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New Solidarity mayor sets broad goals

The Buzz 

Mayor-elect to arrive with snowbirds;
Resort wastewater pipeline enlarged
 

By Staff
       So what’s going on in Mexico in the absence of the snowbirds who bring economic and cultural zest to the developing place they call “Paradise”?.  For one thing, no hurricane yet!    

Sources in Puerto Aventuras say the gated community is tranquil minus the snowbirds, that rentals have been short at some condo complexes but that the Omni with its diminished beach still attracts many locals on day passes. Otherwise, the local press reports a surge in nationals on vacation in Playa del Carmen where there is some dissatisfaction among vacationers with the trash left behind on the beaches … by the very same vacationers who leave the trash there to begin with.
       And those of you who spend some time complaining about being short-changed at Pemex might like to know that Mexico President E
nrique Pena Nieto, who we presume vacations at the presidential digs on Cozumel like his predecessors, has succeeded in welding the nation’s political parties together in an attempt to reform the nation’s energy policy and its sacred cow, Pemex, opening it up to competition and transparency. This is expected to sorely test the coalition that so far has been tugging the nation’s policies out of the Third World rut. 
        Meanwhile, reports from the United Nations food agency notes several Latin American countries – Mexico is one of them – are catching up to the U.S. level of obesity as they choose sugary drinks, fat fast-foods and snacks over traditional fare. The officials say that does not bode well for health care costs that will rise along with diseases like hypertension and diabetes fed by obesity. We note that many of the construction workers we see walking back to the Poblado after a long day’s work do not seem to be carrying much extra weight. The government does have a proposal, however, to  reform school lunches in the “Battle against Big.”
  
       Closer to home, we received a note from Donna Carey, owner of the former Tiramisu Restaurant in the Centro Comercial, that she is moving along with a new restaurant just outside the gate.  Prof. Andy Pittman of Texas A&M is back in Puerto jumping the hurdles on the the track of the residente permanente visa before heading back to Texas.
        Colonos GM Armando Rincon reports a project to improve sewage flow for the resort will begin as soon as detours of the temporary gridlock the work will cause are designed. The water department is replacing its main 6-inch underground sewer pipe with a 10-inch pipe and will have to cross the resort’s main street near the skate park, causing a temporary traffic slowdown. 
        Teresa Jimenez, who some of you might remember from her appearances at the new Red Cross station in the Poblado’s former police station building, was in the news again as leader of the Red Cross’ volunteers. She has been asking businesses to donate in-kind services and/or products such as building blocks or machinery to the construction of a new Red Cross center in Playa del Carmen. And speaking of the Red Cross, one Puerto Aventuras resident who suffered a thorn deep in her foot a few weeks ago sang the praises of the staff at the Red Cross station in the Poblado for removing the thorn, greatly relieving the pain and preventing infection.
        “Heat” seemed a worldwide problem this summer and the Yucatan wasn’t spared. Officials in Q. Roo, (state) and Solidarity (municipality) said local hospitals were gearing up for heat stroke cases while also urging preventive measures be taken by the populace, which was being urged to look for the shade, limit sun exposure even at the beach, drink lots of water and beware of exhaustion on the job.
       

The municipality of Solidaridad will be installing it’s new mayor, Mauricio Gongora Escalante, at about the same time in October as snowbirds begin returning. Gringos who have invested here may be interested to know that Mayor-elect Gongora is looking to improve general security and promote job growth, which of course is a by-product of economic expansion, which is usually good for investors.
       The new mayor will evidently inherit the same problem the outgoing mayor found when he took office: major rubbish collection hang-ups because new trucks purchased several years ago are in the shop for repairs or waiting for tires. Eight units were reportedly off the road this week. The new mayor could really score with the public if he could find a way to soundproof those midnight monsters collecting the rubbish.   
     A new church is being built in Playa del Carmen and is expected to be completed next year. It will be on Avenida 115 near Las Americas Mall. And while rumors persist that CostCo is planning an outlet in that general area, nothing’s happening.
      The Pelican heard of reports that a new wastewater system was constructed jointly in Puerto Aventuras village by the Commission on Water and Wastewater and the National Water Commission. It reportedly is expected to service more than 12,000 inhabitants. (As of this writing the Pelican was still seeking corroboration).
      The cornerstone was laid this week at Playa del Carmen for a biodiesel plant that will transform the city’s municipal rubbish into fuel. It could be operational in a year, said officials. The plant is near the Playa del Carmen landfill about nine miles from the Arco Vial.       
        
         
Worry wasted on drive back to States      

 Accident, not paperwork, mars trip  
    

By Staff
     For quite some time w
e’ve been hearing or reading critiques of Mexican lawmaking, particularly relating to immigration and status of foreign-plated cars under the new immigration policy. Contrary blogs by lawyers and others intended to help the English-speaking community understand the law have been long on generalities and short on fact, generating more heat than light. 
     For Robert Roadway, of Puerto Aventuras and Colorado, the uncertainty meant lingering in Puerto Aventuras a bit longer than usual this year, first waiting for his residente permanente visa to be processed, then to strategize getting his Colorado-plated car out of Mexico. For him it required buying a second car in Mexico, so that he’d have one here with Mexican plates when he returns in the fall. Then came the reality of driving the U.S. car 3,230 miles back to his home in Colorado with, perhaps, difficulties at the border or on the road. 
     There have been horror stories published in blogs emanating from Mexico’s West Coast and Baja California concerning U.S.cars being impounded as their owners tried to drive them back to the U.S. with their new visas. Those tales may have shed some light on the issue, but also generated anxiety for gringos needing to legally get their cars back over the border.
    

     Roadway was no exception. The potential for difficulties over such a long drive and at the border crossing prompted him to hire a Mexican friend, Daniel Iglesias, well known by the English speaking community in Puerto Aventuras as operator of a carwash in the Poblado. “He accompanied me to the border crossing at Reynosa, Mex., and Ft. McAllen, Texas, where I dropped him off at a bus station so he could visit relatives nearby. I’m really happy I had Daniel with me. The signs on the highways are not that good, specially in towns that don’t even have signs. Daniel would pull over to a Pemex and ask if we were going the right way. It saved us a lot of time,” Roadway said.
     There was one significant problem, but it had little to do with Mexican immigration law: Roadway’s car was struck and heavily damaged by the fish-tailing trailer of a tractor truck that didn’t stop long enough to assess the damage and exchange insurance information.
     “M
y car got hit hard… I was surprised I was still able to drive home to Fort Collins. The truck driver stopped about a quarter mile up the highway, sat there for about 20-30 seconds then took off,” Roadway said. “We drove 20 miles to a pay phone to call the insurance company before getting to a toll booth where Daniel explained the accident to the federal police, but since we had no information about the truck, they didn’t do anything.”
     A Mexican insurance adjuster met them on the highway, took photos and information, a step that was repeated by his U.S. insurer once Roadway was back home in Fort Collins. As of this writing he was awaiting payment of an estimated $5,000 to repair the damage to the rear end of his car.
      Roadway said Iglesias also was most helpful at the Mexican side of the border crossing where he easily explained the situation and answered questions crossing officials had. “For example,” Roadway said, “one official claimed the visa was expired. But he was looking at the date of issue. I think that may have been the first residente permanente visa he’d ever seen.”
      Having someone who speaks the language made the trip “much easier,” Roadway said. “On the first night we were able to drive all night on the Yucatan, which is safe, helping us make the 1,547 miles to the border crossing in three days. Having Iglesias drive along was $800 well-spent. I would recommend it,” Roadway said last week from his Colorado home. 

 

Akumal fund-raisers raise fun for kids

New playground already in use

     By Staff
     The opening of the Akumal Children’s Playground in July was a “massive success and we were humbled by the fabulous response from the community!” So reported civic minded volunteer Marieke Brown who helped make this dream come true for the pueblo children.. “I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along to support the event.”
     She was referring to the playground many people helped purchase through fundraisers in Akumal, South Akumal, the children of the Akumal Primaria Francisco Sarabia, and the Akumal Comedy Festival of 2012 that attracted many attendees from Puerto Aventuras and other local communities.
    The playground was purchased from and installed by Swings and Slides Company and we purchased the Camion Ecologico as well.  We also included a swing set in the order, Brown said.
   

The idea for the playground initiated with local families having to drive to Puerto Maya in order to find a decent park where their young children could play safely. This is not realistic for the majority of the families in the pueblo of Akumal as, even if they took the colectivo to get to Puerto Aventuras, the Puerto Maya playground is a long walk from the highway entrance, too far for little ones.
     Even the parks in Chemuyil are not particularly easy for local mothers with young children to get to.   As far as I am aware, the pueblo of Akumal has never had a safe public play facilities for it’s small children.  We decided that it was time to change this.
     The Akumal Childrens Playground Project was the chosen local cause for the 1st
Akumal Comedy Festival (2012) where 18 professional comedians, the Akumal Jarana Dancers, the music group Arpason, the Akumal drummers, and the children of the Akumal Primaria Francisco Sarabia all performed for free to promote and fund-raise for this project.  Over the year, the combined efforts of the Akumal Comedy Festival, its sponsors, and private donations from many big hearted members of the communities of Akumal and South Akumal helped us to raise almost US$14,000. 
     The park was officially opened by the President of DIF Tulum, Cristina Beatriz Bracamonte de Cobos who is the wife of the Municipal President Martín Cobos Villalobos. Project organizers Gabriela Herbert, Marieke Brown, and the Akumal delegado Don Melchor were present to hand the park over to the children of the Akumal Pueblo.      
       “It was a very proud day for us all,” Brown said as children congregated around their new payground. “This park has become a reality as the result of the efforts of a large group of people, both resident in Akumal and overseas. I would like to thank each and every person who contributed to this project.  This has been a true community effort, and am incredibly proud to be part of a group who take such good care of each other,” Brown said.

Briefly Noted…

UNCLEAN CHINESE RESTAURANTS, four of them in Solidaridad, were closed by health officials who found the eateries failed to properly fumigate, resulting in the presence of vermin and also failed to serve properly heated foods. Officials of the Federal Commission for Protection Against Sanitary Risks did not name the restaurants…AKUMAL CLOSURE of beach access to local residents created a response in July as several hundred people blocked the bridge linking the resort and the puebla. Environmental officials claim the closure is to protect turtle species spawning on the beach. Such closures are common in the U.S. to protect various species of nesting birds…THE BIRTH RATE in Quintana Roo is up 15 percent so far this year indicating an increase in migration and land-grab problems,,,BASIC COMMODITY, FOOD prices have remained stable in the municipality of Solidaridad so far this year…THE RAINY SEASON has brought a slight increase in the number of area respiratory cases zat local hospitals this summer…SOLIDARITY has eliminated eight major projects from a capital outlay list, including a new municipal palace and a city theater as more than the municipality could handle financially…TWELVE COURSES being taught on Saturdays in Playa del Carmen have been open to the members of the public working force to impart basic or increase their skills in a number of work-related computer courses, languages (French and Italian), cooking and personal care…ALL- INCLUSIVE hotels in Playa del Carmen found themselves overbooking guests in July, which they had to redistribute. The up side is that the hotels had to hire more help, always a good thing for labor…CALICA, d/b/a Limestone Rancho,, and the municipal government were into a flap over tax payments involving some land bordering Puerto Aventuras. Recent reports noted both sides were attempting to reconcile the issue amicably and equitably…25 RETAIL SHOPS in Playa’s tourist district were closed for non-payment of taxes and/or renewal of retail licenses…THIS YEAR marks the 20th anniversary of the municipality of Solidaridad, of which we are part. It reminds us that we live in a fledgling community with a future for development…FORESTY OFFICIALS in the Chetumal area say cedar and mahogany trees are disappearing from the land there where hectares that had 20 to 30 trees now only has one or two. They say overexploitation could mean the end of the species in that area…

Library Summer Hours Please click on Colonos icon above the page for library news 

Phrase a Week…By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
He gets very nervous when he has to travel by plane.  Cuando tiene que viajar en avión se pone muy nervioso.
Anyone interested in learning the language can please contact Ms. Contreras by email at nanigloria@hotmail.com or Cel: 984-108-3517 .

Church Services… Please click Colonos icon on right top of page.

AA and Alanon meetings…
AA and ALANON meetings are held at the public library at the Colegio as follows:
AA Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m; Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at noon. ALANON meeting is held Mondays at 5:30 p.m., also at the library. Meetings are “open” and non-members are welcomed to attend.

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