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Grand Hotel Park · 29 WisPilenstrasse · CH 3780 Gstaad telePHone: +41 33 744 97 00 www.graffdiamonds.com

T h e e x c l u s i v e m o nt h ly p u b l i c ati o n a b o u t t h e g o o d l i f e in g s taa d

Friday 22 June 2012 - Issue 3 - CHF 3.50 excl VAT

IN-DEPTH ARTICLE

· The second home initiative in ­Switzerland

IN THIS ISSUE

· Hospital Saanen will be closed · The English ­language in ­Switzerland · Hotel Spitzhorn ­re-opening · HSBC Gstaad closed · Flat tax rule ­imminent · Construction in ­Saanen in full swing

COLUMN

· Theo's guide to suicide

MAGAZINE

Warming up


IMMOBILIER COMPAGNIE FONCIÈRE SA

CHâteAu-d'Oex – 15 minutes FrOm GstAAd

CAlm - nAture - seCurity Charming and authentic, le Hameau de Vert Pré is presently under construction.The development is located close to the agriculture zone and is conveniently only a few minutes from the village centre. This exceptional location guarantees optimal peace and a splendid view over the valley and the surrounding mountains. Apartments are available in formats of 3 to 6 rooms. Underground parking. Finishing at buyer's request. www.hameauvertpre.ch From CHF 610'000.00 Apartments estimated completion, Christmas 2012 CF immobilier Compagnie Foncière sA rue du Village 40 - 1659 rougemont info@cfimmobilier.ch - www.hameauvertpre.ch tél. +41 (0)26 925 10 00

CF_viertel_print 1

19.06.12 09:30

Krishnamurti BUCH & BILD

FRAminG

EncAdREmEnTS EinRAhmUnGEn

glassing | vitrer | glasen coloring | colorerBUCH | einfärben & BILD screwing | visser | schrauben

An inter-active evening on the life and work of the philosopher J. Krishnamurti on the question

backing | entoiler | aufziehen fixing | fixer | fixieren

”What is wholeness in everyday life?“ Tuesday, 3rd July 2012

Donnerstag, 5.Juli 2012

at 8pm, in English, no charge

um 20.00 Uhr, auf Deutsch, Eintritt gratis

The event consists of a brief lecture, a film extract of a talk by J. Krishnamurti, followed by questions from the audience and a discussion.

Vortrag mit einem DVD-Auszug eines Talks von J.Krishnamurti, danach Diskussion und Fragen aus dem Publikum.

OEYETLI Zentrum

Freizeitzentrum OEYETLI

(Oeyetliweg 30, Saanen, on the river toward Gstaad)

(Oeyetliweg 30, Saanen, am Fluss)

Speakers: Jürgen Brandt Javier Gomez Rodriguez

Vortragende: Jürgen Brandt Javier Gomez Rodriguez

Gold Or Gold

White-Gold Or blanc Weissgold

Opening hours: TU–FR 14–18h SA 10–16h Kirchstrasse 7 3780 Gstaad Tel. 033 744 89 66 Fax 033 744 89 68


Friday 22 June 2012 Page 3

Contents Letter from the Editor������������������������������������������������������� 3 Local News The hospital of Saanen will be closed���������������������������������� 5 In-depth article The second home initiative in Switzerland ���������������������������� 6, 7 Local News The English language in Switzerland������������������������������������� 7 Hotel Spitzhorn re-opening in

Events Local News Column

December 2013������������������������������� 8 HSBC private bank Gstaad closed��������������������������������� 8 Events calendar������������������������������� 8 Flat tax rule imminent����������������������� 9 Construction in Saanen in full swing���������������������������������� 10 Theo's guide to suicide ��������� 10, 11

Letter from the Editor - Times are changing Just in this issue there are three topics that reflect a definite changing time in Switzerland and particularly in the Saanenland. Firstly you will find an article giving insight into the relentless adoption of the English language across Europe with its resultant effects in Switzerland in both academic and social quarters. Next the highly charged topic of the second home initiative, which by national vote earlier this year placed a moratorium on all building development aimed at the second home market. This stratospheric topic took me a number of months to report on. I needed to gather insight by speaking with locals, reading local and national press as the topic unfolded and then finally extracting the facts so far. For sure this farreaching new rule will have an effect on locals and foreigners alike, it will tip the property and employment market in different directions and re-configure the way many

Follow

people live and love the region. Same goes for the topic covered in this issue relating to the proposed reconfiguration of the flat tax rule in the region. This rule when recently adopted in Zürich, had approximately 50% of the targeted wealthy people leave the region. This highly contentious ruling is up for vote later this year and local action groups are readying themselves to counter. So there we have it, three topics announcing change, something that usually comes slowly in Switzerland seems to be upon us now like an approaching steam train. So whilst vested parties put on their gloves for a good old boxing match regarding the change topics, it’s probably prudent to take a look around and see what is stable and never changing. It may sound a little corny to reference the mountains, rivers, alpine meadows and warm sunshine, so familiar to a Saanenland summer, however such obvious references do soothe tur-

mulous times. Their never changing stability reminds us of our petty human exploits and allows us to be rest assured that no matter what rulings come about, we can rely on the continuum of nature’s beauty, which is, in the main, the reason why we all live or frequent the Saanenland.

Peter Sonnekus-Williams Editor in Chief

also on www.gstaadlife.com

Gstaad LIFE, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, E-Mail: info@gstaadlife.ch, Website: www.­ gstaadlife.ch ­Management Board: Frank Müller, Peter Sonnekus-Williams Publisher: Frank Müller frank.mueller@gstaadlife.ch; Editor in Chief: Peter Sonnekus-­Williams ­peter.­sonnekus@gstaadlife.ch; Pro­ject Management and content coordination: Sanet Sonnekus-Williams Columnist: Mandolyna Theodoracopulos Translations: ­Christine von Siebenthal Editorial: Anita Moser, Peter Sonnekus-Williams, Christine Eisenbeis Polygraph Team: Jonas Bach Printing: Müller Marketing & Druck AG, Gstaad Advertising: Peter Kuntze-Schneider peter.kuntze@gstaadlife.ch, phone 033 744 46 64 Subscriptions: Fabienne Koitka tel. 033 748 88 74

UPFRONT Gstaadlife is available in these Hotels ***** Gstaad PALACE: +41 (0)33 748 50 00, info@palace.ch ***** GRAND HOTEL PARK: +41 (0)33 748 98 00, info@grandhotelpark.ch ***** GRAND HOTEL BELLEVUE: +41 (0)33 748 00 00, info@bellevue-gstaad.ch ***** The Alpina Gstaad (opening 1.12.12): +41 (0)33 888 98 88, info@thealpinagstaad.ch ***** WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL ERMITAGE: +41 (0)33 748 04 30, reservation@ermitage.ch **** Hotel Alpenrose: +41 (0)33 748 91 91, info@hotelalpenrose.ch **** Golfhotel Les hauts de gstaad: +41 (0)33 748 68 68, mail@golfhotel.ch **** Grand Chalet: +41 (0)33 748 76 76, hotel@grandchalet.ch **** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL: +41 (0)33 748 43 43, info@arc-en-ciel.ch **** Hotel BERNERHOF: +41 (0)33 748 88 44, info@bernerhof-gstaad.ch **** Hotel Christiania: +41 (0)33 744 51 21, info@christiania.ch **** Hotel GstaadERHOF: +41 (0)33 748 63 63, gstaaderhof@gstaad.ch **** HOTEL OLDEN: +41 (0)33 748 49 50, info@hotelolden.com **** Romantik HOTEL HORNBERG: +41 (0)33 748 66 88, willkommen@hotel-hornberg.ch **** Hotel Steigenberger: +41 (0)33 748 64 64, gstaad@steigenberger.ch *** Hotel Alpine lodge: +41 (0)33 748 41 51, info@alpinelodge.ch *** Hotel des Alpes by Bruno Kernen: +41 (0)33 748 04 50, info@desalpes.ch *** Hotel Bellerive: +41 (0)33 748 88 33, info@gstaad4.com *** Hotel Alpenland: +41 (0)33 765 91 34, hotel@alpenland.ch *** Hotel Alphorn: +41 (0)33 748 45 45, office@gstaad-alphorn.ch *** Hotel Kernen: +41 (0)33 748 40 20, info@hotel-kernen.ch *** Hotel Landhaus: +41 (0)33 748 40 40, info@landhaus-saanen.ch *** Hotel Saanerhof: +41 (0)33 744 15 15, hotel@saanerhof.ch *** Hotel Solsana: +41 (0)33 748 94 94, info@solsana.ch *** Posthotel Rössli: +41 (0)33 748 42 42, info@posthotelroessli.ch *** SPORTHOTEL VICTORIA: +41 (0)33 748 44 22, info@victoria-gstaad.ch *** Z'loft Hotel: +41 (0)33 744 69 69, info@zloft.ch Hotel Bären: +41 (0)33 755 10 33, hotel@baerengsteig.ch Gasthof Geltenhorn: +41 (0)33 765 30 22, info@gasthof-geltenhorn.ch Hotel Sanetsch: +41 (0)33 755 10 10, o.seewer@bluewin.ch Hotel Viktoria: +41 (0)33 755 10 34, hotel_viktoria@bluewin.ch Hotel Wildhorn: +41 (0)33 765 30 12, info@hotel-wildhorn.ch

Picture on the Front Cover by:

Frank Müller Müller Marketing & Druck AG Kirchstrasse 6 · 3780 Gstaad Tel +41 (0)33 748 88 74 frank.mueller@mdruck.ch · www.mdruck.ch View over Gsteig in direction of Gstaad.


Advertorial

Friday 22 June 2012 Page 4

As the Grand Hotel Bellevue moves towards its 100th anniversary at the end of 2012, let’s take a closer look at what the hotel offers ­during the summer season. Prado Grill (1 Michelin star, 15 Gault Millau points) The restaurant is named after the Museo del Prado in Madrid housing one of the world’s most important art collections. Our talented Chef Urs Gschwend brilliantly combines Mediterranean and Regional flavors and culinary techniques to indulge even the most discriminating ­palates. Summer Lunch Culinary summertime delights under a bright blue sky! Spend your lunch break under the open sky and dine al fresco on the quiet Bellevue Terrace. Enjoy our light 3-course summertime menu and take in the sheer beauty of the mountainscape before you. From 12 noon till 2pm CHF 58 per person Including 1 glass of wine, mineral water and espresso

Discover our Bellevue Executive Package Our Meeting Package “Bellevue Executive“ offers the flexibility to fit the size and theme of your meeting, state-of-the-art conference equipment as well as delicious snacks and beverages during meeting breaks. • Meeting room • Light standing lunch created by our chef de cuisine • Morning or afternoon coffee break • Standard equipment • Personal assistant for on-site meeting support • Stationary (memo pad, ballpoint pen) • Mineral water at the conference room CHF 125 full day per person CHF 95 half day per person

Bellevue SPA Our Bellevue SPA is a tranquil haven extending over more than 2,500 sqm. Let the cares of the world slip away and feel a sense of utter wellbeing in our Pool & Sauna Area. Experience total bliss in our Hamam and herbal steam baths, lanconium, salt & ice grotto, Finnish and gentle-heat sauna. Enjoy relaxation and pampering in our Asian-style treatment rooms with free standing tubs and dark natural stone, and surrender yourself to soothing facials, a selection of massage therapies such as a traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Nui massage. If you feel the need for some exercise, our Fitness Area features everything you need for that perfect workout. Beauty Our anti-aging B.R.F. (Bio Radio Frequency) treatment results in a radiant, glowing, much younger looking skin. Cutting-edge technology leaves your skin firmer and smoother with a visible reduction of wrinkles and expression lines. 80min. CHF 390 Our SPA is open in the summer every day from 8am to 9pm


Friday 22 June 2012 Page 5

Local News

What has been feared and many have been trying to prevent for the last 5 years, is certain now: The hospital Saanen will be closed on November 01 2012 and the hospital Zweisimmen will be perpetuated until 2014. This final decision has been taken by the board of administration of Spital STS AG with allowance on the vote of the mountain region Obersimmental-Saanenland. The location Zweisimmen hospital will be composed of staff from both hospitals until its closure. Although 50 working places of a total of 155 working places in Saanen will be disestablished, STS-CEO Bruno Guggisberg guarantees to offer support in finding new working places for the concerned staff. “I am very disappointed and surprised at the same time,” says Aldo Kropf leader of the council. “I was counting on the canton to find a way to contribute to the finances and for ensuring one hospital location. It is vital for the region that one of the hospitals remain. Aldo Kropf who is also the co-president of the board of mountain region Obersimmental-Saanenland, says that the committee of eight members has decided to close the location Saanen hospital in discussions with hospital doctors and general practitioners. Aldo himself is not pleased with the outcome. He would have preferred if Spital STS AG would have made the decision of which hospital is to be closed, as they are the ones to maintain the hospital and the canton is in charge of the economical responsibility. He was always convinced that the question of the location should have been judged by economical

Photo: Anita Moser

The hospital of Saanen will be closed – Zweisimmen will be perpetuated for now

Saanen hospital will be closed on November 01 2012. reasons. Therefore he thinks the administrative board of Spital STS AG should have made the decision. As hospital operator they dispose of the necessary numbers and calculations, but the medical fraternity has pushed the mountain region to continue on this matter. The aim is to give the region at least one acute hospital for now and to build up a health net with 24-hour emergency medical service. It is also important to provide health care in peak periods. Aldo Kropf asked the board of administration of Spital STS AG as the senior civil servant to start organizing the health net as well as a build-up of a well functioning rescue service as they have promised. This health net will provide a 24hour medical emergency care. Smaller sporting accidents as well as smaller medical ambulant assistance after accidents, will be treated thence. A laboratory and therapists will also be a part. The health net can be considered as a day clinic, however it will not be possible to keep patients overnight as the necessary equipment will not be available. The patient will be brought to the nearest hospital in order to receive the appropriate health care. “Therefore it’s absolutely necessary to develop

an optimal rescue service,” says Aldo Kropf. The health net will be carried out by private providers of the service and the Spital STS AG will also be participating. The health net will be supported by a still to be founded organising institution. Aldo Kropf judges this project as acceptable for Saanenland as the hospitals of Zweisimmen and Chateaud’Oex are quite well accessible from the distance view. It would make sense to quarter the health net into the already existing Saanen hospital building and part of the already existing infrastructure could be adopted. Dr. Philippe Perrenoud, senior civil servant and responsible for the health net to be build, is convinced that the region needs an ambulant provision. He says that it’s rather unlikely that the hospital in Zweisimmen will be continued because of financial reasons. The final decision is in the hands of the canton whether the hospital will be closed or not. The maintenance of the hospitals depends on their financial support and their determination whether it’s vital for the region to have an acute hospital or not. In the future Zweisimmen hospital will need investments of about SFr 2 to 3 million a year. “Further operating

of the Zweisimmen hospital, the build-up of a health net and the fortification of the rescue service, will be handled together as a pilot project,” says the responsible Philippe Perrenoud. “If Zweisimmen should be closed in 2014, will all previous services be offered in the hospital in Thun?” Patience with heart attacks, strokes or emergency caesareans are already transferred directly to Thun or Bern. Bruno Guggisberg, CEO of Spital STS AG, also points out that a health net, as they plan it, does not exist yet, but it is very similar to a health centre. Guggisberg explains that the project has an innovative and sustainable approach and a cost-covering operation is possible. For a possible maintenance after 2014 of the Zweisimmen hospital, Perrenoud asks the population to use the local services. He also requests general practitioners to transcribe their patience consistently. This would generate financial contributions to the missing amounts for the coming investments. Another fact that needs to be considered is the evolution of the tourism over the next few years. He says that the provision of this region is really important to him and points out that he is well aware that the region expects doings and will remain sceptical until that moment. Aldo Kropf said that in the worst case, if the hospital Zweisimmen will be closed as well in 2014, which he hopes will not happen and will be prevented, he will support a buildup for a health net in Zweisimmen. TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLES BY ANITA MOSER AVS 27.03.2012/11.05.2012 & IG SPITALVERSORGUNG SIMMENTAL-SAANENLAND AVS 18.05.2012


In-depth article

Friday 22 June 2012 Page 6

The second home initiative in Switzerland BY PETER SONNEKUS-WILLIAMS

On March 11 2012, Swiss voters decided to r­ estrict, on a national basis, the construction of holiday homes to 20 per cent of residential areas and of the total surface area within each commune.

Photo: Christian Schwier - Fotolia.com

A people’s initiative titled “End the unlimited construction of secondary residences,” was launched by Helvetia Nostra, a foundation created by Franz Weber. Weber, an environmentalist and his supporters made the following points from which the initiative is based: A square meter of land in Switzerland is lost to construction every second. At present 8,000 secondary residences - either houses or apartments - are built in Switzerland yearly. Not only is open space disappearing, many of the constructed houses and apartments are empty 300 days of the year. The nationwide vote resulted in a 50.6% agreement with the initiative. The result in Canton Bern was 54.9% in favour of the initiative, however 82.8% of the public within the community of Saanen voted against the initiative. In the community of Saanen where

holiday homes represent 49% of all dwellings at present, the idea of a dramatic shift away from the economic reliance on construction and second home related economic activity, certainly brought the community together in terms of a common point of view regarding the initiative. In practical terms this vote results in a moratorium on all new secondary home construction in Switzerland. How secondary homes will be defined and controlled and when this restriction gets implemented still remains to be seen. A conference including Cantons, parties, Swiss unions and organizations, took place on June 18 2012 with the aim of finding solutions for the still open questions and definitions. It is proposed that all questions and definitions are to be resolved by the end of the summer holidays. Aldo Kropf, council leader of Gstaad, has requested from the federation that they clarify and define what “cold beds” are. These “cold beds” have been one of the main arguments of the initiators, however they also state that vacation home s that

are in commercial use shall not be affected. They suggest that communities with a number reflecting more than 20 percent of secondary homes, shall accept only those building requests which will provide “warm beds”. They define secondary homes as not being in use as domicile. In the community of Saanen a group has been founded who oppose this new law and wish to fight for the protection of private residential property development, ownership and the continuum of related places of work in mountain regions. Hanspeter Spychiger, president of “Gewerbeverein Saanenland” confirms that the union already comprises of more than 600 members. His main fear is that within two years the region will feel the economic and social consequences of the law and he estimates that a third of the current work and job market will be lost. Spychiger says that the targeted “cold beds” generate a considerable amount of money. ‘Further when the secondary residence owners are in the region, they use local infrastructures extensively by supporting local restaurants, stores and businesses. Further many of them financially support local sporting and cultural activities. The new initiative will not only result in jobs lost, but also a decrease in tax income for the community. “It’s doubtful if expensive infrastructures like the “Bergbahnen” will

have enough finances to be continued,” he says. The new law generates many questions. The definition of “secondary residence” is still open and a particularly sensitive point relates to whether or not construction applications can be accorded until the end of this year. As per an intergovernmental conference of the “mountain Cantons”, who have accepted that construction applications can still be accorded until the end of 2012. Senior civil servant Christoph Neuhaus says that the 20 percent law will come into force only in January 2013. In essence this means that buildings that were acquired or built before March 11 2012, still fall under the rules of the old law. Furthermore the community of Saanen points out that building applications which were pending during the acceptance of the new law will be treated according to the old law. A different opinion is held by the organization, the “Bundesamt für Raumentwicklung - ARE “ who has published a press release based on the outcome of investigations done by a federal work group who is responsible for the clarification of open questions regarding the initiative. ‘ARE’ says this constitution regulation shall be in force from March 11 2012. Their suggestion therefore is to suspend the building applications that are in question until the question of law is clarified. If the decision should be that the initiative comes into force


from March 11 2012, then “ARE” can’t tell what judicially is going to happen with the building applications submitted after that date. For the communities in Canton Bern this suggestion remains just that, a suggestion and the final decision relating to the acceptance of building applications, or not, until end 2012 stays with the local building authorities. It has been confirmed however by ‘ARE’ that it seems likely that existing main residences can continue to be rented or bequeathed as secondary residences.

This defining topic for the Saanenland, has taken up much debate and speculation over the past months. Shortly there will be clearer definitions and this will more than likely lead to further debate and more negotiation. According to the huge difference between the national and local vote however it is clear that the Saanenland has a particularly unique case and deep investigation into this matter and how to resolve it is required.

In-depth article

Photo: Jonas Bach

Friday 22 June 2012 Page 7

The English language in Switzerland BY PETER SONNEKUS-WILLIAMS With its four national languages plus those of immigrants, Switzerland possesses a wide range of language resource. Wisely used, these languages could contribute to a national cohesion. The Language Rich Europe project, a brainchild of the British Council aims to develop and optimise multilingual policies and practices throughout Europe. At present in Switzerland, Germanspeaking cantonal governments have been responding to what they refer to as a pressure from the globalised economy by gradually giving English priority over the national languages at school; English

(not French or Italian) is taught as a second language in 14 of the 17 cantons. Coupled with that, most large Swiss domiciled companies now tend to use English as their main language of communication. “The impact of English differs within various business sectors,” says Raphael Berthele of Fribourg University’s institute of multilingualism. Berthele carried out the study in Switzerland as part of the Language Rich Europe project. Georges Lüdi, a professor of linguistics at Basel University, confirms that a variety of language practices are found within different sized businesses. “In large companies, the leaders all focus on English, but within these companies many lan-

guages are spoken. Often there are mixed work groups, with people of different native languages communicating together in a variety of languages,“ he notes. English, the Academic language? The use of English is expanding quickly in Swiss universities. “Especially in the natural sciences faculties. At the master and doctoral levels, it is more and more apparent,” notes Berthele. The question is: is this a problem? For Lüdi, it is definitely an issue. “In every language, concepts and interpretations vary,” he points out. “For this reason, the National Science Foundation is in favour of multilingual science. It is important to master English, but

also other languages,” he adds. 
 Italian, language retreat. Italian’s part in the national language learning experience is shrinking and its erosion seems unstoppable. It is losing ground to immigrant languages, especially Spanish. A trend not just observed in schools, but in all the fields examined by the Language Rich Europe study. The phenomenon is linked in part to declining immigration from Italy. According to federal census data, the proportion of foreign-born citizens who spoke Italian in 1960 was 54 per cent. This share shrunk to 14.8 per cent in 2000 and continues to decline. Source: various Swiss press


LOCAL NEWS

Friday 22 June 2012 Page 8

Hotel Spitzhorn re-opening in December 2013 in total 120 beds. Furthermore a fitness and wellness area with swimming pool, conference rooms, as well as a gourmet restaurant with lobby and bar and a garden terrace, are planned. The aim is to have a hotel for families and seniors, which is also suitable for conferences and offers guests good value for money.

In addition to the new hotel resort, the new buildings will consist of 17 residential apartments. The apartments will be ready in summer 2014 and will comprise of 2 - 5.5 rooms and include hotel service as well as hotel management if required. The current tenants Dolly and Martin Riedi who have managed the hotel Spitzhorn for many years with

HSBC private bank Gstaad closed The British private bank HSBC eliminates about 100 work places in Switzerland. This is a consequence to the worldwide eliminations of 30’000 jobs in 2013. The branch that has been opened in 2010 was closed at the end of May. The five staff members and the branch manager Hanspeter Dönier are indeed concerned, although internal solutions could be

found for some of the employees. HSBC private bank has had a presence in Gstaad for the past eight years, mainly through their sponsoring at the Menuhin Festival Gstaad. In mid 2010 HSBC private bank opened a branch in Gstaad in order to strengthen their presence in the Swiss market. A change of strategy has now led to the closure of this

Events Calendar ■■FRIDAY, JUNE 22 08h00-13h00: Weekly market in Saanen. Local & fresh products from the region for sale in the centre of Saanen. Every Friday until October. Contact +41 (0)33 748 81 60 for more info. ■■FRIDAY, JUNE 22 & 29th 20h00: Concert Saaner Proms 2012: Open Air Concert on the Parkplatz Architektur Rieder, Bahnhofstrasse, Saanen. Phone +41 (0)33 748 81 60 for more information.

■■SATURDAY, JUNE 23 & SUNDAY, JUNE 24 17h00 & 10h00: Folk music feast in Saanen. Folk music feast during 2 days in different “Spielplätze” in the village. Contact +41 (0)78 860 22 30 for info. ■■SATURDAY, JUNE 23 14h00-17h00: Exhibition of Ceramics by Arnold Annen in the museum der Landschaft Saanen. Closed on Mondays! Phone +41 (0)33 744 79 88 for more information.

■■THURSDAY, JUNE 28 & FRIDAY, 29th &

SUNDAY, JULY 1st Swiss Championship 2012 of Paraglider Clubs on the Wispile. For more information: www.gcgstaad.ch

■■THURSDAY, JUNE 28 Guided tour of Saanen village: Every Thurs-

very branch only one and a half years later. Their spokesman points out that the closure has nothing to do with the location of the finance centre, rather than with the international adjustments. With the undertaken measures HSBC private bank tries to reduce their costs.

success, decided to take over the hotel Alpin Nova in Schönried and re-open it as “Ristorante Pizzeria La Vinoteca”. A new tenant is needed for the hotel Spitzhorn of which the proceedings are already in progress. TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY ANITA MOSER AVS 27.04.2012 

Picture: Anita Moser

The beginning of the construction for the rebuilt of hotel Spitzhorn has started. After some delay due to objections concerning noise emissions of the hotel terrace, the “Basler Insurance” owner of the hotel Spitzhorn has received the permission to build by March 20 2012. A 3-star superior hotel will be built with 50 double and family rooms,

TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY ANITA MOSER AVS 04.05.2012 

Friday June 22 2012 until Friday July 13 2012

day at 16h00. Adults SFr 14, Children SFr 8. Meet at the Tourism office.

■■FRIDAY, JUNE 29 & SATURDAY, JUNE 30th 18h00 & 08h00: Tournament of the FC Sarina. A football tournament for everybody. Bar & restaurant open all day. Locality – Schützeboden. Rate SFr 60 – 120. Registration compulsory! Phone +41 (0)79 333 30 19. ■■MONDAY, JULY 2 – SUNDAY, JULY 8 SWATCH FIVB Beach World Tour Grand Slam 2012: The best Beach Volleyball teams of the world are playing again on the center court of Gstaad! Monday to Wednesday free entry! Contact +41 (0)33 744 06 40 for more info. ■■WEDNESDAY, JULY 4 08h45: Alp visit with breakfast above Gsteig. Each Wednesday & Thursday during the months July and August (not on the 1st and 29th Aug). Rate SFr8.50 – SFr16. For more info, contact the tourist office Gsteig, +41 (0)33 755 81 81.

■■FRIDAY, JULY 6 17h00-21h00: Outdoor shooting for everybody with a license. Shooting distance 50 meters. The price is per passé. Locality – Schiessanlage Schützenboden Saanen. Contact +41 (0)33 744 53 06. ■■FRIDAY, JULY 6 – SUNDAY, JULY 15

Davidoff Saveurs – Gourmet week in Gstaad at different venues. Famous chefs will tickle your taste buds with their exquisite cuisine. Contact +41 (0)33 744 68 32 for more info.

■■WEDNESDAY, JULY 11 –

SATURDAY, JULY 14 Gstaad-Saanenland Alphorn days at different venues. Experience a piece of Swiss tradition. Phone +41 (0)33 744 58 36 for more info.

■■FRIDAY, JULY 13 16h00: Summer Party in Saanen. Phone +41 (0)33 748 81 60 for more info. ■■Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Alfred Liechti (033 / 722 42 22), Program: Rot. Gerhard Amiet (033 / 744 94 49) ■■Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings normally each first and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12h00 a.m. for lunch or at 7h00 p.m. for dinner. Meetings in Wellness & Spa-Hotel ErmitageGolf, Schönried, Tel. 033 748 60 60. For details and program contact Victor Steimle, president, 033 748 78 88, steimle@tundr.ch, https://gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch

■■Church Services St Peter’s English-Speaking Anglican Church, Château-d’Oex 24 June 2012, 17h30 Evening Prayer. Rev. Paul Holley 1 July 2012, 17h30 Evening Prayer. Rev. Paul Holley 8 July 2012, 17h30 Holy Communion. Rev. Paul Holley 15 July 2012, 17h30 Evening Prayer. Rev. Paul Holley Information: 026 924 60 92 Web: www.allsaints.ch/chateaudoex ■■Important Numbers Ambulance 144, Police 117 Police office 033 356 84 31 Fire-brigade 118 Saanen Hospital 033 748 02 00 Château-d‘Oex Hospital 026 923 43 43 Car accident service 033 744 88 80 Veterinary 033 744 35 31 / 033 744 06 61 Medical emergency 0900 57 67 47 Dental emergency 033 748 02 00 For additional useful numbers please visit www.gstaadlife.ch/usefulnumbers For the latest local weather forecast visit www.gstaadlife.com/weather


Friday 22 June 2012 Page 9

Local News

Flat tax rule imminent The abolishment of the flat rate taxes or its tightening in combination with the secondary residence initiative, is “a death blow in installments” for the mountain regions - summarizes Hans Wanzenried, president of “IG Arbeitsplätze im Berggebiet”. Therefore he wants to fight for two no’s regarding the two initiatives and for the counter proposal. “We have to inform and demonstrate what the consequences are for our Canton and particularly for the mountain regions,” he says. It is planned that a vote regarding an amendment to the laws of flat tax will take place on September 23 2012. If the initiative is approved, only foreigners who have a taxable income lower than SFr 400’000 will be able to take advantage of the flat tax option.

“But the remaining Oberland would loose its affected people. And moving away wouldn’t be a problem for them,” Aldo Kropf, council president of Saanen, points out. The Zürich example shows how easily people change their domiciles. Approximately 50% of the concerned people left Zürich and other Cantons welcome them with joy. The Canton Bern would only be collecting the simple official property tax for those who keep their houses and apartments in Bern. The tax revenues however remained the same in Zürich after the abolishment of the flat tax and the moving away of the concerned people. “But Berner Oberland and Zürich are not comparable,” says Aldo Kropf. Zürich is a metropolitan economic area. If attractive properties around the “Goldküste” are available, it does not take long until a CEO or a banker will take it over. This way missing taxes can be compensated. Such people will not

come to peripheral regions; they will need to stay close to metropolitan areas. Hence we cannot replace the flat tax population this easily.

not have any chance of finding a job. With their loss of places of work, the Canton will also loose a lot of its tax income and social contributions.

“IG’s priority in this battle for the flat taxes is the preservation of jobs,” says Hans Wanzenried. According to a survey done by Credit Suisse, the building industry will loose 30 percent of its jobs due to the secondary residence initiative. Accumulated with the abolishment of the flat tax this number would increase to 50 percent.

“The whole Canton benefits from a booming economy in Saanenland,” says Kropf. He cannot understand why one should gamble with this with the current tense economical and financial situation. Saanen pays a lot into the finance and equalisation of burdens, which finances a large part of the Oberland communities.

Not only in Saanenland are jobs in danger, but companies in the whole Canton of Bern. “Half of the sales we generate locally, result in companies of the Bernerunterland,” says Wanzenried. “The fact that a trade unionist as Corrado Pardini gambles with places of work is inapprehensible,” says Aldo Kropf.

An average taxpayer in Canton Bern pays SFr 4’500 a year, a flat taxpayer SFr 115’000. The initiative to reconsider is supported by the same circle as the secondary residence initiative, but obviously the two initiatives contravene each other. “People who benefit from flat taxes live in primary residences and this percentage we are trying to increase,” Kropf confirms. Again there will be voting without being conscious about the consequences. And afterwards, like with the secondary residence initiative, many questions will occur.

“They wish to target rich people but they strike the weakest,” Kropf points out. Especially jobholders from European countries, which are affected by financial crisis like Spain, Portugal and Italy, are going to suffer from that new law. In their country of origin they currently do

TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY ANITA MOSER AVS 03.04.2012

Pictures: Anita Moser

This lower limit is unacceptable for “IG Arbeitsplätze im Berggebiet“ who are for a flat rate taxation in its present form. “This new proposal is equal to an abolishment,” says IG president Hans Wanzenried. We assume that from those 200 concerned people in Canton Bern only 55 will still be flat taxed. The

rest of them will be taxed ordinarily. Around 40% of the concerned people in the municipality of Saanen will not be affected as their income is around the new proposed limit of SFr 400’000.

Hans Wanzenried, Aldo Kropf, Jürg von Allmen and Bethli Küng (from left) plead for a double “no” to the second home initiative and the flat rate tax counter-proposal.


Local News

Friday 22 June 2012 Page 10

Construction in Saanen in full swing

Pictures: Sanet Sonnekus-Williams

The construction of the parking garage in Saanen village is in full swing. So far all goes according to plan. A parking lot is built below the hospital, which is specially used for the construction builders. In addition, there are reserved parking places for affected residents and to avoid random parking in the village. The blue car parking areas in the village should remain free for visitors who come just to go shopping in Saanen. If everything goes according to plan, the new elderly center in Saanen will be complete at the end of 2013.

Theo’s Guide to Suicide by Mandolyna Theodoracopulos If you’re looking for a husband, ladies, stay away from the Kennedys! Chances are better you will make it through life avoiding an untimely death or some horrific tragedy. You wouldn’t want to end up like

Mary Jo Kopechne, Carolyn Bessette, and Mary Richardson—nor like women such as Martha Moxley and Marilyn Monroe, who only had tangential relations with the Kennedys but died prematurely nevertheless. You’ve probably all heard

of the Kennedy Curse, and they are cursed—by too much publicity. I also blame rotten genes. While Mark Zuckerberg was marrying his college sweetheart Priscilla Chan in California days after


Friday 22 June 2012 Page 11

his IPO flunked, Robert Kennedy, Jr. was burying his dead wife. For those of you who haven’t already heard, Mary Richardson Kennedy hanged herself in a barn on their property in Bedford, New York late last month. She was discovered by her housekeeper, who I hope gets a spectacular bonus this Christmas. Kennedy and Richardson had been separated for several years, and he is said to be dating actress Cheryl Hines. (Careful, Cheryl!) Apparently Richardson had been plagued by depression, alcoholism, and prescription-drug abuse. She was in debt, lonely, and clearly unstable. Why couldn’t she have taken a handful of pills? Too expensive? I can’t imagine wanting to asphyxiate myself. Even a shot to the heart sounds more appealing than a noose. If I had to choose, I think I’d go Thelma & Louise style—at high speed over a cliff. You could always try leaping over Niagara Falls, but if you aren’t careful, you might survive as one man did recently. Apparently he is one of only three people who have survived, compared to roughly 2,780 completed suicides at Niagara Falls, the world’s third most popular place to off yourself after Japan’s Mount Fuji and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. In more suicide news from the Big Apple, Tyler Clementi’s bully Dharun Ravi was just now sentenced to 30 days in jail for invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, and tampering with evidence after he filmed his Rutgers University roommate making out with another young man and posted a link to his webcam feed on Twitter. Clementi leapt off the George Washington Bridge and Americans broke

out in hysterics. Then a witch hunt ensued to bully every last bully into submission. My feeling is that Ravi is queer, too, and that Clementi was merely hyper-anxious and had misplaced his sense of reality. He also had poor imagination; jumping off the George Washington Bridge is a lackluster choice given all the spectacular suicide options Manhattan has to offer. If you’re really a drama queen, you could always blow your brains out on live TV or jump into an active volcano. According to the World Health Organization, nearly one million people a year commit suicide. The people of Ghana are facing a suicide epidemic—almost five people a day, usually by hanging. According to the chief psychiatrist at the Ghana Health Service, roughly 95% of suicides and attempted suicides are symptomatic of depression and mental disorders. Abuse and stigmatization also play a part. Apparently the hair-loss drug Propecia can also cause a person to commit suicide. Maybe being bald isn’t so bad after all. Is dying while attempting to reach Mt. Everest’s summit considered suicide, or is it just dumb? Four people kicked the bucket last May after trying to hustle through the “death zone” toward the summit during a spot of good weather. I would hardly consider it a noble death, though some might disagree with me. In the ancient world suicide was often considered the noble way out, and it wasn’t until about 450 AD that it was deemed a sin. Dido, Socrates, Hannibal, Cato the Younger, Antony and Cleopatra, Nero, and Seneca all took their

Column

own lives. Back then people usually chose poison or the sword—far more romantic than, say, leaping off a bridge that leads to New Jersey. These days, not many people drink hemlock while pontificating about the soul’s immortality like Socrates did. Remember the French banker who took his own life after investing more than a billion dollars of other people’s money in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme? His death seems more honorable and meaningful than anything to do with Twitter or drugs. At least de la Villehuchet took responsibility for his own negligence, and given that he and his wife had no children, I can’t argue with his decision. The same cannot be said of Mark Madoff, who left a wife and two children in the wake of his father’s demise. Apparently he wasn’t crazy before the scandal came to light. Did the scandal flick the switch, or was he just a coward? Choosing suicide in the face of embarrassment, emotional turmoil, or suffering may seem cowardly unless you consider that not all people are as strong, resilient, or hopeful as others. One shouldn’t underestimate the power that other people’s behavior can have on a person. Children and young people who are victims of sexual abuse are part of a grey area in Theo’s Guide to Suicide. In these cases suicide might actually prevent ongoing suffering after the fact if you assume messed-up people usually create a lot of collateral damage in their relationships with others. Some people really are beyond repair. People who are suffering from painful and debilitating physi-

Cleopatra with Asp, Guido Reni circa 1630. Royal Collection Windsor Castle. cal illnesses or from an accident fit into this grey area as well, but tremendous physical pain must be a factor. Paraplegia and quadriplegia are exempt if the person has a reasonable quality of life. In terminal cases, the rare exceptions and bizarre tales of people coming out of comas are anomalies that end up costing a lot of money and preventing loved ones from moving on with their lives, so have your loved ones pull the plug after a reasonable amount of time has passed. Almost everyone has probably been depressed enough to think about taking their own life, though it has always seemed like the cowardly way out to me. Doing it Hunter S. Thompson-style could be the answer. At the very least, it’s pretty damned cool to blow your brains out and then have your ashes shot out of a cannon atop a personally designed 47 meter tower with Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man blasting into the desert night air, and a tremendous fireworks display for your friends and fans. But leaving it up to chance is far easier—and thus maybe more cowardly—than making the decision yourself. Then again, death comes to us all, why hasten its arrival?



GstaadLife Nr. 3 2012