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Council signs off on gold medal and Sant Jaume distinctions

ple sant jaumeIn a special one-off plenary session held today, members of the Formentera Council unanimously moved to award the Medalla d'Or de Formentera (the gold medal of Formentera) to the island's local collective of dancers, traditional folksingers and instrumentalists as well as three premis Sant Jaume (Saint James awards) to Joan Torres Mayans, aka Joan des Moliner, the Santa Maria holidays commission and Ildefons Juan Marí.

Medalla d'Or de Formentera

CiF councillor of culture Susana Labrador spoke about the importance of the work of Formentera's collective of dancers, folksingers and instrumentalists. “With this award, we recognise this collective's work reviving, maintaining and passing down our traditional dances, songs and sonatas—that immaterial cultural heritage of the Pitiüsa Islands,” explained the councillor.

Premis Sant Jaume

In 2015, the first of three recipients of the Sant Jaume award was Joan Torres Mayans, known locally as Joan des Moliner (the miller). In the words of Councillor Labrador, the decision came from a desire “to applaud Torres not just in his profession as miller, but for his active participation in the restoration and revival of the different wind and flour mills across Eivissa and Formentera”. The Santa Maria holidays commission (Comissió de festes de Santa Maria) was also at the receiving end of the same honour “for its 25-year history defending and fighting for the social, cultural and linguistic values of Formentera as a land within the historically Catalan-speaking territories,” said Labrador. The councillor also praised the Council's third Sant Jaume honouree: Ildefons Juan Marí (1950–2011): “This award, given today posthumously, is in recognition of Juan's career as an educator, a position from which he put in place innovative learning methods and defended and promoted local Pitiüsa culture”.

Official ceremony

The president of the Formentera Council gave all those recognised his congratulations and invited the entire island to take part in the award ceremony, scheduled for next Friday 24 July at 8:30 p.m. in the cultural hall of the Council, the cinema.

Resignation of Margalida Font

Attendees of the day's plenary also made the unanimous decision to approve the resignation submitted by Margalida Font Aguiló in the her role as socialist party councillor. Font, who will keep her position as director general of the Govern Balear, cited incompatibility of functions as her motivation in abandoning her post as PSOE councillor. She is succeeded by Ana Juan Torres, also a member of the Partido Socialista.

La Mola wildfire brought under control

At 1:37 p.m. today a wildfire was declared near a country road in the es Ram area of la Mola, according to reports by Formentera firefighters. An Ibanat (Institut Balear de la Natura) crew was dispatched to the scene, as were a helicopter and small plane from Eivissa. An area of approximately 100 metres of juniper and pine forest was affected. Workers were able to bring the flames under control quickly thanks to the fact that the Ibanat helicopter crew was already in the area effectuating its monthly training exercises. The Formentera Council firetruck and two Council staff also assisted in the extinction of the blaze.

Festes de Sant Jaume 2015 events calendar

festesdesantjaumeCouncillor Susana Labrador, the CiF's appointee on culture, took the opportunity of a press conference today to announce the events calendar that will accompany this year's Sant Jaume festivities. Starting 20 July and extending through the end of the month, 'les festes de Sant Jaume' double as the official holiday for the island of Formentera. In the words of the councillor, “the celebration combines tradition—like the dance ('la ballada') the day of patron saint Jaume on the square in front of the church—with culture, sports and music. We try to have something for all the ages and tastes out there, island residents and tourists alike”.

Cultural activities:
Expect a Sant Francesc that is all decked out for the occasion when Sant Jaume celebrations kick off. The programme begins in the plenary hall of the Council, Monday 20 July, with a book presentation of the newly released XIIIth edition of the Enciclopèdia d'Eivissa i Formentera. In the words of Councillor Labrador, “the following day holds even more in store, with a vernissage of Herreyns El bosc i La Mola, an exposition by long-time familiar face on Formentera Gilbert Herreyns”. The outdoor summer film series Cinema a la fresca will also be adding its touch to the festivities with a special projection of the documentary Violeta en Ginebra 1963—an homage to Violeta Parra—and a concert performance by her son, Angel Parra, to follow.

Official celebration, 24 July:
Among the other events announced by Labrador: “The administration's official Diada de Formentera ceremony—like every year, on 24 July. This year's event will begin at 8:30 p.m. in the municipal cinema and include the announcement of the honorary distinctions decided at a special one-off plenary session tomorrow (Wednesday)”.

Activities for children and youth:
Organisers were sure to include activities for young children and teenagers on the 2015 Festes calendar. First on the list: La Banda Guillada i el seu Ball a Cort, a street performance by Ara Toc designed especially for Formentera's youngest spectators. There will also be a special workshop to get kids geared up for the Flower infantil—a child-friendly version of the popular evening of throwback dance. “And for the first time ever,” boasted Councillor Labrador, “we have organised a hip-hop festival for the island's teenagers”.

Sports-themed activities:
The festivities for Formentera's patron saint have even got something for sports lovers: “Like the tennis and paddle tennis tournaments and synchronised swimming show put on by summer camp participants,” noted the councillor.

Concerts and musical performances (four days, 23, 24, 25 and 26):
Traditionally, the four main days of Sant Jaume are centred around music, and this year will be no different. Labrador highlighted “the crowd-pleaser Jazz a la plaça, which on Thursday 23 July will take on special proportions for the occasion” as well as “the always hotly-anticipated Formentera Flower on Friday the 24th“. Filling out the musical programme for the remainder of the weekend, the councillor announced the three concerts scheduled for Saturday—“Mishima, Ariel Rot and Los Zigarros”—, warned against anyone forgetting that evening's final showstopper (“the fireworks display”) and beamed about Sunday evening performances by Cris Juanico and Los Mambo Jambo.

Councillor Labrador wished all of Formentera “another happy round of Sant Jaume celebrations—we hope you enjoy it”. The organisational cost of the 2015 Festes de Sant Jaume was €60,000.

Balearic port authority, harbour master accept CiF proposal to have cruise ships dock outside zone II area of port

fondejosThis past Friday, Daisee Aguilera, the Formentera Council's environmental councillor, sent two letters —one to the Balearic port authority and another to Capitanía Marítima, the harbour master's office— proposing an alternative to having tourist cruise ships drop anchor on the Posidonia oceanica field of seagrass that is found in zone II of the la Savina port.

Councillor Aguilera's proposal: that the vessels anchor about one mile northwest of the protected seagrass prairie, in an area whose depth is roughly 40 metres and where there is no Posidonia. “That was the course of action taken by the crew of Star Flyer, which —following the indications of anchoring surveillance and assistance company Pitiusa de Ecología— dropped anchor upon a sandy area of the ocean floor,” explained Aguilera.

The councillor said she was pleased “to be able to reconcile the arrival of tourist cruise ships with the protection of Posidonia,” something Aguilera called “[the Council's] top priority”. She also thanked the consignee of the cruise ship, the Balearic port authority and the harbour master's office — “the entity that authorised anchoring outside of the la Savina harbour”.

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