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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Owners mark 10th year at Capt. Rick’s helm

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Bob and Glenna Uecker observe a decade

serving an estimated 135,000 fishermen

As snowbirds leave,

more fishermen arrive

By Staff:
      If you’re hooked on surprising facts, reel this one in: Bob and Glenna Uecker, who marked their 10th year as owners of Capt. Rick’s Sportfishing Center last week, estimate they have attracted 135,000 fishermen to Puerto Aventuras during their stewardship.
“We average 4,500 trips a year on our 15 boats with an average three people per trip. That’s 13,500 fishermen per year or 135,000 over a decade,” Uecker said during a time-out from the busy season. “I’d say we attract about half of them who come here specifically to fish.” The rest are visitors who sign up for a fishing adventure while touring here or here for pleasurable events like weddings.
Doing big business from a small store in the Centro area, Capt. Rick’s busy season – from late March through July when the migrating bill fish like marlin and sailfish are running – roughly coincides with the end of the snowbird high season. The big fish arrive at the snowbird exodus, thus sustaining a consumer level to help feed other local businesses.

Another new factsurfacing is the discovery of Capt. Rick’s and Puerto Aventuras by Russian fishermen, Uecker said. “The largest national group doing business with us is from the United States followed by Canada and Germany. Then it was Mexico but in the last two years, Russians have displaced Mexico in fourth place.”
Then comes Mexico, South America, Dutch (“they love to fish”) France and Italy.
Netting a good share of the fishing visitors is quite an accomplishment for a man who started his working life in the U.S. as a pharmacist, then owning a marketing company that he sold, enabling him to retire at age 45 to find something new. “Being in this business was the farthest thing from my mind – until (former owner) Andy Beltran invited us down here. Glenna was reluctant, but fell in love with the place and we bought the business.”
The Ueckers  didn’t speak Spanish then, nor did Bob have extensive sport fishing experience. “I’m from St. Louis. No ocean there. But as a kid I did canoe and use jon boats on rivers until moving to Virginia where I got a good taste for deep-sea fishing for three years.”
Capt. Rick’s was pretty much running itself when he bought it, Uecker said. “Glenna took over the office routine and I managed the crews and boats.” They employ 40 people and the fleet ranges from 23- to 48-foot boats. “In 10 years not one captain has left,” Uecker said. “The crews made it easy for us.” It is testimony to how well the business developed as the Ueckers folded into the social and business life here and becoming concerned citizens. Their success makes Capt. Rick’s an important feeder to the local economy.
“Glenna’s the heart of the business,” Uecker said, then paused, and added  “the brains too.” The Ueckers have forged a close relationship with the crews. “We argue like any family does, but when adversity strikes, we come together.”  They have also provided an adventure that keeps many of the clients coming back yearly.
Over the decade, the Ueckers have volunteered on charity golf committees and Bob has involved himself and others supporting baseball for youth in the Poblado by providing uniforms, equipment and moral support for the players.
So how do they feel after 10 years? “We’re here to stay,” they agree.
(Learn more about Captain Rick’s and Caribbean fishing adventures by clicking on the company logo in the left column of this page. They have a really extensive website.)

 Commerce Corner…

His business is keeping area buildings dry

 

and protected from damage by the elements

By Staff:
     Here’s a business that delivers environmentally clean dryness in an otherwise soggy climate.
Not only does Ing. (Engineer) Alberto Rivera Arguelles of “Definitive Solutions” distribute impermeable products, chemicals and paints to waterproof and maintain any size building, roof, road or wall,, the company alsoexcels in skillfully applying the products to new construction or older homes and commercial buildings.
“Half the success of a job is in the application process,” he said.

Although the bi-lingual Rivera has been operating the distributorship and service company delivering dryness to the Riviera Maya and Cancun for nearly five years, the resident of Puerto Aventuras has been keeping water and mildew at bay since 1999.
That was when the graduate of Monterrey Technical college joined the Johns Manville Co., of Denver, CO., manufacturer of premium-quality building insulation, commercial roofing and specialty products.
He cut his teeth there and in 2005, Rivera and a brother formed their own company in Tabasco, where he was raised, to distribute and apply improved products designed to protect and preserve basic building materials like concrete and tile from the ravages of water, mildew, cracks, time and other damage.
While his brother remained at the Tabasco distributorship, Rivera ventured to booming Playa del Carmen where he saw a need for another branch of the business.
The brothers had formed an early relationship with “Imperquimia” a leading Mexican manufacturer of “the most durable waterproof cloak” on the market and a SEMARNAT-approved “green” company. SEMARNAT is the federal cabinet-level department responsible for environmental policy and legislation.

The relationship with “Imperquimia” matured when Rivera became certified as a master distributor and applicator of the products he sells to contractors, homeowners, hotels, condo administrators and others seeking one-stop shopping to waterproof a new roof or repair and protect older leaking roofs, pools, cisterns, walls, stamped-concrete streets and add a protective paint job.
Importantly, Rivera was also certified to train other contractors to properly apply the products he distributes, which he does at classes-on-demand. “I want them to be successful applicators so I can be their supplier forever,” he quips.
Rivera’s expansion to Playa del Carmen helped Definitive Solutions earn recognition from  “Imperquimia” as a No. 1 distributor in Mexico.
“A small house or big business, no job is too big or too small, ” for his crew of  eight to 10 application technicians. They get around in four company vehicles hauling materials from his well-stocked “Imperquimia” distributorship which also includes products from major suppliers like Curacreto, for coatings, joint sealants, paints and Thermotek impermeable products ordered through Rivera’s company.
The company has structure maintenance and repair contracts with major hotels such as Royal Solaris in Cancun, the Palladium on Highway 307,  Sandos Playacar and Caracol, and worked on the Liverpool project among others. It is currently engaged in a project for the nearby international Calica company.
Rivera lives in PA with his wife and their two children who are being schooled at the Colegio here and enjoy tennis and being towed by their father’s watercraft.
Rivera invites any business or homeowner needing advice on waterproofing, protective painting or plugging leaks to click on the company logo in the left column for a comprehensive list (in Spanish and translated English) of products and services on its website or call 984-110-5037 or e-mailalberto@solucionesimperquimia.com .
(The Pelican welcomes Definitive Solutions as a sponsor helping to disseminate news and information to Greater Puerto Aventuras’ English-speaking community.)      

BUSINESS BRIEFS …
EVEN BEFORE Centro’s only internet cafe shut down suddenly last month, another one had popped up in Centro right next to the CEDAM Museum entrance. It also sells minor office supplies..NEW CITY HALL – We didn’t know one was being built in Playa del Carmen at a site “west of the city” –which would mean the ejido lands. Will it replace the municipal palace?…PRESIDENTS PENA NIETO AND OBAMA met this week in Mexico City and promised more cooperation developing the two economies. The drug war played second fiddle…

In case you want to know…

Lawyers pitch services at tax meeting

More solid questions
than answers at parley

About 35 people attended a Spanish language meeting with two lawyers last week to discuss what was evidently an unexpected action by the federal government to collect taxes from properties bordering certain inland waterfront, such as canals, as extensions of the shorefront federal zone.
Bi-lingual sources told the Pelican Free Press, which was represented at the meeting, that the Colonos-sponsored parley apparently sought to get agreement from land owners present to select one of two lawyers bidding to represent them as a class-action group. Another bid is to represent each owner individually since each parcel has different parameters upon which the tax reportedly is calculated.

At least one owner referred to the government’s claim as “expropriation” of private property.
Common knowledge has been that the federal zone was limited to shorefront extending 20 meters – or 65.7 feet – from the water line. Last high season, beachfront HOAs on Fatima Bay complained of receiving tax bills in the thousands of dollars because beach erosion had brought the water line much closer to the private properties. This meant private properties were then within the 65 feet, that is, partly in the federal zone and therefore subject to added taxation.
But the latest twist is apparently more befuddling and complex. as many questions from the floor indicated, and as the lawyers lifted eyebrows while responding to complex questions with “es que es” – it is what it is.
A letter sent to Puerto Aventuras owners of private homes, condominiums and commercial properties bordering the man-made canals and other inland waterways of Puerto Aventuras (and elsewhere we presume) lays claim to a 3-meter – or 9.10 feet – federal zone on what heretofore had been considered private land or docks by owners.
There were more solid questions than there were enlightening answers and at this time it appears that if a disagreement with the government claim is pursued in the courts, a settlement could be a long way off. Meanwhile, the plan seems to be to get a “stay” from the tax collection until the disagreements are legally settled or the legitimacy of the government’s claim proven at the altar of law.
Another meeting, by invitation only, was scheduled for 9 a.m. May 2 for further deliberations. As of this writing, no decision had been released for public consumption.
Letters…

 

Writer takes water company to task

for questionable billing practices

 

Dear Editor:

     In April of this year, our building received a monthly water bill. We also received, in error, the bill for the building next door. Why is this interesting? Because the complex next door had consumed 13 more liters of water than we had, but was being charged less than half of what we were.
Both buildings are six-unit condos, but our building has three units lived in full-time. Our building administrator, tenacious bulldog that she is, marched down to the water office and asked, “What’s up with this?”
The explanation she received was something to the effect that our building was listed as a “single unit” building while the one next door was listed as a six-unit building. We have six units, too! The “jefe” (manager) was not in the office, but a clerk re-did the bill and it went down almost 1,000 pesos.
I incorporated all the pertinent data from the previous two years’ bills into a table and graph. We did not truly believe that the information would have any impact on the water office’s thinking, and we were not disappointed. However, the data patterns revealed the following as the basis for billing:Usage per unit Price per liter:   0 – 15 liters, 10 pesos per liter;16 – 30 liters,  15 pesos per liter; 31 – 39 liters, 20 pesos per liter; 40+  liters,  28 pesos per literIt is important to note two mitigating factors: 1) When your usage jumps into the next price plateau, every liter used is billed at the new rate (i.e., if you use 31 liters, then all 31 are billed at 20 pesos per liter, but if you only use 30, then all 30 are billed at 15 pesos per); and, 2) if your building has multiple units (as ours does), then total usage is divided by the number of units and usage is then billed at a per unit rate.
For instance, in March our building used 54 liters, and we were originally billed as a single unit with a bill of 1,512 pesos (54 liters times 28 pesos); when this was reworked to reflect our building as a six-unit building, the usage was divided by six for a per unit usage of 9 liters, and then billed at the 9-liter rate of 10 pesos per liter, or 540 pesos.
We documented the discrepancies in billing from January 2011 through February 2013, which showed we had been over-billed, and had overpaid, to the tune of 17,652 pesos for the 25 month period. The water office refused to consider an adjustment, and since the jefe was still out of the office, our dealings with the water company stopped.
There is a government agency in Mexico called “Profeco” which advocates for consumers. They listened to our story, looked at the data, told us we have a “good” case and have agreed to pursue it on our behalf provided we can get the builder (in whose name the water bills still arrive due to the convoluted Mexican system of selling real property to foreign nationals) to “act” for us since he is the legal entity in question.  We are now pursuing that avenue.
The point of my long, sad tale is that I find it hard, no, make that “impossible,” to believe that we are the only building in Puerto Aventuras that has been “scammed” by the local water company, Concesionaria de Aguas del Caribe, SA, CV.
If you’ve had problems with them, please contact me at xari.farrar@gmail.com. If there are sufficient numbers of us, then we may have to pursue an “audit” of the water company’s local office with an eye to “adjustments.” If there are only a very few, then I will help you get your “case” to the Profeco advocates. 

Thank you,
Signed/Shari Farrar

 

(Ed. Note: This letter is in reference to the above letter on water usage.)
     Dear Editor:

Usage per unit Price per liter:   0 – 15 liters, 10 pesos per liter; 16 – 30 liters,  15 pesos per liter; 31 – 39 liters, 20 pesos per liter; 40+ liters,  28 pesos per liter.
This is water, not gasoline. Price is per cubic meter (1000 liters) and not by liter. If it was by liter we would all be broke in Puerto Aventuras.

Signed/ TDF Casino

 

 

Shine some light on Colonos expenditures

Dear Editor:
     Just curious where our Colonos fees are going with the following problems: 1. At least a third of the light bulbs are out in the walkways, side of road etc. If we are trying to catch thieves… don’t we need light to see them and for the cameras to see them?

2. At the visitor center there was a beer bottle sitting there for three weeks and the grass has not been cut, it’s calf high. The grass is not cut in many of the public areas. Is there someone overseeing the maintenance?
3. Not sure if this is Colonos or Federal but why are there no more colored lights on the overpass?
Why also are there no lights on the highway outside of Puerto Aventuras? Assuming this is not Colonos responsibility – I only hope that Colonos would be concerned with the safety of everyone that lives, works or visits this area.
Thank you in advance for posting this and hopefully getting some answers or motivation for a resolution.
Signed/Eduardo Colin

Church Services…

STA. TERESITA del NINO Jesus Y la Santa Paz (Roman Catholic)
Puerto Aventuras Poblado Masses: daily/Mondays through Sundays, 7 p.m. (Spanish) and Sundays, 9 a.m. (Spanish) . Church office Tel. 984-206-6245 (daily, 9 a.m .- 1 p.m. and 4 – 8 p.m.) Contact: The Rev. James Hogan

CORPUS CHRISTI (Roman Catholic)
Calle 110A entre 25, Playa del Carmen (near Soriana);Mass: Saturdays, 11 a.m. (Spanish)
Church offfice: 803-0600; Contact: The Rev. James Hogan
FELLOWSHIP CHURCHPAAMUL– Non-denominational English worship Service is at 9:00 a.m Sundays in Paamul at the Palapa Church and at 10:45 a.m.at the Hacienda Real Hotel, Avenida 10 and Calle10 in Playa del Carmen.
LIGHTHOUSE CHURCH IN TULUM – “Lighting the way to Life” English worship Service is non-denominational, 10:00 a.m. Sundays with continental breakfast at 9:30; located on Highway 307, 1.2 miles past San Francisco grocery, hospital and Subway, next door to fruit stand. IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN:English speaking, non-denominational Christian Worship Service begins April 21 and meets every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. For more information and directions:www.lighthousechurch.mx

 

Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll be back next winter. “Regreso  el próximo invierno”
Anyone interested in learning the language can please contact Ms. Contreras by email atnanigloria@hotmail.com or Cel: 984-108-3517 so she can prepare materials in advance.
(Classes are from 8:30 to 9:30 a..m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is 150 pesos per session.

AA and Alanon meetings…

AA and ALANON meetings are held at the public library at the Colegio as follows:

AA Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m; Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at noon. ALANON meeting is held Mondays at 6 p.m., also at the library. Meetings are “open” and non-members are welcomed to attend.

What’s Playing…

See for yourself what’s showing at the local movie houses in Playa del Carmen at the links below.
Centro Maya: http://cinemex.com/

Las Americas: http://www.cinepolis.com/_CARTELERA/cartelera.aspx?ic=70#Cine215

Briefly noted…

Compiled from staff, contributor and media reports
FEDERAL POLICE PRSENCE is being felt on Highway 307 from Cancun to Tulum with more police filters in random areas stopping cars for general inspection of papers…BREAKDOWN OF EQUIPEMENT hampered military personnel fighting forest fires 40miles west of Puerto Aventuras near a village of Tunich Ha. Some of the smoky smell reached the PA resort and wafted through open windows…BETTER TRANSPORTATION of workers within sprawling Playa del Carmen is the goal of a new public transportation study being launched…SQUATTERSoccupying private land in Puerto Morelos were told by the mayor there to leave or face possible jail. We have noticed guards in makeshift towers along Highway 307 with signs below them saying it is private property. Now we quite possibly know why they are there…to keep squatters, some of whom have invaded electric power line lands in Playa, off private property…SEASONAL LAYOFFS in the tourist industry already has families heading for the pawn shops  to trade items for needed cash…A FIREFIGHTER SCHOOL could be up and running next year in Playa del Carmen…SPEAKING OF WHICH, area hospitals have been receiving some walk-in patients having trouble breathing because of the wildfires at the Solidarity-Lasaro Cardenas border…ON THE OTHER HAND, fewer cases of heat stroke are being reported because people are taking more protection from the sun and drinking more fluids, the hospitals report…

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