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March 8, 2017

NOTE NEWLY INSTALLED FENCE on median strip at the site of last week’s fatality. (Staff Photo)

Highway 307 claims another
life in accident near main gate

By Staff
A 30-year-old mother of two from Puerto Maya who had recently found  hotel employment was killed last week in a traffic accident on Highway 307 near the pedestrian walk on her way to a new job..

Police said the woman, identified by an acquaintance as Norma N., was struck by a pick-up truck at about 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, when she tried to hurry back home from a van stop next to the pedestrian bridge because she had forgotten her cell phone.

GENERAL AREA of accident near footbridge in background. (File Photo)

Police and witnesses said she attempted to cross the highway in an area of roadside bushes that block the view of oncoming drivers. She died before emergency personnel arrived, police said. They also said the truck driver went into shock and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

Group mulls safety improvements

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.

The group also feels the need to improve crossing safety for pedestrians trying to reach van stations and Multi Plaza retailers along that section of highway.

Since the 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 cars.

Colonos board put in middle
of contentious marina conflict
Worried about impact on wider community

A NEW DAY breaks on the marina. (Staff Photo)

By Staff
Push has come to shove in a simmering conflict between the Puerto Aventuras marina ownership and several boating businesses, placing the Colonos Property Owners Association in an unwanted and “delicate” position between the two sides.

The Colonos board was drawn into the fray in January when it was asked by marina ownership to deny main gate entrance to vehicles bringing customers to boating businesses operating without signing a required new contract.

The Colonos board denied the request, but it was resubmitted in various forms and has since been the topic of contentious debate that is expected to continue at Wednesday’s (March 8) Colonos board meeting. Meanwhile, the gate will operate as usual, several board members said.

Parties ‘lawyered up’

The discord has gained steam over the past two months as both aggrieved parties have “lawyered up,” said one elected Colonos official. “Frankly,” he said, “I’m getting tired of it. They both have lawyers and the Colonos board has rarely needed lawyers to help broker solutions. This is a peaceful and desirable community where people should be able to resolve their differences.”

THE MAIN GATE becomes a point of contention.

What’s the beef?  Marina ownership wants commerial vessels using its facilities to begin paying a business fee in addition to regular slip fees in a new contract to help fund marina improvements and maintenance. Some commercial boats have already complied, while others – said to be between 3 and 7 separate entities representing about 100 jobs – have not.

“There are a lot of things in the contract other than just cost that we don’t agree to,” said a spokesman for one of the boating group businesses. “The Colonos (board members) should not mediate. That is not their job.” The spokesman alleged the Colonos board is being intimidated into taking sides while another boat owner said they are looking for a compromise on the amount of the proposed new fee.

Community impact

Separate interviews last week with three elected Colonos officials provided a limited view of what they fear might be developing into an increasingly hostile impasse that could impact the entire community.

They admitted to pressures being placed on them that could possibly unravel general gains and improvements of the wider community, such as negating a proposed community park and losing Colonos control of the main gate to the Fideicomiso, which retains ownership of common property such as the gate and roadways.

“We can lose control of the gate on 30 days’ notice,” said one of the elected officials. “We’re in the middle of this without our own legal counsel,” he said after last Wednesday’s special meeting where, reportedly, tentative approval was given to a version of the marina ownership’s main gate request pending last ditch deliberations expected Wednesday.

Legal issues abound

The board members say the marina issue is “very complicated” in the legal sense and “delicate” in the personal sense. Their concerns, they say, include the possible negative impact the situation could bring on the wider community.

They inferred that short of an amicable in-house compromise between the parties of what is essentially a private business and legal matter, the judiciary is best poised to offer resolution of the myriad legal points involved and to set a precedent for future guidance.

Violent incident reported in Akumal

An estimated 40 people armed with sticks and stones attacked a business booth located at the entrance road to Akumal Bay over the weekend and set fire to the booth, a motorcycle and two bicycles then dispersed before police arrived.

The attack was mostly on resident boatmen of the town who offer marine services to tourists, reported local news outlets. It was the latest in a series of events such as blockades over a long simmering conflict concerning access to the bay.

The attack was reportedly carried out in view of many tourists. Employees of a nearby hotel doused the fire at the booth to prevent it from spreading while Tulum municipal and federal police arrived to restore and maintain order. There were no reported major injuries and tourists continued to enjoy the day.

Tickets for tasty food fest March 19
available at Colonos office now!

SIGN UP NOW at the Colonos office and share your cultural cuisine with your friends and neighbors. So far, 18 chefs have come forward and the Colonos would like at least 25, and at least one serving something from the sea if possible.

The number of chefs who will participate in the international food fest on March 19 is up to 22, with the Colonos looking for three more, said Colonos coordinator Carlos Quinones.

Meanwhile, tickets for the annual event are available at the Colonos office during regular working hours.

The event endeavors to spotlight the reality of the PA community’s cosmopolitan mix through wethnic foods.

Trivial Pursuits is coming up at 4 p.m. this Sunday, March, 12, 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…

A touring art class called Cocktails and Canvas will be launched March 9, from 3 to 5 p.m. Seats still available. Sessions will be held in different PA restaurants every two weeks. Call Launa Brockman at 984-119-8878 for more information…

Shoppers put a human face
on helping man in distress

The theft of a kilo of meat by a man in a Playa del Carmen neighborhood outlet last week brought  out the kindness in other shoppers when private security personnel had the man on the floor removing the meat hidden in his clothing.

A crowd gathered around the scene and demanded the security guards let the man go. Some in the crowd were recording the incident on their cell phones. Others were imploring the guards to “let him go. He’s bringing food for his family.”

Finally, someone in the crowd asked for the price on the package and began taking a collection to pay for it, after which security personnel had to let the man – and the meat – go. Nonetheless, police officials asked later about the situation by the press said stealing in a community where jobs are plentiful can’t be justified. Police said had about 10 reports of such incidents lately.

The Roundup…

IT’S A HOUSE and not a mini-plaza or other type of business guessed at by curious residents. The Colonos says it is being built on two lots across the road from the Catalonia Hotel by a wealthy Spaniard. (Staff Photo)

The latest on auto registration plates – Staff paid 12 pesos to park for five minutes in the lot across from the Registry of Motor Vehicles office in Playa del Carmen last week only to be told by the receptionist that actual registration plates won’t be in until April…

One for the books – A lawyer who has represented infamous drug cartel CEO Joaquin “El Chapo (Shorty)” Guzman, who is now ensconced in a US jail, is trying to turn the tide on Donald Trump’s big deportation promise to rid the US of Mexican “criminals”. The lawyer wants Trump to deport “El Chapo” and forget the years the US tried to have him extradited from Mexico to face US charges…

Just three zeros short – Donald Trump’s huge effort to build a border wall ASAP has, well, has run into a wall. The Department of Homeland Security says they can only find $20,000,000 to start the $20,000,000,000 wall…just 000 short…

The peso gained a few points last week after US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that while the US wants to renegotiate NAFTA, he believes a sensible business agreement would benefit the peso, which gained 2 percent after his remarks last Friday….

A Canadian woman died after suffering severe decompression while diving in the Playa del Carmen area. Responding paramedics managed to keep her alive while transporting her to the Health Ministry General Hospital (Sesa).

An underwater museum planned by private interests for an area between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel has been derailed by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) , which has denied the effort’s environmental impact statement…

It wasn’t just fear of criminal activity that caused the closure of several bars adjacent to the infamous Blue Parrot where six people died in a shooting event in January. The Blue Parrot has already been demolished to make way for a signature hotel and entertainment center on 12th Street but a formal announcement to be made later…

Nature Watch…
Why spider monkeys here
don’t try to hitch a ride

BANANA SPLIT – Dan Buche drops a banana for monkey named Mono Lisa. (Photo by Bonnie Rodriguez)

By Staff
Have you ever wondered why the spider monkeys currently frolicking about the Puerto Aventuras resort do not try to hitch a ride from the main gate to the Centro trees?

It’s because they can’t. They don’t have a thumb.

They are a sub-specie identified as “ateles” meaning, ‘no thumb.’ As a veteran of the US Navy, it’s painful to think about living without a thumb with which to tie the seafarer’s knots.

They ate the bananas, scratched an itch, left the peels behind and walked away without a thank you. (Staff Photo)

Not only can’t these monkeys hitch a ride, they can’t give a movie the thumbs up, a politician a thumbs down, or easily crush a beer can.

But they can peel a banana, as resident Dan Buche learned last week. “One of my neighbors was looking up at the tree line saying she had seen some monkeys. So I stood there for a while too but didn’t see anything.

“I’ve got an idea. Let’s swing down to that parking lot again and see if the guy has any more bananas.” (Chris Landahl Photo)

“When I turned to leave, I nearly tripped over two monkeys who were sitting on the ground looking up wondering what we were looking at,” Buche quipped.

Another resident, Bonnie Rodriguez, was at her front door as the monkeys walked along the parking lot. She took a few bananas and handed them to Buche to give to the monkeys. “One of them would have taken the banana from my hand, but knowing they have teeth, I decided to drop it,” Buche said.

The commotion drew a small crowd that stood there watching two thin  monkeys peel and eat bananas.

Sated, the monos scratched an itch or two, left the banana peels where they were on the ground and ambled off ,without saying thank you, possibly to wash the bananas down with pool water.  Such is life in a paradise.

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