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Local health workers get Formentera's gold medal for 2017

foto diada formentera 0179At 8.30pm this evening, the Formentera Council held its official Diada de Formentera celebration. The gala honoured individuals or groups determined by unanimous vote in CiF plenary to be worthy of distinction.

2017's gold medal (la Medalla d'Or) went to Formentera's community of professional health workers. The award salutes the work of individuals employed in a diverse array of positions like support, treatment, care and wellbeing, not least for their work and dedication as executors of the universal right to health.

Sant Jaume awards
Three Sant Jaume awards (premis) were also handed out. Pilar Castelló Ramon (Sant Joan de Labritja, 1953), for one, was praised for her work in the public sector. After holding the distinction as the first career civil servant in Formentera's local administration, Castelló worked for 25 years as a teacher, speech therapist and director Mestre Lluis Andreu primary school prior to retirement.

The accolade was also given to Club Dojo Formentera in recognition for their efforts introducing martial arts on the island. After starting with judo in 1982, the dojo grew to include aikido, jujitsu, karate and kendo, keeping their focus fixed on values like personal improvement, camaraderie and hard work.

La Fonda Rafalet, a family-run inn with more than sixty years of uninterrupted service, came away with the evening's third Sant Jaume prize, a celebration of the Rafalet crew's ability, generation after generation, to adapt to the changing needs of an evolving brand of tourism.

Adoptive son
This year's adoptive son honour was given to Manu San Félix (Madrid, 1964). In addition to his research and dissemination work on underwater environments, and a career that includes reporting and professional photography, San Félix, a biologist, was commended for his efforts to raise awareness about protecting posidonia meadows.

Official address
A closing address by the chairman of the Council highlighted the fortuitousness of coinciding with the administration's ten-year anniversary this year.

On that note, Jaume Ferrer noted the event shared a birthday with another local institution, the Formentera hospital. To the CiF chair, “this is really a case where we can talk about a before and after in terms of variety and quality in locally available healthcare services”. Urging audience members to look back at past Medalla d'Or honourees, Ferrer said this year's awards were a chance to “recognise all the people who have toiled to strengthen what has often been an under-resourced service” and “everyone who has worked, and who continues to work, to improve medical care on our island”.

After thanking each of the evening's honourees, Ferrer took the chance to highlight another banner event this year: 2017 is the year of sustainable tourism. The CiF chair stressed the need to preserve Formentera's undersea environment, calling it “the most profitable investment we can make”.

Miquel Tur and Júlia Benevelli's musical duo Sweet Lure closed the evening gala. This year, the official Diada de Formentera graphics were upgraded to mark the Formentera Council's tenth anniversary.

Today marks end of Formentera's development consortium

Foto reunio cfdAt noon today, Friday, July 21, the executive board of Formentera's development consortium (CFd) convened for the last time in the assembly hall of the Formentera Council. Administration chair Jaume Ferrer and chief secretary to the chairman, Bartomeu Escandell, emerged afterward to give statements to the press.

Jaume Ferrer explained that the assembled group of CiF members, Govern office holders and representatives of the Eivissa Council had gathered to disband the CFd definitively. As he pointed out, that end game had been achieved by the meeting's closing.

The Formentera Council will now assume control of the CFd's management and subrogate any of the group's assets and obligations. The Council has got until December 31, 2019 to invest the €4 million in the CFd's reserves. That spending is to involve heritage acquisitions, environment and sport infrastructure and urban area upgrades.

The defunct group leaves behind a number of outstanding debts. Payment of one, valued at €5.1m, will become responsibility of the Govern balear. A second debt, of €1.9m, will be split between the Balearic administration (70%) and the Formentera Council (30%).

Councillor Escandell called the CFd's dissolution “part of an effort to streamline local government”.

Core CFd activities
Created in 2001 to bring under one roof funding from both the Govern balear and the Eivissa and Formentera administrations, the development group sought to use investment to reduce Formentera's infrastructural deficit.

As Chairman Ferrer recalled, the group focussed on purchasing land—including the plots now occupied by the Formentera hospital, the Ses Bardetes children's park, the barracks of the Guardia Civil and the plaça de la Constitució expansion in Sant Francesc— as well as street upgrades in Sant Ferran (carrer Major), Es Pujols (carrer Xaloc), la Savina (carrer Ponent) and the Porto-Salè neighbourhood.

The first local body to subsidise repairs of dry-stone walls and other homegrown trademarks, the CFd also bankrolled initiatives to bury overhead utility lines. The Council has already reserved part of its 2017 budget allocations for subsidies of heritage-related improvements.

Officials visit site of cala Saona's third wildfire this summer

Investigacio incendisFormentera Council chief Jaume Ferrer and the Govern balear's secretary for environment, Vicenç Vidal, have paid a morning visit to the command centre of yesterday's cala Saona wildfire.

The blaze, which by this morning had burned across 5.16 hectares, took hold yesterday at roughly 3.00pm. Within five hours the fire brigade had stabilised the flames and by 11.30pm they declared the wildfire controlled. Officials expect to see the fire fully extinguished in the hours or days to come.

Jaume Ferrer praised emergency crews, forest service agents, Formentera firefighters and civil protection, Guardia Civil and local Formentera police forces for their swift response. He voiced his concerns about the fact that yesterday's blaze is “already the third wildfire to hit this part of cala Saona in two months”.

The first one struck May 20 and left 14 hectares of scorched earth in its wake. The second, on July 5, burned through 10.2 hectares. The environment secretary reported that of the 70 hectares of land in Illes Balears to be stung by wildfire this summer, a full 30 were on Formentera.

Seprona and Guardia Civil agents visited the suspected site of the fire's onset to investigate the cause. Thirty-one workers will continue working on the scene today to extinguish the flames.

Formentera celebrates as Council turns ten

Actuacio aires formenterencsLast night, in the plenary hall of the Formentera Day Centre, an audience assembled to celebrate ten years since the creation of the Formentera Council, an event that was overseen by the administration's former secretary, Marta Enciso. Current CiF secretary Ángel Navarro was there to take a look back at the legal challenges that, given the particular nature of its story, the administration has faced since its inception.

Also on hand to recall the unique period of overhaul was the man who played the role of Formentera's representative (or diputat), Pep Mayans. Then came Isidor Torres, who served as the batle (“mayor”) of the Ajuntament de Formentera, and offered the event's attendees a history lesson of Formentera residents' struggle for increasing self-government.

The first chairman to sit atop the new administration—the Council (Consell)—closed the ceremony with a speech that was full of gratitude. He thanked all those who had made the administration's restructuring possible and looked toward the future, explaining, “something we gained with the change from Ajuntament to Consell was greater ability to address our local problems locally” even as he asserted, “there's still plenty to go”.

Other attendees included former Ajuntament mayors Victor Tur, Vicent Escandell, Vicent Serra and Juanma Costa and one-time representatives Encarna Magaña, Santi Ferrer and Sílvia Tur. Also in attendance were Pilar Costa, who serves as chief of the Balearic Islands president's office, Santiago Marí, senator for Eivissa and Formentera, Ibiza's economy and tax office councillor, Gonzalo Juan Ferragut, educational envoy Margalida Ferrer and, the last person to chair the united Eivissa-Formentera Council, Pere Paula.

Spokespersons from the political parties with representation in the Council—Bartomeu Escandell for Gent per Formentera, José Manuel Alcaraz for the People's Party (PP), Ana Juan for PSOE, Omar Juan for Compromís—attended the event too. So did councillors on the CiF's governing team—Rafael González, Vanessa Parellada, Jordi Vidal, Sònia Cardona, Enrique Llorens (PP), Ana Negre (PP), Rafael Ramírez (PSOE) and Cristina Costa (Compromís)—and an array of former councillors and administration officials.

Musical entertainment was provided by Aires Formenterencs and hor-d'oeuvres were served as the evening concluded.

Administration celebrates ten years of local government

The Formentera Council president's office reports today on upcoming plans to celebrate ten years in government. At 8.00pm on Monday, July 10, the administration will stage a commemorative ceremony in the plenary hall of the island's care centre for dependent persons. Council chair Jaume Ferrer invited the entire island to come out for what he called “a tenth-anniversary event and a look back at how we got started and where we've been in ten years”.

Attendees will hear from former mayor Isidor Torres, the man who helmed Formentera's Ajuntament (a representative body later replaced by the locally-run Consell, or "council") as well as the Formentera official who presided over that period of administrative overhaul, Pep Mayans, and the current Council's first chairman, Jaume Ferrer. The event will include musical entertainment from Aires Formenterencs and refreshments.

The Formentera Council was incorporated on July 10, 2007, forty-five days after islanders cast their ballots in a May 27 election. Another milestone that year was the March 1 publication of Spain's official bulletin, the BOE. Appearing in the bulletin was an updated version of a regional document known as the Estatut (“statute”) of the Balearic Islands, which split the Formentera Council and the Eivissa Council into two distinct entities. The previous version of the Balearic statute, issued in 1983, had created one single council to govern both islands.

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