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Alert! MexFeds boost at-fault driver liability

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MIRADOR BASIN PROJECT, lecture and slide show in English by Prof. Richard D. Hansen, Ph.D., 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 17 at Cultural Center, tickets 150 pesos at the Colonos office or at the door. (Scroll down for more information contained in a previous edition.)
NIGHT OF RISING STARS at Latitude 20 Restaurant, 7-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15. The program features children from the Puerto Aventuras school.
REGGAE DANCE BAND Roots & Wisdom, Saturday, Feb. 16 from 6:30 p.m., Latitude 20 Restaurant.
HEALTHCARE FOR EXPATS is the title of an important symposium scheduled for 10 a.m., Feb. 26, in the Colonos Meeting Room. The American consular officer in Playa del Carmen will attend and representatives from the new Red Cross clinic in the Poblado, Hospiten and some insurers are expected to be presenters. Stay tuned and set that date aside if you have any concerns about health care and coverage.
A COLONOS ASSEMBLY to review and vote on a funding proposal to replenish and protect the Fatima Bay beach area will be held at 9:30 a.m. (first call) on Saturday, March 2, in the Colonos Meeting Room adjacent to the office. All voters are invited to participate. Stay tuned for details.


Anteater makes for rare sighting here

By staff
       It was just the other day that our downstairs neighbor asked if we had anything to get rid of those pesky no-see-‘um ants. We gave him a tube inside a box of stuff we brought in from the States. Don’t know yet how it’s working out.
A few days later, Colonos GM Armando Rincon sent us the picture above taken by public works operations manager Eduardo Reynoso.
It’s anybody’s guess how exactly rare an anteater sighting here is, but to be sure, now that we’ve sated our glimpses of monkeys, we’d like to see one these in the flesh and get acquainted.  Reynoso said he has seen another one, “a big one,” climbing down a tree next to a real estate office near the Colonos headquarters in Centro.
These two occurrences so close together foster an idea: Perhaps residents with ant problems ought to invite the anteater for dinner, yes? Anteaters are called“vermilingua”or “worm tongue” because the tongue can stretch two feet in the 5-foot-long giant anteater. The type of anteater found in this area averages about two feet long and some are considered arboreal (living in trees).
As to its rarity in these parts, the anteater isn’t specifically mentioned in David A. Nunez’ colorful book on the natural treasures of the Mexican Caribbean.

New manager has high hopes for golf course

Seeking input from, cooperation of all  users;
Prices already reduced for local property owners

By Staff
    Puerto Aventuras has a new golf course manager, and while he may be new at his “dream job,” Jose Luis Ortega is an old hand from this resort community’s early development. Now he’s back to help lift Puerto’s golf course and tennis courts to a higher plane of “community” involvement and service.

Proficient in Spanish and English, Ortega places considerable value on communications. To that end, he met with a group of residents who are golfers, listened to their views and shared his vision with them. He had already heard some of their complaints through individual conversations and had actively sought input from other golf course users such as joggers and dog-walkers who can be considered as trespassing on private property.
“I am a golfer and tennis player, and I believe I know how these assets should be run from the point of view of owner-residents,” he said at an interview earlier this week while overseeing course operations.

Jim Caddey, one of the golfers at the meeting, said the group negotiated “new rates for local golfers to play golf at the PA course. The old rate was $79 USD for eighteen holes, which was completely out of line with the other courses in the area, “ Caddey said. “The new rate is now $40 USD plus $10 for a golf cart. If you want to play nine holes, the rate is $30 USD plus $5 USD for a cart. If you bring a guest the rate is $63.20 USD. A local is defined as one who owns property in PA.”
Married 32 years and father of two adult sons, Ortega has assimilated experience and networked with professionals at various area courses that traditionally cater to tourists. “We are not in competition with them,” he says, noting their courses are more extravagant and that their fees exceed what a community golf course can reasonably charge residents. “We are only half a course,” he says in referencing Puerto’s 9-hole facility that has plans for future expansion as Phase 4 development evolves.

For the moment, Ortega, who was a sales manager here during the resort’s early development, says he wants to revive club memberships to accumulate front-money to improve the facility. “The course has been losing money,” he said, a reason for dwindling maintenance expenditures. “We thought it would be nice to arrive at the right price for residents” he said, noting that he was open to reasonable compromise to create “a golf course that residents can and want to use.”
He would also like to initiate golf clinics for youth and women as another way of shaping the course as a primarily community asset. If that can be accomplished over time, he believes, the vacationers will come.
People living along the golf course have noticed an uptick in business lately despite what Ortega says are legitimate complaints from golfers concerning dog-walkers, bike riders and joggers using the course while golfers are trying to play.
Noting that, “…after all, the course is private property,” Ortega said he has talked with some of the trespassers and has attempted to see their point of view as well. He said the course doesn’t have cart trails that could accommodate joggers and others to keep them off the fairways where there is a potential for injury.

The new manager said he is amenable to a plan that would allow those uses between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., when golfers are not using the course. He said people riding bicycles across the course are creating grooves and ruining grass and while he understands the enticement of a short-cut, he says there are streets for bicycle use. He equated the problem with bikers riding through a private home’s garden or lawn. Who would tolerate that? he asked rhetorically.
He said he plans to discuss the possibility of a tournament with local golfers to raise funds for the purchase of maintenance equipment. There would not be a conflict with the charity golf tourneys held in the last two years since that one isn’t being held this year, according to its promoters. Those tourneys achieved their goal of helping build the Poblado high school and then some.
Ortega’s sales experience shines through his persuasive use of conversation to explain a goal and define options to achieve it.  But for him communication is a two-way street.  He will listen, he said, to any reasonable suggestion that will give new meaning to “community” golf course.

Car-death liability cap raised to $300K

    By Staff and Yucalandia
      It took the purchase of a new car to learn that liability insurance for at-fault drivers in death cases has increased considerably, as has its cost.
Formerly, liability in at-fault death cases due to negligence was capped at 750 days times the local prevailing Mexican minimum wage, or roughly $50,000. The new law now in effect is capped at around $300,000, or 5000 days multiplied by the minimum wage, or roughly $300K.
Some major companies have decided to unilaterally raise the limits for policies currently in force and until the policies are renewed.  Check with your insurer if this is a concern to you.


Playa school spawns business networking arm

One goal is to bridge the international gap

By Staff
Something new will be happening for local business people on Feb. 28 when a fresh organization called “Negocios Unidos” (United Business) launches its first “business exchange night” at the Colegio Ingles and Centro Universitario Ingles in Playa del Carmen from 6:30 to 11 p.m.    

Jon Felperin, director of United Business, is an American living and teaching in Playa who says his aim is to create a standing organization where local and international business people can network.
“My business is English education,” Felperin said, “and not event promotion.  However, we are trying to fill the gap that Chambers of Commerce normally concern themselves with in other countries.”
Felperin said he is expecting several hundred business people, some of whom will man information booths that are available for a fee to businesses that want to promote their wares or services.
An admission fee of 150 pesos covers an alcoholic drink, hors d’oeuvre, a raffle, music, speed networking and other opportunities to make new business contacts.
“We have offered the English-speaking Rotary International Club a free presence. The Municipio office for small business promotion will also be there,” Felperin said. Presentations will be in Spanish.
He said Colegio Inglés is located at Km. 291.5 on Feweral Highway 307 in Playa del Carmen. “Heading towards Cancun, just outside of Playa, the school is on the federal highway, where the overpass ends. It is on the left hand side of the road, just before the street 28 de Julio, behind Steren Electronics.”
More info at jfelperin@negociosunidos.net and at www.negociosunidos.net or by calling 984-806-3956.


…On keeping Skidoos away from the shore

Dear Editor:
Is there no law keeping wave runners (Skidoos) out of our bay (Fatima). We have a peaceful little bay where people swim, snorkel and relax on the beach. Now there are people on wave runners coming in dangerously close to the beach and speeding along – disturbing us with loud noise, noxious gas fumes and, worst of all, the danger they pose to swimmers and snorkelers in the water.
Is there no regulation to keep them beyond the reef and out of the bay? There should be! They are ruining the quiet and safety of our beach and bay in Puerto Aventuras. Can officials look into this please?

signed/Karen Loewenstern

Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter

The sales tax on a new car is 11 percent here.“El impuesto sobre la ventas en un coche nuevo es de 11 por ciento aquí ” Anyone interested in learning the language can please contact Ms. Contreras by email at Gloria Contreras nanigloria@hotmail.com or Cel: 984-108-3517 so she can prepare materials in advance.
(Classes are from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is $150 pesos per session.

What’s Playing…

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

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

Briefly noted…

Compiled from staff, contributor and media reports
      THE PARK COMMITTEE has apparently become inactive as classes that were held there last year are no longer being held. Colonos GM Armando Rincon says he’ll call a meeting of the committee soon to learn what is going on, if anything…LET THERE BE LIGHTS – We continue to get verbal complaints about the lack of lighting on the highway.  Drivers say it is dangerous at night getting around the overpass. Who is responsible for that?…“EVEN FOREIGNERS” are engaging in street sales of drugs in Playa’s colonies noted a local newspaper after an Italian citizen was caught trying to sell 43 packets of marijuana…TULUM is expected to get a new landfill this year and in the process clean up its current open dump and the environmental problems it represented…- STATE OF THE STATE – Quintana Roo’s unemployment rate of 4.3 percent in 2012 was a bit under the national average as officials seek to lower the rate to around 3.5 percent…COLD WEATHER up north has benefitted small hotels along Playa’s 5th Avenue that were reporting a surprising 70 to 100 percent occupancy last week…ANOTHER CENOTE DEATH was reported last week when a professional Canadian diver drowned in the Kalimba cenote in Tulum…

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