Trnava MPs call for law against graffiti
TRNAVA wants a law to fight spraypainting on private and public property.
MUNICIPAL MPs in the western town of Trnava called on Slovak legislators to approve a law that would extensively address the problem of spraypainting in the country.
Trnava mayor Štefan Bošnák confirmed for the Slovak daily Pravda that local graffiti gangs have caused Sk80 million (€1.9 million) in damages by placing their art on buildings.
The existing laws are not effective in punishing the perpetrators, the municipal MPs argued. They said that police are helpless - even against those spraypainters who are caught on the scene. Industrial cameras overseeing the city's main streets have not helped scare off the gangs either.
A tougher law is required, the Trnava MPs agree, pushing legislators to approve an act that would enable punishing all spraypainting crimes regardless of the financial damage caused to the owners of the buildings. Currently, perpetrators who cause small damages are only charged in misdemeanour proceedings.
Several years ago, Trnava provided three large concrete walls for the street artists; for some time, the spraypainters kept off of other property. But they eventually ventured back into the streets, and now locals say that there are few historic buildings in Trnava that do not have a graffiti tag.
Do the locomotive
JÁN Novák, who took up making model trains from spare parts of old appliances in 1998, has so far produced about 150 locomotives.
Novák said to the Slovak daily SME that to make a locomotive, he uses old parts from used appliances including kitchen mincers, TV sets, car parts, and even old bags and broken umbrellas.
"I took up the train hobby some 20 years ago, but I made my first locomotive in 1998," Novák said.
"If I were to count how many various parts I have brought home since then, it would perhaps add up to one tonne," he said.
"They are not small models of real locomotives, but rather made-up creations and each one of them is different," Novák said.
Novák occasionally exhibits his products at local shows. Next year he would like to make a bid to be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for his hobby.
Driver dies in crash with deer
IN A TRAGIC accident a 35-year-old driver died after she hit a deer crossing the road.
The accident took place on November 11 near the central Slovak town of Slovenská Ľupča. A 19-year old passenger suffered light injuries.
One eyewitness who also participated in the accident said to the Slovak daily SME that his car first hit the deer, which had unexpectedly jumped onto the road. The animal then ricocheted into the opposite lane, where it hit the front window of the other driver's car.
The 70-kilo animal broke the glass and, after hitting the driver, flew towards the back door of the woman's mini-van, tore it open, and fell onto the road.
The victim's car then ran off the road and ground to a halt on a railway track.
The accident caused a three-hour-long train delay.
Set them free
AN UKNKOWN perpetrator has released 40 deer from a natural pen belonging to a farm called Daniel Plus in the eastern Slovak village of Varhaňovce.
Dozens of deer ran free, and the owners of the farm doubt that the animals will ever be located. Several of the deer were pregnant.
The farm is part of a local agritourism program. The farm also raises horses, various fish, and pheasants.
Ján Miško, who co-founded the farm, said to the Slovak daily SME that it is unlikely the animals would return to the farm. He expressed fear that hunters would kill the animals.
"People are irresponsible and they will shoot whatever comes into their crosshairs," Miško said.
Dangerous adrenaline games
YOUTH in the central Slovak town of Banská Bystrica have invented a new adrenaline-pumping pastime: waiting for approaching cars to come as close as possible and then crossing the road on their bikes in a flash.
Slovak daily Nový Čas reported on November 13 that the lethal game has become a hit among the local 10 to 12 year olds.
One driver from Banská Bystrica, Stanislav Vyhnálik, described his encounter with one such youth.
"I was driving down Poľná Street and suddenly, about two metres ahead of me, two rascals jumped onto the road on their bikes and tried to cross the road as fast as they could. I couldn't do anything but pull the wheel left and slam on the brakes," Vyhnálik said.
"My car then started sliding and hit a biker who was peacefully crossing the road," Vyhnálik said.
A witness to the scene, Ľuboš Beňo, said: "It was like a clip from a horror flick."
The innocent biker suffered multiple leg fractures.
One kilo of explosives found in insurance firm
A CUSTODIAN found four professionally packed rolls of danubite explosives as she was cleaning the ladies' toilets in the Banská Bystrica branch of Slovenská poisťovňa - Allianz.
The explosives were found in the toilet bin on November 13, reported the Slovak daily SME.
Police immediately closed the insurance house and carried out a thorough search of the building. A professional then inspected the explosive and found that it did not have an igniting mechanism.
It is still unknown who planted the explosives in the insurance firm or what their motives were. Police have speculated that, because the explosives were found in the women's toilet, someone might have simply wanted to dispose of them rather than set them off in the building.
Experts confirmed that the quantity of the explosives could have destroyed the entire four-storey building.
Thieves in caves
CAVE formations have become the target of a new rash of thefts.
Administrators from the northern Slovak cave Brestovská, in Zuberec in the Orava region, said that the cave was recently visited by thieves who took home 37 dripstones. It is believed that the thieves then try to sell the pieces on the black market.
According to the Slovak daily Pravda, producers of various souvenirs also buy the material, as do jewellery makers.
The most recent case was the fourth such theft this year in Slovakia.
Pavol Staník, a coordinator of the spelunkers' guard from Liptovský Mikuláš, said to the daily that he found out about what had happened in Brestovská cave just as he discovered that the lock for a gate into another local cave was broken.
Pravda reported that almost nothing was left of the cave's precious wall decorations. The thieves broke off all of the bigger stalactites - pieces that grow from the ceiling down - and they also destroyed a considerable part of the precious decoration.
"Thieves caused the most damage in the [cave's] Bicakov dome hall. What they did is irreversible, and the cave's decoration will never grow back to its original shape," Staník said.
Slovakia has 4,500 registered caves, and 44 of them, including Brestovská, are classified as protected national sites.
Thieves this year also robbed the Kryštálová (crystal) cave in the Malá Fatra mountain range. Another attacked cave was Ardovská in the Slovak karst, where vandals damaged precious archaeological sites. Also in the Slovak karst, in the Silická ľadnica (S. fridge), guards caught a group of thieves in the act. The thieves were after precious endemic bugs that live in the ice cave.
Several other cave administrators have reported that they found cave gates to be broken.
"Thieves, collectors, and illegal spelunker groups are still interested in the caves. More effective gate systems are rather expensive for us, but clearly it will be necessary [to buy them]," Staník said.
Regional TV director shoots documentary about himself
THE DIRECTOR of Trenčín's city TV station decided that he was a personality worth portraying in a series of documentaries introducing big Trenčín figures.
According to the Slovak daily Národná obroda, a thirty-minute documentary that is part of the larger series called Mosaic, aired "a 20-minute monologue" by the TV station's director, Peter Hlucháň. In the documentary, Hlucháň was also shot as he was sitting at a barbershop and "sitting half naked on a stationary bike" in a fitness centre.
For unexplained reasons the TV channel aired the Hlucháň portrait 85 times, reported the daily.
Hlucháň said that the documentary was made on the occasion of his 50th birthday.
"It was a documentary about a person who has achieved something. I am not just some director and owner. Even by Slovak standards, I am considered a personality," he said.
Stanislav Bejda, the spokesman of the Trenčín mayor, said that the government has no influence over the programme structure of the city TV channel, although it does finance the broadcaster.
This year alone, the city's taxpayers have contributed Sk6 million (€143,000) to the TV channel.
1. Dec 2003 at 0:00