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Monthly Archives: December 2011

HOTELS FOIL PASSAGE OF COLONOS BUDGET

LATE BREAKING – A six-hour power outage befell the whole of Puerto Aventuras beginning at 2:30 a.m.Thursday (Dec. 15). As of press time the cause was unknown. Fortunately, hotels on auxiliary power were able to feed residents who found themselves without power and simultaneously hungry. Power was restored at about 8:30 a.m. However, power remained out south of Puerto Aventuras as linemen replaced old wooden poles with cement, came later reports. It would be considerate if CFE would alert communities to this type of planned work in advance.  

 

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Objections force another assembly in March

  Two percent fee reduction shelved for now 

 Posted 12/12/11 by Pelican Paulie
      An aggressive plea by hoteliers for reduced Colonos costs has jeopardized a proposed 2 percent decrease in 2012  fees and also forced the need for another general assembly in March to adopt a budget. What it means to fee-paying home and condo owners is that the rate for 2012 will remain, for the moment at least, the same as for 2011.
And despite some contentious moments during the 5-hour convention, there are no major changes or significant fiscal demands to report to stakeholders who did not attend but whose concerns and causes were well represented by their active neighbors in the audience and the Colonos and vigilance boards.
About 40 investors in the PA lifestyle attended the assembly last Saturday in the Dreams Hotel – not hardly enough to overcome the wealth of votes held by the hoteliers and their sympathizers– as debate over the budget proposed by the Colonos board collided with a steely resistance from the hotels. Their spokesmen – only two – wanted more recognition of their problems in determining the fee structure, particularly as it pertains to what they feel are overbearing rubbish collection charges, a complex political/municipal issue with a history.
                                                          Other issues surface
     While finances occupied most of the morning session, other issues such as building code changes, lack of code enforcement and an ongoing disagreement over Plano 3 single-family home construction were aired as the meeting morphed from morning into a heavenly afternoon.
The day’s events must now be crunched significantly in summarizing the proceedings:
This year’s financial statement was approved but not before retired businessman Timothy Howard questioned the source of a surplus and other speakers took turns trying to explain it, including Colonos and vigilance board members. Howard later said the statement could be improved and hoped he would be around sooner next year to offer assistance, since he has significant experience preparing and reading financial reports. And oddly enough, the ubiquitous rubbish issue evidently had a hand in the surplus because the municipality took over the work from the Colonos, resulting in Colonos savings from layoffs.
Next year’s budget with 2 percent decrease was not approved because the proposal did not meet hotel demands for more significant reduction. Many speakers entered an ensuing verbal fray including Liliana Viola; former Colonos board member and condo administrator Oscar Calderon; condo administrators Carlos Suarez and Lothar Batt;

businessman Martin Wohnlich and others including Gilbert Chaine of the vigilance panel, Colonos board members Jorge Kaufer, Daniele Gracis and President Beatriz Marron Vales, who was graceful in allowing some problems had been encountered with the financial presentation and hoped to improve that next time. However, she remained steadfast for the budget as it was presented despite the fact that a third-party personnel problem delayed the statement’s delivery to allow businesses enough time to study it prior to the meeting.
With defeat of the measure, it was agreed to hold another assembly in March to adopt a budget either by changing the fee structure giving the hotels a break at the expense of other settlers, cutting corners or getting enough voters agreeable to a 2 percent reduction – the first in five years – to show up and vote.
                                                          Board fights cuts
Marron Vales and the board members were adamant about cutting services that would set the community back. “What grass do we cut? Where do we let the grass grow? Which lights do we turn off?” she asked. “The budget was a lot of hard work,” added Kaufer.  “It would be irresponsible not to pass it.”
And with tongue-in-cheek, Marron Vales said she had sent a long list of needs to Santa, inferring that short of getting infrastructure maintenance for free, the Colonos and its settlers and businesses have to fund it.
As the miasmic thrusts and parries increased in tempo and degree , a calm voice in the audience called for a vote to cool the emerging vitriol (albeit none of the speakers wanted conflict, they said). The budget failed because the hotels obviously had more apportioned votes.
In other business, landowner Angelo Mouzouropoulos reiterated his desire published earlier in the Pelican Free Press to alert landowners in Plano 3 of a problem constructing single family homes without first acquiring mandated environmental reports, which earlier buyers evidently assumed had been obtained by the developer.
Several owners who decided to build anyway reportedly ran into difficulty with the government, some subjected to stop-work orders, fines and other “added costs”…which prompted a public remark by Liliana Viola that people here “should never pay bribes.”
Mouzouropoulos urged owners to contact the Fideicomiso and ask the right questions

before building to avoid problems. There was no rebuttal to his comments.
Real estate agent Sally Evans asked if he was suggesting landowners in Plano 3, of which she is one, should get together to discuss this. Mouzouropoulos said that would be an excellent idea.
On a similar but other front, Wohnlich asked also if the Colonos could do anything about homes being built on Bahia Yanten without regard to zoning setbacks, permeable ground and height restrictions. The answer was, essentially, no, leaving the audience to wonder where the enforcement arm of the building code is hiding.
There was also a slide presentation by Christina Alexander, founder of the non-profit Anat Kah community fund, listing the health and education programs it already has working in the Poblado, its plans for the future, and its need for tax deductible donations. She said an anonymous donor has pledged a 2:1 match of donations during December.
                                             Infrastructure work noted
The Colonos board gave an accounting of its infrastructure maintenance for the year including road repairs, gardening, recycling operations, light replacement and revetment installation on eight islands in Kantenha Bay north of the lagoon bridge. Voices proclaimed Puerto Aventuras as the safest community on the Mayan Riviera with only 26 minor thefts reported for the year.
Serving on the Colonos board also are Hector Pavon; secretary, Tim Day, treasurer, (resigned); Ivonne Almeida and Roman Rivera Torres. On the vigilance committee are Gilbert Chaine, president; John Bush and Deborah van der Haar, all of whom received a round of enthusiastic applause for their volunteer efforts on behalf of settlers.
In the end, as attendees exited the beachside salon into the sun’s warming rays, smiling and shaking hands or hugging goodbyes, the notion that Puerto Aventuras remains a paradise was palpable.
And like the world, Paradise also is run by the people who show up…with lots of votes.

 

Phrase a week… By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter

You are stopped by the police and want to say you appreciate the police’s work in protecting you. Say: “Aprecio mucho su trabajo para protegernos.”
(Ms. Contreras teaches Spanish classes from 3 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is $150 pesos. Reach her at 984-108-3517.)

 

Religious services…

 

Sta. Teresita del nino Jesus Y la Santa Paz (Roman
Catholic), a
t the poblado; classes: Mondays through Sundays, 7 p.m.
(Spanish);Contact church office: 984-206-6245 (4-8 p.m.-
Spanish)
Corpus Christi Parrish (Roman Catholic);
Calle 110A entre 25, Playa del Carmen (near Soriana); Mass: Saturdays,
9 a.m. (English); office: 803-0600; Rev. James Hogan.
Chabad
Lubavitch Jewish Center, 
Avenida 10 entre Calle 6 , Playa Del Carmen; service: Sundays, 9 a.m.;
tel. 984-876-5571; Contact: Rabbi Mendel Goldberg.
Lighthouse
Church English Speaking
 Christian church, non-denominational, Meets
t 10:00 a.m. Sundays; more information at 984-120-4169; located on Highway 307
in Tulum 1.2 miles south of San Francisco store, past the Mormon church, on the
right next to the fruit stand.

 

 

Briefly noted…

Compiled from staff, contributor and media reports
AUTO EMISSIONS TESTING in Quintana Roo reportedly approved by environmentalists could cost an average 300 pesos per car (about 300,000 of them) to assure cleaner air…COPPER STILL GOLDENas Copper the Doggie celebrated a 15th

birthday last week with around 40 guests who assembled for lunch, maybe 50 guests if you count the canines bringing good wishes too. Anyway, attendance broke records for this annual social…FORMER POLICEMAN’Sbody with nearly severed head was discovered over the weekend along Playa del Carmen’s 65 No. Avenue in the extreme North End…No clues to the homicide yet…MEXICAN AUTHORITES foiled a plot to sneak the son of Moammar Qaddafi into Mexico with false papers identifying them as Mexican. They purportedly were headed for Punta Mita near Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Coast, which, with tongue in cheek, indicates that Mexico despite its unfortunate cartel publicity, remains a destination of choice… Q. ROO ECONOMY UP by 10 percent this year reports a Playa del Carmen delegate to the Economic Ministry, showing a healthy economic stability that could inspire even more growth…CAR BATTERY RECYCLING PLANTS in Mexico are suspected of being harmful to children who live near the plants because the plants lack sufficient controls. Some 2 million batteries are expected this coming year from the U.S. for

recycling. The lead-acid is removed in put in new batteries bound for China’s growing  car market, reported the New York Times. One U.S, recycling plant owner plans to spend $70M to upgrade its facility in Cienega de Flores, Nuevo Leon…BABY DOLPHINS ARRIVE– Three of four baby dolphins expected to be born around this time have arrived and from all reports mothers and children are doing well. Dolphin births attract the curious and the interested to the Dolphin Walk while some residents, including Doe Stowell and Darlene Schwandke, keep a watchful eye on the process. Schwandke witnessed the second “miracle” birth Tuesday at 9 p.m. while the latest birth was around 2 a.m. Thursday… PROMOTING TOURISM with cash for projects was included in an agreement between Q. Roo and the Federal government to spend on infrastructure improvements that could feed private investment. Tourism Sec. Gloria Guevara noted Mexico’s economy ranks 14th in the world and positioned as best Latin American country in which to do business…MORE FLIGHTS – Delta and United plan more flights from Los Angeles and U.S. Airways eyeing a weekly service from Logan in Boston…MINIMUM WAGE HIKE of 4.2 percent is being criticized by the Confederation of Workers and Peasants as not sufficient in view of increases in food, transportation and gasoline price hikes…TAXI DRIVERS trying to block the highway to Tulum as the result of a dispute between two taxi unions attracted scores interest from

several PA residents driving by and of  police in front of a resort between Akumal and Puerto Aventuras on Monday. Police arrived to keep the highway open. The disagreement had flared into an  attack on a playa taxi in Tulum…THERE SEEMED TO BEsome omissions on membership of the Community Park Committeen in a letter to the Pelican last week, which the Pelican is pleased to clarify. All those who have served on the committee from Day One to now are: Monica Tynan Day, Dulce Carillo (resigned), Liliana Viola, Andrew Pittman (now teaching at Texas A&M), Szusza Batt, Patricia Hernandez, Steffanie Kovalick (resigned). Meanwhile, the park panel keeps pushing along to improve the site with the help of the Colonos maintenance crew which this week painted crosswalks on the entrance road for the safety of park users. Motorists should take note and slow down before the crosswalk…

End This Post… but you can read P.A. history below

When ‘down’ is ‘up’ in spirited Puerto Aventuras

HAPPENINGS THIS WEEKEND:

ALSO HAPPENING IS the Colonos Convocation at 9:30 a.m. Saturday Dec. 10 in the Salones Playa of the Dreams Hotel. It should be an interesting meeting with several presentations, one on a land/construction issue and the other by Anat Kah, the “United Fund” of Riviera Maya.

Letters…

 

Community night launched despite a mix-up

Dear Friends of Pelican Press and Latitude 20′:   

 

 

I am writing this with tears of emotion in my eyes. During the last four years, the three active members of the Community Park Committee, we have been fighting to create a community spirit in Puerto that will ultimately create a Community Park.
This fight has been tiring at times, and lonely practically all the time. But this morning, I just realized that it was worth it.
I went this morning very ashamed of myself to apologize to Peter (from Latitude 20′ restaurant), to ask him to delay once more the Community Dinner. My personal life has been chaos the last 2 weeks, and every spare second was used to organize the launch of the classes for adults and kids at the Community Park, so honestly, it was not possible to invest a second on the organization of the Community Night.
I felt bad, because Paul (Pelican Press) has help announcing it and Peter and his team (Latitude 20´) had worked very hard on the menu, even bringing the ingredients from Puebla to make it very special.
When I arrived with my very sad face at Latitude 20´ at 8 a.m. to apologize to Peter, he welcomed me as always with a big smile, and told me: “Liliana, we have 1,500 pesos for the park that we collected in the Community Night.” I could not believe it! I said, “But Peter, I didn´t help at all, I didn´t even show up. I had reheated dinner last night as I was in Playa running some errands until very late. Peter told me: “Liliana, we are a team, when one member is busy the rest keep the show on”. I gave him a hug and run away from the place before he could notice the tears in my eyes. It has been the first time that a non-member of the Community Park Committee has taken on himself one full task for the park, beginning to end.
He didn´t work single handed, all of you, the writers and readers of the Pelican Press helped it happen.So, I can only say THANK YOU. Thank you for showing up, thank you for helping, thank you for being part of our Community Park.
As I suspect that most of the attendance to the dinner was above 40 years old, the money gathered will be spent in the Adults Zone of the park. In the next issue we will report in what was actually spent.
Please, come to the Information Palapa in the park, to learn the latest things that we are working on.Thank you again, and hoping to see you all in our January Community Dinner.

Gratefully,
Liliana Viola,
Community Park Committee.

Chaotic benevolence brings joy to 1,300 kids;

PTO AVENTURAS PROVIDES SANTA, TOYS, CASH, VOLUNTEERS

From staff and contributors   

It was a sea of children with cherubim faces scrubbed and polished and joyful and expectant and in awe of none other than Santa Claus, also known as Santa Flaco, in this case. It was  a slim Tim Day from Puerto Aventuras whose good humor put him under white beard and red suit minus the girth to dispense holiday and toys to big-eyed girls and boys from eight PA and Playa area elementary schools (children aged 6-9) on Dec. 1.
The scene at Centro Maya in Playa del Carmen might have been described as chaotic benevolence as clutches of volunteers,  moved tables and chairs to and fro, then fro and to. Others frantically worried about having sufficient toys while teen-aged volunteers  and adults jointly piled presents high in supermarket baskets and otherwise coordinated a meltdown of the North Pole into sunny Mexico.
The brown-eyed, bright-toothed children as usual captured the hearts of onlookers as they exited buses, formed lines with hands on the shoulders in front of them, and smiled their way into the food court remodeled for the ‘Macroposada 2011’ Christmas party with stage and auditorium seating.
For Juanito, one of 13 volunteers from PA and ace contributor to The Pelican Free Press, the event was a “good time  had by all”.
Juanito, who  coincidently was celebrating his 69th birthday on the same day said… “I can’t imagine a more rewarding thing to do on my birthday than spend multiple hours with these delightful children. Although trying to accommodate 1,300 kids can be a bit of a workout, they were all so polite, well behaved and appreciative, that I was repeatedly dazzled by the specialness of the day.   

“So many smiling faces, all spick and span wearing their individual school uniforms, and being lead by some of the most smiling and caring teachers you’d find anywhere. It seems I couldn’t stop taking pictures. What a wonderful way to start the Christmas Season! All involved should be congratulated.”
That sentiment was echoed by Dulce Carillo of PA, who was toy coordinator and Monica Tynan Day who rounded up 11 volunteers besides herself and Mrs. Carillo to assure an adequate contingent from Puerto Aventuras   would assist the becalmed teenagers of the Sonar Despiert AC (daydream) organization in this year’s fifth Macroposada.
Numerous corporate and individual sponsors including Calica, Soriana, Centro Maya and the municipality, which provided transportation, police and chairs, also contributed toys and food generously while clowns, puppy dogs, performing macaws, dancers and tumblers captured the children’s attention between games that kept the students busy all morning.
Mrs. Tynan-Day reports that 17 toys were provided by 14 Puerto Aventuras families and cash gifts totaling 3,750 pesos from seven families with 1,750 from one family alone.  “The sponsoring organization said that our toys for some of these children would truly be their only  Christmas gift.” This is not surprising since the state has reported an uptick of families in Q. Roo that do not even have access to basic foods for their table.
Volunteering for the event along with Mrs. Carillo and Tynan-Day were John and Darlene Schwandke, Chris Landahl, Kay Strange, Inger Bjerre, Betsy Amy-Vogt,  Pauline Harper, Christin Herregers Dhondt, Dorothy Poritz Gauvin, Sofia Izurieta Jorio and Abby Segrove Sra.

 

Poblado street cleanup draws more than 200  helpers

More than 200 neighbors on both sides of the highway joined a successful streets cleanup in the Poblado last Saturday. The turnout was surprising considering the event was planned on short notice.
The volunteers joined 20 employees of Calica and 30 municipal employees in collecting “a lot of trash” said coordinator Dulce Carillo. She said there will be another cleanup event in January in an effort to foster pride in the poblado community.
She said it is part of a broader educational and training outreach to instill a practice of recycling as part of developing a better and more healthful community.

Matching funds offered in Anat Kah holiday drive

A local anonymous donor has offered to match 2:1 all tax-deductible donations being made to Anat Kah, this area’s answer to a united fund, during December, reports Christine Alexander, a fund director.
“For every peso donated this month, Anat Kah will receive three,” Alexander said. Gifts support a number of local programs including “after-school programs, youth leadership training, English classes for youth and adults, community health initiatives and training women for income opportunities. Every peso will count,” she said.
Tax-deductible gifts can be made through Anat Kah’s “Friends of” funds link or by direct deposit in Anat Kah’s account at Scotia Bank Inverlat  #23700178527 CLABE 044694237001785271.

Religious services…

Sta. Teresita del nino Jesus Y la Santa Paz (Roman Catholic), at the poblado; classes: Mondays through Sundays, 7 p.m. (Spanish);Contact church office: 984-206-6245 (4-8 p.m.- Spanish)
Corpus Christi Parrish (Roman Catholic); Calle 110A entre 25, Playa del Carmen (near Soriana); Mass: Saturdays, 9 a.m. (English); office: 803-0600; Rev. James Hogan.
Chabad Lubavitch Jewish CenterAvenida 10 entre Calle 6 , Playa Del Carmen; service: Sundays, 9 a.m.; tel. 984-876-5571; Contact: Rabbi Mendel Goldberg.
Lighthouse Church English Speaking Christian church, non-denominational, Meets t 10:00 a.m. Sundays; more information at 984-120-4169; located on Highway 307 in Tulum 1.2 miles south of San Francisco store, past the Mormon church, on the right next to the fruit stand.

Phrase a week By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter

Your bike (or scooter or car) suddenly breaks and you need to know where to have it fixed. You can ask: “Donde puedo arreglar (reparar) mi bicicleta (or)  (moto, coche)”
(Ms. Contreras teaches Spanish classes from 3 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is $150 pesos. Reach her at 984-108-3517.)

BRIEFLY NOTED…

Compiled from staff, contributor and media reports
PRICES HERE TODAY are gone tomorrow: costs are escalating in the private and public sectors in the area despite all the publicity about pre-holiday bargains. Property taxes have inched upwards a few clicks while the usual 25 percent discount for early payers has tumbled to 15 percent. In the private sector, an indicator is that scooters in the local supermercado selling just a month ago for 14,999 pesos are up to 16,999…EXTRA LOUD MUSIC until 2:20 a.m. at 50 Bahia Xaac disturbed nearby residents trying to sleep as inebriated revelers refused requests from neighbors and Security agents to observe the Colonos anti-noise rule. Municipal police had to be called by Security…MORE FREQUENT monkey sightings are being reported by residents who live on Bahia Chemuyil, the golf course periphery, the community park, Bahias Xaac and Soliman… CHINESE FOOD is coming to a retail space in the Chedraui building across the highway…MEANWHILE PA residents are raving about the newer, larger Chedraui in Tulum…THE FIRST birthday party for a member of the Community Park kids’ group was held last week…U.S.A. AGENTS from DEA are helping Mexico cartels launder drug profits in hopes of tracing the money to the insulated kingpins, says the New York Times. Critics say the practice has not slowed the flow of drugs and may actually be helping the cartels…

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