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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Event in waning season earns $7,500 for Poblado school

     The first annual Puerto Aventuras Charity Golf Tournament may have been a day late, but it most assuredly did not come up a dollar short as 27 golfers, 10 volunteer support personnel, 21 cash donors, 13 businesses offering 16 auction prizes and other gratis services blended bountifully to raise $7,500 to help finish accessory construction of the Poblado High School.

      Committee members Jim Jamieson, chairman; Bob Uecker, Gordon Jumonville and Dick Dawson had hoped to raise at least $2,500 with 36 golfers. Instead, they were overwhelmed by the generous response of the community raising $7,500 even though many snowbird and expat golfers had already headed north and the full count of golfers unattainable on short notice. “We’ll aim for an earlier date next year,” Jamieson said, indicating an annual event with more players to help local charities.
Golfers paying $100 USD each to participate included Gary Adams, Kyle Applefield, Gary Barness, Don and Diana Black, Tom Bry, Oscar Calderon, Francisco Cervantes, (the other) Cindy Crawford, Dick Dawson, Mike Duty, Marina Grass, Jim Jamieson, David Jenkins, Penny and Gordon Jumonville, Alfredo Martinez, Bob Roadway, John Schwandke, Gustavo Seagrove, Matthew Shelly, Dennis Shwed, Bob Uecker, Todd Vershaw, Jason and Mike White and Martin Wohlich.Thumbs up
The weather could not have been better as Mother Nature smiled on the effort with blue skies, gentle breezes and diminished humidity, allowing the golfers to see exactly where their balls landed, sometimes to their chagrin. But attesting to their aim, not one ball landed in the pools of nearby condominiums and homes, where tenants wear bicycle helmets to swim their laps in safety.


     VOLUNTEERS were also important to the tourney’s financial success and for making golf’s proverbial 19th hole a jolly good ending to a fun day with hot dogs and cheeseburgers grilled to perfection  and an assortment of beverages kept refreshingly cool and at the ready.
The volunteer effort and then some was headed by Jeannette Jamieson, the other half of the day’s dynamic duo, with the help of  John and Darlene Schwandke, Doe Stowell, Leroy and Anita Blanks, Dorothy Gauvin, Hal Harper, Inger Bjerre, Tom and Diane Bry and Don Black, all of whom did yeoman’s work soliciting and cleaning chairs and tables and, like a group of rough and ready “rubes” from a traveling circus, raising a tent to shade hard-working golfersFingers crossed at the 19th hole and during a most successful post-play auction.
The $7,500 amount that will go to help finish the school could not have been raised, either, were it not for a fee-free use of the golf course donated by Roman Rivera Torres and donated use of golf carts by Edgar Giffenig and several of the golfers, committee members and Bruno’s golf cart repair.

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SIGNING UP was a pleasure with volunteers Darlene Schwandke, left, and Doe Stowell. Ready to roll in center photo are Dick Dawson, left, and Gary Barness. ALREADY LOST? Hunters emerge from the woods without their prey.Steaming mad

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THE TRANSFORMATION – Volunteers in left photo, from left, Inger Bjerre, Jeanette Jamieson and Dorothy Gauvin wash chairs as, in center photo, Gringo Cantina owners Donnie Young and Kristin Iwan begin to erect tent they donated, along with tables and chairs, all of which resulted in – Voila! – an oasis of fine diningMartini glass awaiting  the famished fairway crowd.

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THEY ATE, in left photo, what Jim McClure grilled to perfection as, after any good time, the clean-up crew  lugged the litter of the day to  disposal.

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BIG HEARTS – Oscar Calderon, right in left photo, returns cash winnings, as did all cash winners, to, from left, Leroy and Anita Blanks while Darlene Schwandke handles the paperwork. Obviously happy are, in center photo, Jeannette Jamieson after counting the proceeds of the event, and, at right, an unidentified woman whose bid won her an auction item. Also returning cash awards were Todd Vershaw, Jason and Mike White and Gary Barness, 1st prize winners; Calderon, Alfredo Martinez, Gustavo Seagrove and Marina Grass, second prize winners.
SPECIAL THANKS went out businesses that donated items or services for the auction—and to Gordeon Jumonville for agreeing to be the auctioneer and doing a good job of it raising $2,250 even if he did have to use sweet talk and, sometimes, a cattle prod.

     Donnie Young and Kristen Iwan, owners of Gringo’s Cantina, hardly broke a sweat despite a lot of work they did donating and hauling tables, chairs, coolers, beverages and a canopy tent on a large trailer, with help from volunteers, then agreeing to also haul the large grille back to its owner.
Putting that grille to good use was Jim McClure and Rolf Sletton, for purchasing, donating and grilling the dogs ‘n ‘burgers so welcome after a hard day on the links, with nary a hole in one and the only birdies being the ones frolicking in the trees taunting the golfers.
And for those who couldn’t wait for the burgers, thanks to Penny Jumonville for supplying snack cookies; to Gaylita Dunaway for being on the back end of the “official” tournament camera; Javier Viruega for creating all signs and posters including the one above and the Pelican Free Press for helping promote the event.
Of the $7,500 collected, $2,250 came from cash donations,some from  golfers who had already departed for home but wished they had been here; $2,700 ($100 from each golfer) from golf receipts; $300 selling closest-to-pin mulligans and $2,250 from the auction.






The Pelican Free Press gold Star goes to golfers, donors and volunteers

PA con man caged in Houston, faces long sentence

Also in this edition:
Ferry service from Tampa to Riviera Maya?
Tree planting Wednesday
Food fest in photos
Problem vessel leaves port forever
Monkey sightings
engue fever vaccine on way

Ballow took some marks here in PA

Posted 4/16/2011 by Pelican Paulie
    The slick tongued former SiSiSi Restaurant operator here and convicted swindler  Harris Dempsey “Butch” or “Bubba” Ballow , 68, who has more names than a Who’s Who, has been extradited to Houston to face charges that could possibly put him behind bars for the rest of his life. He arrived in the States last Friday from Mexico accompanied by U.S. marshals after being on the run for six years.

      Ballow, a/k/a John Gel, Tom Brown, Marty Twinley among other easy-to-spell noms de scam,apparently employed the former SiSiSi Restaurant here as a teaser front while he plied his ugly trade. He is charged with a number of so-called “white collar” crimes of money laundering, wire fraud, conspiracy and assorted stock scams that ensnared a few PA residents according to sources here that wish to remain unnamed. The value of his swindles has been put at $10.5 million, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.
While living here, Ballow was a fugitive from U.S. justice, having been convicted of telephone scams and fraud, getting bail then fleeing the country. He lived in PA from 2008 until absconding overnight in July 2009 to Puerto Vallarta with $5 million from a Texas investor , cash that helped him live his accustomed high life. He now faces some old charges in addition to new ones in Houston. It is believed that while in Texas, Ballow attended and gave generously to a church, where he subsequently found some cash believers in him.
The new accusations involved a company known as E-Sol International Corp.,whose stock he sold in the millions to unsuspecting marks, and taking money from people who thought they were investing in a resort, presumably PA or nearby. He faces a 20-year sentence if convicted of the new charges accrued while he was on the lam, in addition to whatever sentence meted out for the previous charges.
Ballow allegedly did not act alone. Five co-defendants face trial in August and three others remain at-large.
According to the blog Houston Legal, co-defendants include his wife, Robin Harless Ballows,  57, Reuben Garza Perez, 50; Kelly Lynn Boothe, 44, all of Texas, and Jeffrey Janssen Anuth, 52, of Cancun. Others named with Ballows in a second indictment include Pattrick Lanier, 62; Christopher Harless, 57; Sikiru Olumbunmi “Tony” Bonojo, 40 and James David Wright, 40, all of Texas, and Clarence Hudgins Jr., 54, of Oregon.

Tampa to Progreso ferry service being explored

Greater Puerto Aventuras residents – snowbirds, expats, businesses – that might be interested in a ferry service from Tampa, Fla., to the container port city of Progreso, Mex., some 30 minutes north of Merida on the Gulf of Mexico, are being asked to email responses to nine questions to[email protected] to help promoters of the ferry convince investors the idea is financially viable. The questions:
1.  How many people are in your group?
2.  How many months of the year do you live on the Yucatan peninsula?
3.  Will you use a ferry service if it is available from Tampa, FL to Progreso, Yucatan?
4.  If so, how many times a year would you use this service?
5.  Will you bring a vehicle on the ferry?
6.  If so, what kind of vehicle, ie,  car, SUV, RV, motorcycle?
7.  Are you interested in cargo shipment?
8.  Are you interested in pet service?
9.  Do you want your email address on a mailing list with news of the ferry service and other Progreso news?
The email address belongs to Tamara Magnusson, who was contacted by Fernando Pereira, commercial manager of the Port of Progreso, for assistance in collecting as much demographic data as possible in an area where such data is not easily accessible and at best inaccurate, she inferred.
Tampa Port Authority director and CEO Richard Wainio said on March 15, the port has been in talks with “two serious contenders” for the ferry service that could ultimately include a Cuban stopover. Other sources have indicated the companies are United Caribbean Lines and United Americas Shipping Co.
Talk of the possible service is already growing among backpackers, although information on costs is lacking.

   Travelers from the U.S. and Canadian eastern seaboards with a car and lots of baggage to haul could drive to Lorton, VA, just outside Washington D.C. and board the Amtrak Auto Train for a roughly 16-hour overnight trip to Sanford, Fla., near Orlando, drive cross-state around the  Land o’ Lakes area to Tampa and board the ferry to Progreso for the roughly 36 hour trip across the Gulf and make it to Puerto Aventuras from Progreso in about four hours.
A few experienced travelers say it may be easier and perhaps cheaper to drive around the Gulf of Mexico than to ship a car by ferry, providing one has the time. There was a ferry operating out of Tampa to Puerto Morelos, the Scotia Prince, that ended operations about five years ago reportedly over failure of the Mexican port to dredge so the ferry would not have to wait on tides to dock or set sail.

One passenger’s experience on the ferry Scotia Prince that delivered cars, passengers from Tampa to Puerto Morelos

 posted 4/16/2011 by Linda Gosslin
 don’t recall what year it was, the year that the Scotia Prince sailed the route from Tampa to Puerto Morelos and Tampa to Progreso.  It was sometime in the early 2000s.  What I do remember is that I left on a Wednesday night at 6 p.m. from the dock at Puerto Morelos.

   The ship was very nicely appointed.  For such a relatively small ship it had a lot more amenities than I expected.  My stateroom was set up for one, so I had plenty of room, and it was very clean.  My luggage was delivered to my stateroom.  There was an elevator from the lowest deck, where boarding occurred and vehicles parked, up to the stateroom level and on up to the restaurant/shopping level.
The dining room was lovely, coming close to Carnival Cruises in it’s abundance and quality.  The next day, Thursday, was Thanksgiving.  We were treated to an amazing meal with not only turkey but ham and roast beef.  There were all the trimmings, as well as starched linens and excellent service from the waiters.
Another lovely feature of the ship was the store.  It was well-stocked with liquor, jewelry, games, toys, clothing and other merchandise.  It was a little too cool for the outside bar to be in operation, but the passage was smooth.  We woke up Friday morning to find ourselves docked in Tampa.
The reverse trip went just as smoothly.  I had bought a car in Tampa and transported it back to Mexico on the ferry.  Again we enjoyed excellent meals and service.  At that time a vehicle registration station was set up at the Puerto Morelos dock, so that we were able to import our vehicles as we departed the ferry.  It took less than an hour to be on the road to Paamul.
I had such an excellent experience using the ferry service that I am very much hoping it can be reinstated.  It would be a huge benefit to all of us who love to spend time in this area, but need to travel to the U.S. periodically. (Ed. Note: Linda Gosslin is a long-time resident of Paamul and is a volunteer at the library in Puerto Aventuras.)

Food fest in photos; more than 400 get ‘fed up’

FROM LEFT BELOW TOP are PA friends from Akumal Steve and  Sharon Wandler, John May and and Isabel Schober who seem ready for seconds, while in center, a table of locals enjoy the afternoon and the vocals, at right, of Paula Liebe of Playa del Carmen.

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FOOD LINES above left, waiting for Argentine fare. In center,  Victor and Pamela Ponce de Leon of Agricola Jiem of Playa, serve out fruit at the beginning of the chow line, while, at right, the most ornate container of the day sits quietly on a table leaving folks to wonder what’s in it. Below, servers representing the Dominican Republic table offer up a dance as well. 

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     The Puerto Aventuras Community Park Committee is inviting residents to a tree-planting ceremony to be held at 6 p.m.Wednesday (April 20) in the Poblado sports field and be part of the United Nations’ plant-for-the-planet program. The local ceremony is aimed at planting trees, raised by Calica, in the playing field and around schools in the Poblado. The poster at right tells it all:
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DENGUE VACCINE, the first ever, should be ready in four years, according to a report out of Mexico City. Dengue fever is carried by mosquitoes, most of which show up in the hot, wet  months here…THREE ARRESTED in Cancun last week for the robbery-murder of a cab driver…BASIC CAB FARES up to 23 pesos in Cancun, drawing the ire of the poorest people who need them to shop and get to work…MEXICO RANKS SIXTH of world countries in the use of social networking…U.S. CONSUL warns about riding buses in northern Mexico after one American was kidnapped by gangs targeting buses for robberies and intelligence that gangs are beginning to specifically target visitors…SPRING BREAK was no break for Acapulco this year which was shunned by U.S. students because of the violence there. One thousand people were killed there last year in gruesome drug violence…MOODY’S has joined Fitch in downgrading Q. Roo’s credit rating for having increased debt load and consecutive fiscal deficits…BRUSH FIRES  have consumed 820 hectares of brush in Q. Roo this week as officials wonder if some fires were set to make way for various developments as previously occurred in Cancun…EASTER SCHOOL VACATGION is here…

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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