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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.

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication during our weekly high-season schedule is 10 a.m. on Mondays. Thank you. Disclaimer: The Pelican Free Press is not responsible for content and/or claims made on sponsor web sites or social media links.

The end – Previous edition below


March 1, 2017

Helping to heal the scars…

PREVIOUS ATTENDEE Ret. Marine Cpl. Justin Gaertner had this to say about his Puerto Aventuras adventure: “The tournament people opened their arms to me. I will forever be thankful to them for giving me a life-changing experience. It’s trips like this that save guys’ lives and raise our spirits…”

Puerto Aventuras preparing
to again host wounded warriors

By Staff
Puerto Aventuras will host U.S. Wounded Warriors again his year between May 19-23 as part of the annual Dave Harris Charity Billfish Tournament coordinated locally by Capt. Rick’s Sportfishing Center.

The annual 5-day event attracts from 60 to 80 fishermen from various countries. Once again this year they will share their adventure, sea stories and good times with eight recuperating wounded warriors who will be housed at Porto Bello and Aventuras Condominiums when not fishing.

The Dave Harris tourney seeks sponsors or partial donations to arrange for transport and needs of the veterans during the tournament, estimated to be $1,500 USD per wounded warrior. Donations can be sent to: Wounded Warrior in Action Foundation, 6516 Dolphin Cove Drive, Apollo Beach, FL 33572. (Please put “DHMBT sponsorship” in memo line).

How it began

Glenna Eucker of Capt. Rick’s, coordinator of the event from the Puerto Aventuras aspect, said the tournament sprang from the late Dave Harris’ fondness for fishing. The tournament was cast in Puerto Aventuras in 2005 and the idea of inviting wounded warriors launched in 2014.

Harris died of cancer but members of his family continued the tournament and has staged it annually in Puerto Aventuras with Capt. Rick’s handling local coordination.

“It’s become a community event” Uecker said, noting the annual cooperation of Porto Bello and Aventuras condominiums and restaurants such as Latitude 20, The Pub and Hippo’s who prepare opening and closing  banquets along with entertainment for the fishermen and warriors and special events such as a trip on the catboat Catamaya.

Aside from hosting wounded warriors, the charity tournament also donates to the Melanoma Research Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Hospital in the U.S. and children’s charities in Mexico. 

Forget about the ‘fake’ news;
traveler nabbed with fake cash

An airline passenger was detained at the Cancun Airport by federal authorities last week for trying to spirit $11,400 in fake US currency into the country. The person was not identified but was carrying a US passport.

Customs officials in Terminal 2 alerted federal police after the x-ray machine detected a bundle of money inside the man’s luggage. The passenger and the luggage were brought to a secure area where police found 114 fake $100 bills in the luggage along with a checkbook. The US consulate was notified and the man arrested.

Concert attendance here guarantees
continued local Red Cross presence

Part of audience that made Saturday’s Red Cross fund-raiser concert a success. (Staff Photo)

By Staff
An enthusiastic audience witnessed a masterful performance of violin virtuosity Saturday night that was described by exhilarated audience members with superlatives such as “terrific, wonderful, awesome, fabulous.”

Virtuoso Arlindo Silva, accompanied by adept and skillfully synchronized musicians on piano, guitar and percussion, climbed and descended through the musical scores with nimble fingers and flashing bow narrating the story of life’s wonders, joys and sadness in the universal language of music.

To accomplish this, the musicians created the sounds of fast and furious storms that, as storms do, eventually fade into passages of peace and safety seamlessly transitioning from Bach  and Vivaldi and emerging into contemporary times with what seemed to be the Bee Gee’s hit “Staying Alive” from Saturday Night Fever. What could have been more appropriate for a Red Cross fund-raiser?

Silva selected compositions for the event that, from the opening note, was one of soul in music and in cause. Because of the response of residents who paid 200 pesos each to attend, the district Red Cross president said the turnout that netted 30,000 pesos for the Red Cross would enable it to maintain its clinic and ambulance service in Puerto Aventuras for the year.

He explained that a promise of funds from the municipal government has not occurred for several years, risking closure this year of the district’s two outlying ambulance-equipped clinics, one of which is Puerto Aventuras.

At concert’s end, a sincere “thank you for coming” is expressed by Violinist Arlindo Silva, left. (Staff Photo)

Red Cross officials, noting the organization’s 107th year anniversary, mentioned the extraordinary work done by “quiet donors” – some Puerto Aventuras residents in the audience – who through their Rotary International affiliations, have secured tons of medical supplies for the district Red Cross and area hospitals.

The scores of volunteers and organizers like Dulce Carillo, Lucia Perrota and Leticia Duran and the Colonos for free use of the cultural center,  have helped make it possible for the Red Cross in Puerto Aventuras to answer for another year the community’s emergencies that frequently involve life or death situations.

Body of Colegio student found
after being reported missing

The body of a student at the Puerto Aventuras Colegio was discovered in an empty lot on Puerto Aventuras Boulevard last Thursday by security personnel after the teenage boy was reported missing by his family.

The student was identified as a Canadian national who enrolled at the Colegio here last August and was reportedly afflicted with depression.

Municipal police investigators ruled out foul play. They found a number of cigarettes, pills and a small package containing a grassy substance near the body. Officials withheld cause of death until an autopsy required by law is competed.

Suicide reported in Puerto Maya

Municipal police said a young father committed suicide by hanging at his home in Puerto Maya where he lived with his wife and 2-year-old baby.

The police said they were told the man had been despondent. They said the event was carried out by the man while his wife was in the kitchen cooking dinner.

Second concert scheduled Friday, March 3, to benefit youth sailing
By Staff
Another concert has been scheduled for this Friday, March 3, to benefit the popular Puerto Aventuras Youth Sailing Club whose members have brought significant esteem and medals to their skills and their club in international sailing contests.

Club commodore Daniel Gracis, a member of the Colonos board and its Cultural and Sports Committee, has worked with the Greater Puerto Aventuras community in developing training programs and bringing international sailing tournaments to Puerto Aventuras.

Jazz – funk lovers will appreciate this Friday’s concert by the “Quantum Quartet” starting at 7:30 at the Cultural Center on Bahia Akumal. Bringing cushions suggested for the cement stadium seating.

Working some colorful wheelies on a newly painted skateboard park where recycling is held.

Recycling this Friday, March 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the newly redecorated skate park on Blvd. Puerto Aventuras. This year, there will be recycling twice a month. Stay tuned for dates.

Free double lecture on Slowing the Aging Process and handling Wrinkles, Sags and Bags will be presented at 10 a.m., March 7, in the Colonos meeting room by professor emeritus James White of UCSD. This is the last of four lectures presented this year by White.

Bingo is coming up at 3:30 p.m. this Sunday, March, 5, 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…

Dates of note in March… In Mexico – Oil expropriation by President Cardenas in 1938, March 18;  President Benito Juarez birthday, March 21; In the US – Ash Wednesday, March 1; Daylight Saving Time, March 12; St. Patrick’s Day, March 17…

Chefs wanted for…

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 Roundup…

JOSE YSIDRO pauses a moment before picking up a mound of sargassum he raked in earlier in the day at the Omni Beach, doing yeoman’s work keeping the beach clean. (Staff Photo)

Sargassum grew like hair last week on the temporary stone and plastic-netting barriers protecting the Fatima Bay shoreline from sand depletion and the intermittent landing of sargassum on the beach. While Playa del Carmen had difficulty removing sargassum piles from some of its beaches last week, one man with rake, shovel and wheelbarrow was able to keep PA’s Omni Beach cleared…

Kidnapping incidents have decreased in 10 states nationally, including Quintana Roo (pronounced row), reports the National Cooperative Against Kidnapping (Conase). The agency said the decline implies that national strategies to reduce real and virtual kidnapping are working…

The income of marine services providers in Akumal has been negatively affected by the temporary closure of the bay to tourist activities like swimming with the turtles and sightseeing along the reefs, spokespersons for 13 marine service cooperatives told government officials last week. To underscore their plight, they blocked entrance to Akumal for about an hour.

They said they represent 600 families earning a living from those activities. They estimated six days of losses of 150,000 pesos per day. The temporary closure of the bay was part of government enforcement of new sanctuary rules and an effort to prevent overuse of the assets by swimmers brought in by unlicensed guides…

Female taxi driver murdered  in front of her home in Playa del Carmen last week brought to four the number of taxi drivers assassinated this new year in what police believe is drug related activity. She was shot by two men on a motorcycle as she was preparing to drive a daughter to school. The shooters escaped.

Cancun Airport’s infrastructure will be competing with Mexico City’s airport in infrastructure when its new fourth terminal is completed later this year, reports the country’s Communications and Transport Secretariat (SCT). “It will be the most capable airport in the country,” said Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Esparza…

Deported to suicide – Mexican migrant Guadalupe Olivas Valencia, 44, just couldn’t take it anymore. Carrying a plastic bag with all his belongings, he was being deported to Mexico for the third time until, in sight of the US border, he jumped from a bridge and died. Another notch in the pistol of politics.

Ford Motor Co. still plans to move ahead on construction of two auto parts plants in Mexico despite the bullying from the US president that caused the company to stop plans to build a small-car manufacturing plant in Mexico. The two plants now planned are in the state of Guanajuato and the city of Chihuahua. The plants will produce engines and transmissions…

Four armed robbers – three men and a woman – stripped some 30 customers of the Banorte branch bank at Juarez Avenue and Playa del Carmen Boulevard last Friday. They also helped themselves to cash from the tellers. Victims said they were made to lie on the floor and give up  their possessions and deposits they were waiting to make. Ironically, a hotel across the way houses about 100 federal police here temporarily to ensure high-season safety of tourists…

Nature watch…
Dead bird on condo balcony
leads to an area mystery

Blackheaded trogan: Out on a limb?

By Staff

She was visibly upset.

“There’s a dead bird on the balcony,” she explained with sadness in her voice. It was a sudden finding. “I was just out there, and it wasn’t there. It must have just happened.”

The maintenance man, Primitivo, happened to be nearby and was consulted. The bird did not look injured or damaged. Why was it dead on a second-floor balcony for no apparent or obvious reason?

“Maybe,” ventured Primitivo, “it flew into one of the glass additions on the balcony above.” He said the bird might have seen the reflection of palms on the glass and had flown into it. They sometimes do that, he said, as he took the lifeless bird away.

A few days later we happened upon a story in a local newspaper concerning reports from various sources of finding dead or (sick or wounded) Coa Cabeza Negra (blackheaded trogon) birds, lending some mystery to the multiple findings.

A spokesman for a group called Green Jay Maya Birding and other sources suggested drought may have forced some birds out of the wild, their usual habitat, and into urban areas in search of water but offered no conclusive reason for the multiple reports of dead birds.

The blackheaded trogon is not an endangered specie. They eat fruit and insects usually plentiful in jungles and mangroves.

Anyone seeing a dead or living trogon is asked to report the sighting to mayan.jays@gmail.com with this data: Location, date, time, condition (dead, alive, wounded, sick) and a photo if possible.

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication during our weekly high-season schedule is 10 a.m. on Mondays. Thank you. Disclaimer: The Pelican Free Press is not responsible for content and/or claims made on sponsor web sites or social media links.

The end – Previous edition below


Pelican Free Press Newsletter

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