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Expert(s) expected to detail beach project

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BUSINESS EXCHANGE NIGHT Feb. 28, 6:30 to 11 p.m. at Colegio Ingles in Playa del Carmen. The first such night sponsored by “Negocios Unidos” (United Business) provides the opportunity for international and local business networking. All invited. Entrance fee 150 pesos includes alcoholic drink, hors d’oeuvre and more. (Scroll down to previous issue for more information)
A VIVA VOCE concert, 6 p.m., March 2, Oasis Tulum Hotel. Ensemble of area music teachers. Tickets 200 pesos at Hotel Akumal Caribe office in Akumal under the arch.  Proceeds benefit Otach Paal Montessori School in Akumal Pueblo.
HEALTH CARE TALK Feb. 26 , 10 A.M. in Colonos Meeting Room. This is an important event with updated information for expats, snowbirds, visitors. Area residents welcome.(See story below for details)


Project’s timing hangs on sales, loans

March 2 Assembly is only part
of phased-in beach restoration

    By Staff
    Tons of large boulders have been unearthed in the Phase 4 development project but funding and timing details linking them with the proposed Fatima Bay beach replenishment project are not yet written in stone.
But the devil remains in the details. The public hopes more light will shine on the concept when Puerto Aventuras developer Roman Rivera Torres and several hired tidal experts employ a visual presentation at the 9:30 a.m. March 2 Assembly in the Colonos Meeting Room . They will explain their scientific/engineering approach to reclaim, then control, the ebb and flow of beach sand for an expanded and  lasting beachfront.

Both entities – the Fideicomiso and Colonos – believe they have a win-win proposal borne of compromise and barter if it goes according to plan.
Colonos GM Armando Rincon said Rivera Torres will unveil not only the science behind his proposal  to replenish the beach, but also a financing method that involves some funding by the Colonos that exempts existing property owners.
Conceptually, barriers of cut stone taken from the Phase 4 project would stretch across the bay from existing north-south marina channel jetties (see photo) to manipulate tidal effects on the sand. That done, fill from Phase 4 and the sand that originally washed away from the Omni area to the southern jetty will be returned to replenish the Omni beach.
Rincon said Rivera Torres proposes that fees charged on property purchases in Phase 4 that would ordinarily be set aside for roads be dedicated to the beach reclamation project. In exchange, the developer will build and fund the roads and conduct site preparation for electricity that the Colonos would not have to do later. In that way, it was emphasized, current Colonos property owners would be exempt from payments.
The Colonos, in return, wants legally guaranteed access to the beach for residents of the resort and more specific information on when, how and at what point the developer would integrate Phase 4 into the existing Colonos structure. Rincon also said there was talk about the Fideicomiso and Colonos improving the existing physical access to the beach through the dive shop in a joint improvement project.

Rincon said a sufficient number of fee paying properties would have to exist before Phase 4 could be self-sufficient enough to integrate with the Colonos. He also said the Colonos wants to be involved with managing and disbursing fee revenue for beach reclamation, in other words, signatures of both parties on all checks for the sake of accountability.
Details of the beach reclamation budget are still sketchy as of this writing as is the chronology of events, both of which depend on sales of phase 4 properties and a host of other variables. Perhaps this also will be explained in further detail, if any, at the meeting.
What was made clear by Rincon is that there is no up-front money currently to begin the beach project. But there is a “rumor” that some waterfront property owners such as Chac Hal Al, have been hit hard with added federal taxes because erosion has placed them on federal property. It is said they may be willing to advance a loan in order to revoke the added taxation sooner rather than later.
And for clarification, Rincon said the intent of the Fideicomiso is to not only maintain the community as a private entity as originally intended but to “raise the bar” on access in order to enhance security. There have been several major thefts experienced in the last year.
The developer hired Oceanus, a company specializing in beach recovery and wave attenuation devices, to engineer the plan. The company says it has allied with other international groups to offer the most scientifically advanced technologies in the world today for coastal protection and beach reclamation.
In is hoped company president Pablo Besquin will be at the meeting, Rincon said. Dr. Ping Wang, Ph.D., an expert on near-shore sediment transport and barrier island depositional systems, also worked on the scientific end of project planning.
While many details are yet to be cast in stone, interested parties have 10 days from today to prepare their questions and clear their calendar to assure attendance at this very significant Assembly. 


In case you want to know…

Important health care talk here Feb. 26

Healthcare options for expats in Mexico have expanded in recent years and will be explained at a meeting at 10 a.m. Feb. 26 in the Colonos Meeting Room. In addition to a growing number of clinics/hospitals in Playa del Carmen, there is a new Red Cross Clinic across the highway in the Puerto Aventuras Pueblo with 24/7 ambulance service for all residents.

It provides 24/7 emergency medical care and a well-equipped ambulance manned by certified paramedics. To help educate expats and visitors living in and around Puerto Aventuras about these new options, representatives from area medical services have been “invited to come educate us,” said business consultant John Schwandke who is coordinating the event.
The meeting will be conducted in Englishand is open to the public. U.S. Consular Agent Samantha Mason will there to “meet and greet.” Presenters from the Red Cross will discuss it role in Mexico and emergency health care services among other aspects of their operation in the Poblado and nationally. Speakers from bi-lingual Hospiten will touch on medical services in Playa for expats to include preparation of insurance papers for reimbursement and special rates for expat residents.
Also on hand will be insurance company representatives to explain new short-term insurance available to expats and snowbirds.

Commerce Corner…



Capt. Rick’s a backbone of PA community

By Staff
      Any business with the depth and breadth of PA-based Capt. Rick’s Sport Fishing is a good catch for a community that relies on attracting and pleasing international clients. And attract it does: Its excellent and informative web site along with its 15 well-manned and stocked vessels from 23 to 48 feet in good constant repair log 4,500 to 5,000 charters annually from a loyal international clientele.
“You need that kind of response to keep 15 boats afloat and a workforce of 32 skippers, mates. mechanics and office crew ready to serve,” said owner Bob Uecker, who with his wife, Glenna, have owned and personally operated the 20-year-old business for the last 10 years.

In the process, the Ueckers, parents of four and grandparents to seven children, have become significant members of the community. They served on two recent charity golf tournament committees to partially fund a new, two-room high school building in the Poblado.
Uecker also initiated, along with with his boat crews, the development of a baseball field for Poblado youth. To this day, the effort continues to provide uniforms, bats, gloves, shoes, balls to support the junior league. “All the equipment is donated by friends, acquaintances and Capt. Rick’s clientele,” Uecker said. He and Glenna are also involved with helping to improve the building and expand the services offered by the Catholic Church in the Poblado. Glenna also takes an active interest in community affairs.
A former pharmacist in his native Ohio, Bob took to Puerto Aventuras during a vacation here and sold Glenna on the idea of a permanent move after she saw the house they would live in on Caleta Xel-Ha facing the sea, which they awaken to daily. “You can see why we know ocean conditions,”  he quipped.
Capt. Rick’s web site is among the more comprehensive for the industry, which may help explain why Capt. Rick’s is the lead charter company on the Riviera Maya. It utilizes photos, video and extensive specific information of interest to fishermen, such as a fishing season calendar that links particular fish to particular months or seasons and a forthright description of its vessels, crews and charter prices.
The Ueckers insist that at least one crew member of every vessel be bi-lingual and all be certified in CPR and first aid. No wonder Capt. Rick’s has doubled its fleet in 10 years and has been featured on ESPN, Fox Sports, Marlin and Sport Fishing Magazines,  and in Canadian and European TV shows.
Capt. Rick’s is welcomed as a sponsor of the Pelican Free Press.

BIZ BUZZ- The “Life’s a Beach” blog authored by Michelle Kinnon of Buy Playa and a Pelican sponsor is reportedly a finalist in the About.com readers’ choice awards…

Around Town…


An enchanting evening by the sea and…

By Staff
Oh, it was a fine Valentine party, alright. It was the fulfillment of ex-pat Pauline Harper’s dream to someday host her friends in the story-book ambience of the “House on the Caleta” before it succumbs to age or progress. For her husband, Hal, whose exuberant drawl insists there is no “g” in “darlin’,” it was elevating the dream to reality for his Valentine.

And for the 50 or so guests who arrived carting assorted aluminum-covered pans brimming with favored recipes to complement the spiral hams and smoked turkey provided by the Harpers, it was a gathering of chummy chatter, Valentine vows and gastronomic delight.
There were unexpected adventures for some drivers who entered the Phase 4 jungle lighted only by a quarter-moon and the intermittent reflection of tapes that marked the pitfalls of curving, unpolished roads. A few folks became delightfully lost in the night before arriving at the idyllic hacienda with its well-stocked bar, the seductive odor of exotic spices wafting in the great room’s food depository and the melodious assortment of background music offered up by DJ Jerry Fastrup out on the multi-level veranda that was fanned by a robust sea breeze.

The house is perceived by some as a relic of Mexican architecture. They believe it was built less for living and more for revelry. It squats, quite alone, on the periphery of Fatima Bay. In the distance is the Barcelo Resort whose specks of light are set in the black and cavernous solitude of the Caribbean like jewels in a crown.
Guests drifted though the manse, donated for the evening by PA developer Roman Rivera Torres, with oohs and aahs celebrating its antiquity and architecture. They armed themselves with a favorite beverage then went about with happy hugs as they shed their inhibitions, if any, in time for the post-dinner dance on the captivating seaside terraza where they could exhibit their Arthur Murrayan talents.
The Harpers and D’Hondts, the Moultons and the Silvers, Bentons and Cannons, and Karen and Jayne and Pat and Patti and Pamela from Paamul and Heidi and Ed and Andy and all the others who milled about talked animatedly as did those seated at outdoor tables in the cool of the evening. A fire roared in the brazier of the oval conversation pit, creating a scene that would grace the pages of any upscale travel magazine.

If Puerto Aventuras required a middle initial, it would be “G” – and it would stand for “Generosity.” There was a 120 pesos each collection to pay for live entertainment with the remainder going to the area “horse therapy” program for brain-damaged children, a favorite Harper program. Celebrating one’s good fortune while simultaneously responding to those in need has become a hallmark of the Puerto Aventuras society. All endeavors here, it seems, no matter how insignificant, contain a significant clause for giving.
And that’s how it was, take and give, until the party began slipping away in sweet surrender to pending slumber. Uncertain drivers waited in the wings to follow those with the navigational skills to course their way home.
Oh, it was a fine Valentine party, alright.

…An impassioned appeal to preserve antiquity…


     An estimated 150 people attended a lecture at the Cultural Center Sunday night to hear Prof. Richard D. Hansen describe more than 2000 years of history in 90 minutes and issue a plea to help preserve the Mayan Mirador Basin, its vegetation and wildlife, by declaring it a wilderness site.     

The area, rich in archeological discovery of the ancient Mayan Civilization that once thrived there, covers 837 square miles of jungle in Mexico and Guatemala.
Hansen’s plea is obviously being heard as representatives of the Mexican and Guatemalan governments met recently in Mexico City to consider the appeal.
Hansen’s lecture was arranged by longtime Puerto Aventuras resident Doe Stowell who had heard it in Minnesota. By all accounts, Hansen’s presentation, with vivid photography flashing on the screen about every 20 seconds, was accompanied by an informative lecture of homespun wit and meaningful wisdom that made the event “definitely worth attending,” said Gayle and Deanne Sandholm.
Stowell said, “I was totally thrilled with the response to Dr. Hansen and his presentations. El Mirador Basin Project is exciting and it is a part of the world where we live and/or visit. It is a glorious history.
“The more than eighty tour guides who heard him speak in Playa del Carmen on Friday night were fantastic sponges for the information and added an hour and one half to the lecture with their interest and excellent questions.
“The Sunday evening lecture in Puerto was so well attended and gave or expanded our knowledge of this treasured area. Without the very generous help I received from our good and caring community after a personal health crisis, there would never have been the details or arrangements that allowed success. I am so grateful to all,” Stowell said.
Just as the threat of progress in the Amazon has begun decimating the rain forest that serves the world’s appetite for oxygen, the Mirador Basin is a historical jewel as one of the ancient world’s five language/cultural centers. It is also a preserve of exotic vegetation and threatened animal species such as the jaguar.
The Sandholms agreed that Hansen’s delivery was “animated and engaging, It certainly fulfilled our expectations,” they said.

… And a fix for the bite of a blizzard…

        A new member of the Spanish language class showed up last week. Milan Chilla, from Connecticut, who was already pretty well versed in the language, flashed a great smile and told the Pelican about breaking a front tooth during the last blizzard up north just a few days before his flight to Cancun.
“I only had a few days and my dentist couldn’t see me,” Chilla said as he pondered with chagrin a two-month visit with a bwoken fwont toof.
     But he remembered the notice in the Pelican Free Press for Dr. Enrique Perez, Puerto’s affable and only local dentist. In all candor, Chilla said he was a bit reluctant because of a negative image presented of Mexican dentists up north. But he looked up the phone number in the Pelican and was rewarded.
“He did a great job in only 45 minutes,” Chilla said of Perez while exhibiting a display smile. “And it cost a fifth of what it would have cost me in the States. You can use this as a testimonial,” he said.
OK. Thanks.


…More on keeping wave runners away from the shore

Dear Editor:
Wave runners are a pain in the neck! There are places around the coast in the UK that have been completely ruined by “wave runners.” They are becoming more numerous in Puerto and this will be a disaster for divers and peace and quiet. They should be banned.. trust me!

Signed/John Barton

Church Services…

Lighthouse Church Tulum – “Lighting the way to life”; English worship Service is non-denominational, 10:00 a.m. Sundays with continental breakfast at 9:30,located on Highway 307, 1.2 miles past San Francisco Grocery.Come all the way through town, past Subway, past the hospital about three blocks on the right next door to the fruit stand.

Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter

Be sure to go the Colonos Assembly on March 2 “Asegúrese de ir a la Asamblea de Colonos el 2 de marzo ” Anyone interested in learning the language can please contact Ms. Contreras by email at Gloria Contreras [email protected] 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 PUBLIC’S FIRST BEACH for handicapped people opened in Playa del Carmen to the applause of many who attended the official eventENVIRONMENTAL OFFICIALS from the state and federal governments met on Cozumel and discussed the possibility of the island’s first wind farm, an idea whose time will someday come to Puerto Aventuras?…FEELING SAFE – A PA couple that ventured out to a French restaurant at 36th St. and 5th Ave.in Playa for a cozy Valentine’s Day dinner reported feeling very safe with all the police/military patrols out and about…THE STATE GOVERNMENT is suggesting residents get rid of stagnant water in bottles, buckets and various containers to avoid mosquitoes carrying dengue fever…FRIENDS OF THE SIAN KA’AN BIOSPHERE near Tulum are working on creating a new tourist destination around the biosphere…HI HONEY -The Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food ( SAGARPA ) wants to create a laboratory in Q. Roo to analyze organic honey produced by some 500 farmers in the state since demand for export to Europe is growing and the product needs to be analyzed before shipping….CLEAN THE CENOTES is a cry being heard along 5th Avenue from business people and the public in Playa who say fetid odors are harming the environment and business…

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