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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Van kills child in mom’s arms

Van strikes mother, child near

PA Chedraui mall; child dies

A 24-year-old mother and her 11-month-old child were struck by a hit-and-run van shortly after 9 a.m. last Thursday while evidently trying to cross Highway 307, ironically, near the pedestrian bridge crossing that has fallen into disuse. Several days later the child died at the General Hospital in Playa del Carmen and the mother was listed in critical condition.

The local Red Cross and Costa Med paramedics stabilized the mother and child at the scene of the accident and they were then transported to the General Hospital where their injuries were initially described as “serious.”

The mother, carrying her child, did not use the pedestrian bridge nearby, which gets little use by residents on both sides of the highway. Police said they found the van later but it had been abandoned by the driver, who remains on the run, according to police. Some Poblado residents gathered to urge that something be done to have more people use the pedestrian bridge to avoid such tragedies.

New Colonos identity

cards now available

The new personalized identification cards are now ready to be picked up at the Colonos office by residents who own housing units, the Colonos advises. Residents who live in private homes are directed to pick up their cards at the Colonos office during regular working hours.

Cards for residents who live in condominiums are available at the various condo administration offices. If some residents do not have a card waiting for them, it is because information was not delivered to the Colonos or condo administrators when the request for information was made in 2013.

The new cards, which replace the current identity cards that will no longer be valid in 2015, were originally designed as identification, beach access and discounted services by participating businesses and will evolve in due time. A list of establishments offering discounts will be provided.


Commerce Corner…


Colonos faults both parties

in Oct. 11 Café Ole demolition

Condemns demo process, cyber-bullying

By Staff
Colonos officials faulted both the Centro Comercial Owners Association (CCOA) for its aggressive handling of the recent demolition of Cafe Ole structures and also the café owners and their supporters who dragged the larger community through the mud of humiliation on social media.

Meanwhile, Gayle Dunaway and Gary Adams, the café owners and renters of the cafe property, admitted, in a lengthy explanatory letter of apology to the community, to ignoring some association rules that prompted the CCOA action.

The Centro Vigilance Committee then issued a long letter of its own in Spanish refuting and clarifying some of the Café Ole owners’ perceptions. However, the CCOA simultaneously attracted criticism for ending the practice of having a translator at assemblies and bi-lingual correspondence to members, many of whom speak English only.

Colonos voted with majority

For the record, Colonos boards cast a vote at an August 2 association assembly agreeing with the association to return the Cafe Ole “common area” to its original state by removing permanent structures built on common property by the café owners under what the association believed were questionable circumstances.

But a brief letter to all Centro stakeholders signed by Colonos GM Armando Rincon, Colonos spokesman, ripped the Centro association’s aggressive demolition foray. He said the Colonos supports the intent of upholding rules, but “…does not approve and condemns the (demolition) procedure since we (the Colonos officials) recommended doing it by legal course.”

In a phone interview, Rincon told the Pelican Free Press the Centro board acted on advice of a lawyer rather than wait for approval of a judge as required by law.

Social media use backfires

Several days before the demolition occurred, Café Ole owners and supporters took to the Internet in an 11th hour effort to garner support from the community to prevent the pending destruction. But the move backfired as it soured some in the community and spurred café supporters into a social media barrage of fault-finding and unwarranted denigration of association individuals, creating a public relations nightmare for the community.

The personal attacks apparently helped torpedo a planned meeting between café owners and the CCOA board that might have prevented the impromptu demolition. Piecing together information from various sources, the Pelican found the café owners had agreed to considerable concessions with the COAA administrator prior to the actual demolition.

A discussion was evidently planned to seal the deal with the COAA board, but ironically, it was postponed for lack of availability of several COAA members as the cyber bullying began attracting attention on the Internet. Then came the demolition before a further discussion could be held.

Special meeting set, postponed

A special closed meeting for all Centro condo and business owners – not an assembly – that was scheduled to be held Saturday (Oct. 18) to discuss the situation was also postponed at the 11th hour. “It was thought it would be too soon,” Rincon said he was told. He inferred a cooling off period is needed before sensible discussions can take place.

While the Colonos board condemned the association’s aggressiveness, it equally condemned “the reviling and aggressive acts toward the people involved, referring to their nationality in a derogatory way and using social networks to do it. We ask responsible people to stop these aggressions which do not help anyone and damages our community image,” Rincon wrote for the board.

Future in limbo

In response to an inquiry by the Pelican Free Press of what the future may hold for Cafe Ole, Gary Adams said he believes the situation is “now a criminal matter” and that once it has been resolved by the judicial system, restitution will be demanded. He said, optimistically, that when the courts approve rubble removal and once funds are provided, “we will rebuild.” He said partner Gayle Dunaway wants to remain in the business, but as to himself, “I’m not so sure.” There was no definite timetable included in his responses.

Among the affair’s unintended consequences is a call by condo owner and former association board member John Schwandke for the association to resume bi-lingual meetings and correspondence. “Perhaps the single biggest cause of confusion about this Cafe Ole ordeal is lack of communication.” He said the current board ended the practice of having a translator at association assemblies to save money, but that it should resume so that less information gets lost or confused in translation.

“Until such time that all unit owners are provided communication they can understand, I predict that debacles like this one will escalate,” Schwandke said. He and others also note that all Centro owners should be provided with copies of the standard lease agreement that clearly explains what is expected of signatories.
Most outdoor property surrounding Centro buildings up to the dolphin walk is common property and is leased by business owners under conditions and regulations adopted by agreement of association members.


Hotel group objects

to Calica fuel depot

Objections to the proposed fuel terminal at nearby port of Calica (Punta Venado) just north of Puerto Aventuras, are being presented to local, state and federal governments by the Riviera Maya’s Hotel Association and Business Coordinating Council.

Both bodies believe the storage and distribution through the state of 420,000 barrels of stored fuel – including aviation petrol bound for Cancun Airport – will undermine the area’s primary source of income – that is, tourism – and have the potential to despoil the region environmentally.

Both organizations seeking rejection of the proposal held a press conference recently and reaffirmed their belief the plan by Storage and Distribution Terminal del Caribe (ART) isn’t feasible socially, environmentally and economically. The objectors claim that in addition to land-based surface and underground (rivers) environmental damage, the potential exists for debilitating the world’s second largest reef system, part of which lies just off the Mayan Riviera shore and Calica.

Proponents see an opportunity to bring the fuel depot and the trans-peninsular train terminal at Calica as a relatively safe way to increase tourism throughout the peninsula and have the potential to deliver fuels by train rather than trucks that would be kept off the busy highways.

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LIBRARY HOURS  Mon-Fri from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. More than 15,000 English and Spanish books to choose from.
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REMEMBER Puerto Aventuras Catering for house parties, biz meetings or large weddings. Click logo at left.
PA’s LATITUDE 20 RESTAURANT preparing annual Halloween Party Oct. 30
WIDE SMILE – Visit our local dentist for comprehensive service. Click on the Smile logo
CHECK THIS OUT! WeRWater has a new website, pool products. Click logo at left
VILLAS AKALAN to rent close to the Riviera Maya’s prime beach at Tulum.
ALAN’S REPAIR for printers, computers, audio. Click his icon for full service list
“INTRODUCTION TO PAINTING” Every Thursday 5-9 PM, at the PA Info Center art gallery

COOKING CLASSES with Chef Danny at Latitude 20 Restaurant will begin Friday, Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. and continue for 12 weeks at the restaurant. There will be Mexican cuisine and some from Latitude’s favorite countries. Cost is 100 pesos and you get to eat what is cooked…A POSSIBLE HURRICANE named Hanna was reported heading toward Yucatan Peninsula this week with expected heavy rainfall and possible hurricane winds…IS RAIN HEAVY? – If you ask boat owners in the PA marina, they’ll say “yes.” A smaller craft was sunk by heavy rain Sunday when the vessel’s bilge pump failed to operate. Fortunately, no fuel was spilled and the boat hauled ashore. Several other similar incidents were reported in August … THOSE SAME HEAVY RAINS made the 56 kilometer shore road from Tulum to Punta Allen impassable in some places where 30-inches of mud was recorded … PEOPLE OVER PROFITS – Mexico refused to allow passengers of a cruise ship to go ashore in Cozumel last week because one of the passengers quarantined himself with possible Ebola. The ship then headed to Texas where the passenger lives and works…A COLD FRONT dipped noontime temps in Puerto Aventuras from 32 to 22 degrees Celsius and brought some rain to the area last week and indicated cooler evenings and mornings are on the way… CARLOS SLIM, world’s richest man, is expected to bid on construction of the proposed $9.1 billion airport in Mexico City…MEXICO’S SECOND richest man, mining mogul German Larrea, was dubbed a “cheapskate” by a Chicago lawyer as the two battle over the purchase of a Ritz Carlton penthouse in the Windy City…MORE THAN 1,200 military and police are combing the area around Iguala in Guerrero State for the 43 missing  students. Meanwhile, student protests have erupted demanding the government do more to find them alive…SOLIDARIDAD BUSINESSES are not particularly excited about labeling their products “Made in Quintana Roo.” Only one business, “Akumal” brewery, is using the label. The state “destination” promotion is to help small business grow and export their products…THE ‘STOP KIDNAPPING’ non-governmental group in Mexico reports an increase of 36 percent in kidnappings so far this year throughout Mexico compared to last year. It reported 2,039 cases from December to September. The group says the figure shows institutional weakness at all levels of government. Government analysts however set the figure at around 10 percent fewer cases than last year…



The Mail Bag…
       Odor chases kayaker away

Dear Editor:
I paddled my kayak into the harbor today(10/13/14) and coming abreast of La Costa, the water turned brown and a strong fecal smell was present. This disgusting situation increased up to the bridge by Latitude 20 at which time I got the hell out of there back to the ocean. Latter my wife and I went to Latitude 20 to have dinner but the stench was overwhelming and we left at once. The locals tell me this happens after a strong rain and the adjacent sewer overflows into the harbor. I have had property here for over 25 years and have witnessed some bad stuff but this situation is by far the worst ever. I know the sewer system was poorly designed and installed but this has to be corrected before people get sick.

Signed/Don Dusette




Cafe Ole bar, bandstand demolished

This just in…

Camel kills ex-PA restaurateur

Richard Meleskis, 60, an early businessman in Puerto Aventuras before moving to a ranch in Tulum, was killed on the ranch Monday, Oct. 13, where animals were kept, the local press has reported. A witness said Meleskis was attacked and killed by a camel as he passed by the animal. The witness, identified as Manuel Medina, and another person tried to assist after hearing cries for help by tying the animal to a van and pulling it away from the victim.

Meleskis was brought to the house alive on the ranch named the Tulum Monkey Sanctuary, but died moments later, the witness told investigating officials.

A U.S. native from Chicago and congenial conversationalist, Meleskis had acquaintances and friends in Puerto Aventuras and was a frequent participant at informal breakfast gatherings there. Meleskis formerly owned Richard’s Quarterdeck Restaurant in PA. Federal officials, who counted some 25 animals on the ranch, closed the property, which was sometimes open as a zoo. Officials were investigating the legal status of possessing the animals that included deer, emus, stags, spider monkeys and the camel, among others.


Long-simmering disagreement

begets regrettable pile of rubble

By Staff
Rules enforcement exploded in the Centro Marina on Oct. 11 when the Centro owners’ association began dismantling the bar and bandstand at Cafe Ole for alleged breach of various construction and anti-noise regulations.

Shortly before the razing began, café owners Gaylita Dunaway and Gary Adams took to the internet asking recipients in an e-mail to petition the Centro association to refrain from destroying what they had built, hinting the demolition could mean the end of Café Ole.

It was not known at this writing whether the aggrieved Café Ole owners, made aware of the upcoming demolition, attempted to file a protective injunction with the courts to possibly prevent the association action pending negotiations to settle the differences they might have in a less destructive way.

E-mails to the Pelican Free Press shortly after the demolition began shortly after 7 a.m. according to  Security report, indicated that the seriousness of the association’s actions was dividing the community in a mix of vengeful anger and sadness that an issue like this was allowed to come to such a regretful head.

There was talk on social media of boycotting the businesses of those association leaders responsible for the demolition and accusatory remarks demonizing the association leadership and others believed to be involved. Security reported a crowd of an estimated 300 people eventually gathered at the site as various lawyers and officials argued over the work and the need to keep the peace between residents and demolition workers.

“The town is really in an uproar over this one,” wrote one observer. Evidently, some residents were standing by the partially demolished bar and bandstand in an effort to stop more destruction. “But most of the damage is mostly done. It will cost more now to fix than to start over,’’ the observer said.

In addition, Security personnel were on hand only to assure that no one was injured as the crowd began to gather. It was Security’s job to keep the peace, said Colonos GM Armando Rincon.

Resident David Zannoni came upon the scene a while after demolition. “There is just rubbish now outside. It is a horrible sight. I spoke to the owner (Gaylita Dunaway). She was obviously completely broken and desperate. She told me this was her life and asked how was she expected to earn a living.”

Resident Angelo Mouzouropoulos believes there has been a miscarriage of justice and has asked the Colonos to investigate which local organizations have granted themselves the right to destroy private property without reference to the Mexican legal process. However, Colonos general manager Rincon inferred the situation is a matter of civil law between Cafe Ole owners and the Centro Comercial Association that rightfully should be argued and resolved in the courts.

Meanwhile, Rincon said a local newspaper reporting on the incident inferred Puerto Aventuras might not be a good place to do business, thus giving the community a black eye of sorts. Additionally, Colonos board member Tim Howard said he had written to fellow board members asking them to think of ways to diffuse the situation, “which is very bad for the image of Puerto, and possibly its economy as well.”

In support of its actions, the association minutes listed a number of alleged rule infractions by the café owners. They included refusal to sign a common-space lease agreement until the very deadline, twice opening a hole for a window in a wall that condo residents said threatened the structural integrity of the building, exceeding permissions given for construction and facade modifications and being uncooperative in correcting them, among other alleged transgressions involving the band stand and bar construction.

All the while, the Cafe Ole proprietors say they received permission several years ago to build the structures. Some wording in the translated minutes appears to agree that at least some approvals for the work were given and subsequently rescinded.

The association minutes say one of the cafe owners was present when the association voted thus on Aug. 2: “It was agreed that (the Cafe Ole owners) should demolish all fixed structures that are in public areas adjoining the Local A-1 (palapa, pallet band, granite countertops, drawer-style kitchen hanging on the wall of the building, glass wall, concrete benches and a concrete wall)  leaving the step in the common area, within a period of not more than thirty days from the present (Aug. 2) assembly,  Gaylita Dunaway being present (as) the occupier of the premises… (was warned) that otherwise the immediate withdrawal of the palapa, pallet band, pots, granite style kitchen drawers hung on the wall of the building, appropriate wall glass, concrete benches and a concrete wall…the administration (following the order of the assembly) and its administering representative will clear the common area, returning it to its original state.”

An observer who read the recently-released minutes of the Aug. 2 association meeting perceived the association’s heavy-handed enforcement actions as understandable in view of the fact that some unspecified business owners have been in arrears as much as seven months or more in common-area dues and have been ignoring agreements and regulations for too long despite repeated association pleas for cooperation.

Association rules say business owners who owe more than three months dues are subject to eviction from the common property they use for their business. The minutes of the Aug. 2 meeting also note the association’s actions were approved by majority vote in some cases and in others by unanimous tally of the roughly 46 percent of votes represented at the meeting.

The votes also supported charging the Café Ole owners for the demolition and any damages caused to the property of other owners as the association attempts to return the common area to its original design.

In other steps taken by the Aug. 2 assembly, businesses that provide entertainment were also put on notice that future noise infractions will have dire consequences. After two warnings, use of common areas will be revoked and if the enforcement order is ignored, the owner will be given 30 days to vacate the common space or face court proceedings, the minutes explain.

The association had apparently been trying to get business owners to willingly follow legitimate rules adopted at assemblies but without much success according to some sources, thus prompting more stringent enforcement.

Businesswoman Donna Carey, who says she has never served on the association board, also used the Internet to defend her self-described neutrality on this issue when some residents reacted to the demolition by faulting her as somehow complicit in the association’s actions, an accusation she denies.

“I have had nothing to do with the decisions made or implied on either side of this unfortunate situation,” she wrote. She said she had acted as translator for Gaylita Dunaway during the Aug. 2 meeting, then attempted to broker peace between the parties.

In a previous Pelican Free Press story, Carey noted she had withdrawn as peacemaker because “past relationships with all involved could be misconstrued as conflict of interest.”

The battle isn’t over. Rincon said he believes there is likely to be legal proceedings. Cafe Ole owners could not be reached by deadline.

In other business, the assembly agreed to have its administrator bring comprehensive proposals and budgets for resurfacing common areas and installing new lamps along the marina to next regular assembly.


Baiting the rodents?

Rat sightings signal

time for precaution

By Staff
Information from a Centro area business person that two rats were recently seen in Centro and one in the Omni driveway spurred an inquiry to the Colonos administration whether other reports of rats have been received.

Colonos GM Armando Rincon said the Colonos has not received any complaints about the rodents, but noted that there have been reports from residents, particularly in Caleta Xel-Ha, of a considerable coati population increase.

Rincon took the opportunity to ride around the community taking photos in the early morning to show how larger, nocturnal foraging animals like coatis and raccoons are able to tip over rubbish containers that are set out at night by residents who should be waiting until morning to deprive the animals from nighttime food sources.

“People in Puerto are not taking care disposing of garbage at the proper time,” he said. “Containers of garbage should not be put out at night but in the morning when the garbage trucks make their rounds.” Judging from the photos above, the animals are having a feast at night and paving the way for an increase in the rodent population as well, Rincon implied. “Neighbors need to create the conditions of cleanliness by disposing of their rubbish during the morning and build animal-proof container sheds for their garbage cans.”

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