30 June, 2010

The hospital has to close beds for lack of nurses

The hospital of Angers is due to reduce during the summer its capacity to cater for ailing persons because nurses are becoming scarce. "We face a real problem of recruitment, particularly nurses", recognize the management of the hospital. From among 1 551 beds in the department of medecine, 107 will be closed till mid-september : 7%.

This is the catastrophical result of an ineffectual policy in education of healh workforce for 30 years in France in spite of the ageing of the french population (
weak during the hot season as the experience of summer 2003 illustrated it). For example, 2 000 nurses are desperatly needed by french hospitals. This is also true for physicians. Every year the medical universities reject almost 90% of the candidates! But the taxpayer foot the bill for 100%. In times of difficulties for the state, is it sensible to pay worthless education expenses?

But this is, among numerous other examples, an evidence of the increasing pride of french nation. France prefers excellence with scarcity to an anonymous adjustement between national needs and means. Can we qualify a system of excellent when it is quantitatively unable to face to the demand and is, year after year, more expensive?

29 June, 2010

La Roche Hue : the Lowlands on the hill

Some places lost in the countryside of Maine-et-Loire attract people coming from Europa. The La Roche Hue castle is an exemple of that. Located near Cheviré-le Rouge, at the north of the former province of Anjou, La Roche-Hue is on a hill from where we can see the unchanging and quiet landscape of Anjou. Only the top of a church can be seen from the here from the inhabitants of Lowlands, coming here most by road, someone by plane.

Built at the 19th century on the ruins of a medieval castle, La Roche Hue would be the masterwork of a family helped by its servants. The style of the building is Louis 13th. It was bought in the 90 's by English for fellow citizens looking for rest. But the business didn't work. So Dutch investors bought it and reached that time to revive it. The castle has been divided in flats, so the friendly inhabitants can live at the same time alone and together.

Surrounded by a huge park of about 40 ha all in one piece with old lime trees and redwoods, La Roche-Hue is apart from the road. So the most impressive feeling is the absence of noise. The park is quite natural (the grass is cut by a farmer who feeds his cattle) except a little and charming square dressed like a "jardin à la française". An afternoon there is like a walk in the past.

28 June, 2010

A young moroccan woman, mistreated by his french husband, could be expelled to her native land

A young moroccan woman, who was repudiated by her french husband with whom she lived in the area of Angers, could have to go back to her native soil, according to the group Sos femmes which took her from street dressed in pyjamas during a night of last winter. After the wedding ceremony in Morocco, the husband, 17 years older, came back to France with his wife whose life became dreadful.

"I was his slave. I had to be his house cleaner on day and his wife on night. One time as I refused to be mistreated, he threw all my clothes to the trash can. Another time, he threw me glass", she remenbers. And after seven months of mistreatment, the young woman was sent back. She laid charges against her husband and asked divorce (she is not sure to get).

She could be sent back a second time to Morocco because she can't give proof of married life, as many other women in France, deplore several humanitarian groups of Angers, even if she got a job in a catering company. Since the beginning of 2010, Sos femmes gave accomodation to three women whom the mistreatment didn't allow them to get a residence permit in France. Two of them have had to leave France.

(Excerpt from Angers maville)

27 June, 2010

Retirement gives work : hypocrisy and illusion in Angers as in France

During the recent parades against the planned pensions reform in Angers as well as in France, the demonstrators outlined the necessity of retirement at 60 years old in order to allow the younger generation to come in the labor market. This is a generous idea, apparently.

Because, at the same time, these people argue they are mentally and physically exhausted.
That could be true during the last decade because the french workforce had been exposed to a shortening of working hours which increased its productivity, and thus its efforts to produce the same volume of work (if not more) in less time. If France boasts on the best productivity all over the world, it has also the record of consumption of antidepressive drugs.

So, are the workers so generous to share a burden they want to escape? Moreover this theory of sharing the work is absolutely wrong. Work creates jobs. Inactivity doesn't. From another point of view, these people claiming their desire to retire may be do not understand what the base of the present pensions system consists in : the pensions of (for instance) 2020 will have to be paid by the contributions of the same year. Will that be possible with the pensionned (living more longer) outnumbering the contributors?
Where is solidarity?

25 June, 2010

18 000 demonstrators in Angers against the planned pensions reform

About 18 000 demonstrators marched thoughout the streets of Angers on june 24th regarding the government's planned pensions reform. According to testimonies recorded by local press coverages, people are physically and mentally tired.

For blue collars workers like electrician, house painter or craftsman, the odds to get their pensions in healthy conditions are weak. "Shall we be able to work till 62 years old?" asks one of them. For some white collar workers (teacher) interviewed by newspaper, the problem is the reduction of resources in education. But most of them had in common an apparently generous (but wrong) idea : the retirement of the oldest will give work to the youngest... But 13 years ago, probably many of them "took advantage" of the shortening of working hours which soared their productivity and thus, their tiredness.

Gathered in the morning, the demonstrators spent an hour to travel over Angers from Leclerc square towards the river ring road before coming back by the inner city. A month ago, similar demonstrations took place in the city and a a new one is planned for september.

(Pictures Angers Ville Actu, Angers Maville)

23 June, 2010

Maine banks scheme: in Lyon, no car means no scarface

In order to achieve its project of reconquest of Maine banks, Angers town hall looked for some inspiration in similar urban schemes. One of them is visible in Lyon. The Rhône river runs through the capital of Rhône-Alpes province which has been built, like many other french towns, along a river formerly a way of economic exchanges.

The place is now covered by ribbons of grass instead of car parks. Trees, benches and waterfalls are placed along a path where only bicycles and pedestrians are allowed to get around. But, as an unexpected consequence, boats are docked again. Old barges have been transformed in places for fun (bars, restaurants, nightclubs), so there is liveliness brought by the river to the city, as if the first was saying to the town : I refund you the fun you were looking for.

Of course, for this annual Music Day, the wharfs were invaded by people and not available for a lonesome and dreamy walk (Even if you could listen to the stream of the river). That may be the interest of such a scheme : to bring up to life the heart of a city.

20 June, 2010

The giant drink planned in Mail Garden on internet didn't attract people

The giant aperitif planned by internet users on Facebook on the evening of june in Angers 18 didn't meet the expected success. Instead of thousands of people, only a few dozens were there, sadly sat on the benches of Mail Garden surrounded by iron fences where notices warned "Summer beds of flowers have just been realized in Mail Garden (more than 600 hours of work, more than 20 000 plants for gardener's team. Thank you to respect their work and to allow a flourished summer".

State and local authorities have joined their efforts to make that initiative manageable. Dozens of policemen, firefighters and rescuers were there outnumbering the drinkers. All participants were invited, and some of them checked, not to bring alcohol inside the Mail.

On the opposite side, candidates to a drink looked disappointed, deploring the lack of alcohol (some were 17 years old). But a few weeks ago, a similar event in Nantes caused the death of a young man probably drunk.

(News from Le Courrier de L'Ouest, Angers Mag Info)

19 June, 2010

Solidarity is "imposed", will inhabitants be taxed?

One of the most obvious words reported by local medias and politicians is, without any doubt, "solidarity". But the word is overused (gardens, tourism, associations) and sometimes, misused. In june, the mayor of Angers, Jean-Claude Antonini, announced in a booklet (whose cost could reach 60 000 € according to local town councillors) about the implementation of the city council commitments : "We are building the new solidarities".

"Present times impose that more than ever", justifies Mr Antonini. But, the way between " to impose" and "to tax" could be short for many inhabitants. And the mayor looks to prepare the minds to that unavoidable outcome : "In order to reach to this Angers, deeply renewed, local finances must be kept healthy and balanced", he said. As the national state reduces its financial support to local authorities "all new expense could have a direct consequence on the level of taxes upon households. However, tax rates didn't raise for 27 years in Angers"...

If the economic crisis weaken the low income families, the "solidarity" of the city could consist in reducing its expenses and thus reducing the taxes on people. In difficult period "solidarity" must exist not only between Angers inhabitants but between these and local authority through a stable taxation.

17 June, 2010

A new airline Angers London starts next september

A new airline Angers-London city will start from next september. Sixty minutes after take-off from Angers Loire Aéroport, passengers will land at London City airport. The airline will be operated by Sunair, a former danish company now subsidiary of British Airways, on fridays and sundays. The price, for a roundtrip, will be about 150 €. The airline will be operated all year long with planes of different capacity, with a peak in activity on summer.

This is the result of an joint initiative of Angers city, the Maine et Loire County Council and the Chamber of commerce and industry, made public on june 17th. Together they finance the business with a 730 000 € subsidy, the major part coming from Angers, for the next three years. The public authority hopes that the airline will help to bring back english tourists in Anjou thanks to the depreciation of the euro against the pound.

Another airline linking Angers to Brussels, was announced at the same time, but that one with different prices and frequency. These two european destinations are added to an airline Angers-Tunis, operated since april of this year. Local authorities in charge of the airport located in Marcé estimate that almost 60 000 passengers came by Angers Loire Aéroport in 2009, a large majority for leasure.

(with angers mag info http://www.angersmag.info/; and angers maville http://www.angers.maville.com/actu/actudet_-Actualite-deux-nouvelles-lignes-vers-bruxelles-et-londres-a-partir-d-angers_-1414408_actu.Htm)

16 June, 2010

On june 21 : city hall wants music, no panic

The 2010 edition of the Music Day will take place in Angers on june 21st, from 6 pm on monday to 2 am on tuesday. Twenty two groups will perform and styles will be very diversified : country, rock, hip hop, classic, religious, salsa, african drums, jazz and so on. In down town and La Doutre, many locations will host these concerts : squares, monuments, streets, gardens, churches as well as bars, restaurants and even a lot of stores! The groups will perform in appropriate places according to their music.

But town hall wants a party, not a mess! For that purpose, the city promotes a responsible behaviour refering to sustainable development : trash cans will be installed in strategic locations in order to encourage the recycling of wastes. Moreover, the city warns spectators about the hearing risks by distributing ears protections.

Traffic and parking will be regulated, if not prohibited in an area circumscribed by Général de Gaulle, Roi-René, Foch, Resistance and Déportation, Carnot and Ayrault boulevards along the Maine from to 2 pm on monday.

The interest of Music Day depends widely on the day it takes place. Wouldn't it be better to organize it on the first weekend of summer?

15 June, 2010

The first one third term meeting of mayor didn't attract people

The meeting organized by the city council of Angers on june 14th between the majority town councillors, among them, Jean-Claude Antonini, mayor, did not draw the inhabitants who sat in only a fourth of the hall of the Chanzy theater. "You are not numerous tonight. That demonstrates the problems considered by someone as very important are not in fact so major. Otherwise, you would have come to lynch me", he said.

However, the meeting was carefully prepared. But, may be too much. What could be said after the document of 56 pages, published at 82 000 copies, debriefing the inhabitants about the fate of 339 local commitments, of which only 12 have been given up mostly due to the municipal savings plan?

In that area, local politicians and inhabitants knows the breathing space is narrow. And the documents above recognize it. In the chapter "Finances", only one promise is made : "to keep at a low level the housing tax and the water prices". That single promise is cautiously described as "implemented". Will it be respected? Rendez-vous within two years...

14 June, 2010

When new ways drive to old lanes

A local publisher "Le Polygraphe" is, at the same time, at the front page of old travel journals and on the latest fashion of technology, the i-pad, with the same theme : the poetry of ride along the Loire valley. Since the beginning of june,the devoted admirers of touchpad share the same emotion with the lovers of old spiral-bound notebooks where travellers of by-gone days recorded their souvenirs.

The Apple store of the world company puts forward the "Carnet de Loire between Tours and Candes-Saint-Martin" after Le Polygraph published it fifteen years ago. But in both cases, paper or screen, the charm works : the reader becomes walker whose imagination drifts away along the majestic curves of the royal river.

The watercolors (Pascal Proust) and the story (Pierre Laurendeau, in addition manager of Le Polygraph) stage the famous and the humble patrimony of that province formerly called "The garden of France". If the application program uses some of the technical headways of Apple, nevertheless, these one don't invade the course of the imaginary promenade. The authenticity is intact.

13 June, 2010

Africa, main theme of the next "Accroche-coeur"

The black continent will be the main theme of the 2010 edition of "Les accroche- coeur", planned on september the 10th, 11th and 12th in Angers. "We shall go troughout Africa till Johannesburg", heralded the organizers of the event opened and closed by a fly of migratory birds, cranes, over the city.

On the ground, the african theme will often be at the core of the exhibitions like "Transhumance" staging all kinds of migrations or " The dance of the calendar " featuring the main celebrations around the mediterranean sea. Fireworks are also planned as well as the climbing of a local monument whose identity has not be communicated yet. Artists like the senegalese sculptor Ousmane Sow and the british guitarist Justin Adams are also scheduled. But the edition will associate the inhabitants and town hall called them to be part of it.

The "Accroche-coeur" will take place at different locations of the city and among them, Académie, La Rochefoucauld squares, the Le Quai esplanade. Several others places will be entirely dedicated to pedestrians and especially the banks of the Maine river where a giant picnic will gather the festival-goers.

The local policy is not far from that choice. To attract the inhabitants towards the river is a way to convince them of the legitimacy of the banks reconquest promoted by town hall.

12 June, 2010

The local opposition fears the trolley is financially derailing

As the second trolley train arrived on june 9th in Angers, a double controversy inflamed the debate of the town councillors last week : on one hand, the trail of the second line, on the other hand, the cost of the trolley.

According to the minority at townhall, the second trail linking Beaucouzé to Saint-Sylvain d'Anjou "should have been the first" complained Gilles Groussard, town councillor (minority) who added "the second line will be the first with regard to activity" : about 41 000 passengers per day. A few years ago, the business circles of Angers stood up for that second trail, instead of the first linking Avrillé to La Roseraie.

But the cost of the second line worries the local opposition. "Since 2002, we never stopped to inform about the drift of the costs of the trolley : 320 millions € according to the last estimates instead of 170 millions € at the start of the project", warns Laurent Gérault, leader of the minority. "The difference is quite the price of a second trolley trail". The bill for the second line is presently evaluated at about 350 millions €. But the opposition town councillors fear a new loss of control of the budget.

10 June, 2010

A long training for the 2014 local campaign has already started

The mayor of Angers, Jean-Claude Antonini, organize, june 14th, a public meeting at the Chanzy theater about the local policy he implemented in the city since his reelection, by a narrow margin, in 2008. Before that, the city council published at the beginning of the month a report of 56 pages run of 82 000 copies, about the promises made during the campaign.

All the sides of the local policy are reviewed. In public transports, housing, culture, environment, security or economy, the authors of the documents try to measure the implementation of 339 commitments made two years ago. A "balance sheet" shows that a large majority of them are already applied or on way.

Beyond a few goals which look quite important for Mr Antonini (a new convention hall, a new commercial center "Atoll", the urban renewal, the trolley and recently the reconquest of Maine river banks), a long training aimed at resettle the present majority at the lever of townhall has already strated. A new rendez-vous is promised in 2012 for a second report. "The office ends in four years", concludes the report.

09 June, 2010

58 persons removed from a squat in down town Angers

Fifty eight persons have been removed in the early morning of june 8th from a squat where they lived since autumn 2009, at Port de l'Ancre street, down town Angers. These persons are asylum seekers, coming from countries of eastern Africa. All have been rehoused in ten flats belonging to social housing organizations in Angers and Saumur. The place will be used for social housing.

The process, under police supervision, and watched by a group of help to undocumented persons, was peaceful, as testified by Patrick Bouchardon, head of prefect cabinet. The asylum seekers got a social and legal assistance from state and local services and looked "relieved" according to witnesses. Two others squats of Angers located in Verneau and La Roseraie districts, will be closed and their occupants, about 150 persons (native of east europeans countries of which Rumania) removed soon.

But the difficulties could not be solved nevertheless. "We can welcome 480 asylum seekers per year", points out Richard Samuel, prefect of Maine et Loire. "But, in 2009, we recorded quite the double". If the housing problem is ok for a while, many associations who help refugees are in trouble. In march the workers of Point accueil Angers solidarité withdrawed from their office and last week the Secours populaire closed its doors overwhelmed by the demand.

(From : http://www.angers.maville.com/actu/actudet_-58-demandeurs-d-asile-reloges-en-appartements_loc-1404116_actu.Htm and Le Courrier de l'Ouest)

08 June, 2010

A second trolley line conceivable in 2020

Within 10 years, Angers city could have a second line of trolley. It will link Beaucouzé to Saint-Sylvain d'Anjou on a track of 16 km long(1).

The studies about the second line were launched in 2008 and designed to work out
the best track according to numbers of inhabitants, jobs, schoolchildren. According to the deputy-mayor in charge of the project, Bernadette Caillard-Humeau, "thirty-two stations separated from one another by a distance of 500 m will welcome some 42 000 passengers daily".

A first half will go from Beaucouzé inner city and pass by Belle-Beille university, then Patton avenue, Bon Pasteur boulevard, then cross the Maine by the Basse-Chaîne bridge. From there it will go up De Gaulle boulevard, then Marceau street and arrive at the Saint-Laud railway station.

A second half (linked to the previous by the line presently in construction) will start at the top of Alsace street, then will take, Louis-Gain street, cross Montaigne avenue, in direction of Deux-Croix, Allonneau boulevards and arrive in Monplaisir square before go away to Saint-Sylvain d'Anjou. The studies estimates at about 21 000 at Beaucouzé and 11 600 at Monplaisir district the numbers of passengers.

The city council think the project could be realized before 2020 in case of state'subsidies. But these could not comme soon considering the conditions of France public finances...

(1) http://www.angers.maville.com/actu/actudet_-Tramway-une-deuxieme-ligne-de-Beaucouze-au-parc-expo_loc-1402765_actu.Htm