularly. Possible questions will be answered by Sanitat Respon (902 111 444). (DdV)

On July 11, 986 people from 37 teams took part in the 8th Timbalada (a drummer parade) of Sitges. The profit of around € 2.000, made by the bar service, will go to the NGO Sonrisas de Bombay (Smiles of Bombay). (DdV)

The avinguda de Vinyet of Sitges, and above all its pavements, is in a dire need of reform and it has been decided that the work will start in September. (DdV)

July 16, Sitges inaugurated the boat La Vinyet, named after the one which used to carry post from here to Barcelona. La Vinyet has been refurbished to look like a traditional fishing boat and can, for example, be used to let tourist accompany professional fishermen during their work. (DdV)

Sitges based journalist Jordi Barrachina has received the duty of honour to read the opening announcement (pregó) of the festa major on August 21. (DdV)

July 9, 40 sports cars participating in the rally 6to6 Sitges-Monaco drove the 1.200 km from here to there, with the promotion of Sitges as one of the targets. (Xtra)

Josep Antoni Blanco, mayor of Sant Pere de Ribes, has acknowledged that the transformation of the deserted Autodrome Terramar/Sitges into a theme park will take longer than the three years originally foreseen, but that the plan remains. (DdV)

The Nirvana Lounge at Aiguadolç wants to promote Sitges as a town of entrepreneurs by allowing companies to reserve if for “VIP Summer Nights”. The first company to do so was Jaguar for the launch of its XRJ 500 HP model. (Vilaweb)

Spain’s first underwater laboratory has started to operate at a depth of 20 meters, three nautical miles off the coast of Vilanova i la Geltrú. It forms part of ESONET, the European network of marine observatories, and will first and foremost be used by the UPC Barcelona Tech. However, anyone interested in studying what is happening in the Mediterranean - be it for environmental or commercial reasons - will be able to connect their equipment. A cable connection with land allows for uninterrupted power supply as well as real time transmission of data. (DdV)(LaVanguardia)(Avui)

A unique collection of historic giants from all around Catalonia can currently be seen at the Victor Balaguer Museum of Vilanova – among those the Gegants Vells de Solsona and the Gegants d’Olot - to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the local ones. Entry is temporarily free of charge and the exhibition will go on until August 1, when it will be rounded off with a parade (cercavila). (DdV)(Punt)

Ethnologist Bienvé Moya has received the National Award of Popular Culture of Catalonia. Among other things, Moya is the main creator of Vilanova’s Imaginari children’s parade but has also contributed to the historic recuperation of Barcelona’s La Mercé, especially the Correfoc. (VD)(DdV)

With a 100% support among the members, Santi Rodríguez - member of the Parliament of Catalonia and councillor (regidor) of the ajuntament - was reelected president of PP Vilanova. (Punt)

Thanks to money from the Zapatero plan (pla E), Vilanova will be able to double the investments in school maintenance and include fences, gates and other security devices for which there usually are not funds. (DdV)

Hotel owners of Vilanova are irritated with Google since a search with the words “hotels/hoteles Vilanova i la Geltrú” consequently generates lists topped by establishments in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Euskadi). (DdV)

This year, big catches of hake (lluç) and anchovy (seitons) are being brought in and that results in sharp price drops. In June, for example, Vilanova fishermen received € 5,67 per kilo of hake. (DdV)

Alt Penedès

On July 12 in Torredembarra (Tarragonès), the Castellers de Vilafranca assembled Catalonia’s first pillar of seven levels of the season. They now openly declare their goal to build a human tower of ten levels during the Diada de Sant Fèlix. (Avui)(PD)

Nine inhabitants (empadronats) of Vilafranca del Penedès have the chance to win the right to watch the festa majorla més típica – from the balcony of the ajuntament. On the other hand, the town will save € 1.200 in times of crises by cancelling the official dinner on the day of Sant Fèlix. (Punt)(3d8)

The Spanish state has granted € 1 million for the renovation to come at Vinseum – the Museum of the Wine Cultures of Catalonia – located in Vilafranca. (Punt)

CatSalut – the Catalan Public Healthcare System – will optimize resources at all primery attention units (CAP) by closing them at 21:00. As an exception, the CAP of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia (until now open 24h/day) will be allowed to close at 24:00. (Punt)(3d8)

The ajuntament of Sant Sadurní plans to build a Pitch and Putt and has studied the existing Penedès golf courses of this kind, in el Vendrell and Sant Jaume dels Domenys. (Punt)(3d8)

With the slogan “The ajuntament explains, the ajuntament listens”, the politicians of Gelida will carry out panel discussions with the citizens of all parts of the town. (PD)

Baix Penedès

Tourism generated income in the Baix Penedès is expected to drop 10% due to the crises, since hotel prices go down and people spend fewer nights away from home. Of the Baix Penedès tourists, almost 50% come from Catalonia and another 28% from other Spanish autonomous regions. (3d8)

El Vendrell has decided to support the candidature of Tarragona to become a European Capital of Culture for 2016, since the legacy of the vendrellenc composer Pau Casals forms part of the campaign. (PD)

The avinguda Juli Cèsar bridge of Cunit – the main connection between the town and the beach area – will be renovated with Plan Zapatero (Pla E) money. (Punt)(3d8)

During its festa major to the honour of Sant Cristòfol, Cunit presented two new small giants (gegantons), where the male character represents fire and the female one water. (PD)


The Igualada workers of Visteon – a car industry sub-supplier - will be on strike during the second half of this month. July 16, they organised a demonstration in Barcelona to protest against the company’s plans to let 123 people (half the work force) go. (Punt)(Xtra)

Igualada has built a new sports park for those interested in trials on bicycle (trial). The official inauguration will take place on July 25. (AD)

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The main sources of Penedès News in English are AnoiaDiari·cat (AD), Penedès Digital (PD), El Punt (Punt), El 3 de Vuit (3d8) and Vilanova Digital (VD) plus the pdf-version of L’Extra (Xtra), and the print version of Diari de Vilanova (DdV). All opinions expressed are my own.

Although I like the local press (premsa comarcal), I must admit that I am highly impressed with the new layout of El Punt, where you, after having entered the name of your town, receive news in three columns; the first related to your municipality and its comarca, the second with news from the Catalan countries (Països Catalans) and the third with the rest of the world.

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, Castellers, Catalonia, Cunit, Expat, Festa Major, Garraf, Human Towers, Igualada, Penedès, Sant Sadurní, Sitges, Spain, el Vendrell, Vilafranca, Vilanova, Zapatero

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