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Monthly Archives: December 2010

In PA, giving and receiving crosses borders, waters

Voters approve playground as Fideicomiso donates land use;

PA residents, Calica team up to feed Veracruz hurricane victims;
Wishes aired in Pelican are heard, paving the way to Chedraui;
And, oh yes, Colonos fee climbs 7% as ‘good life’ costs rise like tide
Posted 12/25/10 by contributors & Pelican Paulie:
While generosity flowed gracefully from Cape Cod to Puerto Aventuras and from Puerto Aventuras to Veracruz in pay-it-forward fashion (see story below), Colonos voters at their annual meeting on December 11 were also generous. They approved a 7% fee increase 2189 to 877 votes and seed funding to launch the creation of a universal playground for all ages and to continue street lighting expansion. Not to be outdone, the Fideicomiso donated use of the 405 sq. meter island that contains the skate park along the Main entrance road as the site of the new facility. It is estimated that it will take at least three years to complete. Meanwhile, debate over more liberal access to the resort to feed centro businesses and better access to the beaches and a more accommodating path to the new Chedraui supermarket were conspicuously absent from the public discourse. Nonetheless, expressions of some resort property owners for a defined path to the new Chedraui supermarket have been answered. There is a walkway being paved on the Poblado side of Route 377.

The annual meeting is called an “Ordinary Assembly” and, as such, it didn’t stray much from the ordinary. The Colonos is the association of residents and businesses conjoined to maintain the infrastructure and the peace. Also ordinary, the Colonos stayed within budget for 2010 and plans to do so again in 2011 with the help of a 7% increase, which was approved by understanding voters.

Year 2011 budget of $900,936 MP is 11 percent more than last year but the fee is increasing by only 7 percent, the remaining 4 percent to be culled, hopefully, from collections of late payments as happened last year. Five percent of the 7% increase is for general labor and security costs and 2% as a contingency fund for unseen expenditures. Condo owners can expect increases in their maintenance fees to cover the 7 percent Colonos hike unless they have sufficient association cash reserves to cover it..

Rubbish collection and recycling remain a bit of a problem although the process has improved according to the administration headed by the Colonos board and its general manager, Armando Rincon. More cooperation from the public is expected 2011, fostering added improvements to the recycling program and general resort cleanliness.

Even the crime rate was ordinary, with only 25 thefts in six months, six from residences, six from shops and 11 at other facilities. Twelve cases were solved – and a 50% solve rate is impressive – by the security staff managed by Mr. Jesus Galdeano, who is working with [private security staffs in the area. This cooperative effort led to the capture of a felon involved in three Puerto Aventuras thefts. The security staff has also been most responsive and effective concerning calls about noisy neighbors breaching Colonos and condo regulations. Residents are reminded to call Security concerning suspicious activity and inconsiderate neighbors. The number is 873-5128. There is usually someone there who will understand English.

Many residents have reported their appreciation for the work done improving the green/garden areas, road improvements and other general improvements, Mr. Rincon said. He explained that the rainy season helped water the garden areas, decreasing the amount of time spent watering by staff, which was put to use planting and nurturing the greenery.

The Colonos went over budget on three items this year, $70,000 MPs on pothole repairs, $35,000MPs to repair the street sweeper and $230,000MPs for the garbage compactor. Completed on roads this year was the concrete surface laid on Bahia Soliman Road for $1,120,668 MPs and a portion of Chemuyil for $424,708 MPs. Rincon reports there is $500,000 MPs left in the road fund to be applied to other road projects.

Hats off to the people who kept the community running efficiently within budgeted means, both elected and volunteers. For example, Mr. Daniele Gracis, of the sports and cultural committee, has guided the annual road race, gastronomic international festival and sailing school, increasing participation in the race to 516 participants this year from Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Chetumal, Valladolid, Merida as well as Puerto Aventuras residents from both sides of the highway. And the sailing school, the only one on the Riviera Maya, has won several events and grown to some 15 boats while the 2nd annual gastronomical event had 32 exhibitors and an attendance of 400. Plans are in the works to install bathrooms at the civic center (the church) so that it can be used as a venue for cultural entertainment like concerts.

Also to the members of the Vigilance Committee: Gilberto Chaine, president; Ms. Irma Ramos, treasurer; Ms. Beatriz Marron, secretary and environmental committee; Daniele Gracis, member and sports and cultural committee; Ms. Debbie Van der Haar, member and security committee; Gianmarco Cavagliano, member and Ms. Gilda Peregrina, Ms. Clauda Lugo, Ms. Pipis Aguilar of the environmental committee. Also, the Colonos board of directors whose members for next year are: Maria Beatriz Marron Vales, president; Timothy Day, treasurer; Hector Pavon, secretary; and assistants Jorge Kaufer, Daniele Gracis, Ivonne Almeida and Roman Rivera Torres. The two new members, Rivera Torres and Pavon, who also represent the fideicomiso, will abstain from any potential conflict-of-interest votes. (More on single issues in subsequent editions of Pelican Press)

THE SEASON OF GIVING SHINES IN PA

Some of you might remember our story in previous issues about a fellow on Cape Cod in Massachusetts who, after hearing about the effort to build a high school in the Poblado, donated all the money he had with him at the time – $70 USD – to the school. Well, the money donated by Mr. Robert Berry has been delivered. (See column in previous post).That incoming act of generosity has now been met in pay-it-forward fashion by a group of Aventurans who recently came to the aid of victims of the hurricane in Veracruz. We hear from Monica

Tynan Day, whose husband, Timothy, is on the Colonos board of directors, that 16 adult and youth volunteers here went door to door to collect a total of $7,000 MPs, while the Rotary club contributed $2,000 MPs and employees of the Calica division of the Vulcan Corp. just down the road from here, contributed $34,000 MPs. This was all part of the Red Cross-Veracruz Hurricane Karl Campaign.

In total, the local effort generated $75,000 in pesos and goods.

Calica matched the local contributions and, with its parent company Vulcan, paid for most of the travel expense incurred to deliver foodstuffs and other items to the stricken area. El Marahara donated the tractor trailer and a Calica associate donated the petrol. “Puerto Aventurans and personnel from Calico personally purchased $52,000 MPs in food and necessities prioritized by the Red Cross,’ said Tynan Day. As to the Poblado school, Ms. Alexander notes that the $35,000 Anat Kah has raised or in  of raising, provides only part of the funds needed to finish the school. Local government will participate as well and is already prepared to pave a roadway to the school which will have enough room to expand in the future. More that later.

Small gift, big meaning for Poblado school

By permission from The Barnstable Patrio

Dec 24 2010

Town’s good will also crosses border to help Mexico school
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Written by Paul Gauvin

December 24, 2010

PAUL GAUVIN PHOTO

BERRY’S BOUNTY – Donation from Barnstable resident Robert Berry is delivered in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, to help build a one-room high school. From left are Deysi Canche, school director; Andy Pittman of the playground committee; Christina Alexander, founder of Anat Kah charitable organization; Doris Jimenez, former public official; and Alonso Castillo, contractor.

Maybe the Grinch stole Christmas, but the Grunt returned it.

It’s a Christmas story of giving and it happened like this.

‘Twas the end of October and I was doing a routine workout at the Cape Cod Fitness Center in the Radisson Hotel in Hyannis when a fellow grunt by the name of Robert Berry, of Barnstable Village, expressed a curiosity about life in Mexico, about which I am as familiar as a toddler learning his way around the cocktail table without spilling the peanut platter.

Berry is a serious fellow, albeit he enjoys soft humor and the banter and repartee over civil matters, politics, science, economics and arcane subjects like that. He also guards his privacy with a croc-filled moat. Like a POW, he gives his name, rank, serial number and abides conversation about anything but himself.

In reply to his queries about Mexico, I said the notorious drug cartel murders are quite limited to the border cities, leaving the other 99 percent of the country in good hands. I endeavored to balance the bad press with the story of the harmless one-room high school the local Mayan population was trying to build in the Poblado of Puerto Aventuras on the Mexican Riviera, a non-violent tourist destination like any other the spinmeisters call “paradise” with their fingers crossed.

A poblado, I explained, is akin to a relatively common-folk village, like Hyannis for example, where the working class people live in less-expensive abodes. They are inhabited generally by the lower-paid workers in the service and retail industries. The poblado, as we would say in the U.S., is on the other side of the tracks, in this case, the other side of the highway that separates it from the affluent beachfront resort. The more fortunate Pobladans live in rows of mini-houses referred to as “shoe-box” housing. The less fortunate ones live under disjointed tin roofs over wooden poles or in converted horse stalls, such is their income. Regardless, families appear joyful and children smile and play happily.

I repeated the story of the one-room schoolhouse as it was told to me by ex-pat Andy Pittman, a retired Ph.D. from Texas, who has involved himself in local volunteer efforts to improve life in the town.

Evidently, the poblado high school, which uses a rented hall, at one point had 99 students but room for only two thirds of them. The remaining students had to take a bus 15 miles to a larger city if they wanted an education. Problem was, most of the families couldn’t afford the bus fare, so half of those students simply didn’t go to school.

Taking note of the situation was another ex-pat, Christina Alexander, a tall, red-haired woman from New York City who has degrees in English literature and social work from Columbia and teaches in the resort’s cosmopolitan private school. She had initiated a charitable organization called Anat Kah, www.anatkha.org, and decided on a drive for 35,000 U.S. dollars to build a one-room school house “with two bathrooms and an office” to handle the overflow kids whose families cannot afford education’s fare.

Some time later, when I was leaving the club and had set our conversation aside, Berry came after me just as I had walked outside. “Wait a minute,” he said. “I need to go to my car and get something.”

So I waited, puzzled.

He came back, thrust out his hand and put something in mine. “It’s all I had with me,” he said. I looked down to see a $50 bill and a $20 bill in my hand.

“What’s this for?” I asked, clueless.

“For the school,” he said. “What school?” I replied.

“The one in Mexico.” He paused a moment. “I was moved by the story,” he said, and walked away to his car, leaving me standing there dumbfounded.

Just before Christmas, Pittman, who serves on the local playground board, and Ms. Alexander and I went to the poblado school, a half-finished cement structure on the edge of the jungle, to meet with a local delegation to deliver Berry’s $70, for which all were most appreciative and evidently bewildered at the thought of a gift from someone so far away, closer, we might say, to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole.

“Be sure to tell Mr. Berry how much we appreciated his gift,” said Ms. Alexander.

Consider it done.

And a Berry Merry Christmas from across the border

Pelican Free Press Newsletter

For emergency phone numbers, church services, “resident” and “gate” card forms and processes; rules for golf carts and motorcycles, pets, construction by-laws, recycling schedule and other pertinent community information and services, please click on the Puerto Aventuras Colonos icon below. Thank you

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