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April 1, 2016

 

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Incidents here offer reminders

of need to stay alert, cautious

Another fugitive in PA extradited on US warrant

By Staff
Another North American fugitive from justice who reportedly used Puerto Aventuras as a place to live and “hide in plain sight” was recently apprehended on Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue and whisked to Cancun Airport for return to the United States to face criminal charges of fraud.

George W. Bowen III, 59, who was wanted on numerous charges in Colorado, reportedly had been living in a PA  condo while operating a crew of timeshare sales people in the Bamboo complex “using our community’s name and prestige to commit fraud,” said a Puerto Aventuras official familiar with the case.

Bowen reportedly passed himself off as a Mexican national using fraudulent papers to do business “selling air”, as one knowledgeable real estate person put it. Bowen was rumored to have a business partner with links to the area’s  political community. Among his allegedly forged documents were a passport, Mexican voting card – the nation’s most important form of identification – and birth certificate.

Facing multiple fraud counts

He was taken into custody by Mexican Army and immigration agents after Puerto Aventuras officials circulated wanted posters from Colorado’s 4th Judicial District, alerting the PA community about Bowen’s fugitive status. Bowen was detained in Playa shortly after the posters were disseminated  here.

Published reports note Bowen faces 16 counts of defrauding Colorado homeowners of thousands in insurance money for roof repairs that were never made, among other complaints concerning investment counseling, one of which was secretly captured on video by an investigative news crew and published in Colorado. Bowen moved from Virginia to Colorado after being released from federal prison in 2007 where he had been serving time for mail fraud, a federal offense.

Not the first

One Colorado victim of an alleged  Bowen scam said Bowen had “a southern accent like you wouldn’t believe, just dripping with honey.” Rumors here claim he also may have been involved with former fugitive “Bubba” Ballow around 2011, who spent time in PA bilking careless investors out of money on fraudulent land and timeshare sales.

Ballow, then 68, was described as a slick-tongued SiSiSi Restaurant operator in Centro and convicted swindler with many aliases. He was extradited to Houston to face charges and imprisoned. He too was ultimately escorted out of Mexico by U.S. Marshals after being on the run for six years.

In March of 2013, fugitive Douglas J. Bell, who had developed a small circle of friends here while living in an upscale waterfront condo, was taken into custody at his condo and extradited to Florida to answer to child pornography charges following repeated efforts by Playa del Carmen lawyer Teresa Rubi Mendiola and others who sought his deportation on a US fugitive warrant. Once extradited, fugitives are generally not allowed to return to Mexico. On other fronts:

Pickpocket active

In other events, Colonos Security reports that a pickpocket was active along the Dolphin Walk in Centro last week after a woman reported that her wallet was stolen from her pocketbook, which she had on her person, while she was distracted observing some of the entertaining activities in the area.

There were two incidents of house intrusions that turned out to be late-night ramblings by two separate and highly inebriated individuals staying at two different hotels. In both cases, there was slight damage and the perpetrators offered apologies and paid for damages, the Colonos Security reported. One incident involved the theft of about $50 from under a pillow in a Bahia Kantenah condo unit. Also reported was the theft of a safe-box containing an unspecified amount of cash from a house on Bahia Yanten. The attempted theft of a motor from a sailboat in the dry marina also was reported to Security.

These incidents have brought reminders by Colonos officials urging visitors and residents to remain aware in business dealings, secure their home and keep their pocketbooks and wallets where they can see them. There have also been three reports of stolen bicycles, one of which was recovered in the Centro area.

 

 

Showtime: – A show of dance, mime and acrobats with an intermission auction will be held beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 16 at the Cultural Center. It is sponsored by the PA Youth Sailing Club that has produced individual and team champions in national and international competition. Daniel Gracis, club commodore, said funds are needed to send the young sailors to various international competitions. “They are winning a lot,” Gracis said, “and bringing attention to Puerto Aventuras and its seafaring tradition as a destination.” (This replaces a previous announcement of a concert that had been scheduled for April 15.)

A Colonos assembly will be held at 9:30 a.m. April 16 to vote on spending about $87K on road extension, landscaping, site preparation for remodeling the main gate structure and adding several new traffic lanes. Home, condo and vacant-lot owners who want to cast a vote at the assembly must register at the Colonos office between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. or 3p.m. to 5 p.m. between April 11-13 (Mon.-Wed.) showing identification or a proxy valid for the assembly date. Hotel and condo managers must register on April 14 and show their authorization.

Trivial pursuits Sunday, April 10, at 4 p.m. at Latitude 20 Restaurant and Lounge with Shannon Rachynski. Proceeds go to the needy. The project, which has been attracting players every other Sunday this high season, has already raised 40,000 pesos for distribution to local charities.

 

Commerce Corner….

Capt. Rick’s primed for fishing

tournaments as season opens

 

To host wounded warriors for 3rd year

By Staff
Capt. Rick’s Sportfishing of Puerto Aventuras reported last week the landing of the new fishing season’s first white and blue marlins as the company and its 16 boats from 23- to 43-footers prepare for the coming influx of visiting fishermen and various tournaments.

Owner-manager Glenna Uecker, said the company, the largest experienced fleet in the area with English-speaking captains, is preparing to host its third annual Wounded Warriors group in conjunction with the 12th annual Dave Harris Memorial Fishing Tourney on May 21.

In addition, Uecker said, “anyone interested in fishing one of the local fishing tournaments can contact Captain Rick’s to get a boat. The Rodeo de Lanchas Mexicanas is in Cozumel May 14, 15 and 16 and Playa del Carmen’s tournament is May 27, 28 and 29.

Netherlands guests

“We are also going to host an IGFA sanctioned tournament, the Penn Challenge, from June 4- 8.  The participants are coming from the Netherlands. This is a not-for-profit tournament that will be making a donation to a local charity,” she said.

In addition, Capt. Rick’s, chosen last year to participate in a worldwide catch-and-release tagging program sponsored by Gray Taxidermy, will again participate in the program this year that builds a “research bridge between professional fishermen and science.” An estimated 10,000 boat captains and crew are participating worldwide.

Visiting fishermen looking for a productive day on the water are invited to arrange for a boat by calling the office at 984-873-5195 or, from the US, 888-449-3562. For lots of fishing information, click on Capt. Rick’s logo on this page to enter the website.

Sailing with humor

Capt. Rick’s is about landing fish and it isn’t done without humor, as a note of appreciation from visiting 16-year-old Michael Unger of Edmond, Oklahoma, attests after landing a blue marlin on one of Capt. Rick’s boats: “It’s hard to hook a blue marlin in Edmond, Oklahoma” where only 3.19 percent of the area is water, a lake that offers fishermen catfish and bass.

This is the season when “fish are flying” in the Mayan Riviera’s inviting Caribbean waters ,as the following chart attests:

Fish

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

July

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Sailfish

FA

FA

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

VG

GO

FA

FA

FA

Blue Marlin

RA

RA

VG

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

VG

FA

FA

FA

White Marlin

RA

RA

VG

VG

EX

EX

EX

VG

RA

RA

RA

RA

Wahoo

EX

VG

GO

GO

GO

VG

VG

VG

VG

VG

EX

EX

Dorado

FA

VG

VG

VG

EX

EX

EX

EX

FA

FA

FA

FA

Barracuda

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

Tuna

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

Shark

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

GO

Snapper/Grouper

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX

EX-cellent; GO-good; FA-fair; VG-very good; RA-rare

New cool at Liverpool…

 

The Roundup…

Doggie Park – A design for creation of a doggie park at the site of the former children’s park on Puerto Aventuras Blvd. has been presented to the Colonos by Karla Hinton, who proposed the idea at the December assembly. Colonos GM Armando Rincon met with Hinton on Monday for clarification of the design, which will then be presented to the Fideicomiso to assure there is agreement on the park’s parameters and development…

Resident activist Angelo Mouzouropoulos forwarded an FYI report to developer Roman Rivera Torres on the latest scientific developments concerning the battle against the Zica virus that is spread by local mosquitoes. While the science is in development, people here who have already noticed an uptick in mosquitoes as the rainy season approaches but still want sunset dinner al fresco, should know that WeRWater has a supply of citronella candles to help keep mosquitoes at bay…

Police filters –  If you’re wondering why the usual police filters on The 307 were unmanned this week it’s because a new plan creating impromptu filters – somewhat like roadblocks – were set up closer to the north, south and the connector road to Merida to search cars for contraband just before they enter or leave the city… 

Puerto Aventuras isn’t the only place generating mass complaints about loud music being played at night. Some hotel guests in Playa del Carmen were up in arms last week during the “Maya Madness” fest that produced loud all-night music, agitating hotel guests desirous of peace and quiet…

Star attractions – Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and hubby Michael Douglas were spotted on the Tulum Beach over the holidays spending surf and sun time, reading and saluting passersby who recognized them…

Business boom was reported for the area over the holiday weekend with an estimated 98 percent hotel occupancy. Some visitors arriving by car were in the area for just the weekend, half of them from the domestic market. Meanwhile, Cancun airport reported a high number of flight operations during the holiday period…

Consumer protection head Ernesto Nemer Alvarez toured Playa de Carmen last week on a working trip spent visiting, and sometimes chastising businesses for improper practices. He announced to the local press a new program to check on the gasoline dispensing mechanisms at Pemex stations to assure the public receives the amount of gasoline it pays for…

Federal officials including the head of the country’s environmental protection agency visited Akumal Bay last week. They heard complaints from the local marine services cooperative concerning access to the beach and a plan to charge access fees. The agency designated a liaison to develop solutions to those problems within a month…

Tulum thrives – Easter week, up to Good Friday, recorded 36,000 visitors to the archeological site in Tulum. The site is the most visited area in the state of Quintana Roo and third in the country… Food for thought – Aside from promoting tourism between Italy and Mexico, Honorary Italian Consul Italo Sampablo of Playa del Carmen says Italy wants to promote investment in agriculture here noting that the peninsula consumes much but produces little in the way of foods…

Alleged chief money launderer Juan Manuel Alvarez who works for escape artist and Sinaloa cartel chief “El Chapo” Guzman, was apprehended by federal police “without firing a single shot” after letting his guard down for the holiday week. He was apprehended in Oaxaca state, the police said. Guzman is also back in prison after being recaptured following his second escape…

 

The Mail Bag…

The Honda flies higher 

Dear Editor:

Thanks for the informative newsletter. My wife and I live in PA and really appreciate the information updates that allow us to stay abreast of what’s happening. Just a small comment about the Honda Jet. I believe the 23,000- foot service ceiling is incorrect. It’s more likely 43,000. Once again thanks for the info.

Signed/ Pete Dominguez

(Ed. Note: Thanks for catching the typo. It was immediately corrected. Far be it from us to stop anyone from flying high, particularly in Colorado.)

Bad penny turns up again

Dear Editor:
Good Morning. Robert Rosania suggested I let you know about this. I got scammed by the police down here back on Feb. 10.  I was driving my two sisters-in-law and wife to the airport and got pulled over by a motorcycle cop about 100 yards before the exit for the airport off of 307. 

He was absolutely looking for a car that looked like it was being driven by tourists.  No baggage showing, just three gringas plus me in a rental car with a sticker in the window. He wanted $2,500 pesos on the spot, or, he takes my license, requiring that I to go into Cancun to pay a fine.  Even if I was speeding, which I don’t believe I was, I was definitely in the flow of traffic in the slower inside lane.

I paid the money.  I did not want to wait for whatever paperwork he would have needed to do.  I wanted to get my sisters-in-law to the airport on time.  He, of course, knew that. 

Signed/ Richard Homme

 

After-Life Cave; Part 3 of 3

(From Part 2: After following two stingrays to an underwater cave, the author succumbs to irresistible curiosity. He is drawn by the compelling blue light inside where a “date” with reality awaits.)

From the operating table

to a blue cave in the reef

By Jack Frankenthal

I was trying to estimate the time it may take to quickly dive to the opening, then swim through the cave to the other end, have a look at the brightly lit abyss, then turn around and hurry back up.

"That would mean suicide," I concluded, logically and decisively – "turn around and go home, amigo!"

I have long learned to respect and listen to that deep inner-voice within me when faced with complex situations – even against all principles of coherent reasoning. Now, everything in me (except my brain) was telling me to –

"Go down and check out the blue."

So I did.

I dove and swam past one ray and into the cave. As I was nearing the blue end of the cave I was running out of air-less time, realizing that even one more forward thrust with my fins will definitely mean drowning. For a split second there was eye-contact between me and the ray at the blue end. I turned quickly to go back but found that my way out was blocked by the other ray.

I was trapped.

With oblivion beginning to set in my oxygen-starved brain, I paddled frantically to swim past him, but he only backed away from me very slowly, and continued blocking my escape. I had never held my breath that long and with such effort, and didn’t know what to expect next. The desire to stay alive became horrifying. Passing seconds seemed like years, while the universe of my entire existence was about to explode in a big bang, in desperation for air.

As the need to inhale became unbearable, I couldn’t avoid taking in some seawater, but my lungs were too empty to react with a cough, and allowed the water to drench them. As I looked upwards, only half conscious, to see the sunlight for the last time, I saw the two rays coming closer and, to my surprise, they touched my arms gently with the edge of their wings – one on each side. A strange current now electrified every cell in my body. The urge to cough vanished, as did the need to breathe, and I found myself asking whether I was already dead – or perhaps entered into a distorted dimension of time. I couldn’t accept the idea of being dead, for the two rays now seemed to coax me back into the tunnel again. I lost any sense of urgency to surface and, feeling quite comfortable – with no air in my lungs – I headed toward the blue opening, with the two rays behind me.

I stopped at the entrance momentarily, weighing the odds against my ever coming back out, but when I crossed over into the blue, everything was familiar. I was instantly immersed into timeless, effortless, and pleasant euphoria. The physical form of both rays diminished into the blue, as did all my own physical features, but their presence – and the presence of other ancestral entities – was beyond dispute. I felt no boredom, no loneliness and no need for anything – just an exquisite feeling of peace and enlightenment.
In a way, I was back in the recovery-room’s state of existence, before crossing the partition line back into the “real” world. But this time, the worldly side was still visible. I would have been happy to remain in the blue realm beyond the cave, accepting my “after-death” state, but seeing groups of colorful grunts and snappers at the other end of the tunnel called for investigation:

“Can I go back to the ‘real world’? Or am I really, really dead now?

As my conscious entity stepped into the tunnel away from the blue, I immediately became "physical" again. I felt the need to breathe and the urgency to surface. I scrambled out of the cave and swam up quickly to get air.

It was past noon by then, and the Puerto Aventuras tourists’ catamarans were now traversing nearby.

"I’m OK, I’m back! – and all is normal again."

With my mental faculties intact now, curiosity returned as well. I had to assure myself that I did not imagine it all. I looked down. The rays were not around, but the reef was there – and the two large coral heads right below me.

"Will the blue still be there – without the presence of the rays?"

I inhaled deeply, dove down and took a peek into the cave.

That peaceful bright blueish world was still there at the cave’s end, inviting me to come back in whenever I so please.

"I must bring a camera!" I decided with incredible excitement.

Back on the surface, I mentally recorded the approximate triangulation between me and two points on shore, making certain I could find this reef again.

I then paddled carefully back to the YanTen beach, with a feeling I had never experienced before.

Rusia was waiting for me as usual.

– “Where in the world were you? I thought you were never coming back!”

– “Frankly,” I said, “so did I”

– “So what happened?”

– “Something, very, very special – it is really incredible, and I’m not sure I should share it with anybody."

– "Well, I’m not just anybody," she said eagerly, "so tell me, tell me."

– “You will never believe it."

– “Why not?"

– "Because today is April Fools’ Day!"….

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication in any given week is Monday at 5 p.m. for production mid-week, usually Wednesday. Thank you. Our next edition will be published on April 13.

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