Around Slovakia

Dam forces villagers to be relocated
Honey production in Slovakia is declining
House where Tiso was born opened to public
Monument unveiled to Slovak-American diplomat
Pheasant hunting season starts Nov. 15

Dam forces villagers to be relocated

Already families are being relocated from a village near Žilina as plans for constructing a dam and reservoir on the Váh River get underway. By the time the project is completed sometime in 1998, Mojšova Lúčka will be flooded, and the village's 134 families will have embarked on a new life.
Does this all mean that dreams will be flooded too, or have residents made new plans? Are they happy to say good-bye to generations of memories?
Outside hanging her laundry, a grandmother with her grandchildren nodded at a passing truck laden with heavy construction equipment stirring up dust and dirt and said that 30 years of planning for the dam have left the majority of residents looking forward to the new and quiet village of Nová Mojšova Lúčka.
Other residents shared her sentiment. Studying the designs for their future home, women thought about new curtains and where to put the furniture or cooking on the new luxurious stove. Central heating means no longer carrying coal or refilling propane tanks as in their old abodes. Fresh paint on the walls and clean floors means that the grandchildren can crawl and run freely.
The biggest common regret among the residents of Mojsova Lucka was that they would have considerably smaller gardens and no mature fruit trees, thus meaning thay will have to buy fruit for several years before new ones begin to produce. Also, all the lots are the same. One man mounting his bicycle outside the local pub felt that he would be much too close to his neighbors. There will be no chance to return with grandchildren to show them ther birthplace, where they carved their initials into the woodwork. Yes, memories never go away, as a mother told her four-year-old in the yard, but the tangible reminders of them do.
Even though moving means having a new neighbor ( they will not be in the same order as they are now), a new garden, curtains, and maybe kitchen utensils, if you want to find a citizen of the old Mojsova Lucka, go next year to Nová Mojšova Lúčka and, as all agreed, "Just ask, it's a small village, we all know one another."

Honey production in Slovakia is declining

Slovakia's honey production has reached a point where it is no longer profitable to jab one's fingers into the beehive. That's due to several factors, including bad weather, an aging beekeeper population, and rising material costs, according to Ján Kopernický director of the Ústav Včelárstva (Beekeeper Institute) in Liptovský Hrádok. "This year the weather was bad; it rained very often," Kopernický lamented. "Also each year more honey producers quit the business. To have bees in Slovakia is no longer profitable."
Inflation has played a large part. The costs of materials for beekeeping has risen to 75 Sk for every kilogram of honey, while beekeepers' honey only fetches 35-70 Sk on the market, Kopernický said.
The aging beekeeper rank and file also are having problems making their business look appealing to the younger generation. "Seventy percent of bee-keepers are older than 50, and they're not able to do so much. We are afraid that the younger generation is not interested in bee-keeping. We try to attract them by trying to promote honey and its use."
Slovak people use 40 kilograms of sugar per year, but only 0.25 kilograms of honey. In 1989 there were 40,000 registered bee-keepers, but that figure has dropped to 28,000 today. What would help the most? "Surely that people would use honey more often, and then it would be more profitable for bee-keepers, and also more young people would show interest," Kopernicky said.
The rapid decline in honey production has affected companies that distribute honey and make different products out of it. "In 1986, we produced 5,000 tons of honey, but this year we will produce 500 tons," said Kamil Stučniak, director of Medos Galanta, one of Slovakia's biggest honey-producers. "Because of the decline this year, we are not going to export honey. We'll keep it only for the domestic market."

House where Tiso was born opened to public

The house where Josef Tiso, the controversial president of the nominally independent Slovak state from 1939 to1945, was born opened for the public on October 12 after having been reconstructed for the past three years. Tiso was born in the small town of Bytca (population 12,000) in northwestern Slovakia in 1887. According to Jan Hudák, who led the fundraising drive that has netted $104,000 since it was started in 1975, Tiso is a Slovak patriot that deserves to be memorialized. "I highly admire Dr. Tiso because he fought for the independent Slovak state, and he deserves a memorial," Hudak said. "I also wish that there would be a monument for him in Bratislava. During the first Slovak state, we had freedom and democracy."
Others object to that statement, saying that the Slovak state was only nominally independent during that time, a puppet state controlled by Nazi Germany as it conquered most of Europe leading up to World War II. As for Tiso, the Roman Catholic priest was found guilty and was executed for deporting thousands of Slovak Jews to concentration camps in Europe, where most of them perished.
Two hundred people attended the event and a Mass commemorating Tiso at the Catholic church in BytŹa, where priest Sebastian Labo praised Tiso's presidency.

Monument unveiled to Slovak-American diplomat

A monument and exhibition showcasing Slovak-born diplomat and anti-Communist crusader Ján Papánek was opened on October 12 in Brezová pod Bradlom, a town of 5,500 residents on the edge of the Small Carpathian mountains in western Slovakia where Papánek was born. Papánek, who died on November 30 1991, is best known as one of fourteen people who drafted the final version of the United Nations (UN) Charter in 1945.
Papánek led an illustrious diplomatic career. After studying law and foreign affairs in Paris, he became the Czechoslovak political attache in Washington, DC from 1926 to 1931. In 1935, he was appointed the head of the Czechoslovak Consulate in Pittsburgh. After helping draft the UN Charter, he represented Czechoslovakia in the UN. Papanek actively fought against Communism, leaving the UN and founding an American fund for Czechoslovak refugees who escaped from the country. During the forty years that he ran the fund, 150,000 people received aid from it.
"Ján Papánek carried the torch of tolerance, understanding and mutual support, without divisive political convictions or racial biases," said Jirí Brotan, the head of the Ján Papánek Foundation in New York, at the ceremony attended by current Foreign Affairs Minister Pavol Hamžík and all previous foreign ministers of independent Slovakia, Juraj Schenk, Eduard Kukan and Pavol Demeš. "This memorial is the first installment of our debt to him," said US President Bill Clinton in his written tribute. "The centennial of this great American of Slovak origin shall inspire us in shaping the world of the 21st century."

Pheasant hunting season starts Nov. 15

Fowl hunters should start cleaning their barrels because pheasant hunting season is right around the corner. "Hunting season for pheasants will start on November 15, and we expect a large number of foreigners hunting in Levice," said Juraj Deák, director of the Ve_ky Dvor pheasant farm near Levice. After all, Deak should know. He owns the 2,766 hectare pheasant farm, established in the 19th century by Johan Esterházy, that has been raising tens of thousands of pheasants. Eight to ten hunters usually take part in a hunt and they normally kill about a thousand birds, paying 16 - 19 DM for each kill, Deak said. The farm holds about 20,000 pheasants, with "usually 5 or 6 people taking care of them," Deak added. Pheasant hunting season lasts from November through January. Deák has owned this land since 1991, when he privatized it. "It is an old and beautiful place for pheasant hunting," Deák said.

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