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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Turn clocks ahead in Quintana Roo

COMING EVENTS…

TURN CLOCKS AHEAD one hour on Sunday morning Feb. 1 or Saturday night, Jan. 31 before bedtime to greet the new Mexican Time Zone known as the “Southeastern Time Zone.” It affects the State of Quintana Roo only…  CHAC HAL AL ASSEMBLY convenes Friday, Jan. 30 at 8:30 a.m. in the Colonos meeting room… BAY BLUE CONDO assembly at 8:30 Saturday, Jan. 31, in the Colonos meeting room…CONSTITUTION DAY, a federal day-off holiday on Feb. 5 celebrates the promulgation of the 1857 and 1917 Mexican constitutions… RECYCLE DAY is Feb. 6 at the skate park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m…. PUERTO DEL MAR ASSEMBLY is at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Colonos meeting room… COOKING CLASS – Latitude 20 cooking class has switched back to its regular Friday class schedule at 10 a.m on Fridays… ART SHOWS are held each Thursday evening at the Information and Art Center…SPANISH CLASSES at Latitude 20 are held at 11:30 a.m. (basic) and 12:30 (intermediate) on Mondays and Wednesdays… CELEBRATION OF LIFE memorial for the late Doe Stowell will be held at 3 p.m., Feb. 15 at the Cultural Center.  

 

 

Red Cross closes its ambulance,

mini-clinic in Puerto Aventuras

Appeal being made to keep the station open

By Staff

   It would be an understatement to say that people from the Puerto Aventuras resort and their neighbors in the Poblado across the highway are disappointed in the Jan. 5 Red Cross action to close the ambulance station and clinic – perhaps temporarily – located in the former Poblado police station.

Residents on both sides of the highway are hoping the closure will not be permanent. Red Cross officials are now saying they are trying to keep the satellite PA clinic open if they can find sufficient funding. But as of yesterday, Jan 28, he facility remained closed.

To re-energize finances, Gerardo Valadez, president of the Riviera Maya business coordinating council, is urging business enterprises to donate to the Red Cross so that its facility in the Puerto Aventuras Poblado can remain open. A decision on whether the station will survive budget restraints was expected to be announced this week.

Ironically, the PA facility’s closure arrives at a time when one of its most active benefactor, resort resident John Schwandke, prepares to leave PA after recently selling his property here. Schwandke and a handful of other resort residents, some affiliated, like Schwandke, with International Rotary, worked intermittently to provide for the equipment and petrol needs of the clinic, including some planned structural changes to enhance the clinic’s efficiency and comforts for the staff that includes an intern doctor and a half-dozen EMTs.

While the closure – permanent or not – was forced only by lack of funding, according to Red Cross officials in Playa del Carmen, it was reported by one source that a pledge from a generous supporter could mean the re-opening of the clinic once the pledge is received.  

Meanwhile, the regional headquarters in Playa del Carmen, which recently moved to a new, two-story building housing ambulance bays and emergency clinic in Playa, say last year’s annual drive came up 2 million pesos short of the goal. They are appealing to business and industry and the area’s wealthy residents to give a bit more to help keep the satellite station open.

Residents of the Poblado and Puerto Maya, with a combined growing population of between 12,000 and 15,000, have been advising the municipal government consistently they need local medical facilities and care, particularly for the poorest of the poor without transportation to Playa’s hospitals other than expensive taxi fares. Losing the Red Cross presence would be an added and unexpected blow to their well-being, they say, and increase their reliance on the municipal budget to provide local medical services.

Whatever the outcome, the closure to date points to the vulnerable position of the Puerto Aventuras clinic and ambulance that rely solely on the financial support of the general public it serves. ( Read more about the Red Cross by clicking on the Red Cross button atop this page.)

 

Cool weather blesses runners

in 7th annual PA road race

By Staff

   Nearly 500 runners warmed to the chill in the air last Sunday as the 7tth annual Puerto Aventuras races for young, old and in-between got off to a prompt start at the Porto Bello line on Puerto Aventuras Blvd. The race gave the developing Phase 4 roadway a run for its money before puffing participants came dashing across the new finish line in front of Dolphin Discovery, which sponsored the event along with the Colonos.

A strong contingent of gringos augmented more than 400 domestic runners from all along the Riviera Maya and then some even though a similar race was being held simultaneously in Cancun. That duality probably accounted for a bit smaller turnout of runners here this year. Slightly more than 500 participated last year and an estimated 450 this year.

The mayor of Solidaridad, Mauricio Gongora Escalante and his wife participated in the run alongside  paraolympic medalist Saul Mendoza who conquered the course in a wheelchair. Other people with disabilities, including youth, also participated as the proceeds of 85,000 pesos collected from the runners’ fees were donated to the national DIF, an agency supporting the disabled, for purchase of prosthetics.

In finish-line conversations, Don Papa of Pennsylvania and PA (get it?) said “the weather was perfect” for the comfort of runners who didn’t overheat. “I hardly broke a sweat,” said another runner as post-race activity moved to the large palapa at Dolphin Discovery where masseurs and masseuses were kept busy in the morning shade assuaging the tested muscles of race participants. “This is my seventh ribbon,” said Jean Duns of Canada and PA as husband Bart looked on and other racers like Bob Roadway – an appropriate name for the day – partook with others of a nicely laid out table of recovery foods such as sliced fresh oranges, bananas and bran fruit bars.

The runners were greeted with whoops and hollers and applause from the crowd of observers and were attended to from head to toe by volunteers who met every runner at the finish line by placing a ribbon over their heads and giving them a “Power Ride” drink as another volunteer removed the “chips” from the running shoes that recorded the runner’s time. One race participant – an amputee on crutches – received a hearty round of applause for his smiling display of true grit.

As the sun rose and began to warm the air a bit, the crowd settled in and around the palapa to enjoy conversation and foodstuffs . Volunteers and race officials sorted out the winners and other workers began removing paraphernalia such as loudspeakers and assorted tables and chairs to return the roadway, as environmentalists might say, to its former condition.

And attesting to the racing comfort of the weather, the temperature was recorded at 13.6 Celsius (56 degrees) at around 5 a.m. Sunday, the coldest day of the year here so far. Meteorologists said the chill came riding into Solidaridad on the wings of the season’s 30th cold front from the north. While it was an accommodating temperature for runners, it reportedly dissuaded a number of bathers from visiting area beaches.

 

 

Editorial-ito…

Sometimes, life just plain stinks

   The Pelican received two letters last week complaining about the odor of sewer gas in various parts of the resort. In recent conversations with owners of waterfront properties, complaints were also heard about the accumulation of seaweed, sea grass, kelp or sargassum, however you call it, and its malodorous emissions.  Forty-five tons of it was collected along Playa del Carmen beaches in 20 days. Waterfront businesses there say they are losing money as customers are repulsed by a stench along the beach that some believe stems from illegal dumping of sewage while others say it is from the decomposition of the seaweed. Travel more than 1,000 miles to Cape Cod and you hear similar complaints of people living along a creek they say is producing fetid odors at low tide.

None of this is new phenomena. Rather, it appears that rancid odors have diminished as man has developed modern societies and sewerage systems even while Mother Nature continues to test man’s tolerance of her bi-polar personality . Businesses have prospered around odor complaints. This is evidenced by the sticks of body deodorant and aerosol cans of Lysol disinfectant found at the ready in many bathrooms, yes? If we can extrapolate, then these complaints will continue to surface from time to time along with the disturbing odors just as they have in the past millenniums. People are absolutely right to complain about them in the pursuit of permanent fixes, although it leads us to conclude that in the process, sometimes life just plain stinks.

 

Library to expand teen, young

adult sections by 250  titles

   The volunteer librarians of Biblioteca Puerto Aventuras Public Library are pleased to announce the expansion of our teen/tween Middle Grade and Young Adult section. In the coming months, the library will introduce more than 250 new titles for young readers, including hot new mysteries and thrillers, award-winning contemporaries, popular science fiction and fantasy series, urban fantasy, paranormal titles and sweet romances.

The library will also host monthly Young Adult Book Club meetings, where members can read and share their feedback on popular titles for teens and tweens. Our first meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 4:30pm at the Biblioteca Puerto Aventuras Public Library. The first fiveE teens/tweens to sign up will receive a free copy of our first book club selection, The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell, an exciting and highly acclaimed medieval YA fantasy, ideal for fans of Tamora Pierce and George R.R. Martin. Space is limited. Please email ellecosimano@gmail.com to reserve a book. The library is open to the public Monday through Friday from 2:30 – 4:30pm. To learn more, visit www.puertoaventuraslibrary.org.

 

Briefly Noted…

Work has begun  on Bahia Xaac to improve the lighting there following appeals by residents of the street…10,000 taxpayers are in default in the municipality of Solidaridad and the local treasury department has begun seizing land properties of 12 of those taxpayers owning prime properties along the seacoast under the presumption they can afford to pay their taxes…A municipal animal rescue team made its first visit to Puerto Aventuras last week, stopping and talking to three people walking their dogs – two of the dogs leashed and a third roaming free. The team thanked the owners of the leashed dogs for respecting local rules and asked the third owner to leash his pet in the future. Anyone with a dog complaint can contact Cebiam at 984 877 3050 X 10079/80 or email cebiam.solidaridad@gmail.comThe annual ‘carnaval’ in Playa del Carmen will be held from Feb. 12-17 with floats, music and other activities… Babies having babies – President Pena Nieto this week unveiled a national plan to reduce teen pregnancies by 50 percent by the year 2030. In 2013, 467,000 women younger than 20 gave birth and more alarming, said the president, is that 11,000 of them were aged 10 to 14. Among steps to be taken are the eradication of the “macho culture” in the male population in order for them to accept responsible sexual behavior… Police have arrested nine members of a Veracruz gang on Playa’s 5th Avenue who were using cloned credit cards to purchase goods including an expensive watch… The northeast U.S. snowstorm had an effect on Riviera Maya tourism as flights to Cancun from Boston, New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia were canceled on Monday and Tuesday…

 

The Mail Bag…

Condo buyer claims legal errors

deprived him of paid ownership

 

Dear Editor:

“My name is Dr. Duncan Brown, and like many other visitors who came to Puerto Aventuras, fell in love with the community and decided to make it a long-term part of our lives by making an investment in a condominium here. My purpose in telling this story is to serve as a “warning” to others who have similar aspirations to adequately protect themselves and their investments here in Mexico.

Briefly here are the facts:

• My wife and I entered into a contract to purchase Unit A102 in Quinta Maya from Smart Blue (the developer) in pre-construction with advances made as construction proceeded, and final adjustments and payments made when we took possession. The contract contained the understanding that “ownership” of the property would be through the vehicle of Fideicomiso. We performed our “ due diligence”, had the contract reviewed by a Mexican attorney and a Canadian attorney with experience in Mexico, both of whom confirmed that the contracts conformed with the Mexican Constitution and were well drafted. The transaction was completed using a highly regarded lawyer in Playa del Carmen.

• Transfer of title from Smart Blue to the Brown Family Trust (consistent with the Mexican Constitution for foreign ownership of property within the restricted zone), a certificate of non- liens demonstrated and attained, the trust documents were prepared by Banco Norte, notarized by the Notario in March 2004, with the Fideicomiso registered at the Registry in Playa del Carmen in March 2004.

• At the time of registration, the Registry in Playa del Carmen failed to cancel the title held by Smart Blue, along with other duplicate titles created on properties registered on the same occasion. This error was discovered by the Registry after the duplicated title was sold at auction by the Mexican government tax department (SAT) to SACA (a Mexican legal firm that specializes in seizure of tax distressed properties) in 2010 without prior notice to us. Other Smart Blue titles were canceled by the Registry on other units with duplicated folios when the error was discovered in 2010.

• All appropriate taxes, maintenance fees, and utility expenses were fully paid and current at the time of the seizure, and have been fully sustained subsequently by my wife and myself.

• In October 2010, the unit and it’s contents were seized, and the unit occupied by SACA.

There would appear to be a straightforward sensible resolution: SAT returns the monies it received at auction, and which they were never entitled to (as no taxes were outstanding), to SACA, and the unit and contents be returned to the registered owners. However nothing appears to be straightforward in the Mexican legal system.

My wife and I have been involved in this legal battle approaching five years attempting to regain our property and defend ourselves in actions brought against us by SACA. We have expended very large amounts of money to Mexican and North American attorneys in the six legal cases to date, without resolution. Most recently, we have been accused of “simulating” the Fidecomiso in an attempt to circumvent the Mexican constitution, an assertion that we point out is patently ridiculous and  unsupported by documentation. Importantly the acknowledged facts and admitted errors by the Registry and by the Notario and unjustified actions by SAT in seizing a property on which no outstanding taxes were due, have fallen by the wayside.

The Mexican Consulate, and Canadian Department of Foreign affairs have not been able to assist us.

My advice to potential investors in this most beautiful of places would be this: Nothing is as it appears, the Fidecomiso does not protect you or your investment, and the Mexican legal system is ponderous, ineffective, and expensive should you need to be involved in it. Protect yourself, believe nothing that you are told, and then look very hard at what you are doing. Your well-intentioned and fully legal actions may result in a similar story for you, and I would not like to see that happen.”

Signed/Dr. and Mrs. Duncan Brown

(Ed. Note: The perceptions and facts above are those of the letter writers. They have not been corroborated by this publication.)

 

Where is ‘for sale’ feature?

Dear Editor:

   Will the Pelican free Press include the "For Sale" menu option in the future? I noticed it has been deleted the past several months and thought it was an excellent way to advertise things for sale in PA.

Signed/Mary Strojny

(Ed. Note: We agree with you but It was a non-starter and probably will not resume in this publication.)

 

Nature Watch…

As possible ‘desalination’ nears,

a look at Mexico’s bottled water

  

Ed. Note: As Puerto Aventuras mulls the proposed plan to switch the resort’s water system from fresh-but-undrinkable ground water wells to desalination of seawater, one comment stands out above all others: Will the local consumer trust the process and the piping to actually begin drinking desalinated, purified water here?

Portable desalination plants have delivered potable water from the oceans to military installations across the globe. Cities like Tampa, FL. have turned to desalination as well. As reported earlier in the Pelican, the private water company here evidently has reason to consider desalination besides saving the fee it now has to pay the government for drawing fresh – but not purified – water from the ground. Sea water is free even if the physical plant and process to desalinate it isn’t.

Mexico’s natural fresh water supply is undrinkable, making Mexico the world’s largest per capita consumer of bottled water, as the story below from the New York Times explains. It is a report worth reading in the broad sense for people facing the possibility of desalination.

“MEXICO CITY – Drinking bottled water is one thing. But bathing one’s baby in it? In Mexico, the world’s largest per capita consumer of bottled water, anything goes.

David Montero drives three hours every week from his apartment in Iztapalapa, a crowded district on the eastern edge of this sprawling capital city, to the village where he was born to fill five five-gallon jugs with clean water to mix with the juices he sells from a roadside stand.

Back at home, his wife, Cecilia Silva Reyes, buys as many as eight five-gallon jugs of water a week for drinking and cooking. As for the tap water the city supplies to their working-class housing complex, “it’s yellow,” Mr. Montero scoffed. “It has been like that forever.”

In Iztapalapa and in many communities across Mexico, talk of tap water is a constant — whether there is any, how it smells, what color it is, or whether it carries sand, mud or unspecified insect life.

Despite reassurances from the authorities that municipal plants pump clean water into the supply network, skepticism is widespread, even when politicians sometimes come forward to guzzle some tap water in public to make a point. “Who knows?” Mr. Montero asked.

A study released last year by the Inter-American Development Bank found that Mexicans used about 127 gallons of bottled water per person a year, more than four times the bottled-water consumption in the United States and more than any country surveyed.

“People are using this water for cooking, for bathing their babies,” said Federico Basañes, division chief for water and sanitation at the development bank.

There is a similar move toward jugs of clean water in countries like China, Indonesia and Thailand, the development bank found, as rising incomes give residents the ability to buy bottled water.

Mr. Basañes said the study raises the question of whether governments are paying enough attention to water quality as they try to bring tap water to all their citizens.

“Are we giving consumers potable water or not?” Mr. Basañes asked, noting that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean region have invested a total of about $2.8 billion a year on improved water and sanitation since 1990. “Even if we are, is there a perception problem?”

With the move toward bottled water, families sometimes spend as much as 10 percent of their incomes on water, double what the development bank estimates they should. “Can you imagine a poor family paying their water bills — in some cases a fairly steep amount — and they are buying water on the side because they don’t trust the water they are getting?” Mr. Basañes asked.

Then there is the concern of whether the bottled water is really any better.

“We’ve never had any complaints,” said Maximiliano Santiago, who set up his own water purification business three years ago in a storefront at the edge of an Iztapalapa market.

He buys well water that is trucked in from outside of Mexico City rather than using the Iztapalapa tap water — “it would damage the filters,” he said — runs it through carbon and sand filters, and then purifies it using silver ionization. He said he calls a biologist from time to time to check the quality.

Mr. Santiago works seven days a week for a profit of about $15 a day. By midmorning, he stacks 40 five-gallon jugs on two three-wheeled cargo bicycles and pushes them through the neighborhood shouting “aguaaaa” along the way.

It is a business model that is emerging in megacities across the developing world. Rich people pay a premium for branded jugs that can be refilled from companies owned by multinational corporations like PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Danone. In working-class neighborhoods, local entrepreneurs fill the demand.

“If you go to Mexico or Manila, you’ll see the same thing, but they have emerged independently,” said Ranjiv Khush, a founder of Aquaya, a nonprofit group that researches ways to get clean water to poor people.

Mr. Khush said the small suppliers in Mexico, Indonesia or the Philippines are simply offering a cost-effective response to a problem that overstretched authorities cannot resolve. “What’s fascinating to me is that this is the solution that local businesses have come up with,” he said. “This is what people want, and I think we should learn from them.”

In Mexico City, the authorities have been trying to improve water quality in places like the long-neglected district of Iztapalapa. The city has spent about $70 million on water purification plants over the past six years, Ramón Aguirre, the director of Mexico City’s municipal water authority, said in an interview.

He blamed advertising by the large bottlers for the lack of confidence in the city’s water. There is “money behind the sale of drinking water,” he said. Mr. Aguirre also speculated that water gets contaminated once it reaches people’s homes, in their underground or rooftop storage tanks.

“I know the water,” he said. “What I don’t know is the level of maintenance in buildings’ cisterns and water tanks.”

Jesús Rebollo, a community activist in Iztapalapa, agreed that there has been an improvement over the past few years, but said most people do not believe it.

“After having seen yellow water, brown water, people just don’t want to take the risk,” he said. “It has stuck, the problem of the lack of confidence.”

Even Mr. Rebollo is not certain of how effective the investment has been, suggesting that purified water from the new plants gets contaminated in the city’s aging water mains. “Once it gets into the pipes, you lose all the effort that was put into it,” he said.

Rocío Pérez González, one of Mr. Santiago’s customers, ran the water from her tap in her kitchen, where she was preparing lunch. Crystalline water gushed out.

“It’s clean now, but years ago it came out dirty. It looked like chocolate,” she said. “So I got used to using the refill jug. Everybody here got used to buying water. We have had that habit for 15 years.”

A version of this article appeared in print on July 17, 2012, on page A9 of the New York edition with the headline: Bottled-Water Habit Keeps Tight Grip on Mexicans.

Time zone change alert for Feb. 1

 

Eastern time zone takes effect

in Puerto Aventuras on Feb. 1

Moving clocks ahead 1 hour adds evening light

By Staff  

   The state of Quintana Roo, in which Puerto Aventuras is located, will move from the central to the eastern U.S. time zone on Feb. 1. The change in the state’s standard time zone is seen by the tourist industry as a boost to business.

The time zone will not change in the State of Yucatan, something travelers to Merida, Progreso and other points west should keep in mind.

Residents here will be able to set their clocks ahead by one hour before going to bed on Jan. 31 and wake up to the new time zone on Feb. 1. It means Riviera Maya will be ahead of the rest of Mexico by an hour. The move was approved by the federal government.

Quintana Roo contains tourist hot spots like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the island of Cozumel. It also is home to unobtrusive ex-pat and snowbird communities like Puerto Aventuras, Paamul and Akumal.

Residents of this area by the Caribbean Sea will set clocks forward one hour for good on Feb. 1, 2015. The time zone switch is expected to enhance the tourism sector by creating longer, brighter evenings.

The “Southeastern Time Zone” as this new Mexican district is called, is the time- equivalent of United States Eastern Standard Time.

This change places Quintana Roo and its many tourist destinations in the same time zone as the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico once the change takes effect on Feb. 1.

The conversion will also improve airline connectivity with various cities in North America, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, but particularly in the teeming U.S., such as Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Miami, Boston and, in Canada, Montreal.

The change is also expected to deliver significant energy savings at the Cancún and Cozumel airports as well. It also means that daylight savings time usually occurring around April will not be observed in the new zone from 2015-2019.

 

Editorial…

 

And what about Cuba?

   The change in the time zone synchronizing Quintana Roo, and thus Puerto Aventuras and the rest of the Riviera Maya, with U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST), arrives at an opportune historical moment.

The apparent goal of the switch has been to grease the major U.S. eastern seaboard tourism markets centered in major population centers like New York, Boston, Providence, Philadelphia, Hartford, Washington D.C., and airline hub Atlanta. The move could also titillate snowbirds in the Montreal area as well.

The recent diplomatic breakthrough between the U.S. and Cuba adds an unexpected ingredient to the Caribbean tourism industry that some Riviera Maya investors feel will exacerbate competition.

The population on the Mexican Caribbean has been exploding along with the tourist industry, morphing sleepy villages into teeming cities like Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Prices and taxes on everyday needs from tortillas to gasoline and electricity are rising, thus decreasing the “bargain” perception of the Mayan Riviera particularly for snowbird real estate sales.

Cuba is 93 miles from the Florida Keys, a distance easily covered in four hours by modern fast ferries in which travelers from the freezing north could ferry cars and themselves from Florida to a Cuban destination in the future. Cuba has a land mass of 42,426 square miles, 3,570 miles of coastline, a low population density of its 11.3 million people, topographic diversity of flat plains and mountains and tropical climate similar to the Mayan Riviera. Tempting.

Cuba has already made significant strides in tourism, which has surpassed sugar as the main source of revenue. according to various reports. It attracts an average 3 million-plus tourists annually, mostly from Canada, generating several billions in income.

Business leaders in this area are already debating the long-term fallout from the political détente between the U.S. and Cuba, what it might mean for the island’s future foreign investment and development policies and the impact that will have on the Riviera Maya.

Developing a plan to capture and lock more tourists and home-buying snowbirds from the U.S. eastern seaboard as soon as possible makes sense for the Riviera Maya.

 

 

COMING EVENTS…

THE 7th ANNUAL Puerto Aventuras road race this year is Sunday, Jan. 25, and will begin at 7 a.m. at Porto Bello, same place as last year, but end at the large palapa in Centro’s Dolphin Discovery, which is the major race sponsor this year. Local runners can register at the Colonos office during working hours. For more information on registration and costs (200 pesos for adults, 150 for children) click on the Colonos site in the right-hand column … COLONOS ASSOCIATION board of directors meets on Jan. 28 in the Colonos office…CHAC HAL AL ASSEMBLY convenes Friday, Jan. 30 at the Colonos meeting room… COOKING CLASS – Latitude 20 cooking class has switched back to its regular Friday class schedule at 10 a.m on Fridays… ART SHOWS are held each Thursday evening at the Information and Art Center…Spanish classes at Latitude 20 are held at 11:30 a.m. (basic) and 12:30 (intermediate) on Mondays and Wednesdays…

 

Commerce Corner…

Dental office expands site,

adds endodontist to staff

By Staff  

SMILE) Dental of Puerto Aventuras, located in the Bamboo Mini-Mall on the new marina, has expanded its dental services as well as its office space.

Dr. Enrique Perez announced the addition of Dr. Ines Gaffner, a specialist in endodontics and prosthetics, to the staff. She arrives here after being in practice in her native Spain since graduating from the International University of Catalonia in 2010 with additional masters degrees in her specialties.

Dr. Gaffner’s arrival adds to the comprehensive dental services offered at SMILE) where two more chairs and modern equipment have been added to the facility located in the office’s two floors.

Endodontists perform a variety of dental procedures, the most common being endodontic therapy, more popularly known as “root canal,” the treatment of the infected pulp of a tooth to eliminate the infection and protect the tooth from further contagion. In addition, endodontists perform dental surgery and repair cracked teeth among other procedures for which they are specifically trained. Dr. Gaffner also specializes in prosthetics, the replacement of missing teeth via dental implants and/or removable replacements.

Dr. Gaffner, who speaks some English, is currently studying the English language at daily lessons to become more proficient. She lives in Puerto Aventuras with her husband, an executive with the Catalonia Hotel here.

The office has a comfortable indoor waiting room with wide TV, a gracious bi-lingual receptionist, an outdoor waiting area that provides solitude and a vista of the new marina boating activity, and a colorful children’s waiting room on the second floor with toys. Read more by clicking on the SMILE) logo in the sponsor column at left.

 

Work on Puerto Aventuras airfield

expected to begin in two weeks

By Staff

Quintana Roo State Secretary Gabriel Mendicuti Loria predicted during a visit to Playa del Carmen last week that the new aeropista runway and service facilities in Puerto Aventuras should be completed in about eight months after construction begins in two weeks to replace the airfield in Playa del Carmen.

The new airfield , located west of Highway 307, already has a dirt access road near the Lapis jewelry outlet and just across the southbound highway from the first “retorno” out of Puerto. The road entrance was partially blocked by stones in the last few weeks.

Some environmental groups had earlier complained the airfield will disturb the habitat of endangered species as jungle is cleared for the strip. Also, three companies, although acknowledging the need to move away from the current airport in Playa del Carmen, say their business is expected to drop by 50 percent at the new, out-of-the way site.

Those businesses include Aerosaab, Skydive and Aerotropical. They predict that the 400 monthly flights by 10 planes will drop to 200 at the new site. The final length and width of the new runway is not assured at this time or whether the facility will be upgraded to service small private jets. There has been no mention so far whether the new airport will try to attract a connecting shuttle service to the Cancun Airport.

Currently, agents of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) are investigating the site for any possible anthropological remains before work begins.

 

Poblado residents re-energize

argument for access to sea

  

Residents from the Puerto Aventuras Poblado demonstrated again last week at the Municipal Palace (City Hall) in Playa del Carmen for some form of access to the sea. More than a dozen people led by Tun Orlando Cox made a logical presentation by noting that all Mexicans should have the right to “enjoy the (environmental and natural) wealth of the nation.”

As it now stands, Pobladans have to spend pesos to bus themselves to Playa del Carmen or Akumal because the Puerto Aventuras resort and the private all-inclusive hotels of Barcelo and Hard Rock have not left a single access route to the beach by privatizing all the land leading to it. It was the fourth time the residents demonstrate for beach access at the City Hall.

Similar complaints went out two years ago from some resort homeowners when the only access to the beach in the resort was closed during a busy weekend, denying even property owners ready beach access. That situation has been corrected by a right of way issued to the Colonos for resort property owners. The Colonos is the association representing all property owners inside the resort. It administers surface infrastructure like roads, sidewalks, landscaping common areas and security among other general needs and issues.

 

The Mail Bag…

Writers say foul sewer gas

odor in area ‘disgusting’

Want answers from responsible officials

Dear Editor:

After several weeks of noticing a foul odor of raw sewage mixed with the usual fragrance of wood smoke from the Poblado blowing through my apartment on Punta Matzoma, I have spoken with one of our staff and he has confirmed, with a look of disgust, that this has not been my imagination. He has smelled it, too. His opinion is that the drains need to be purged from time to time, and this makes sense.

We have all experienced for many years the odor of sewage emanating from the P.A. sewage grates; but now it is airborne and in large volume. Our staff person added that it is the same over in Puerto Maya and the P.A. Poblado.

Questions: Does Colonos monitor sewage flows regularly, and, if so, who reports on the findings? With all the additional building over the years, has the sewage treatment plant been expanded? Who makes such decisions? Does Colonos take regular coliform readings at the beaches here, and are those reports available to public authorities and owners? Who is in charge of sewage and water quality in this “private touristic development?” Playacar has had the same problem for many years and now Puerto Aventuras? Thank you very much.

Signed/ Phyllis Boyd

Dear Editor:

Can anyone please address the issue of the air quality in PA for me? We live by the school and have to close our doors and windows as of the last few months, at different times, because of the disgusting sewer gas smell. I know I am not alone in this problem. Others have been issuing a concern. Who is the person to address this problem?

It is very embarrassing to have guests coming with this issue. Thank you

Signed/ Kathy Madrigrano

(Ed. Note: The new private water company H20 of Puerto Aventuras operates the water and sewerage systems. It can be reached at 984-802-9050. The Pelican Free Press welcomes a response from company officials in this matter. Numerous complaints have also emerged about foul odors and discoloration of the beach seawater near the Shangri La hotel beach in Playa del Carmen. Its suspected. but not confirmed, cause is the dumping of sewage from nearby buildings. An investigation is under way.)

 

 

Briefly Noted…

Metrick mile –  The Watchamacallit Magic Bus  driven by the Whodyacallim guy Peter Metrick of latidue 20 Restaurant is ready to provide fee-free rides to folks headed from anywhere in the resort to Latitude 20 Restaurant. Call 984-802-9372 The lack of street signs and simple addresses have drawn complaints on both sides of the highway dividing the Puerto Aventuras resort from the Poblado neighborhoods. A pitch was made for simplified addresses in the resort during the annual Colonos Assembly in December while, in the Poblado, the municipal delegation wants street signs to help visitors and delivery men find where they are going… More beer was spilled and stolen when the driver of a double-trailer truck tipped over into the brush off the highway about 20K south of Tulum. As though to prove people are alike everywhere, locals pulled up in cars and trucks and looted cases of beer from the spoils left by a driver who simply fell asleep after driving his load from Veracruz headed for Playa del Carmen. It’s the second truck headed for that destination to tip over in recent months and be looted, the first one on Highway 307 just outside the Playa city limits last spring, painfully slowing a traffic back-up for the better part of the day… President Pena Nieto announced last week that Mexico’s unemployment rate of 3.76 percent is the lowest in seven years. U.S. unemployment rate meanwhile is currently at about 5.6 percent and 6.6 percent in Canada… Adminstrative employees are on strike at the Autonomous University of Yucatan (Uady) over a wage increase. The union representing some 4,000 employees at all campuses is asking for a 10 percent hike and the university is offering 3.5 percent… The original Marlboro cowboy in the TV ads, Darrell Winfield, a real cowboy and father of six, died at 85 years of age at his Wyoming home last week. Cause of death was not released … More attention to bicycle safety and riders’ needs is being paid by the municipality of Solidaridad, of which Puerto Aventuras is part. There is a move on to issue rules of the road for bikers along with an effort to create more bicycle paths to improve safety and comfort. A growth in the number of people using bikes for daily transport has spotlighted the issue. Puerto Aventuras could use defined bike paths along its older main roads like Puerto Aventuras Boulevard to match the excellent paths in the developing Phase 4… Illiteracy in Soliidaridad has declined by 65 percent, reports the State Institute for Youth and Ault Education, from 7,000 to 2,000 since 2010 as the result of public education opportunities…

 

Nature Watch…

Tourist dies of heart attack

after battling Akumal tide

By Staff  

A 72-year-old U.S. citizen from Boston died of a heart attack upon leaving the water in Akumal Bay last week after an exhausting struggle with a suspected rip tide. That, and nearly a dozen rescues over the holidays in Playa del Carmen waters, is enough to recall our annual warning to swimmers concerning rip tides and how to spot and evade them.

For the uninitiated, a rip current, or simply “rip” is a potent water channel that flows from the shore to the sea through a surf line, sometimes flowing as fast as 8 feet per second. They potentially occur at any beach with breaking waves in the world’s oceans, seas and even large lakes. A rip is formed when wind and waves drive water toward the shore, forcing the water sideways. When wind and waves drive water toward the shore, that water is often forced sideways by the oncoming waves and it streams along the beach in search of an exit.

This results in the rip. It is more often than not narrow and found in trenches between sandbars, under piers or running along jetties.

There is a misguided view that undertow or rips pull victims under water when in fact the current is stronger at the water’s surface, which tends to dampen incoming waves, creating an illusion the water is calm. This may deceive some swimmers and lure them into the swift-moving channel in some cases causing death following exhaustion while fighting the current.

Typically, the strongest part of a rip current is the direct line between the water’s edge and the sandbar opening, but the current will also pull in water from either side of the basin. In this way, a rip current might pull you sideways, parallel to the beach, before it pulls you outward, away from the beach.

Once the receding wave makes its way through the sandbar opening and meets up with water at its own level, its pressure immediately drops. Overall, the water flow pattern has a mushroom shape.

Depending on its severity, you may be able to see a rip current from the beach. Strong rip currents disrupt incoming waves and stir up sand from the ocean floor. When you’re at the beach, keep an eye out for narrow, muddy streaks in the ocean where there aren’t any waves breaking.
If you get caught up in a rip current, it’s crucial that you keep your wits about you. Your first instinct may be to swim against the current, back to shallow waters. In most cases, even if you’re a strong swimmer, this will only wear you out. The current is too strong to fight head-on.

Instead, swim sideways, parallel to the beach. This will get you out of the narrow outward current, so you can swim back in with the waves helping you along. If it’s too hard to swim sideways while you’re being dragged through the water, just wait until the current carries you past the sandbar. The water will be much calmer there, and you can get clear of the rip current before heading back in.

People drown when they thrash about in the water or expend all of their energy swimming. To survive a rip current, or any crisis in the water, you have to keep calm, and you have to conserve your energy. If you don’t think you can swim all the way back to the beach, get past the rip current and tread water. Call for help, signal to people on the beach and, if all else fails, wait for the waves to carry you in.
If you’re on the beach and see somebody else caught in a rip current, call for help from a lifeguard or the police. Don’t immediately dive in and swim out to the person. It’s too risky to swim out there yourself unless you have a raft, boogie board or life preserver with you.
People who are not excellent and strong swimmers must exercise sensible caution when entering water with breaking surf and noticeable undertow, particularly near sandbars, reefs and jetties. A rip current could be lurking nearby. Common sense dictates that people not swim or snorkel alone or venture out in deep water or heavy surf without a life preserver and/or friends nearby.

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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