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Monthly Archives: March 2017

March 22, 2017

The year’s second traffic fatality
near main gate is reported 

THE VICTIM’S BODY was found at the base of the signpost where the poblado access road and highway converge. Note tire marks at right in photo (Staff Photo)

By Staff
Another traffic fatality occured on Highway 307 in view of the pedestrian overpass in Puerto Aventuras and near the beginning of the vehicular overpass heading south.

The only early identification described the victim as a male wearing red shirt and blue denim trousers. The police said there were tire marks of a vehicle apparently braking hard and leaving the scene.

This accident is close to another fatal several weeks ago in which a 30-year-old mother of two was killed trying to cross the highway to a van stop for transportation to a new job.

Since that accident occurred, a temporary type fence has been erected on the highway median to encourage use of the pedestrian bridge and discourage the dangerous practice of crossing a highway of speeding vehicles.

A small group of concerned citizens in the Puerto Aventuras resort has recently opened private discussions on how to get the federal government to improve safety conditions at the retorno leading to Puerto Maya and Chedraui market and improve pedestrian safety in the area.

Colonos reverses stance
on use of main gate ban

By Staff
Customers of commercial vessels contesting requirements of a new contract with the Puerto Aventuras marina ownership will be prohibited from entering the resort at the main gate beginning Wednesday, March 29.

The Colonos board’s decision last Thursday (March 16) reverses a previous denial of the marina’s initial request to use a main gate ban for what is essentially a private business matter between the marina and commercial boaters.

A spokesman for boaters reiterated this week they are and have been “100 percent open to negotiations” with the marina ownership over some aspects of the new contract they say will have a negative impact on their businesses, underscoring that “it isn’t just about money.” The spokesman said there are about 100 jobs at risk among the boating crews should a ban force layoffs.

The Colonos board, which is the voice of the community’s property owners’ association funded by community fees, reconsidered its stance after the marina ownership’s request was resubmitted and after the Colonos board heard an attorney’s arguments made on behalf of the boaters.

Notifications planned

The boaters involved in the disagreement – not all boaters are contesting the contract – were to be officially notified of the decision this week. Also being notified, according to the Colonos administration, are third party agencies that sell to and deliver customers to the boaters from outside Puerto Aventuras resort, suggesting they book with other providers or be denied entry at the gate.

Colonos board members were not inclined to release specifics of the reversal vote this week other than say it was “close,” or what explicit information, situation or pressures triggered the reversal of its original vote.

A document issued by the community’s master developer in January called “Plan Aventuras 2017-2020” includes a section on the marina and commercial services therein noting that “New activities and promotions require adaptations and additional infrastructure that will have to be funded by such services…and will include a new fee for those who will offer services to visitors in general and doing business from the marina.”

Pickpocket team claims another
PA victim in Soriana market  

By Staff
Another Puerto Aventuras resident – the second in as many years – was a pickpocket victim at Soriana Supermarket in Centro Maya last week. Adding insult to injury, no one at the store, not the clerks, not the security guards “seemed to care,” the female victim told the Pelican Free Press.

A MOMENT’S DISTRACTION and all is lost.

The incident begs a warning to shoppers and diners everywhere, particularly older and from another country, that the high season provides many fresh, unsuspecting targets for ravenous thieves to fleece and want to know “what’s in your wallet?”

The woman’s wallet contained several credit cards, driver’s license, health insurance card, and nearly $1,000 USD, some of which was going to be used the same day, ironically, to pay for a “residente permanente” visa.

BACK POCKET BLUES – Men are also vulnerable.

The modus operandi is not particularly brilliant, but it works. A stranger in the shopping aisle attracts the mark’s attention with conversation while a partner, in this case, unzipped the victim’s pocketbook while the victim was firmly holding it by the handles, but facing the woman who distracted her, as the partner deftly lifted her wallet and disappeared.

These incidents cause victims to frantically make calls to cancel cards and then face the daunting task of replacing health and credit cards and driver’s license, all of which disrupts the flow of normal life for a while.

Forewarned is forearmed. When shopping in any busy supermarket, keep your pocketbook in front of you and tighten your grip when strangers accidentally bump into you. Never leave a pocketbook sitting in the shopping cart while you peruse the products. When in restaurants, don’t hang a pocketbook on the back of a chair out of sight. Be conscious of the possibilities you are being stalked as a victim and act accordingly.

 

Can(ned) Coon…

THIS LITTLE MASKED BANDIT broke into the wrong jail from which he couldn’t escape after eating the bait. The cage was meant to catch a cat destined to be neutered. This intruder was released to the wild…a better fate than what awaited the cat. (Staff Photo)

 

Time running out for discount
on new plates for your car
By Staff
A discount offered for registering your car and trading your old license plates for new plates ends on March 31, after which time the price will edge up somewhat. The cost before April 1 is 690 pesos and payment must be in cash. No credit or debit cards are accepted.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles is located at the corner of 15th Avenue and Calle 1 South, just in back of the walled school. Take a right on Juarez from the lower highway (Playa del Carmen Blvd.) down to 15th. Turn right. Go one block and you’ll see a parking lot on the right and the registry on the left.

NEW PLATES this year specify front (F) and back (T) in upper left corner while upper right corner appears to have a bar code of sorts.

Besides cash and your current registration (the little silver card) be sure to bring identification such as your passport or residente permanente and a little less patience than the last time three years ago. The long lines of the past have gotten shorter by using an upstairs office to also process the registrations and trade plates, saving time.

You also need to remove the plates from your car and bring them inside with you. Be sure to have the right tools to accomplish that and install the new plates. One of the attendants in the parking lot, if you park there (12 pesos an hour), will help with the plates for a tip.

 

What’s  Happening…
The rhythmic beats of Africa,
and saving lives by eating tacos

 African dance and drum   performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 24, at the Cultural Center on Bahia Akumal with proceeds going to the award-winning youth sailing club of Puerto Aventuras. The Mexican percussion ensemble will present African beats with eight drummers and three dancers interpreting the sounds and movements of cultures from West Africa, Guinea and Burkina Faso. Tickets are 100 pesos at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at the Colonos office.

Eat tacos and save lives A taco party fund-raiser to maintain the Red Cross ambulance in Akumal will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 27, at the Lol Ha Restaurant on the Akumal beach.  Tickets are 280 pesos (or $20 USD). The musical group, Salty Snowbirds, will entertain. Tickets include a beer or soda and a belly full of tacos.

Trivial Pursuits is coming up at 4 p.m. this Sunday, March, 26, at Latitude 20 Restaurant with proceeds going to the poblado Community Center. Come join the fun, says owner Jim Stubbs…

Spanish classes taught by Maestra Gloria Contreras are under way at the Latitude 20 Restaurant. Beginners class from 9 to 10 a.m. and advanced class from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact her at cel 984-108-3517 for more information…

Soccer players aged 15 to 50+ are invited to play on the informal resort team Sundays, 9 to 11 a.m., at the Puerto Maya sports complex field. The resort team, wearing red and black shirts, has informal fun games with a poblado team. The field is in back of the Oxxo store on the main entrance road that begins at Chedraui’s…

Dates of note in March… In Mexico –President Benito Juarez birthday, March 21.

 

Unions, government sign pact
on regulating PA mototaxis

B y Staff
An agreement to operate regulated mototaxis in Puerto Aventuras poblado and Puerto Maya has finally been signed by five unions and the Secretariat of Infrastructure and Transportation, but it won’t bring mototaxis to the resort.

The idea of having perhaps five regulated mototaxis with union approval operate inside the resort was floated by the Fideicomiso a few months ago pending union approval. However, the Colonos board countered that it was not a good idea, so the proposal has been abandoned.

The mototaxis have been proliferating in the community without regulations concerning safety and liability. The agreement has set the number of taxis at 20 units to each of the five signatory unions, COR, COM, CROC, Untrac and Lazaro Cardenas del Rio, for a total of 100. That figure could rise to 30 units each depending on demand.

The agreement requires the taxis be factory purchased and not remodeled bikes or motorcycles and that each carry liability insurance. Union and Sintra agents will be assigned to handle complaints. Pricing was set from 5 to 20 pesos depending on distance. The taxis are not allowed to operate outside Puerto Aventuras.

The Roundup…

 A subsidy to the Red Cross by the municipal government hardly made up for years of not funding a critical service that saves lives. The municipal council voted 50,000 pesos last week after the Red Cross publicly complained of not receiving any government support for years,  risking closure of  the Red Cross clinic and ambulance services in Puerto Aventuras which is supported by Colonos funding…

 Two noisy businesses were closed in Tulum and three more sanctioned for exceeding noise decibel limits that drew complaints from the public. The businesses were located on the beach and on Tulum Avenue.

Mesh barriers to prevent sargassum from reaching beaches in Playa del Carmen were re-installed last week as the unwanted weed began to surface again along the coast, including some small deposits in the area of Fatima Bay in Puerto Aventurs that were quickly raked. Storms had upended the mesh barriers earlier this year…

Another “narcoblanket”  was found hung in Playa del Carmen last week after the arrest of an alleged leader of one of the competing cartel gangs in the area. It carried threats to other gangs, the “police” who protect them and taxi drivers, one of whom was murdered last week thus bringing this year’s total of taxi driver homicides to six…

Mexican human rights at risk says a story in last week’s New York Times. The bill, not yet passed in congress, would lose the gains made in last year’s heralded justice system reform. The new bill will allow the detaining of suspects for years awaiting trial, let police rely on hearsay evidence and let prosecutors use evidence obtained by torture…

Cruise ships are expected to bring a $6 million windfall to Cozumel this week. Eight ships are expected to arrive this coming Thursday, depositing some 24,000 passengers on the island…

Food Fest 2017: Another happy ending…

INTERNATIONAL FOOD FEST this year attracted 300 diners Sunday who tasted flavorful, ethnic morsels from various countries prepared by 21 chefs in plentiful shade at the Colegio grounds. Top right is PA resident Alberto Rivera, wife Gabriela and their two children, also Alberto and Gabriela. (Staff Photos)

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication during our weekly high-season schedule is 10 a.m. on Mondays. Thank you. Disclaimer: The Pelican Free Press is not responsible for content and/or claims made on sponsor web sites or social media links.

The end – Previous edition below

March 15, 2017

THE FIRST STEP…

… IN THE CENTRAL PARK DEVELOPMENT is already under way as workers begin laying the tandem tracks (left and right in photo) – one for jogging, walking, running and one for biking – separated by a generous median. The park replaces what had earlier been intended as the second nine holes of the golf course. (Staff Photo)

 

Marina impasse continues
as Colonos readies notices

By Staff
A business standoff between the Puerto Aventuras Marina ownership and several commercial boat operators remained unresolved at press time Tuesday (March 14) while the Colonos board mulled information from the boaters’ attorney.

The Colonos invited the attorney last Wednesday to articulate the boaters’ claims involving permits and legal technicalities that would prevent the Colonos from refusing to admit their customers at the main gate.

Colonos involvement in what is a business disagreement between private parties was triggered by a request from the marina to block customers of boating interests involved in the disagreement.

One boater has also questioned whether federal law allows the marina to hinder passage of commercial vessels in its waters. After the boaters’ presentation, the board asked the attorney to return with evidence of required operating permits and with chapter and verse of the law(s) backing their claims.

No customers have been refused entry at the gate thus far, but, said a Colonos official, the board appears ready, or not, to implement the marina ownership’s bid to block customers at the main gate if boaters’ claims lack legal support or proof of required permits.

Pending a final decision, meanwhile, the Colonos reportedly has discussed notifying the boaters and third parties that sell to and deliver customers to the marina from outside the Puerto Aventuras resort that they should book with other providers or be denied entry at the gate.

If such a selective blockade is implemented, said one of the affected boaters, a lawsuit against the Colonos action will probably be filed. One said  the prevention of customers accessing their services would seriously affect income and result in considerable loss of jobs. A decision by the board to implement a ban or not is expected this week.

 

Can you believe ‘Puerto Aventrumpas?’
Mexico allows four Trump trademarks

Donald Trump’s blistering, insulting attacks on Mexico and its people during the recent US presidential campaign was not enough to block business transactions that give the Trump company opportunity to enrich itself on Mexican soil…wall or no wall.

The Trump organization was awarded four trademarks permitting the company to use the Trump name on Mexican projects such as hotels, tourism, building materials and other businesses. The trademarks allow the Trump brand to be used in the event the company should want to do business in Mexico.

The trademarks were quietly filed by lawyers in Mexico City and approved by the Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), one in October, a month before Trump’s election, and three more last month, shortly after the inauguration.

Trump critics say ethics rules are being trampled on by his refusal to clearly disassociate himself from his business, now being run by his sons.  Incidentally, Mexico is not alone. China, also battered by Trumpisms, has also approved a few  trademarks.

 

Health officials report 13 cases
of malaria, issue an area alert

Health officials have issued an alert for Solidaridad and northern parts of the state of Quintana Roo following a report of 13 cases of malaria in the municipality of Puerto Morelos.

Officials said they believe the profusion of mangroves in Puerto Morelos is contributing to the propagation of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito that also is a carrier of dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and mayaro.

Mangroves are difficult areas in which to control mosquito populations since they are mostly impenetrable and house crocodile populations, the officials said. Tbe warning urges residents to eliminate stagnant water near housing areas where mosquitoes breed and to use repellants when outdoors near wooded areas.

 

Bring friends to the food fest Sunday 

SIGN UP NOW at the Colonos office and share your cultural cuisine with your friends and neighbors. So far, 23 chefs have come forward to participate.

The number of chefs who will participate in the international food fest on March 19 is up to 23 with room for two more who can register until Saturday, said Colonos coordinator Carlos Quinones. “We will make space for late-comers,” he said.

The event is being held from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Colegio Puerto Aventuras.

Quinones said festivities will include a mariachi band and other musical entertainment to accompany the morsels of ethnic cuisine representing various countries and other areas of Mexico.

Meanwhile, advance tickets for the annual event are being sold at the Colonos office during regular working hours and will be available at the door.

The event endeavors to spotlight the diversity of the PA community’s cosmopolitan mix of residents and visitors through their common foods.

A caribbean cooking class , being held over a 4-week period, began at 4 p.m. today, March 14, at The Divot restaurant on the golf course. The cost for the 4-class course is 1500 pesos. Individual classes cost 400 pesos. Participants will partake of their culinary results.The first class will focus on mixed ceviche with mango and ginger also flank steak tacos with pesto sauce. Next class on March 21 will be on beetroot carpaccio, toasted seeds and a yogurt and mint dressing;,also chicken brochette with spicy pineapple sauce…

ART CLASSES formerly held at the information and art center are now being held at the cultural center on Bahia Akumal at the above times.

Bingo is coming up at 3:30 p.m. this Sunday, March, 19, at Latitude 20 Restaurant with proceeds going to the poblado Community Center. Come join the fun, says owner Jim Stubbs…

Spanish classes taught by Maestra Gloria Contreras are under way at the Latitude 20 Restaurant. Beginners class from 9 to 10 a.m. and advanced class from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact her at cel 984-108-3517 for more information…

Soccer players ages 15 to 50+ are invited to play on the informal resort team Sundays, 9 to 11 a.m., at the Puerto Maya sports complex field. The resort team, wearing red and black shirts, has informal fun games with a poblado team. The field is in back of the Oxxo store on the main entrance road that begins at Chedraui’s…

Eat tacos and save lives – A taco party fund-raiser to maintain the Red Cross ambulance in Akumal will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 27, at the Lol Ha Restaurant on the Akumal beach.  Tickets are 280 pesos (0r $20 USD). The musical group, Salty Snowbirds, will entertain. Tickets include a beer or soda and a belly full of tacos.

Dates of note in March… In Mexico – Oil expropriation by President Cardenas in 1938, March 18;  President Benito Juarez’ birth date, March 21; In the US – St. Patrick’s Day, March 17…

Recycling this Friday, March 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the newly redecorated skate park on Blvd. Puerto Aventuras. This year, there will be recycling twice a month. See below for dates in 2017.

RECYCLING DATES FOR 2017

 

PA’s People…
Sally Evans was early symbol
of feistyWall Street statue

SALLY EVANS was a pioneer locksmith of sorts who helped unlock the door to women on Wall Street and later dubbed “Queen of the Townhouses” in Puerto Aventuras.  (Staff Photo)

By Staff
If you’re in the market to buy, sell or rent housing and you want royal treatment, visit Sally Wood Evans, the duly crowned “Queen of the Townhouses” in the Riviera Maya. You’ll find her at Caribbean Realty in Puerto Aventuras Centro.

She earned the royal honor from playful colleagues, she recalls, after arriving in Puerto Aventuras 20 years ago this coming May, “when the community we see today was only 10 percent built, the roads mostly dirt” and the area housing market awakening to a new dawn.

A few years later, when the townhouses on Bahia Akumal, adjacent to the highway, were being built and “selling for $50,000” most real estate agents were concentrating on the more lucrative waterfront manses.

“I bought one of the townhouses for myself,” she said, “and then sold most of the rest of them. What I most enjoy is selling a property that I am also drawn to.”

She’s still in the business and living in the townhouse despite having enjoyed her share of rewarding years helping people buy, or sell, or rent up and down the Riviera Maya, branding her name and reputation in the process.

The glamour of Wall Street

Being crowned a queen was a humorous honor for one born far from the castle in Syracuse, NY, a few miles south of Lake Oneida. Eventually,  Evans struck out with her education and natural sales ability for the glamour of Wall Street in the days when only the bull roamed the financial ring.

Adding a pinch of chutzpah to her natural sales ability, Evans strolled upon the scene with curiosity and confidence, soon learning she also needed to develop acerbic repartee, when occasioned, if she was not to be denied. She thus became, she said, “the first female bond underwriter” on Wall Street, specializing in municipal bonds.

FACING THE BULL for women’s rights to the workplace is symbolized by a statue temporarily placed on Wall Street.

It was a “first” that now qualifies her as one of the living symbols represented by the recent placement of the statue of a determined girl, poised like a taunting matador challenging the bull of Wall Street to commemorate International Women’s Day held on March 8.

Choosing real estate

“Then I married my boss,” she says matter of factly, “and eventually moved south to Atlanta for his work.” And like Wall Street at the time, the door to Atlanta’s financial circles had a “men only” sign on it. “I looked for work, something similar to selling bonds, and became licensed in real estate sales.”

One more move south and she landed in Puerto Aventuras where she has spent the last 19 years with the same real estate group now called Caribbean Realty.

Busy and productive life

“I’ve always been busy here,” she said of her career on the Riviera Maya servicing buyers, sellers and renters in Puerto Aventuras, Akumal, Puerto Morelos and Tulum.  “One year, I sold a unit a week in different price ranges for three consecutive months.” Another year came an exclusive agreement to sell the high-ticket Punto Roca project that was a successful period.

There were also beneficent forays into helping organizations such as Friends of Puerto Aventuras (FOPA) to deliver education and hope to the needy.

Evans is still at it. While the market is taking an understandable breather over the suspense of US-Mexico economic relations, she said, she foresees a resurgent housing market here.

Find out more about her and Caribbean Realty on the Internet website that has clear information every foreign or domestic buyer should know. Just click on the Caribbean Realty logo in the sponsor column at left.

The Roundup…

Quintana Roo in top 10 currupt states for the past five years says the Legislative Observer group that studies corruption in the business and government sectors. It listed the construction business as one of the most corrupt and the granting of permits and licenses close by. Lack of transparency in government allows corruption to flourish, the agency said…

Future of US-Mexico economic ties will be discussed in about three months, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week. He said he hopes to launch the much ballyhooed NAFTA   negotiations then…

Crime dramas still prevail in the search for money-making Hollywood movies about bad guys. Sony plans a flick about Mexican drug cartel CEO Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who should have been nicknamed “The Weasel” for his infamous prison escapes through tunnels. He is now imprisoned in the US to answer multiple charges…

A former Oaxaca police chief was convicted earlier this month on a charge of murder in the death of a journalist for a daily newspaper in Oaxaca. The Committee to Protect Journalists applauded the conviction and asked the court to continue prosecuting all involved in the case. The convicted former chief was also ordered to pay $9,000 USD to the victim’s family…

A forum on the Great Maya Aquifer  which supplies the Yucatan Peninsula, was the topic discussed by scientists, researchers, educators, politicians and environmentalists and other specialists who see the need to set public policies and to study methods for preserving the aquifer. The event was held in the Riviera Maya…

A former judicial policeman allegedly involved in a cartel gang suspected of involvement in the Blue Parrot shootings in Playa del Carmen and criminal activity in Cancun has been arrested and detained. He faces eight charges including involvement in the Centro Maya theft last summer in which a custodian died. He was arrested after a chase in a stolen car…

 

Nature Watch…
How does this tree reproduce?
The answer’s written in the wind

By Gayle Sandholm

You have likely noticed the silky or cotton-like fibers floating in the winds around town and filling your door and window screens.  Each small fiber contains a seed which blows in the wind and floats on the water.

The fibers come from the fruit pod (pochote) of the Ceiba or Kapok tree.  Ceiba trees may flower as little as once every 5 years, especially in wetter forests. Flowering is more frequent on forest edges or in drier sites.  White blossoms developed in and around Puerto earlier in the year.

These flowers give off a foul odor and attract bats which help pollinate the flowers as they enjoy the nectar.  Because the tree is deciduous, it sheds its leaves during the dry season just after flowering and reveals its fruits, producing from 500 to 4,000 of them, each containing up to 200 seeds.  These green fruits have sometimes been mistaken for avocados.  When dry they burst open, sometimes looking, as one observer told me, like those ferbies of days past.

The stuff is fluff

The Ceiba tree fruiting with a huff and a puff and sure enough you’ll see the stuff as flying fluff.

The fibers or fluff, known as kapok, have been made into clothing by Mayans for centuries.  The fibers are covered with a waxy substance making them highly water repellent.   Before developing synthetic fibers, kapok was widely used in life preservers as well as fill for pillows, mattresses, tapestries and dolls.  The small black-brown seed has been used to extract oils for making soaps.

Much has been written about the Ceiba, Yaaxche (Maya), tree.  Its deep roots make it less vulnerable to hurricane winds.  Its trunk can grow to 9 or 10 feet in diameter and up to 200 feet in height.

Young trees develop woody, sharp spines sticking out of its trunk to discourage wild rodents from damaging it.   The mature tree’s nooks and groves are home to birds, frogs, butterflies, insects, and small flowering plants. The most sacred tree in Mayan culture, its roots and tall umbrella like crowns, are known to connect the underworld, the present and the cosmos.

From the large number of Ceiba trees in and around Puerto, it looks like our skies will see more kapok in the coming days.

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication during our weekly high-season schedule is 10 a.m. on Mondays. Thank you. Disclaimer: The Pelican Free Press is not responsible for content and/or claims made on sponsor web sites or social media links.

The end – Previous edition below

Pelican Free Press Newsletter

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