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Colonos voters adopt 2015 budget

Assembly OKs 3% budget hike,

funds legal study of water rate

(Ed. Note: Following is a summary of the Colonos Assembly meeting held Dec. 13. More details will be provided in subsequent issues of The Pelican Free Press. Stay tuned and informed weekly.)

By Staff

Voters at the Colonos annual assembly Saturday approved a 3 percent increase in the Colonos budget/fee for 2015, applauded their satisfaction with the past year’s financial statements and the 2015 budget, voted to fund an estimated 50,000 pesos for a legal opinion on water department rates and elected two new members to the Colonos leadership.

Additionally, the assembly attendees representing 55.40 percent of the 30,725 votes either in person or by proxy, touched on issues such as completion of the golf course and Fatima Bay beach replenishment, speeding cars, illegal (young) golf cart drivers, unleashed dogs tramping over private properties, uniform numbering of houses and condos, use of topes and vados and other issues that form the bulk of community complaints.

Resident David Perry pressed PA developer Roman Rivera Torres for completion date of the new nine holes of the golf course. Rivera Torres, noting that golf courses usually operate in the red, gave a serious but humorous reply depicting the reality of the local golf course situation: “We average 22 golfers a day…and many more people than that walking dogs,”  referencing the high number of golf course trespassers. Resident Rick Lachaw  commented on speeding cars along his road and was told he could request speed bumps if neighbors agree. The Colonos took under advisement a suggestion by resident Gilberto Chaine to simplify house numbering and addresses.

Voters also applauded the performance of the security force which, in the first 10 months of this year, received 27 robbery reports of which 48 percent were solved compared to a solution rate of 8 percent in 2013. (Note: Cancun solved only 18 percent of 6,160 reported robberies from January to November 2014)

The improved success rate here was attributed by Security Chief Jesus Galdeano to the efforts of those victims who immediately reported incidents to security and police, the improved use of main gate checks and the relatively new video system to identify and apprehend suspects. Of the 27 robberies this year, 13 were solved.

Most members re-elected

Elected for two-year terms were Jorge Kaufer, board president; Guillermo Lobo, secretary, replacing Beatriz Marron, who recently resigned for personal reasons; and Irma Ramos, treasurer. Gerardo Diego and Daniele Gracis were elected as members at large.

Arq. Roman Rivera Torres and Timothy Howard were re-elected to the 3-member Vigilance Committee and Carlos Suarez was elected to fill an open seat on that board.

The meeting got underway in the Dreams Hotel Theater at the 10 a.m. second quorum call and ran for about 2½ hours, attesting to the efficient manner in which it was conducted by the board and complimented by concise audience comment.

Voters back water study

Different points of view and facts were presented in courteous manner over the water department rate-setting issue by Carlos Suarez, of Batt and Suarez Associates, a property management company, and by PA developer and a water company principal Rivera Torres.

Suarez presented figures explaining his case and called for spending about 50,000 pesos for an independent third-party legal opinion on the water company’s recent unilateral rate actions and increases for some classes of customers. Rivera Torres did not challenge Suarez’s figures on water costs. Instead, he generally said the water company was within the law to do what it did regarding rate changes and that providing the funds for the legal opinion was “a waste of money.”

Voters saw it differently and approved funding by a vote of 2,126 yes, 144 no, and 184 abstain.

While Suarez argued that the new rate system adopted by the water company without public notice doubled payments for some classes of property owners, Rivera Torres offered The Pelican a list of figures that purported to show the new water company single-rate charge of 24.64 per m3 of water use was still less expensive compared to subsidized state water rates charged by CAPA, the state water commission.

Suarez said that with a valid legal opinion, water consumers will have a base knowledge of the laws governing water company operations and whether there is ever a basis to file a suit on the setting of water rates and charges by the company.

Dog owners beware

A pending arrangement between the Colonos and Municipal Department of Health over the dog issue was announced by Colonos General Manager Armando Rincon. The Colonos has appealed to the municipal health authorities for help in controlling the local dog situation, the source of most public trespass and other complaints.

In essence, the municipal pound, now operating under a more humane name and procedure somewhat like an animal rescue league, will send its truck to Puerto Aventuras weekly upon demand to collect stray or unleashed and unsupervised dogs.

Once a dog is caged in the truck, owners who want to recover their pet will have to produce a pet registration or rabies vaccination certificate and the pet will be returned to the owner. Otherwise, the pet will be impounded at the municipal facility on Juarez Avenue next to the jail and gas company in Playa.

Enforcement with fines

If that happens, owners will have to pay $500 pesos fine if the pet is already neutered. If not, the municipality will have it neutered and charge the owner an extra $350 pesos.

Owners walking their pets and not collecting the droppings will be reprimanded the first time and fined on the second offense. This municipal rule applies to the federal beach zone as well, according to a letter from the health department.

An alternative to municipal intervention would be for dog owners to willingly observe the local rules governing pets, including no trespassing on private property. (See the rules by clicking on the Colonos logo in the upper right hand column).

(At the close of the meeting, it was suggested that property owners pay maintenance fees to the Colonos with foreign currency to take advantage of the current favorable exchange rate which was $1 USD = 14.79 pesos on Monday. Timely payments also get a 10 percent discount from the Colonos.)

 

Bring the lights back

to folks on Bahia Xaac

By Staff
There was fallout from the Assembly announcement that funds originally intended for lighting Bahias Xaac and Soliman were set aside in the event a deal was reached with the fideicomiso to lease the tennis courts at night to allow residents to play there for a modest fee. Several residents of Bahia Xaac, who preferred not to be identified, said they felt public safety should have trumped tennis in the matter of lighting.

They told The Pelican about 28 light bulbs were inoperative on Bahia Xaac and wondered why the Colonos couldn’t just replace the bulbs until such time as more extensive improvements are made. ”I’ll even pay for the bulbs,” said one resident who likes to take evening  strolls. He said the street is so dark that it is an accident waiting to happen. He said public safety is compromised also by cars that park in the street at night, creating sight impediments to drivers who might not see people in the dark walking out from behind cars.

The Colonos says new light poles were installed on Bahia Xaac in September, including bulbs, but the board stopped the project to save some money in the event the tennis agreement came through, which it hasn’t yet but is close. Colonos GM Armando Rincon said the project was stopped before the required new underground cable was installed. The poles, he said, simply aren’t connected. It isn’t the bulbs. He asked that residents be patient and the work will be completed sometime in February or March.

Coming Events…

AN EVENING OF OPERA and fine dining will be held at the Omni Beach Club Restaurant at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 featuring opera vocals with piano accompaniment by sisters Cecilia and Carmen Eli Gomez and a 3-course meal. Cost is $30 USD and tickets are available from Cecilia Gomez, 984-168-0249… CENTRO COMERCIAL annual assembly is scheduled for January 10…THE 7th ANNUAL Puerto Aventuras road race this year is Sunday, Jan. 25, and will begin at 7 a.m. at Porto Bello, same place as last year, but end at the large palapa in Centro’s Dolphin Discovery, which is the major race sponsor this year. Local runners can register at the Colonos office during working hours. For more information on registration and costs (200 pesos for adults, 150 for children) click on the Colonos site in the right-hand column… COOKING CLASS at Latitude 20, now under new ownership, meets Fridays at 10 a..m…ART SHOWS are held each Thursday evening at the Information and Art Center…

Last day to deliver employee gift

Today, December 18, is the last day to share your blessings with the Colonos employees in time for their Christmas party on Friday, Dec. 19. Only 20 gifts have been delivered so far for about 40 employees. The Colonos says there has also been cash donations for about 15 more gifts, still about five short.

If you haven’t already done it, open your heart and donate a gift for adult workers and/or their children. Drop by the colonos office today with a cash donation or your package of Christmas cheer during working hours, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.

The board says “The party is a way to thank our workers for their efforts and support during the year, but it wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the community at large. We ask for your help in donating a gift, for an adult or a child. Our best wishes to all for the holiday season”

Commerce Corner…

Veteran lawyer semi-retires

to PA, offers legal services

By Staff
A new attorney has settled in Puerto Aventuras bringing with him 38 years of experience as human resources manager and general legal adviser to Canadian and U.S. corporations operating in Mexico.

Atty. Stanley Durell and his wife, Laura, have purchased a home on Bahia Xaac and entered a period of “semi-retirement” after living and working in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.

“Why did we come here?” Durell asks rhetorically. “Because we love it here.” They have two adult daughters, one of whom lives in Playa del Carmen and the other in St. Louis, Missouri, where she is married to an American citizen.

Born in Monterrey, Durell said he was raised in Mexican and American cultures. His father was American and his mother Mexican, “so I had the advantage of both,” the bi-lingual attorney said.

He received a bachelor degree in law from the University of Nuevo Leon then continued on for a master’s degree in labor relations. His career in corporate labor and law extended in the Monterrey area for 38 years with frequent business travel to the United States and Canada, particularly in Vancouver and North Carolina.

Durell was employed by publicly traded Linamar Corp. of Canada, purveyor and manufacturer of auto components, castings, machining and assembly, some for General Motors cars. He was also employed by the Nacco Materials Handling Group, USA, providing leadership and global support for Hyster and Yale lift trucks, and the Riddell Co., manufacturer and designer of protective helmets and football gear.

Home-based in the Monterrey area where he grew up, Durell was the human resources manager and general legal representative for the companies in Mexico. “I handled all the legal aspects from labor contracts, permitting they needed to run on, immigration permits for employees and the many contracts associated with labor, real estate and manufacturing.

“If the companies had a problem, I had to fix it,” he said. “If I didn’t know how, I had to learn how quickly. And if that wasn’t possible, I hired a lawyer who already knew how.” He grinned and said that on occasion he even had to provide bail for an employee who might have run into a problem with the law.

The fact that the Durells have a daughter in Playa del Carmen played a role in their choosing the area for semi-retirement. “We’ve been vacationing in Cancun for years. We would rent a car and travel around looking for a future retirement home. When we found Puerto Aventuras and the safety it offers, we found our choice of a retirement community. We love it here,” he said.

The Durells have been settling in for eight months. They are both in training as Eucharistic ministers for the Catholic Church in Playa del Carmen, a task they performed in Monterrey for 14 years. In addition, he is in training for the traditional Mayan sacred journey canoeing across the Cozumel Channel, a risky 6-hour trip, later this year.

Durell said his previous work required that he guard his reputation for integrity in representing the corporations. “If you lose your reputation, you never get it back,” he said. It is something, he said, that he now wants to offer in semi-retirement to the Greater Puerto Aventuras Community.

Click on Durell Associates in the sponsor column at left for contact information.

Did you know…

Crime pays…but not for long

By Staff
We hear of the billions of drug dollars floating down from the United States into Mexico, where expensive cars, homes and businesses are purchased with hot cash by those with links to drug cartels.

But what crime giveth, justice taketh away. Several weeks ago, Mexican federal authorities reported confiscating 41 residences, farms and assorted properties in the state of Michoacan, bringing to 70 the number of such properties seized by federal authorities this year in that state. The properties had a total insured value of 430 million pesos (roughly $31 million USD.)

Properties seized included a ranch owned by a former band leader with ties to organized crime. Authorities say videos found there show the place was used to train assassins and hold life-or-death courts on perceived enemies of the criminal organization.

Another property seized from the estate of a henchman killed in a February shootout with federal police had a pool, entertainment center, casino, restaurant, bar, car wash and a small shopping center.

Some of the ranch properties seized had their own gasoline stations, luxury homes, one with 120 head of cattle and 110 Swiss gamecocks.

But what good are all these trappings of success if one is incarcerated for life or dead?

Briefly Noted…

VISITORS to the Riviera Maya increased by 50 percent during the first week of the holiday season. Drive defensively!…TAXI FARES will increase beginning Saturday (Dec. 20) in Playa del Carmen. The rates of travel will vary for different sections of the city and its suburbs from 18 percent (3 pesos) to 25 and 35 percent in outlying areas. The increases follow four years of rate stability despite a 58 percent hike in gasoline over the four years, a 30 percent increase in parts and 13 percent boost in the minimum wage…THE NEW TIME ZONE scheduled for implementation soon to provide more daylight hours to tourists and thus the area’s competitiveness with the Bahamas also has another beneficial effect: It will reduce the costs of electricity since there will be more daylight hours. The new zone will be called the Southeast Time Zone…THE U.S. AMBASSADOR to Mexico, Anthony Wayne, spoke with the governor of Guerrero State where 43 students are missing. Wayne said the U.S. wants to forge better safety, economic and student-exchange programs…MEXICAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS convened for talks and suggested Mexicans wear something white to symbolize a commitment to work for national “justice and peace”…THE NATIONAL BUSINESS VICTIMIZATION SURVEY for 2013 reports that 35 percent of businesses in Quintana Roo reported at least one crime against them including robbery, assault, fraud and extortion…PUBLIC SHOWERS and bathrooms will be added to some beaches in Playa del Carmen next year…MEXICAN MAHOGANY forested in southern Quintana Roo has found new markets in Spain and Germany…PARENTS OF STUDENTS at the Puerto Aventuras federal high school are demanding the ouster of the school director for being exceedingly authoritarian and non-communicative with parents…AS MILLIONS OF PEOPLE celebrated the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was preparing for a visit to U.S. President Obama in Washington on Jan. 6 for broad discussions…

The Mail Bag…

Akumal now has ambulance

Dear Editor:
Just to let the wonderful Akumal community and you know that as of this morning at 8.30a.m. (Dec. 11, 2014) we have a 24-hour Red Cross Ambulance stationed in Akumal.  It is located on the sandy path leading to the beach on Akumal Bay during the day and Plaza Ukana in the evenings.  In the event of an emergency that requires ambulance assistance, please call 984 802 5521.

I would like to extend an enormous thank you to all of the people who have worked so hard to support this project and make this a reality!  This is such an important addition to our village, and will certainly help to save lives in our community.

Signed/ Marieke Brown

 

The limp is gone

Dear Editor:
We are very happy to be back. I just wanted to let you know that I was rewarded on my walk today with a sighting of our resident pair of monkeys. They were walking up Bahia Chemuyil beside me through the trees and along the power lines. They looked healthy and there was so sign of limping, as was last reported.

Signed/ Ann Matheson

More on the turtles, please

Dear Editor:

Thank you again for an informative and interesting edition of Pelican Free Press.  I always look forward to your email. I particularly liked today’s turtle rescue story and hope that you can get follow-up information. I wish you and your family happy holidays and a great new year.​

Signed/Heidi Petre

(Ed. Note: OK, more on turtles below.)

U.S. Coast Guard helps fly

cold turtles to warmer waters

(Ed. Note: The municipal committee on turtles in Solidaridad is working on a set of new rules intended to give more space along the beaches to nesting turtles in the hope of implementing the rules next year. The story below appearing in the Cape Cod Times shows how other areas such as Cape Cod, Massachusetts, are making efforts to sustain the pre-historic turtle.”

By Matthew Cappucci
Residents of Bone Hill Road in Barnstable were in for a surprise earlier this month, when they discovered several turtles “with wings” washed up with the midday tide.

Locals reported nearly a half dozen Kemp’s Ridley turtles stranded around midday Nov. 5, prompting officials from the Massachusetts Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to recover and nurse the ailing mammals from the Long Pasture sanctuary, through which Bone Hill Road meanders.

event unusual, but not unheard of.

The appearance of sea turtles in Barnstable is rare, said Bob Prescott, a scientist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

“Typically, if we were to see cold-stunned turtles anywhere on the Cape, it would be inside the bay on the Lower Cape. The water in Barnstable Harbor is quite brackish (a mixture of salt and fresh water) and is not the ideal habitat for them,” Prescott said. Reports of sea turtles in this neck of the woods are only received once or twice a decade, making this

Several species of sea turtles are native to Massachusetts; born in the lukewarm waters of the Western Gulf of Mexico, they make their way north once in their lives before returning to the much more temperate habitats of the south.

Typically, the ectothermic turtles, which are cold-blooded, require water temperatures between 80-85 degrees to sustain them. In the summertime on Cape Cod, however, the shallow inshore waters can range between 65-75 degrees, providing the ideal habitat for them to thrive.

Once October and November roll around, most turtles retreat southward to their optimal habitat. Those that are left behind in the colder 50-degree water temperatures, though, can become “cold-stunned,” numbed to the point of near-death.

“Oftentimes, the cold is so much of a shock to these turtles that they appear dead to passersby,” said Prescott. “When one of our teams rescues a turtle, we have to very slowly warm them at about 5 degrees per day. Warming them too abruptly would cause their bodies so much distress that it could result in death.”

The turtles are then given fluids mixed with dextrose and saline to help build up their strength.

They are then handed over to the New England Aquarium Animal Rehabilitation Center in Quincy for further rehab. Many of the turtles are later flown to Florida where they are either distributed to area aquariums or released into the wild, depending on their condition.

Several species of turtle were among those recovered by rescuers; Kemp’s Ridley turtles are the most common to be found on area beaches, followed by loggerheads, and even an occasional sighting of the elusive leatherback takes place. Leatherbacks are the largest of the three species, oftentimes weighing more than 800 pounds.

Fortunately, swimmers don’t need to fret over sharing the water with these gentle giants; their diet consists mainly of jellyfish and other “light seafood.” The turtles are far from light, though. The largest leatherback ever recorded weighed in at an astonishing 2,009 pounds.

While the Cape’s turtles may not have tipped the scales to such a degree, this year’s event has been record-setting in several respects.

Last week, the largest female loggerhead ever found in the Bay State was retrieved off the coast of Wellfleet. The behemoth weighed in at a whopping 279 pounds, measuring 3 feet from shell-tip to tail.

So far this season, over 800 turtles have been recovered across the Cape, 80 percent of which were found alive. In fact, 148 were rescued in just one day, pointing fingers in the direction of climate change.

As ocean water temperatures rise, the habitat of tropical marine wildlife, such as sea turtles, shifts gradually northward as well. Experts are attributing the strandings to above-average sea surface temperatures, coupled with a subtle shift in wind direction, which forces the turtles into harbors and marshes they would normally avoid.

 

 

Centro Comercial elects new leaders

Water company summarizes

rate change affect on users

Views to be aired at Dec. 13 Colonos assembly 

By Staff
   The stage has been set for an interesting and enlightening discourse at the annual Colonos Assembly on Saturday, Dec. 13 on the Puerto Aventuras water company’s rate changes implemented without public notice several months ago. The meeting convenes at 9:30 a.m. at the Dreams Hotel Theater.

Private homes with little water usage that enjoyed the lowest tiered rate of 10 pesos per m3 of water consumption bear the brunt of higher costs in the new, single-rate schedule, according to the company.

Developer and Arq. Roman Rivera Torres, who has merged his water concessionaire’s interest with another firm to form Fusion H20 Puerto Aventuras S.A. de C.V., last week offered a  summary of the changes and their impact in response to questions posed by the Pelican.

The pending assembly discourse was prompted by an informal condo administrators’ alliance that is questioning the fairness of the changes as to their cost distribution and legality. The alliance’s views will be presented by Carlos Suarez, of Batt and Suarez Associates, a property management company. Suarez, who is also a candidate for the Colonos Vigilance Committee, is requesting Colonos funding for a third-party legal opinion.

The Colonos set a precedent for this type of funding last year when the government attempted to collect taxes from canal-front property owners under a questionable claim the federal zone extended to them.  The result was that the government dropped the effort to collect, a win for property owners.

In his summary, Rivera said  the total cost of water under the new arrangement is not an increase from the previous total. “This means,” he explained, “that the changes were not meant to create added income or additional profits.”

Rivera said the previous tiered-rate system charge per m3 (cubic meter) of water included the 20 percent cost for sewage treatment. He said changes in the law now obligate the company to separate the charge for potable water from the charge of handling effluent and to separate the 16 percent sales tax on the sewerage portion, inferring that these costs are not new, just separately itemized.

The tiered system had five levels charging from 10 pesos per m3 for use of less than 10 m3, to 28 pesos for users of more than 40 m3. “The new company is setting only one rate of 20 pesos per m3 for homes and condominiums based on the fact that the cost of maintaining the entire system cannot be supported by homes that use less than 10 m3, so a minimum standard rate was set.”

“In the end,” he said, “those with residential units using a minimum volume of water will be paying a little more. They comprise less than 4.5 percent of total users. Condo units,” Rivera claims, “will be paying 25 pesos (about $1.70 USD) less than before.

Houses and condos under the tiered system were charged from 10 up to 28 pesos per m3 according to volume consumed. That included sewer and water charges. “Today they will also pay according to volume used, but the highest rate went down to $24.64 . This rate applies to everybody and includes water and sewer separately itemized.” He said that “the IVA on the sewer surcharge will be listed separately.

“Only the very few customers who use very little water are paying more today than they were paying before,” Rivera claims. Suarez counters that his own house bill has increased 100 percent under the new, single-rate system. The administrators’ alliance became involved when the water company stopped dividing service to a condo building by the number of units they contained. This resulted in condo buildings paying the highest rate, which administrators said was unfair.

The information and views disseminated by speakers at this meeting is expected to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of the workings of the private company that services their water needs.

Give a gift for Colonos

Employees’ yule party

If you haven’t already done it, don’t forget to open your heart and donate a gift for employees of the Colonos, which every year conducts a Christmas party for its workers and their children under the auspices of the board of directors. The party will be held Friday, Dec. 19 in the Poblado. Drop by soon with your package of Christmas cheer during working hours, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays.

The board says “The party is a way to thank our workers for their efforts and support during the year, but it wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the community at large. We ask for your help in donating a gift, for an adult or a child. Our best wishes to all for the holiday season”

 

Coming Events…

COLONOS ASSEMBLY will convene at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Dreams Hotel Theater on Xel Ha Avenue to consider a 3 percent increase in the maintenance fee among other annual financials and issues…THE 7th ANNUAL Puerto Aventuras road race this year is Sunday, Jan. 25, and will begin at 7 a.m. at Porto Bello, same place as last year, but end at the large palapa in Centro’s Dolphin Discovery, which is the major race sponsor this year. Local runners can register at the Colonos office during working hours. For more information on registration and costs (200 pesos for adults, 150 for children) click on the Colonos site in the right-hand column… COOKING CLASS at Latitude 20, now under new ownership meets Fridays at 10 a..m… CENTRO COMERCIAL annual assembly is scheduled for January 10…

 

 

 

Commerce Corner…

Jessie gelato offering

delicacy ‘by the meter’

By Staff
   You’ve heard of the “foot-long” hot dog. Now meet the meter-long gelato available at Jessie Gelato in Centro Comercial next to the Pub Restaurant. It’s a unique way to serve nine separate flavors of gelato to parties of multiple people who want to enjoy a variety of tastes in a way that makes sharing a pleasure for everybody.

Jessie’s has a meter-long (3.2 feet) tray upon which sits nine cups, into which Jessie’s will scoop nine tempting flavors of gelato so that multiple individuals can get multiple tastes of Jessie’s popular flavors without envying the single choice their neighbors might make. It’s only 150 pesos ($10.41 USD at Monday’s exchange rate).

And speaking of flavors, Jessie’s has new offerings for the holidays including egg nog (with a hint of rum), apple pie, banana, black forest, which is chocolate with black cherry, and chocolate sorbet for the lactose intolerant. And for the record, Jessie’s gelato made with a touch of alcohol flavor isn’t sold to the kids without the permission of parents being there. Neither is coffee gelato, made with caffeine.

Stop by during an evening stroll or escape the afternoon heat for a refreshing taste of “cool”, says Jessie. And don’t forget that Jessie also serves crepes topped  with your choice of gelato. 

 

WHAT A DIFFERENCE a season makes. When snowbirds departed last April, canal work was ongoing at this rotary junction in Phase 4 (picture left). On their return in November, snowbirds taking a photo from nearly the same spot saw this leg of canal work completed, in right photo. (Staff Photos)

Centro Comercial voting majority

chooses new group of leaders

   With 55.57 percent of total votes participating, the Centro Comercial Owner’s Association (CCOA) voted by majority to install new leadership during a special recall election Saturday held in the Colonos meeting room. The assembly’s only business was to determine whether the sitting vigilance committee should be retained or a new one elected.

The majority of “present” and “proxy” voted 71 percent to replace the sitting committee and selected a new one after hearing brief summations from attorneys representing the CCOA and Cafe Ole. The assembly also heard several members of the sitting board ask for support of their action by keeping the board in place and from a principal of Cafe Ole who claimed unfair treatment by the sitting board.

Following the comments, those elected to serve a new term and provide leadership at the CCOA’s annual assembly on Jan. 10 are Edgar Giffenig, former golf course manager, president; Hector Pavon, Fideicomiso operations director, treasurer; Teresa Gutierrez, real estate sales company owner, secretary; Mirtila Lopez and Barbara Fox, both residents of Centro, as voting board members. Several of the new members of three women and two men have close ties to the Fideicomiso and none besides Gutierrez operate a business in Centro. Note the absence of any members in the food service industry.

The new board is expected to seek a negotiated resolution to the CCOA-Cafe Ole dispute, said a source familiar with the new board.

 

Mayan Riviera’s time zone

to link to U.S. eastern time

   Mexico’s federal chamber of deputies has voted 258 to 1 approving a bill that will equate the time zone of Quintano Roo with U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

The bill, which adds an hour of sunshine to the day, has been in the works for several years on a petition by the Q. Roo tourist industry, which believes the added daylight will spur tourism.

Currently, Q. Roo is an hour behind Eastern Standard Time in the U.S. For example, the 6:30 p.m. news on the U.S. eastern seaboard’s time zone is heard here at 5:30. It means wrist watches will not have to be adjusted an hour earlier when flying into Cancun from the East Coast or vice versa.

The exact date of implementation in Quintana Roo remains unspecified but will occur when the deputies’ vote is published in the official journal of the Mexican Federation. Stay tuned.

 

More than 200 help youth

symphony welcome holidays

By staff
   Mexico is said to be a developing country. The same can be said for its young Cancun Symphony Orchestra of 20 high school-aged students that attracted about 200 patrons at the cultural center to welcome the Christmas season in concert Friday night.

Considering that a professional symphony orchestra contains from 80 to 100 musicians to achieve faultless fullness of sound listeners expect from symphonies, this youth group of only 20 pleased its audience with a varied selection of classical, Mexican and Christmas pieces.

The Colonos Sports and Cultural Committee and Puerto Aventuras Youth Sailing Club chaired by Daniel Gracis, was pleased with the sale of tickets although not all purchasers attended the concert, he said.

The audience, which sometimes swayed to the tango beat or began singing some of the Christmas carols, was generous in its applause and overlooked the occasional discordant notes expected from developing musicians. The string section was a bit soft on sound for lack of more instruments but the horn and wind sections provided the gusto needed to carry the group through its weaker passages.

It is said that music is a universal language that everyone understands, and the message from this concert was well articulated in the group’s jolly musical finale.

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light!”

Briefly Noted…

Let there be light! Bahia Xaac residents are wondering when the Colonos will answer their request for street lighting that was supposed to be part of the earlier lighting program. Rumor has it funds for that street and Bahia Soliman are in escrow for possible use in lighting the tennis courts in a yet-to-be defined plan for the Colonos to lease the courts for night play by residents. At any rate, look for the lights in the first quarter of 2015…Kudos to developer Roman Rivera Torres for designing welcoming bike lanes and sidewalks on the Phase 4 road extension of Boulevard Puerto Aventuras for bikers and walkers to enjoy in safety. It’s unfortunate the first phase of Blvd. Puerto Aventuras lacks those amenities…The rising dollar may help with tourism here this holiday season says the president of the Business Coordinating Council in Playa del Carmen since tourists will see themselves getting more goods and services for less with the wholesale exchange rate this week at $1USD = $14+ Pesos–if providers of goods and services don’t increase the dollar prices relative to the peso…Brazilian tourists rank fifth on a list of 32 countries whose tourists spend most on daily accommodations while traveling… Positive I.D. of one of the 43 missing Iguala students supports the probability that all were killed and cremated by cartel criminals in concert with local police and political leaders…A Mexican information center in the U.S. has already received more than 4,000 inquiries about President Barack Obama’s executive action that could bring relief to millions of undocumented immigrants…Mexico’s central bank says the peso has stabilized against the dollar, closing at 14.36 Tuesday and saying the U.S. growth expectations and lower oil prices led to the peso’s fall…The Center for Youth Integration in Solidaridad reports that girls 13 and older who drink alcohol has doubled from 2 out of 10 to 4 out of 10 in two years…Quintana Roo, in which Puerto Aventuras is located, exceeded the national average of 1.4 percent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013 registering GDP growth of 4.3 percent, one of highest in the nation and over 108,000 jobs created so far in the current state administration…

 

Nature Watch…

Northern neighbor saves turtles

stunned by cold for shipment

to safety in the Caribbean

   One of the similarities between the beachy Mayan Riviera and Cape Cod in Massachusetts, USA, is the sometimes extraordinary effort taken by both regions to care for and save turtle populations.

As it happened recently, Cape Cod, which juts out into the frigid Atlantic, broke a record for cold-stunned turtle strandings, with nearly 800 this year. Colleague Doug Fraser, of the Cape Cod Times daily newspaper, and photographer Steve Heaslip, were on the scene to capture the process of saving the turtles and preparing them for their trip to Caribbean waters. Fraser’s story:

Posted Nov. 22, 2014 @ 2:00 am
Updated at 6:33 AM

WELLFLEET – Seated on the hard concrete floor of the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary’s maintenance barn, veterinarian Kelly Sattman lifted turtle No. 491 to eye level.

She pressed a small speaker that looked like an old transistor radio up to one ear while holding a sensor to the turtle’s neck.

Sattman tried to parse out the heartbeat from the white noise crackling from the speaker, and the roar of a heater struggling to keep the barn, set up as a turtle triage center on Friday, at 55 degrees.

“Any time buddy,” she urged. “Show them that you’re living.”

The count of recovered cold-stunned turtles was 520 on Friday (Nov.21), well past the 2012 record of 413. With survival rates at 80 percent, the sheer numbers of this year’s strandings taxed Audubon sanctuary staff and volunteers and overwhelmed the capacity of the New England Aquarium’s Quincy Animal Care Center,(50 miles away) which can handle 70 turtles comfortably, and 120 in a pinch.

On Thursday, the aquarium was able to transport 20 turtles from Quincy to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay and another 31 were flown to a turtle rehab hospital in Georgia and to the South Carolina Aquarium. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries staff were also working to arrange air transport for those animals that had been stabilized.

The Quincy facility took 70 Friday, but with hundreds sitting in crates awaiting transport and treatment, the aquarium sent veterinarian Leslie Neville to Wellfleet Friday to begin treatment.

The metabolism of hypothermic sea turtles can be so depressed that their heartbeat slows to as low as one beat per hour.

It can be hard to tell the dead from the living, but No. 491, a 5-pound Kemp’s Ridley taken off Cold Storage Beach in Truro on Thursday, had a heart that was virtually racing at 12 beats per minute. He, or she, (it’s hard to tell the sex of juveniles) was returned to a towel-lined banana crate, then loaded into volunteer driver Dave Horton’s car for the trip to Quincy.

Cotuit artist Anne Boucher had just delivered a painting to Provincetown on Tuesday when she heard about the turtle strandings and decided she’d stop by the Wellfleet Audubon sanctuary to help out. She never left, renting a room at an Eastham hotel, walking beaches from Wellfleet to Provincetown day and night. Friday morning, she pulled up at the front door of the sanctuary with a car filled with 17 turtles on front and back seats and in the trunk.

“When I was just on the beach, I was aware that if I stayed another 10 minutes there would probably be 10 more turtles,” Boucher said.

By the late afternoon, aquarium and Audubon staffs were setting up kiddie pools, filling them with water to rehydrate and gradually warm up the turtles. Sattman and Neville recorded statistics like heartbeat and weight that would help speed the process when the turtles reached Quincy.

At Sattman’s feet was a cardboard box of the not-so-fortunate sea turtles that had died. They were awaiting transport to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where they would eventually be necropsied to study what factors may have contributed to their demise.

Unfortunately, a 278-pound loggerhead that was recovered off Cole Road Beach in Eastham Thursday died at the Quincy facility. It was the largest loggerhead to ever come ashore during one of these stranding events.

Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said it was likely there were some underlying issues – disease, a gastric blockage due to plastic, or something else other than the cold that contributed to this huge animal washing up. Its vital signs were viable, he said.

“We’ll do a necropsy at a later time,” LaCasse said.