Thursday, 2 May 2019

First Croatian Avocado Plantation Planted on Island of Vis!

As Morski writes on the 2nd of May, 2019, the very first Croatian avocado plantation has been planted on the Dalmatian island of Vis. The pear-shaped fruit can typically be found growing in Central and South America, it's very rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients essential for the health of the organism.

It seems that the warm Mediterranean climate bodes well for the growth of avocados because those growing are advancing well and generally give generous yields. To make the story of the very first Croatian avocado plantation even more unusual, it was kickstarted by two Americans from Wisconsin, the Repanich couple, who, despite their advanced years, have some great business plans under their belts. Perhaps because they eat avocados each and every day.

John and Patricia Repanich, a lively couple in their eighties, replaced life in America with the birthplace of John's grandfather. Back when they lived in the US, they had nut plantations in California, as well as flocks of sheep, and when retirement age came around, out of all of the places in the world, they chose no less than the beautiful island of Vis as their new home, as was reported by HRT. For years and years before that, they'd already spent plenty of time enjoying Vis's stunning Brgujac bay.

''Once a farmer, always a farmer,'' says John. Pensions aren't for rest, it's best to keep your hands busy. Their avocado experiment was fruitful. Ten years ago, they planted their first tree.

When that very first plant ended up ''giving birth'' to hundreds of the avocados, the entrepreneurial American spirit was awakened in Repanich. From Sicily, the couple brought 150 plants to the Croatian island of Vis and started the very first avocado plantation in the whole of Croatia, the first fruit of which is due this autumn.

Avocados otherwise originate from the South and North American rainforests, where, at least according to numerous archaeological discoveries, they were eaten 8,000 years ago. The first avocados were utilised by the Inkas, the Olmecs and Maya peoples, who considered it a magical plant that nourishes the body from the outside and from the inside. It is very rich in good fats, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients essential to the health of the body.

Among other things, it benefits the heart, reduces blood sugar, helps with arthritis, and even helps people to lose weight. Experts think it is the top food for brain health because of its high share of omega-3 acids and vitamin E.

Avocados are diverse and can be eaten raw or be thermally processed in many ways, and perhaps the most famous avocado dish of all is Mexican guacamole. Thanks to Repanich's, the first Croatian avocados have become an attraction, so more and more people have been coming to Brgujac to see the premier Croatian plantation for themselves. Along with its olive oil and its wine, the island of Vis could easily also become a Croatian island known for its tropical fruits.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by HRT

Thursday, 25 April 2019

All is Set for Cooperation Between the USA and... Međimurje County!

''For the start of cooperation between Croatia and the USA, Međimurje County is perhaps the best place for some new opportunities,'' stated US Ambassador HE. W. Robert Kohorst on Wednesday in the continental Croatian town of Čakovec.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 25th of April, 2019, the visit began with a working meeting in Međimurje County, Božena Malekoci-Oletić said for Međimurske Novine. The US Ambassador visited the Međimurje Polytechnic where he attended the marking of the eleventh anniversary of the Polytechnic, the Technological Innovation Centre, and he also met some of Međimurje's young basketball players.

American Ambassador Robert Kohorst, together with the Prefect of Međimurje County, Matija Posavac, addressed the present representatives of the media.

The American Ambassador said that the US Embassy is working on a program to connect different American companies to the companies here in Croatia. Over the next six months, certain measures and suggestions on how to achieve it will be implemented. The most important thing is to feel welcome in an environment where it's easy to do business without too much bureaucracy.

He expressed his satisfaction with Međimurje's attitude that every problem can be solved. He stressed that this is the most important thing that can be done to attract investors. What is equally important for potential investors is a well-educated and cooperative workforce who are ready to engage in work. In such an environment, companies are more than happy to do business.

"I like the way you work and prepare for investments and for the companies coming from the United States, and we'll try to present this story to the American companies,'' Kohorst stated.

Međimurske Novine asked Kohorst what the special reason for his arrival to the smallest Croatian county was all about.

"I heard it was the most beautiful county, and mayors have told me that the towns here were the most beautiful,'' Ambassador Robert Kohorst diplomatically. But afterwards, he added that he was not a career diplomat, but that he's there for business reasons and putting business cooperation at the forefront is his aim. He added that cooperation between the US and Međimurje County was a great start for new opportunities.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Dubrovnik-Neretva County Promo Film Wins Award in New York

Dubrovnik is no stranger to winning awards and you're probably used to reading about it, but this area in the extreme south of Dalmatia continues to fascinate the world for an abundance of reasons. From its stunning natural beauty and crystal clear sea, to its rich history and equally impressive culture, the Pearl of the Adriatic and its immediate surrounding area just keep on making the world's jaws drop.

This time however, it isn't just the famous Dalmatian UNESCO protected old city and its mighty walls which are taking home yet another award for a promotional film made about its unique beauty, but the wider area of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. This truly picturesque part of southern Croatia boasts an almost equal amount of natural beauty and history, and from Ston to Konavle next to the Montenegrin border, you'll likely have your breath taken away multiple times.

As Morski writes on the 11th of April, 2019, the brand new promotional film from the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board, ''Dubrovnik Riviera'' continues to win awards and receive recognition from all sides. To be more precise, at the 2019 New York Festivals® International Film and TV awards festival, which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the promo film showcasing Dubrovnik-Neretva County's sheer beauty came third place and won the bronze plaquette.

To briefly recall, at the recent ''The Golden City Gate'' ceremony in Berlin, Germany, at the biggest international ITB World Tourism Fair, the promotional film came second place in the category of regional films, the film has been made by Balduci Film from Zagreb, was directed by Herve Tirmarche and produced by Spomenka Saraga. The film depicts the beauty of Dubrovnik-Neretva County from the Neretva valley, to the islands of Korčula and Mljet, and then Croatia's southernmost municipality of Konavle, which borders Montenegro.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and travel pages for much more. If it's just Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia you're interested in, have a look at Dubrovnik in a Page for everything you need to know about the Rearl of the Adriatic.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Zagreb and Ljubljana Stock Exchanges Presented in New York

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 9th of April, 2019, more than sixty meetings with investors were held by five Croatian and three Slovenian issuers as the Zagreb and Ljubljana stock exchanges presented their markets and issuers in New York on Monday, at the second largest international stock market - Nasdaqu, in cooperation with the Auerbach Grayson investment company and with a very good response from American investors, as the Zagreb Stock Exchange announced on Tuesday.

Although the Zagreb and Ljubljana stock exchanges have repeatedly presented their markets and issuers at local and regional investment conferences and on other similar occasions, this was the first time that such an event was organised outside of Europe, the statement said.

With the management bodies of both the Zagreb and the Ljubljana stock exchanges, investors were introduced to the Croatian companies AD Plastik, Arena Hospitality Group, Atlantic Group, Podravka and Valamar Riviera, as well as the Slovenian companies Krka, Petrol and Triglav Group. The Croatian investment association, Intercapital, presented the Croatian and Slovenian market and its potential, and, as previously mentioned, the companies held more than sixty individual meetings with US investors.

"For the first time in the history of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, we're organising the presentation of our most prominent issuers who have voluntarily accepted the highest standards of corporate governance and reporting to US investors.

We are very pleased with the level of interest and we hope that acquainting US investors with our companies and the potential of our regional market will result in their interest in investing in Croatian and Slovenian companies,'' said the director of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, Ivan Gažić, the president of AD Plastik, Marinko Došen, added that he hopes that the New York presentation will help attract new investors to Croatia.

"We support all the activities of the [Zagreb] exchange, which will enable us to revive the Croatian capital market with joint forces, we're pleased with the level of interest of American investors in AD Plastik, and I believe that the potential of our shares and business will be recognised on that market as well,'' Došen stated.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

National Federation of Croatian Americans Announces “40 Under 40" Winners from USA

Washington, D.C. -- The NFCA is proud to announce the second group of “40 Under 40” Croatian Americans chosen for an award which celebrates the success and commitment of this generation. These selections recognize their talent, the accomplishments, the potential and the pride in their Croatian heritage of these forty honorees and all under the age of forty.

“We have had so much fun hearing about so many younger Croatians all over this country making their mark in so many uniquely distinct professional ways and within our community," says Andrea Novak-Neumann, “40 Under 40” committee member and NFCA Executive Vice President from Minnesota. “We looked nationwide for forty Croatian Americans who have demonstrated leadership within our community or even nationwide, with career success and many so extraordinarily successful with their dedication to Croatian causes," she added.

This new group of winners includes lawyer Marija Krpan Kuren, who was the original winner we announced last September to kick off this "40 Under 40" campaign. Marija, is one exceptional Croatian American activist who was the Croatian Fraternal Union's Guest Conductor in Zagreb in 2018 with over 400 younger Croatian Americans performing and even at Lisinski Hall in Zagreb. Marija when she's not teaching Croatian music and dance, has a day job as a General Counsel in the Pennsylvania Governor's office.

Next, let us congratulate Annie Bosko (main photo), the singer, songwriter and performer from Nashville. Annie's father is a third generation Croatian American farmer from California and this young lady has been singing since she was in diapers. Annie wrote her first song at twelve and sang with Disney Productions when she was only 14. She has had the high honor of opening for or backing up vocals with Darius Rucker, Adele, Josh Groban, Dierks Bentley and Josh Turner. Annie is one talented Croatian American singer who's very proud of her Croatian heritage.

The NFCA has chosen three other exceptional lawyers from within the legal field. Andy Kvesic excelled in Arizona's Attorney General's offices and even won "Counsel of the Year" in his department there and now is the General Counsel for The Quantum Group in the Phoenix area! Dominik Cvitanovich, a proud Croatian within the Greater New Orleans Croatian American community, joined the Carver Darden law firm in 2014 and his legal expertise is now most focused on banking, commercial litigation and also, with labor and employment issues. Dominik has recently served as a Project Leader with Youth Leadership Council which teaches members the basics of running a non-profit organization. Barbara Bijelic, is another lawyer and legal expert now working within the Responsible Business Conduct Unit (RBC) of the Organization For Economic Cooperation now based in Paris. Barbara has field experience working on governance and private sector initiatives in Cambodia, Croatia, Ethiopia, India and the Republic of Croatia.

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Ana Ruzevic, firefighter and competing on the world stage too

Ana Ruzevic, another firefighter, wins this time as did Stipe Miocic two years ago. A Tulane graduate and All-American javelin thrower is a rising star, putting out fires, down in Alabama. Ana, after a stint in the insurance business and then volunteering as a firefighter, decided to make it a career and now even competes and wins at national "Firefighter Combat Challenges" competition taking 11th in the World.

Mara Oblak is a PhD expert and has studied and published about how to use "behavior analysis" to teach children with autism and behavior disorders. Mara is another Croatian American activist and in her spare time has been a longtime Board member with Seattle's CroatiaFest. Nikola Metes is another winner with many talents and a real Croatian passion and is a national officer with ACAP. Nikola has developed a marketing expertise and now works for the world renown marketing agency, Foote Cone and Belding in Chicago.

Alexander McArthy is making his mark down in Missouri and this St. Louis area resident has a joint interest in marketing and branding with a real focus on politics and digital interest group communications. Alexander has already run for the Missouri legislature and has been a nationwide advocate for the Americans For Prosperity organization.

The next winners noted are Croatian American activists. They have already made their mark in the community. First, Johnny Cvjetkovic stands out among Croatian activists of all ages in the Los Angeles area where he has excelled with St. Anthony's Kolo Club and with the Croatian Fraternal Union. He also created the St. Anthony's "Vatreni" Croatian soccer fan club. When Johnny is not busy with Croatian projects he's working as a technology professional in the entertainment industry with major Hollywood studios.

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Ben Anderson, a multi-award winning executive and producer in Los Angeles

This next group includes three very talented individuals in the entertainment business including a television producer, professional dancer and a world class pianist. First, Ben Anderson is a multi-award winning executive and producer for feature film, television and virtual reality. Ben is the Executive Vice President of Phoenix Pictures where he oversaw the development of the films "Black Swan", "Shutter Island" and "The Promise." Anderson co-produced the Warner Bros, feature film "The 33" with Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche.

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Maja Keres, world class dancer touring the world

Maja Keres is living her dream as a professional dancer touring with Justin Timberlake that included a Super Bowl performance and the Grammys in 2017. Keres is one of the dancers taking part in Justin's "The Man of the Woods" tour. Frane Rusinovic is a concert pianist who trained at the Levine School of Music in Washington, DC and then at the world renown Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Frane, originally from Split, has performed globally showcasing his world class skills at Carnegie Hall in New York City and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. and really enjoys performing for Croatian audiences.

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Anthony Piplica, CEO in the aerospace industry

The next group of winners includes seven successful rising stars from our community excelling in the business world. Anthony Piplica is an entrepreneur and engineer within the aerospace industry and the CEO and founder of Hermeus Corporation. He is focused on technology to build the fastest airplanes in the world known as the Mach 5 aircraft project. A.J., as he is known, has collaborated with the NASA Johnson Space Center and was previously CEO of Orbit Launch Services.

Next, let me highlight two talented females in uniquely different careers making their mark globally. Bernarda Pera, is a world class tennis player, currently ranked 82nd in the world, originally from Zadar.

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Ottessa Moshfegh, award winning author of the book ''Eileen''

Ottessa Moshfegh, raised in the Boston area and a daughter of two musicians, an Iranian father and a Croatian mother has become a nationally recognized author. Ottessa's debut novel, Eileen won the Hemingway Foundation-Pen Award. Moshfegh has published six stories in the prestigious "Paris Review" too. Her latest novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation was published in 2018 by the Penguin Press.

From the medical world is Dr. Matt Anderson, a physician in New Hampshire working for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He completed his training in anesthesiology at Loma Linda University Medical Center and his critical care fellowship at Dartmouth. Dr. Anderson has made several humanitarian trips globally. Melina Butuci is a scientist with a focus on immuno-oncology and leukemia research. Melina's busy finishing her PH.D at the USC's Molecular Biology department but still finds time to be active with the Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP).

Alan Latkovic is currently serving as Vice President, Service and Retention for the Madison Square Garden Company. Specifically, he's in charge of all customer service initiatives and season ticket retention for the NY York Rangers and NY Knicks. He developed and executed the first ever Croatian Heritage Night for the New York Knicks on January 11, 2019 with 600 Croatian Americans there. Vedran Solaja, another New Yorker, now owns his own marketing firm. After attending college in Iowa, Vedran ended up in Los Angeles and has been active with the NYCLA-New York Croatian Los Angeles group before moving East

Nikola Matic is a commercial hop farmer with the biggest hop farm in Ohio. He is driven by the belief that his "Matic Farms" should lead the way in the East developing a hop farm to support the growing craft beer industry. Nick and his brother are partners in this venture and are both active with the ACAP chapter in Cleveland.

Davor Anic is making his mark in the New York City fashion world with his men's neckwear line called the DAVOR ANIC brand. Davor moved to the USA years ago after his training at the University of Zagreb College for Textile and Technology and has completed a master's degree in fashion design and has embraced some notable design collaboration with companies like Kenneth Cole. Tena Bugarin is an incredibly successful real estate broker with Sotheby's International Realty. Tena fell in love with New York City years ago and stayed and is active with the Croatian ACAP group.

Marino Patrk is a financial advisor and partner at the O'Rourke Group at the Oppenheimer & Company. Marino manages both private and institutional wealth for clients and still finds time to to be very active in the New York City Croatian Catholic community.

The Washington, DC area has three winners. First, Adam Radman is a digital advocacy and communications expert with the Americans for Tax Reform organization and is active locally with the Croatian community and serves on the National Federation of Croatian Americans Board of Directors. Leon Suvak from Virginia is a distinguished Army officer serving our country in the Department of Defense as a Cyber Security Expert and has quite a background from Osijek to high school at prestigious Gonzaga High School in Washington, DC to college academics at the University of Wisconsin.

Next, Angela Stepancic, a proud Istrianka, has excelled as an educational activist and principal at two schools in Washington, DC and earned an undergrad degree and Master's from Georgetown University. Angela is driven to make a difference in education and her background as a child of a Croatian immigrant and a black woman from Illinois seems to have given her an abundance of empathy and a diverse understanding of human nature that has bestowed her an extraordinary array of leadership skills.

The next four honorees are all from the state of Minnesota. The first two both worked for US Congressman Rick Nolan as congressional staffers. Justin Perpich, a political activist, has emerged as a prominent labor leader from the Iron Range. Next, Joe Radinovich, former state legislator, made a spirited run at a congressional seat and has made his mark in politics and government already with a bright future in Northern Minnesota politics.

Alex Schmidt, from the Twin Cities but now living in Dubrovnik, is the creator of the Mindful Mermaid blog, and has a growing Croatian-based specialized travel business. Alex's blog is a nuanced Croatian travel guide with all her cultural commentaries of life as a Croatian American living in Croatia and she's embracing her visions of international travel and diplomacy that she first created when in college at Loyola of Chicago. Tiffany Senkow is a PhD scientist student excelling with biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota. She has an expertise on "Dupuytrens disease" which is a deformity of the hand. Tiffany still finds time to continue her love for kolo dance in Minnesota and which she first started in Pittsburgh as a child.

Siblings Katarina Crnogorac and Petar Crnogorac, have both been selected and have demonstrated consistent and very creative leadership with Croatian folklore and dance groups in New York City. Back in 2012, Petar and Katarina formed Folklorni Ansambl Okret. Since 2016, Petar and Katarina have been teaching and choreographing for the Croatian Folklore group, Hrvatska Ruza, in Astoria New York. On January 11th, 2019 their group had the honor of performing on the basketball court at Madison Square Garden during halftime at the NY Knicks first ever Croatian Heritage Night in honor of Mario Hezonja. Katerina has been very successful in the textile design world and is working on her own artistic endeavor, studioNARONA, which is a platform for everything related to and inspired by the Croatian culture. Petar is busy career-wise within the hotel and hospitality world with an eye on Croatian tourism and is working to create an online repository of traditional Croatian folk music.

Several winners are from California. After university Ante Zoric started to work for his parents' family business, Ann & Mario Catering. Currently Anthony manages the company which has been successful for over 18 years in the film industry and has catered for so many Croatian Consulate events and many Croatian weddings. His passion for sports continues as he writes for Croatiansports.com and also collects Croatian sports memorabilia. Dragana Boras, a proud MBA graduate from St. Mary's College (CA) has developed a marketing expertise in the Northern California-Silicon Valley area and still finds time to be very active with Croatian groups. Dragana was a recent co-manager of the very successful 2018 ACAP Conference in San Jose.

Ariana Kosta, has spent twenty plus years as a tambura player and first with the American Zagreb Junior Tamburitzan group, to Zalena Polja and then to Zumbercani Orchestra. She has been active in the Croatian folklore and the Croatian Fraternal Union her whole life!

There a few more honorees from the New York City area including Diane Kolanovic-Solaja, a Croatian activist for a long time in the area. She is the proud owner of Dee Kay Events and an accomplished wedding and event planner. Diane was a key co-founder of the New York- Croatian-LA group (NYCLA group) and creator of the amazing "Croatian cruise" for professionals. Anna Nejmasic, another activist from the Big Apple area, has been singing since age six and continues today at Croatian special events and with the Catholic Manhattan Church Choir. She now excels within the world class hotel industry with the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City and is active with several Croatian American groups.

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Michelle Lucic, author at age fourteen

The Committee decided again with this program to honor two extraordinary activists who have yet to graduate from college, Andrew Ciraci and Michelle Lucic and who, at such a young age, have both demonstrated exceptional commitment to excellence in their academic careers and studies. First, Andrew Ciacci, is an honor student with extraordinary experience with the Model UN competition and with a congressional fellowship in Washington, DC and already is writing for the Claremont Journal of Law and policy and excelling at Claremont McKenna College in California. Andrew has his sights on law school next year and is a real Croatian national soccer team enthusiast. Next, Michelle Lucic is an amazing young woman from Cleveland Ohio who published a book on Bullying at age 14. She is a true Renaissance woman with success and passion for music, sports, academics and writing. Michelle is now studying in Germany on an academic scholarship and has big plans for the future and college soon. She has been active with St. Paul's Croatian Catholic Church in Cleveland.

The National Federation of Croatian Americans Cultural Foundation (NFCA) is a non profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to promoting the interest of the Croatian people and to enhance the relations between the United States and Croatia through educational advocacy, public policy and political projects and overall media relations. The NFCA is a national umbrella organization established in 1993 for the Croatian American community and the Croatian Fraternal Union (CFU), Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP), the Croatian National Association (CNA) and twelve other metropolitan groups are active member groups.

For further information, please contact NFCA President Steve Rukavina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

More diaspora news can be found in the dedicated section.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

US Portal Publishes List - Serbia More Powerful Than Croatia?

One American portal has published its list of the most powerful countries in the world, where of course, the USA comes in first place, while Croatia is ranked in a rather uninspiring 75th place. Rather more disappointingly still, it seems tha the portal has ranked Serbia in a much higher position than Croatia, in spite of Croatia's EU membership, which at least for now, appears to be a far-away dream for Serbia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/VLM writes on the 29th of March, 2019, as was reported by U.S. The News & World Report, known for its somewhat controversial lists of top colleges and hospitals, published its list of the best countries based on the opinions of more than 20,000 people from across four different regions.

Within the list of the best countries, a podium of the most powerful countries was also published based on five determinants: leaders, economic influence, political influence, international alliances, and armed forces.

The top nine most powerful countries have remained the same as last year. The first is naturally America, described as the largest economy in the world and the country with the largest military budget.

Following are Russia and China, which are also at the top in terms of their spending on their armed forces. Then there are the long-reigning top European powers - Germany, Great Britain, and France.

The seventh place comes the economic giant Japan, followed by Israel, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, which made the jump from last year's 11th place.

The Republic of Croatia also jumped by one place, from 76th to 75th out of a total of 80 places, while this isn't particularly impressive in itself, the portal has listed it at number 30 in ''overall rankings''.

''Croatia has found itself at the crossroads of major historical movements, both East and West. These political shifts have uniquely shaped its present-day borders, which curve around Bosnia and Herzegovina in central Europe and stretch along the Adriatic Sea opposite Italy. The nation’s stunning Mediterranean coastline eases into the rugged Dinaric Alps and, continuing northeast, the fertile plains of the Danube River,'' the portal writes.

Countries are ranked in different categories, from being open to business, to how much holding citizenship means, to heritage, to cultural influence and even adventure prospects. While Croatia has done well in terms of ''adventure'', its ''power'' and ''quality of life'' statistics leave a lot to be desired for, at least according to this American portal.

Of our neighbours, Slovenia is in 78th place, Hungary 71st place, while Serbia is in a considerably higher 52nd place.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by VLM on Poslovni Dnevnik

Monday, 11 March 2019

US Embassy Staff Strengthening Cooperation with Croatian Counties

As eZadar writes on the 11th of March, 2019, quite a significant number of American citizens live in Zadar and the islands belonging to Zadar County, many of these people are Americans who hold dual Croatian and US citizenship, and one of the aspects of the US Embassy's activity is to provide consular services to its citizens.

The US Embassy has recently launched an initiative called MeetUS, which aims to create a group of experts for each county that will work on extending and strengthening the activities of the US Embassy in the Republic of Croatia. Every year, a team of American and local members of staff of the US embassy will focus on one county to strengthen co-operation with local representatives of all sectors of society.

The aim of the initiative is to strengthen and maintain good relations with key stakeholders in public administration, the economy, the education sector and civil society as a whole throughout Croatia. The purpose of this particular initiative is to present the county with the US embassy staff, get better acquainted with local needs and find ways to cooperate further.

On Tuesday, March the 12th, 2019 Meeting with the Director of the Zadar Tourist Board, Mr. Mari Palek and the staff will be held in the premises of the Zadar Tourist Board at 10:30.

The US embassy staff who will come to Zadar County for an informal, working visit are:

Anja Picelj-Kosak - Media Specialist
Mirjana Pribanić - Budget Analyst
Darby Carter - GSO EPAP Officer
Željko Medić - Visa Assistant

In the light of the upcoming tourist season, and especially given the increased Croatian marketing activity on the American broadcasting market and the knowledge of booking by hoteliers and travel agencies, one of the topics to be tackled is the increasing number of American tourists arriving in Zadar and the wider Zadar County.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated politics and lifestyle pages.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Središće in Zagreb Becomes Hit, US Embassy Staff Keen on Apartments

As Novac/Korlana Sutlic writes on the 26th of February, 2019, Središće, a popular neighbourhood in Novi Zagreb often referred to as Bundek, in reference to the well-frequented Zagreb lake and park, has recently gained the status of the most desirable neighbourhood in Novi Zagreb. By reaching this level of popularity, when looking at the demand for flats, it is now ranked alongside Vrbani III, Trešnjevka and Trnje.

The very first jump in demand for quality apartments in Središće came after Bundek park was done up and after RIT Croatia (Rochester Institute of Technology Croatia) was opened in the area, and then the demand grew a bit more after the completion of the American International School in Zagreb (AISZ) just several months ago.

The popularity of the neighbourhood has also contributed to the birth of the recent construction of some new residential buildings, which are part of the Središće area. The biggest demand is for smaller quality three-bedroom and smaller four-room apartments, ranging between 60 and 90 square metres in size, the price of which is not greater than 200,000 euros. The market prices are high, some even reaching up to 3,000 euros for a well-equipped apartment.

The Središće area of Novi Zagreb boasts a great many amenities and ease of access to them. Along with the American Educational Institution and Bundek park, it is located near the Avenue Mall, the neighbourhood is also home to the Museum of Contemporary Art near the Hippodrome, and even has a hypermarket. One of Croatia's best private kindergartens is located at Bundek Centre, and it's also worth mentioning that Središće's close proximity to the very heart of Zagreb is something else that earns the area brownie points.

''All this contributes to its value,'' says Boro Vujović, the director of the Operta property agency.

Even the very name Središće speaks volumes to Croatian speakers, for non-Croatian speakers, the name indicates that it is centrally positioned in Novi Zagreb, while only Mladosti bridge (Most mladosti) and the river separate it from the wider city centre, according to Sergio Serdarušić, the director of Eurovila agency.

''The growth of demand for Bundek began a few years ago when the Zagrebačka banka built Bundek Centre. The recent arrival of the aforementioned American school has of course further influenced the popularity of the neighbourhood itself. Središće is fortunate in that it is positioned next to Bundek lake, which is one of the major reasons for its popularity. Just like on the other side lie Western neighborhoods such as Vrbani III made a big leap forward [in terms of popularity], something similar is happening here. Novi Zagreb itself is beautifully planned out building-wise, but there's no room for new buildings, while over here afew new construction sites have been opened in this area, which is also a plus for the market,'' added Serdarušić.

In addition, the area of Središće is exceptionally well connected with roads and by public transport to Zagreb's city centre, Franjo Tudjman Airport and the A1 motorway. Quite recently, the construction of a public elementary school began, which will also be a plus for the area.

''Each new piece of content additionally enhances an area. There's already a lot of interesting content [in Središće], including those things which are needed for everyday life, such as shops, banks, services, restaurants, cafes...'' noted Serdarušić.

The price of new builds over the past few years has increased from 1.600 to 2.400 euros per square metre. The price depends on the microlocation, the quality of the building, the location of the apartment within the building itself, its degree of decoration, the floor and of course its overall layout. However, as they say from the previously mentioned Eurovilla agency, some of the smaller apartments can also come with rather impressive price tags up to 3,000 euros per square metre.

However, as Središće doesn't actually have enough luxury and large apartments for diplomats who would like to live near the American school, many remained in Šalata, where this institution was previously located. The demand is bigger than the offer, and Središće is currently the most expensive quarter in Novi Zagreb when it comes to prices per square metre, but they're now at their very peak.

"We had a case a few years ago in Bundek Centre, after the apartments were sold at 1.600 euros per square metre, just a couple of months later, one apartment in that same building was sold for almost double the price per square metre because the buyer was urgently seeking property close to the American high school.

But these are the exceptions, although that building is now managing to keep hold of a high price. In Bundek's new buildings, square metres were being sold for around 2,300 euros. Now apartments in some older buildings in the area have jumped in price, and sellers are looking for 2,000 euros per square metre for the best ones, some of them even offer well-equipped apartments in newer buildings for 3,000 euros per square metre,'' said Boro Vujović, adding that he believed that this trend would eventually level itself out come summertime when people start moving into the large new Meander building, which is now sold out. He believes that this will lower the deficit.

Those particularly interested in this part of Novi Zagreb on the other side of the Sava river, he adds, are US Embassy staff, and now there are American education institutions conveniently located there, too.

The apartments in Središće are also being claimed by employees of companies located in Novi Zagreb. In the long run, there is a chance, however slight, that the fall of its popularity could occur if the quarter becomes too built up, because there are currently several unbuilt areas, in which many construction companies are interested.

''Središće already has a traffic problem upon entering the area when coming from the city centre via the bridge. That needs to be better resolved. I don't think the additional construction will have a negative impact on its popularity, but it's better to have air in the neighbourhood. The recently constructed buildings have a wide access road and, in general terms, in this area, Novi Zagreb is very well designed and should not be over-built,'' concluded Eurovilla's Serdarušić.

Make sure to stay up to date with more on Croatian property by following our dedicated lifestyle page. If it's just Zagreb you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow.

 

Click here for the original article by Korana Sutlic for Novac/Jutarnji

Friday, 22 February 2019

Zagreb Company Q Software Opens Office in Manhattan, New York

Excellent news for one Zagreb company as its success leads to the opening up of yet another office abroad, this time across the Atlantic in no less than the Big Apple - New York, USA.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of February, 2019, the key person and the manager of the Zagreb company's brand new American office is Mick de Meijer, a former executive director of several marketing agencies and a person with very strong experience in two key areas - project management and business development.

Zagreb's Q IT software company, which is one of the fastest growing IT companies in Europe according to Deloitte, has been operating at a new location since the beginning of this year. Their sixth global office was opened in New York, the digital hub of the eastern coast of the United States. The office is located in the very centre of New York, more precisely in Manhattan, and in addition to this location, this Croatian company still continues to operate from Zurich, Oslo, Belfast, Los Angeles, and of course from Zagreb, where the company's headquarters are located.

In his twelve years of hard work in the field, Mick de Meijer has successfully consulted more than 100 companies and worked directly with a variety of enormous and highly respected brands such as Victoria's Secret, Trojan, and Heinz.

So far, this Zagreb company has successfully helped a number of American companies with their technology development, of which, companies such as the United States Postal Services, Facebook, Walmart and Coca-Cola should definitely be mentioned. They have worked in different manners for these gigantic American companies, ranging from genialising their employment process to dealing with the system that employees use in their daily work.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more on Croatian companies, products and services, as well as information on doing business and the overall investment climate in Croatia. If it's just the capital you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Croatian Diaspora: Tom Rukavina, Happy Warrior From Iron Range of Minnesota

Thomas Martin Rukavina, 68, known as Tom or Tommy, of Pike Township, died on Monday, January 7, 2019, at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis after a battle with leukemia.

Just a few inches over five feet, Tom was short in stature but cast a big shadow in the political world in Minnesota (MN) for over 30 years. His good friend, State Senator David Tomassoni stated, "Tom had a passion for the little guy and was a giant in those fights." There was another journalist who said, "Tom was a common man with uncommon character" that made him so effective and many fellow legislators called him a hero of the working class. US Senator Amy Klobuchar shared that, "Tom understood the dignity of hard work and was a force for Iron Range workers and their families." Ken Martin the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party chair said that "there will never be another Tom Rukavina. He was smart, irreverent and there was no one more authentic."

On Friday January 18th over 375 family members, constituents and friends paid their respects to the family of Tom Rukavina at the Range Funeral Home and on Saturday January 19th over 550 attendees came to his funeral at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, also in Virginia, Minnesota.

Many political figures still came to Virginia, Minnesota even with 40 below wind chill temperatures and almost 200 miles north of the Twin Cities to pay their respects to Tom Rukavina. This included current Governor Tim Walz, Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, US Senator Tina Smith, US Senator Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, former Rep. Rick Nolan and former Governor Tim Pawlenty, too and over a dozen Minnesota state legislators over two days.

At the funeral on Saturday, January 19th, Tom's son Victor and Tom's brother Mark shared stories about life with the dynamic Tom Rukavina. Victor, had the crowd laughing about a ten year old trying to become a political operative while still in fourth grade and the family phone ringing all day long. He did admit that all these political responsibilities at an early age gave him and his sister a unique and wonderful life.

Mark Rukavina brought laughter and tears, too as he shared a few humorous stories about the real Tom Rukavina and growing up as his younger brother. However, "hard work, honesty, integrity and social justice were our family's values and Tom internalized these values and devoted his life to fighting for working people and caring for all," said Mark. He finished by saying that he loved his brother very much and "really could not imagine life without Tommy."

The priest Father Brandon Moravitz eulogized how Tom's life was "so well lived" and that he was so successful because he had "a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone " that he brought to the political world. The Catholic priest went on to explain what made Tom Rukavina who he was and what he stood for in his career.

Gary Cervenik

Gary Cerkvenik eulogizing Tom at the funeral mass with the infamous "refreshingly honest'' underwear

Gary Cerkvenik, long time political associate of Tom for over twenty years gave a wonderful salute and eulogy at the funeral to the accomplished legislator. He talked about Tom's commitment to creating jobs, buy made in America and access to education for all. Mr. Cerkvenik had cited the amazing fact that Tom introduced 594 bills during his 26 years in the Minnesota legislature and served with pride and honor.

He also showed in church, the pair of underwear boxers made in the USA with the words "refreshingly honest" which was the campaign slogan for Tom's 2010 race for governor. Gary went on to cite ten plus major legislative accomplishments by Tom in the Minnesota House and stated that "We all have a duty to carry on Tom's work and passion for the common good."

Our immediate Rukavina immigrant story begins with our grandfather Thomas Rukavina coming to the USA on April 26th in 1900 from the Lika area of Croatia. He landed in Baltimore, Maryland then was off to Chicago on a train. Thomas married Lucy Basic from Perusic in 1913 in Chicago and after his saloon burned down later that year, he moved to Virginia, Minnesota where he became an iron ore miner and had a family of three sons and two daughters.

Tom was born to son Martin “Benny” and Martha Rukavina (Mordini) in Virginia on August 23, 1950. He grew up on the northside of Virginia, Minnesota, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood with a big extended family which positively influenced his life forever. He graduated from Virginia High School in 1968. He attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth campus where he graduated in 1972, magna cum laude in political science, with a minor in history. He met Lenore Lampi there in college and they married in September 1973. They lived for nearly 30 years north of Virginia where they homesteaded in Pike Township.

Tom and Lenore had two children, Ida and Victor. Tom later married Jean Cole in October 2012, adding three stepdaughters to his extended family.

Tom was proud to have been a steelworker and even a milk truck driver in the Tower and Soudan area, which he credits as one of the reasons a Croatian-Italian American could learn to speak Finnish. He also worked at Ironworld, where he recorded the oral histories of hundreds of early Iron Rangers, establishing a rich resource and legacy for generations to come.

He began his life as a public servant on the Virginia School Board and as a Pike Township supervisor. In 1982, Tom ran for the Minnesota House and lost by 12 votes. However, he did not give up his political dreams. In 1986 Tom ran again and was elected state representative to the Minnesota legislature, representing the 5A district of Virginia and the East Range, a position he held for 26 years.

Tom, like Governor Rudy Perpich, the only Iron Ranger and Croatian American Governor of Minnesota, was also completely committed to creating jobs and making college education available and more affordable for all Minnesotans. Tom's signature accomplishments included writing the unique Plant Closing prevention bill, led the fight for the MN solar energy incentives, won concessions so iron ore from Minnesota was used in sports stadiums all over the USA or that American flags were made in the USA, too.

Tom fought for union rights and for jobs on the Iron Range and he led the efforts to establish the Iron Range Engineering program at Mesabi Range College and found a way to create tax dollars to fund these type of educational programs to benefits all college students in St. Louis County. However, many say that Tom's leadership to get the minimum wage raised and passed with a Republican governor and with a Republican controlled-legislature could have been Tom's biggest accomplishment and he did it with a one vote margin.

Some called him the "Happy Warrior" like others had with Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Tom always joked that politically he was the "lovechild of progressive Paul Wellstone and the maverick Jesse Ventura," since he had his own independent streak. He ran for Governor in 2010 and some say his speech in Duluth at the DFL convention was one of the best ever made by a Minnesota candidate for Governor.

Tom Delia

Tom with his granddaughter Delia

After ‘retiring’ from politics to help with his first grandchild, Delia, he took a job with Congressman Rick Nolan on the Iron Range. Tom missed politics and in 2014, he was back as a candidate and elected as a St. Louis County Commissioner, a job he held until he passed away on his last official day in office and his successor was Croatian American Paul McDonald, son of Bob McDonald (Perkovich) the famous basketball coach from Chisholm MN.

Tom loved the Iron Range of Minnesota and in one interview stated, "I think I even have iron ore in my blood."

Tom was a devoted public servant, who answered all emails and all phone calls at all hours and doing his best to serve his constituents. He would sometimes joke and say "I work for the little fellers, not the Rockefellers."

Tom believed that as a politician and legislator it was his duty to improve people’s lives. Throughout his career, he defended workers’ rights and union rights, seniors, education, and youth. As testimony to his dedication and hard work, the building which houses the Iron Range Engineering Program at Mesabi Range College bears his name. Daughter Ida has joined the family business of politics and now works for Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Tom will forever be known for his quick wit, his intelligence, his hard work and effectiveness, his passion, his caring heart, his integrity and honesty, his humor, and his dedication to improving people’s lives. Tom with his warm eyes and disarming smile and as one legislator said, Tom had "it" and he had a gift about how to to connect with people. He was an master storyteller and with his uniquely infectious sense of humor .

Tommy Joey 

Tom with his "Uncle Joey" Rukavina (my father) - two incredible storytellers from the Iron Range!

Tom was a lifelong member of Croatian Fraternal Union Lodge 635 in Virginia, Minnesota like his Uncle "Joey" Rukavina (my father). Tom loved to travel and made special trips to meet his relatives in Italy and Croatia. He treasured the ethnic richness of the Iron Range and impressively Tom would speak Croatian, Italian, Slovenian and even Finnish with his constituents when he would go door-to-door campaigning.

In the fall of 2000, Tom traveled to Croatia with Minnesota Lt. Governor Mae Shunk, also a Croatian American as part of the Minnesota National Guard delegation. The Republic of Croatia and MN National Guard entered into a military partnership in 1996 and this relationship was an important element of the Croatia's ascension in the Euro-Atlantic community and with NATO membership. Tom was thrilled to return again to the homeland of his grandfather, Thomas Rukavina as part of this historic visit and to experience more Croatian culture firsthand.

Grandkids Ely Parade

Tom with daughter-in law Melissa, with Serafina, Delia standing with baby Lucia and daughter Ida

He loved his family and his greatest wish was to spend more years with his granddaughters and he told me in the summer of 2018, that he hoped he had 30 more years to be a "deda" to his granddaughters.

Tom is survived by his wife, Jean Cole; daughter, Ida Rukavina (Jesse Dahl), of Palo; son, Victor (Michelle) Rukavina, of Minneapolis; granddaughters, Delia, Lucia and Serafina; sister, Chris (Dennis) Rudy, of Washington, D.C; brother, Mark (Barbara McQueen) Rukavina, of Boston, MA, and their children Ben, Nate and Sara.

Tom was preceded in death by his beloved parents, Martin “Benny” and Martha; aunts and uncles: Louis and Helen Mordini, Laura and Bob Carlson, Gloria and John Folman, Michael “Mela” Rukavina, Catherine “Katie” Rukavina, Anne and Roy Thornton, Joseph (Joey) and Arlene Rukavina.

Ida Rick Nolan

Former Congressman Rick Nolan with Ida Rukavina who works for US Senator Amy Klobuchar

In late November, while in the hospital, Tom Rukavina sent a letter to the Editor of the Timberjay newspaper in Ely MN and he wrote that "Hate helps no one and love solves everything." In this letter, Tom salutes and details what immigrants have done for America and still do for this country. Tom as a proud Croatian and Italian American always believed in the promise and contributions of immigrants and "people are people no matter their color, religion or country of origin and they are good people coming to the land of the free for the same reason as our ancestors did." For Ida Rukavina, her dad's letter is all about the themes she's known all her life as one of two Rukavina children growing up among the Croatians, Italians and Finns on the Iron Range and "it was the story he told us our whole lives," Ida said. "The letter really is who he raised us to be."

Tom Paul McDonald

Tom with Croatian American Paul McDonald, his successor on the St. Louis County Council (Photo courtesy of ERIC SHERMAN IMAGES)

On Monday, January 7th, Tom Rukavina passed away and it also was his last day as an elected official. He left behind thousands and thousands of former constituents who adored him. There will never be another Tom Rukavina, and his wit and passion for life and causes will be greatly missed by those on the Iron Range who saw him in action for over thirty years as an elected official.

Tom's legacy will live on through the scholarship programs he has created and the family urges any remembrances to honor Tom may be made to: Tom Rukavina Scholarship Fund c/o Mesabi Range College Foundation, 101 West Chestnut Street, Virginia Minnesota 55792.

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