On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the papers in Estonia covered the unexpectedly cool interest in the first Day of Countryside Living, the announcement of an anchor tenant for Tartu's newest commercial high-rise, parts of Lihula being left in the dark due to EU funding rules, a funeral held for the last store in a village to be closed down, and a nationwide black cat adoption drive.
City slickers incurious about countryside living
Saturday marked the first nationwide Day of Countryside Living in Estonia, and despite the effort put into it, including plenty of advertising and painstaking planning and preparations for the event, attendance in Lääne-Viru County's Rakvere and Väike-Maarja Municipalities, at least, was underwhelming, regional paper Virumaa Teataja writes in an editorial (link in Estonian).
Perhaps city-dwellers, and even residents of smaller towns more interested in the promise of life in the capital city, simply don't want to move to the countryside, or perhaps the advertising didn't target them well enough — perhaps people have already decided that there are no jobs or decent salaries to be had in rural areas, and so there is no point in even going to look. Maybe the wrong approach was taken altogether, and rural communities should have offered more pastoral staples, with goats bleating and ducks quacking in the barnyard during an outdoor performance of a play — or maybe they should have hired in universal attractions like pop bands and trampolines for the kids.
In any case, one speaker at a museum in Kunda, a top expert in their field, spoke to an audience of just 11, and that was including organizers and journalists, leaving the latter to ask — what on earth went wrong?
Pipedrive to anchor new commercial high-rise in Tartu
Estonian-founded sales software company Pipedrive has been named as the anchor tenant in a 16-story commercial high-rise currently being built in Tartu's Annelinn District, regional paper Tartu Postimees writes (link in Estonian).
Located directly opposite the Emajõgi River from the city center's 14-story commercial high-rise popularly known as Plasku, Paju 2 will be the first commercial building in Tartu to be Gold-level LEED certified, indicating that its design, construction and use follow green and sustainable principles.
Following its relocation to the new building, Pipedrive, which currently has offices in Tallinn, Tartu, London, Lisbon, Prague, Dublin, Florida and New York, intends to double the number of employees at its Tartu office; it currently employs 39 people from six different countries.
The building is scheduled to be completed by summer 2020.
New street lights to leave some Lihula buildings in dark
A couple dozen apartment buildings in the Western Estonian town of Lihula will have to install their own street lights after Lääneranna Municipality shut off the existing ones, as EU funding cannot be used to install new modern LED street lights on the private property surrounding the buildings in question, regional paper Lääne Elu writes (link in Estonian).
Lihula, Kirbla and Tuudi are all slated to see over 300 of these new street lights installed, but the apartment associations of buildings in Ristiku and an area commonly known as KEKi mägi were not informed that they will not be seeing any of them. Residents only noticed that the street lights were shut off when it started to get dark at night, and many now go by flashlight.
Officials explained that the more than €1 million to be invested in the new street lights has been allocated for providing lighting in public areas, but the property between the apartment buildings in question is private.
Yet other officials said that the apartment associations had in fact been notified of the upcoming change.
Locals hold funeral for last store in Pilistvere
The only store in the the Viljandi County village of Pilistvere, population 101, closed its doors for the last time on Saturday, and local residents turned up to light candles and bid it farewell, regional paper Sakala writes (link in Estonian).
Coop announced last month that it would be closing down the store as of Oct. 1, as it was operating at a loss and Põhja-Sakala Municipality was unwilling to provide financial support to cover the losses.
Instead, the municipality will now begin operating a bus that will take village residents to go shopping in Võhma one day, Põltsamaa another day and Viljandi a third day per week, determining this would be more beneficial than operating a store on wheels where prices would be high and the selection limited.
The funeral held for the village store, a local explained, was an expression of sadness over yet another thing disappearing from a rural area, as the store, particularly in tandem with the local library open two days per week, provided not just somewhere to buy groceries, but also, perhaps more importantly, a place for local residents to meet.
Black Cat Month adoption drive begins at Estonian animal shelters
The nonprofit Varjupaikade MTÜ is celebrating Black Cat Month in October, during which seven animal shelters it operates across the country are reducing the adoption fee for black and black and white cats from the usual €35 to a token €1, regional paper Virumaa Teataja writes (link in Estonian).
According to nonprofit director Triinu Priks, black as well as black and white cats whose coats are mostly black have a harder time being adopted, as they aren't as eye-catching as other cats also looking for homes, and superstitions also persist about black cats.
This year marks the sixth annual Black Cat Month, which last year helped find homes for 52 of 108 black cats at its shelters.
There are currently 77 black cats waiting for homes at sven Varjupaikade MTÜ-operated shelters located in Lääne County, Pärnu, Tallinn, Viljandi, Rakvere, Võru and Valga, but more will likely arrive during the month.
All cats are vaccinated and spayed or neutered before being adopted out, and the shelters do their best ensure that when they are adopted out, their new home is forever.
Click here (link in Estonian) for more information.
Editor: Aili Vahtla