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#434881 - 04/05/12 02:40 PM Today's Belize News: April 5, 2012
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The San Pedro Sun

KIDS ARE NOW SAILING TO PREPARE FOR THE 2012 NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS IN MEXICO THIS YEAR
The Belize Sailing Association has just asked the San Pedro Sailing Club to prepare a youth team to represent Belize in the 2012 Optimist Class North American Sailing Championships. This championship is open to sailors from all countries. The week-long event will take place October 20 – 28 at Valle del Bravo on Mexico’s picturesque Lake Avandaro. Belize’s 2011 Optimist Class National Champion Alexander Rhaburn, 11, of Holy Cross Anglican School has already secured an invitation. The Sailing Club believes it can provide the logistics and funds needed to bring him and three others to the event. Every race between now and then becomes especially important, because the points earned will determine who the other team members will be.

Snorkeling Tragedy Tale Unfolds
Investigations are ongoing into the deaths of one male and one female tourist which occurred in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) located between Caye Caulker and San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The incident occurred shortly before 1PM on Tuesday, April 3rd during a snorkeling trip. The tourists have been identified as American national 54 year old Roger Burger and Italian national Zyihe Florencia. Both were part of a group of seven that were separated from their group by strong currents near the channel at the HCMR. According to police the group left Caye Caulker on board a vessel, namely Cyclone, belonging to Tsunami Tours based in Caye Caulker, for a morning excursion to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Miguel Alamilla, manager at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, who was at Shark Ray Alley at the time spoke with The San Pedro Sun and recapped his experience.

The Belize Shark Project
Sharks and their lesser-known cousins the rays have been featured repeatedly in the news the past two years and fortunately not only in regards to incidents between sharks and people. The world is finally learning that many populations of sharks and rays are in global decline as a result ofexcessive fishing pressure, with tens of millions of sharks and an unknown quantity of rays captured yearly as bycatch to the tuna and swordfish fisheries and as targeted catch to supply the voracious demands of the Asian fin soup market and the Lenten season’s requirement for white meat. What many do not know is that through their role as apex predators in the food chain, sharks and rays (collectively known as elasmobranchs) are vital components of healthy and functional marine ecosystems and commercial fish stocks. They play key roles in structuring fish communities and fostering reef resilience against the relentless impacts of algal overgrowth, climate change and possibly even ocean acidification. These animals’ life history characteristics such as slow growth, late maturity and low fecundity (ability of produce offspring) increase their vulnerability to overexploitation and therefore indicate a dire need for management. The unfortunate news is that we are racing against time as populations dwindle to find out as much as we can about these charismatic animals and best forge effective and rational conservation strategies for their survival. Belize has been relatively pro-active in shark conservation: Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve were the first Marine Protected Areas (MPA) declared to encompass critical shark feeding habitat and enforce regulations related to the management of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) in 2000 and Hol Chan expanded it’s boundaries to include Shark Ray Alley. The nurse shark (Ginglymostomacirratum) was added as a protected species in July 2011, and eight of the 13 MPAs now include management actions for the conservation of sharks and rays.

Ambergris Today

Belizean Novel Beka Lamb Turns 30
Did you know that the Belizean literary work Beka Lamb by Zee Edgell is 30 years old this year? Zee Edgell’s first novel, Beka Lamb, was published in 1982 and has since become a Caribbean classic. The Minister of Education of Belize at that time, Mr. Said Musa, pushed for the book to be used at schools in Belize.

Mayor Guerrero Addresses Firings at Town Council
Less than a month after taking office several Town Councils and the City Council have been firing or as they call it “reconstructing” their offices, leaving many without a job. Mayor Daniel Guerrero addressed the situation of firings at the Town Council. “After elections we sat down and analyzed what was going on in the town council and decided that we needed to do some reconstruction in office,” stated Mayor Guerrero. “After studying the situation, we noticed that in the property tax area we needed to do some changes as it has not been working properly. Therefore we decided to let go the three people which were fired last week.”

Misc Belizean Sources

Weekly Fishing Report
The seas have been quite rough lately, 7 to 10 foot waves. The weather has been humid and hot. No rain, but hazy days. The fishing inside the reef has been a bit slow. Mostly small snappers, jacks, small groupers and as usual, the fish that always saves the day from coming empty handed, the famous barracuda. Now, weather permitting, the offshore fishing has been pretty good!! The dorado's have been biting pretty good; caught about 15 this week, and for down here, that is pretty good. These, are considered to be the best eating fish on the ocean!! The tuna's have been active on the late evenings as well. Mostly, blackfin that range from 5 to 10 lbs. That is the average size we catch down here. Sailfish season has started but it has been too rough to go out for them. Also have been catching some wahoo as well as we are at the ending of the wahoo season...

"Belize Zoo - Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh No!
The 'Best Little Zoo in the World'. If you are looking for cages filled with animals from Africa, Asia or the Antarctica, you had better reset your course for San Diego. But if you find yourself in Belize, I would encourage you to seek out the Belize Zoo. It advertises itself as the "Best Little Zoo in the World." Whether that's true or not, the claim is certainly not without merit. Just north of Belize City, the facility is easily accessible. Housed within the confines of a rain forest, it's easy for the visitor to feel like they are on an expedition. The grounds span 29 acres encased under the tropical canopy. Well-groomed dirt paths lead you to the ticket office where, once a ticket is purchased, you are allowed to enter the local menagerie. Exotic animals abound, more than 150 in total, all indigenous to Belize. Brightly colored reptiles and amphibians are showcased along with their more camouflaged kin. Blue frogs and red hued snakes lurk silently behind glass, while crocodiles lay almost lifeless in pools of water. And, new species are still being discovered annually. With 543 species of birds living in Belize, the zoo only houses a small sample of its population. For me, the giant black vulture was memorable, and who can visit a jungle without thinking of the toucan.

Green luxury in the rainforest
Meshak, one of Chaa Creek's best guides, gets mentioned in this article. "The resort's Rainforest Medicine Trail was once the property of Don Elijio Panti, the last Maya shaman of Belize who died in 1996 at the age of 103. It was when naturalist guide Meshak Elia took me there to learn about medicinal plants that I spotted the howlers in the trees alongside the river. The copal tree, Meshak told me, was sacred to the Maya. They would collect and dry its sap, which was burned as ceremonial incense. It was used by shamans to chase away bad spirits and attract good ones, and also as protection against the 'evil eye.' That evening, I joined another small group Meshak was leading on the 'Creatures of the Night' tour. Headlamp flashlights allowed us to pick our way down a path where, in addition to the hairy tarantula and the amorous toads, we also spotted a possum, leafcutter ants and several bats."

Cayo Christian Academy Scholarships
The CCA has 2 scholarships available. One is entitled the Gideon Scholarship, and is awarded for academic excellence. The other is the Pastor Tate Scholarship, and is awarded for good character. The deadline to register is the 21st of June.

PHOTOS: Band Fest
The Banquitas House of Culture has posted pictures from Band Fest 2012. Looks like they have a picture of most of the bands. Congratulations to Succotz Marching Band for winning again!

PHOTOS: More Band Fest Photos
Oceana got some great pictures of Band Fest! Succotz still reigns supreme.

SISE House of Culture Easter hours
The SISE House of Culture will be open on Thursday until 12:00 noon, and will then be closed until Tuesday. Happy Easter to the SISE HoC.

Nova Scotia CC tourism students coming to Belize
From basking on the beach underneath a Belize sun, to ziplining through the rainforest, four tourism students are about to enter a whole new classroom environment. The group from the Nova Scotia Community College Pictou Campus in Stellarton as well as other students from around the province will be making the trip from May 9 to 24. While there they will get to take in all the local tourism attractions, visit a jaguar preserve and even stay a night in a Mayan home. “Yeah, we’re going to come back tired and sore and dirty and stinky, but we’re going to be in a country for two full weeks – which is only a flash in the pan really,” said instructor Adam Rumsey, one of the leaders on the expedition. “In that two weeks we’re going to see as much of their tourism industry as possible. That’s the key. Yes there’s some down time and yes there’s some beach time, and there’s some great experiences, but the whole thing is to experience their tourism industry and bring those experiences home.”

How many people can you fit? A ‘thank you’ to Belize
The fresh natural juice looked particularly bright today. It quenched my thirst after a long walk around the new beachfront “facelift” on Caye Caulker. Sand had been built up behind concrete retaining walls to prevent erosion on the reef side of the island. It’s looked smart, fresh and clean. The morning was already warm, and made even warmer by the exercise. At Amor y Cafe, I sat down to eat breakfast. I drank the orange juice down quickly and began to write. Three months in Belize have passed. I love this country- its places, its food and mostly its people. I fill up with tears – of joy and sadness, and sentimentality. This trip has exceeded my expectations, both professionally and personally. For readers who are thinking about taking a trip to Belize, do it now. You will find an open door and excitement for life that will refresh you.

The Split’s new beach …
In preparation for the upcoming Easter festivities and of course to consistantly upgrade and improve our islands beauty, the Split has gained additional beach. In previous blogs you have witnessed the construction of this beach but finally it is complete. Tourists today were finding their way back to the west side of the split as the beach is now extended and from what we can see, there is full approval!!

PHOTOS: A visit to the Iguana Hatchery
The Green Iguana Conservation Project rocks! They have some sad news: Roxy has passed away. That won't stop them from thrilling tourists from all around the globe. Mariposa Jungle Lodge has some really amazing shots of guests with baby iguanas on them. "Have you ever been this close to a reptile? Come and have a look, it's an amazing experience! For quite some years the San Ignacio Resort Hotel have been at the forefront of conservation for the threatened Green Iguana. A highly interpretive and educational exhibit has been designed within the Resort’s property in order to create a closer look at this amazing reptile, and to learn how vital they could be to the ecological balance of the river habitat."

A tribute to Roxy
One of the senior iguana’s and star of the Green Iguana Conservation Project has passed today Friday, 30th March 2012 at the age of 6 years. She was a remarkably social iguana who enjoyed the parade of daily visitors, University Interns, Celebrity Hotel guests and hundreds of tiny pre-schooler’s intriguingly awed at her beauty. “Roxy has been a part of our lives for so many years now. Her character and features stood out immensely from all the others we’ve worked with. I will certainly miss her morning welcome and outgoing demeanor with visitors. Roxy was the most gentle iguana I’ve ever worked with.” The words of a saddened guide and caregiver, Bert at the Green Iguana Conservations Project. Roxy leaves behind her mate, Gomez age 14 years, whom Eddie (the second of the duo team at the project) explains, “Gomez enjoyed being close to Roxy, flopping around and finding a quiet corner for resting with her.” Iguanas are found to develop close bonds with their mates. Roxy was four-foot, three inches in length with greenish-brown skin. She was introduced to the Green Iguana Conservation Project in 1996 where she has worked as a part of the “green team” in educating visitors on the importance of this endangered species. “Iguana’s are considered a delicacy in Belize, especially large fertile iguanas like Roxy are hunted for their eggs,” said Eddie.

Channel 7

A DAYLIGHT KILLING ON THE ALBERTS
Tonight another Belize City family is grieving after a 23 year old man was killed this afternoon on Albert Street. It happened in front of Dee Dees just a block and a half away from our studio. Michael Garbutt was shot fatally in the head a...

BRIBERY PETITION AGAINST PUP LEADER GRANTED LEAVE TO BE HEARD
Since last week, 7News has been following the flurry of election petitions taken before the courts. Well, we add another pair to that growing list tonight. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has granted leave for UDP's Lee Mark Chang to bring a...

PETITION AGAINST UDPS MARK KING WILL ALSO BE HEARD
And while Fonseca's disqualification is now a possibility, the UDP's Mark King, is also under scrutiny. Last night, we told you about the arguments which were heard before Chief Justice Benjamin as to why Martin Galvez should be granted his e...

CAYE CAULKER MANHUNT HARASSES "BLACK NEIGHBORHOOD"
Tonight police are still looking for 16 year old Ernesto Bernardez - but the focus of the manhunt has shifted: police now believe that Bernardez managed to give them the slip and is now in Ladyville - where he reportedly has relatives. This co...

TEENAGER GRAZED IN CITY SHOOTING
A teenager was grazed by a bullet yesterday at his Belize City home. Yesterday evening around 6:30 p.m., two men were walking past his family home on Sibun Street when one of them fired 4 shots. 16 year old Chrisdale Courtenay was shot in the rig...

HOLD UP AT PHOTO STUDIO
Two hours later, two men held up Venus Photo Studio on Bishop Street in Belize City. Jose Javier, a 33 year old Belizean photographer and co-owner of the business, was at work when, at about 8:30 pm, two men walked in. One of the men took out a gun a...

WOMAN WITH BIBLE ROBBED IN CEMETERY
And there is another disturbing armed robbery to report. Not even a bible could protect a city woman was robbed on Palm Sunday - of her bible and other items worth a total of $1400. At about 8:30 on Sunday night VIRGINIA CASANOVA, a 49 year old ...

BELIZEANS LEARNING ABOUT CLAY ANIMATION
Whether you like regular old "cartoons" or those fancy full length features like Toy Story or Shrek, the science and the art known as animation is one of the most fascinating areas of development in media. And now, a form of it is being taught...

OWNER OF DIVE SHOP WHERE TOURISTS DROWNED SPEAKS
Yesterday we reported about two tourists who drowned while snorkeling in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. They are 54 year old American National Roger Burger and an Italian national Zayihe Florencia. The tourists along with 5 others were on a tour wi...

SHYNE SPEAKS ON RECONCILING WITH DIDDY
Right now you probably know more about the life and times of Shyne than you do about almost any other Belizean public figure, and that's owing to our extended interview with him. And while some viewers have told us they cringe at the spectacle of ...

Channel 5

Afternoon Murder Downtown Belize City
There has not been a murder in the City since March eighteenth when Jiovanni Saldano was killed. But this afternoon, in downtown Belize City, a young man was executed. It happened in broad daylight just before three o’clock on Albert Street. Michael Garbutt, who was deported from Los Angeles in June 2011, was smoking a [...]

U.D.P. gets election petition against Francis Fonseca
Both political parties today got leave for election petitions. At ten a.m., Michael Young made submissions to seek an election petition on behalf of Lee Mark Chang who charged that bribery was used for votes by one of P.U.P. leader Francis Fonseca’s agents, Albert Vaughn. Young read affidavits from seven individuals who said they accepted [...]

P.U.P. gets election petition against Mark King
Chief Justice Benjamin also heard the motion for an election petition against Mark King, area rep for Lake Independence on Tuesday. Arguments presented by Attorneys Lisa Shoman and Denys Barrow started at three and ended at six-thirty. Shoman, who represented Martin Galvez, argued that King should have been disqualified because he did not disclose contracts [...]

Celina’s Store in Cayo robbed by gunmen
Around two-fifteen this afternoon a popular supermarket was robbed in downtown San Ignacio. Celina’s Super Store located at number forty-three Burns Avenue was the target of two armed men. It is reported that robbers walked into the store and pistol-whipped two employees. One of the assailants later held a gun to the head of the [...]

‘Mea Culpa’ on Cordel Hyde Appointment
As we reported in Tuesday’s newscast, former senior deputy leader and government minister of the People’s United Party, Cordel Hyde says he was not officially offered nor will he accept the designation of Consul General to New York as the government announced following the meeting of cabinet. Hyde is currently in New York where his [...]

Minister discusses Ambassadorial Appointments
When he was interviewed this morning, the minister was asked if it is not customary to discuss the appointments before they are made public. Elrington also disclosed that an ambassadorial appointment for Taiwan had been declined.   Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, Minister of Foreign Fairs “It’s basically in consequence of his statement that he did not [...]

Sedi second take on decriminalizing transportation of drugs
A regional security conference was held recently in Antigua, Guatemala. It was widely reported in the international press because the president of Guatemala is proposing to decriminalize the transportation of drugs through Central America. It is part of an unusual plan to combat the large scale escalation of violence that has resulted from drug trafficking. [...]

Claymation Animation Workshop
NICH through its Film and Media Arts Unit today concluded two workshops on claymation. Forty participants received training in this new technique from film expert, Matthiew Klinck. Suzette Zaiden of the Institute of Creative Arts says that the training is a springboard for a major film and media art competition, entitled ‘Animated’ that will be [...]

Get yo’ hot cross buns for Easter
The baking of cross buns has become a part of the Belizean tradition at Easter time. In homes across the country, the aroma from the buns will be permeating the air on Thursday. While some people make cross buns for a living, others do it to bring the family together; the Belize Red Cross takes [...]

Pedal with the Cross Country Cycling Classic
The most anticipated cycling event takes place this Saturday. The Cross Country Classic is attracting over a hundred riders, local and foreign, who will ride to the west and return to the City, hopefully in time for lunch. It has been six years since the garland has been won by a Belizean so the pressure [...]

Disc Jockey rides for Charity
Among the hundred riders is DJ Alfrain Supaul. Supaul is not competing for the garland; he is hoping to complete the ride to raise funds for two institutions that cater to disadvantaged children. News Five’s Isani Cayetano found Supaul preparing for the Cross Country and has this story.   Alfrain Supaul, Radio Personality, Wave 105.9 [...]

LOVE FM

FATAL SHOOTING IN BELIZE CITY
Marion Ali reporting… “23 year old Michael Garbutt returned to Belize from the US last year to settle down, but tonight he is dead, the victim of another bloody murder. Garbutt was shot dead today in front of his family’s residence at 93 Albert Street. ...

DATE SET FOR NATIONAL AGRICULTURE AND TRADE SHOW
The 2012 National Agriculture and Trade Show will be held on the weekend of April twenty seventh to the twenty ninth in Belmopan. According to a brief statement from the Ministry of Agriculture, the theme chosen this year for the 3-day event is: “Agriculture: creating great...

SEARCH FOR TEENAGER ACCUSED OF SHOOTING POLICE OFFICER CONTINUES
An extensive man hunt for a male person in connection with yesterdays shooting of a police officer is currently underway in the neighboring village of Caye Caulker. Love News understands that the station recived a call sometime before five yesterday informing them of the whereabouts of...

BEL SAYS IT IS ASKING PUC TO CONSIDER REVISING CERTAIN FEES
Belize Electricity Limited has announced that it is asking the Public Utilities Commission to consider revised fees for pole rental paid by cable companies and telephone operators. According to a release from the government-owned electricity provider, BEL has submitted an applica...

CABINET APPROVES AMBASSADORIAL POSTINGS
The government of Belize today announced the appointments to the Diplomatic Corps. According to an official release, the appointments were approved today during the regular meeting of Cabinet in Belmopan. The list of appointments to diplomatic posts abroad include: Al...

SNORKELLING ACCIDENT LEAVES TWO TOURISTS DEAD
Maria Novelo reporting... “A group of seven visiting tourists set out to sea early today with Tsunami Tours, a tour company based in Caye Caulker for a snorkelling trip. A short while later, the choppy seas coupled with strong currents turned the pleasure trip into a tragic s...

CTV3

12 Year Old Allegedly Left Alone In Orange Walk At 4:00 In The Morning
Last week Thursday a group of students from the Belize Adventist College located in the Village of Calcutta in the Corozal District embarked on their annual sporting trip to Punta Gorda. Late this evening, nearly a week after the trip took place; a disgruntled and frustrated parent contacted our news room informing us that on the day of the trip her 12 year old daughter was abandoned here in Orange Walk at around 4:00 in the morning. According to Sheila Gillette at 2:00 in the morning she dropped off her daughter Stephanie Lawrence, a first form student at the Belize Adventist College, at the Central Park in Corozal Town where the students were picked up by the chartered bus. Gillette alleges that when the bus arrived here in Orange Walk at 4:00 in the morning, Shilea was dropped off at the Orange Walk Town Hall and left there all alone. The child was informed that she was unable to go on the trip because of an outstanding school fee. But what has Gillett piping mad is not that her daughter could not take part in the trip but that she was left all alone here in Orange Walk where she has no family or friends.

Victim of Traffic Accident Passes Away
Tonight the family and friends of 19 year old Dennis Cawich, a resident of San Pablo who was involved in a traffic accident on March 28th, are mourning his death. Cawich passed away on Tuesday at around 7:00 in the morning while receiving treatment at the Karl Huenser Memorial Hospital. According to family members who spoke to us off camera today, during the accident Cawich sustained head and body injuries. It is unknown however, if the 19 year old died as a result of those injuries. The family is now awaiting the results of a post mortem examination to determine the exact cause of death. On March 28th the 19 year old was traveling from Orange Walk to San Pablo in a black and white Mazda Pickup Truck when he ran into a culvert just a few miles away from the village. Cawich was returning home after purchasing sacks of corn in Orange Walk for his family’s tortilla business. Dennis Cawich will be laid to rest tomorrow in the Village San Pablo.

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin Rules In Favor of Mark Galvez
On Monday night we reported that Justice Michelle Arana granted leave for David Craig to file an election petition against UDP Standard Bearer Herman Longsworth. Yesterday another election petition was heard, this time by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. Martin Galvez, who is represented by Attorneys Lisa Shoman and Anthony Sylvester, is alleging that Lake I Area Representative Mark King is the Manager of Brint's Security which has a $135,000 contract with the government. Reports are that King, as is stipulated in section 58 of the Belizean Constitution, failed to declare that he had a signed contract with Government starting July 2011 and ending July 2013 to provide twenty-four hour security for the Charles Bartlett Hyde building and the sales tax office in San Ignacio and as such his election should be null and void. Inside the courtroom of Justice Kenneth Benjamin both Lisa Shoman representing the complainant and Denys Barrow representing the defendant argued their case.

17 year old Wanted By Police For Shooting a Police Officer
Tonight the community of Caye Caulker is practically under lock down as police continue their search for a 17 year old minor considered armed and dangerous. Seventeen year old Ernesto Bernardez is accused of shooting PC John Valerio on the head with his service revolver. Luckily the bullet only grazed Valerio. The incident played out on Tuesday evening when Bernardez, who is also wanted in connection with the robbery of a nine millimeter pistol belonging to another police officer, visited the Maya Island Air Office to purchase a ticket to Belize City. Bernardez was about to board his flight when he was approached by PC Valerio who at that that time had already been informed that a man matching the description of a suspect wanted in connection to the robbery of a firearm, was seen at the airstrip.

Fire Department Says Gas Leak Caused February 28th Explosion
On February 29th 49 year old Reymundo Dominguez of Custard Apple Street received 2nd degree burns to his legs, arms and face after his newly built house exploded with him inside. Dominguez was rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital where he was later transferred to the KHMH. The explosion which caused the four concrete walls of the building to collapse and zinc roof to blow off attracted many speculations. For one, reports were that it could have been a case of arson and two that a gas tank could have caused the explosion. But at the time of the incident the Orange Walk Fire Department was unable to determine what exactly caused the explosion which left Dominguez’s neighbors in shock. After carrying out an extensive investigation into the matter the fire department was able to determine what caused the blast.

Fire Department Issues Safety Tips For Easter Holiday
Apart from the police safeguarding the town and your home from unwanted visitors, the Orange Walk Fire Department is also ready to take charge in case of a fire emergency. We all know that in a matter of seconds a vacation can turn into tragedy if the right measures are not taken to prevent a fire. With that in mind today we spoke to the Chief Kenneth Mortis of the Orange Walk Fire Department who gave out some tips on how to keep your home safe. “What we have done we have launched our safety pamphlet and it pretty much covers wild fires or what we call brush fires in this time of the year, we have noticed a high increase in terms of response to bush fires and so forth, our pamphlets here kinds of like guides you how to go about preparing yourself and your neighbours for these fires, what we ask is to keep your surrounding pretty much clean if you have a high bushes and so forth to keep it low and even if you live in a more bush or more populated areas where they have some bush then we ask to go a minimum of six feet perimeter in the neighbour and what that does it reduces the chances of a forest fire coming and clashing close to your property and we are pretty much trying to work with the community in terms of getting themselves ready and also to educate the people about what to do in the event of a fire.

Police On High Alert For Easter Break
It’s that time of the year when good weather and four days of holiday make for fun all across the nation. But in this day an era when criminals are on the prowl day and night there is no doubt that Belizeans are thinking twice about leaving there homes over the long weekend. In order to keep your property safe the Orange Walk Police Department will be out in full force working with the community to try and ensure as crime free a celebration as possible. Today when we spoke to Corporal Zenobio Coc from the Orange Walk Police Department he told us that preparations for the long weekend are already being set out.

LOVE TV

Belizeans introduced to stop motion animation
A workshop entitled Animagics was held yesterday and ended today at the Youth for the Future computer lab on Youth for the Future drive. The workshop is an introduction to stop motion animation also referred to as claymation. Facilitator for the Belize Film Commission Suzette Zaiden explained more about the workshop. Zaiden says that the workshop was free of cost and they got their participants by sending letters to schools and to persons they knew would be interested in taking part in this activity because space was limited this time, but they are looking forward to hosting another workshop of the same kind in May of this year, so that it comes in line with their animation competition. Zaiden says that anyone that is interested and wants to collaborate on anything that has to do with Belize, is encouraged to join their Institute of Creative Arts facebook page or sign up at the Belize Film Commission.

Terror on Burns Avenue in San Ignacio
There was a terrifying armed robbery this afternoon in the heart of the business district in San Ignacio town. Our Cayo Correspondents Elaine Berry and Jonathan Carriddi went to the scene and worked together to bring you the following report.

Youth shot dead on Albert Street
A man is dead following a mid-afternoon homicide in the heart of the business section of the commercial capital. Love TV’s Marion Ali and video journalist Myles Gillett rushed to the scene just minutes after the incident and file the following report.

POLL: Should the government legalize marijuana in Belize?
Please visit the site to participate in this poll.

PlusTV

UDP files counter petition against Francis Fonseca's Freetown
Of course the drama doesn’t end there, as the UDP has filed a counter petition regarding the Freetown Constituency ...

More PUP election petitions; Mark King of Lake Independece
Earlier this week Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana granted defeated candidate in the Albert division, David Cra...

Belmopan residents sign petition against proposed farmers market
The placing of the proposed New Farmers Market continues to plague the residents of the Mountain View are. The Coun...

Nazarene Church beautifies neighbourhood Belmopan park
The city park which is frequently used by the United Evergreen Primary School children and located next to the Belm...

Workshop held for video animation fanatics
The workshop is called ANIMAGIC and it “leads its participants through all the creative and technical steps of plan...

9 year old dies in hide-and-seek accident
Early Sunday morning, nine year old Christian Orantes, a student of Patchakan Village in the Corozal District passe...

Broad daylight murder in Belize City
A Belize City man is gunned down on Albert Street. Micheal Garbutt aka ‘Micki’ was a resident of T- Street who was ...

Appointment of Cordel Hyde as Consul General uncertain
Last night we reported that Cordel Hyde was officially appointed as Consul General in New York. However in a phone ...

Man arrested after firing shots at cops
WILLIAM JOSEPH LEIVA, a resident of Coral Grove, Belize City, reported to police that he was riding his red Meilum ...

Tourists drown on snorkelling trip at Marine Reserve
Two tourists drown whilst snorkelling at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Sometime between 2:30pm and 3pm yesterday aft...

The Guardian

Another Petition Against King
On Friday, March 30th, leave for an election petition against Hon. Mark King, Lake Independence Area Representative filed by Yolanda Shackron failed in the Supreme Court before Chief Justice Kenneth ...

Power Hungry PUP!
The People’s United Party are so desperate for power that they have launched a number of applications for leave in the Supreme Court to be granted election petitions. They began with Shackaron against Hon. Mark King, which was the first ...

Succotz Festival Drum Corps Continues to Dominate Bandfest
On Saturday, March 31, Belizeans from across the country travelled to the Santiago Ricalde Stadium in Corozal Town for Bandfest 2012. Hon. Pablo Marin, Mayor Hilberto Campos and the great people of Corozal were gracious hosts to thousands of visitors....

Shackaron Fails
On Friday March 30th ,Yolanda Shackaron failed in her bid to have her election petition heard at the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice ruled that her application for leave for an election petition would not be allowed....

Numbskull Move by O.W. Mayor
It is supposed to be one of the busiest revenue days of the month but instead of taking care of people who want to do business with the Orange Walk Town Council, the Mayor decided to close operations on April 2nd. Information suggests that he wanted to do some investigation or the other at the Council. That may be all fine and good, but doing an investigation does not necessarily mean that you close down all operations of the council. As a newsflash for the Mayor, the first week of the month and in particular the first workday is usually the busiest for any town administration. That is the case because people take time out to visit the town board and the traffic department in particular to renew their licenses for their vehicles. This week is that much more important since we are leading into a long holiday weekend and many people will be using their vehicles to get to their holiday destinations. They need to get the license in order to avoid paying a fine. Instead of considering this, he disrupted the lives of hundreds of Orange Walk residents. And by the way, couldn’t the investigation have been done while business was ongoing? Or couldn’t he have waited until after business hours to do the investigation?

Akeem Thurton sentenced for shooting S.C. Rodwell Williams
On May 31, 2010, 19-year- old Akeem Thurton was found guilty of the attempted murder of SC, Rodwell Williams in the first trial by judge in Belize. Since then, the Chief Justice, Kenneth A. Benjamin commissioned a Social Report to ...

Security Forces maintain Lead in Football Competition
The Premier League of Belize concluded week eight of its on-going football competition on Sunday April 1, 2012, with no surprises in the games played. The official standings clearly show that the Security Forces (the Police Department) and (the Belize ...

Back to school
They say that the key to success is preparation, preparation, preparation. Sadly, there are those among us that would not care to take that advice. Among those is a specific PUP attorney, who has been championing all causes. In fact, that attorney has championed causes that have turned out to be quite the opposite of what the original cause was and still went ahead and dutifully did her part in the matter. Even if it meant going against what she ‘believed in’. Well, it seems as if that attorney’s run came to an end on Tuesday when she was literally taken to school - or should we say law school. It was not Norman Manley, rather it was the courts in Belize City. Oh, how she thought that her case was fool proof, that is, until she met up with a real attorney who instructed her in affidavit preparation and as basic and fundamental a course as the Evidence Act.

Central America Considers Pulling Out of US War on Drugs
US Under Secretary of State, Maria Otero, and US Ambassador to Belize, Vinai Thumalapally, clearly states the US position on decriminalizing drugs On July 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon declared a “war on drugs”. The President said that drug abuse was “public enemy number one”. That was over forty years ago. Since then, the levels of addiction, trafficking and violence has continued to rise. If drug abuse is public enemy number one then it is safe to say that the United States is losing its war on drugs. Fortunately for them, they are not the ones suffering from this war. Latin America has suffered most and many leaders of the region have come to realize that the war on drugs is a slow, painful, self-destructive march. Fighting the United States’ war has caused thousands upon thousands of casualties in this region. The President of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, hosted a meeting of Central American Leaders in Antigua, Guatemala to begin discussions about decriminalizing, legalizing and regulating drugs and the drug trade.

New Ambassadorial Appointments
Cabinet at its regular meeting today, Tuesday, 3rd April, 2012, approved the appointments of the following Belizeans to the following diplomatic posts abroad:- •Alfredo Martinez re-appointed as Belize’s Ambassador to Guatemala. •Nestor Mendez re-appointed as Belize’s Ambassador to Washington and Canada. •Lois Young appointed as Belize’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. •Janine Coye Felson to continue as Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations. •Perla Perdomo appointed as Belize’s High Commission to London, United Kingdom. •Mark Espat in his role as Leader of the Re-negotiating Team appointed Ambassador for Economic Affairs.

Cop Shot in Caye Caulker; 17-year-old wanted
Police are looking for 17-year-old Ernesto Bernardez after he allegedly shot a police officer in Caye Caulker. Police report that at around 2a.m. on Sunday April 1, Bernardez was approached by a police officer in connection with an investigation being carried out on the island of Caye Caulker. During the interaction between the policeman and the 17-year-old, a struggle ensued during which Bernardez managed to get a hold of the policeman’s 9mm pistol which he pointed at the police officer and attempted to fire. The gun was on safety and the attempt failed. Bernardez then allegedly hit the cop with his own weapon and escaped. Bernardez’s encounters with police continued on Monday April 2nd when at around 5:00 p.m., he was spotted on Avenida Mangle near the Caye Caulker Airstrip. He was reportedly about to catch a flight off the island. Police officer John Valerio attempted arrived in the area and conducted a search on Bernardez during which Bernardez allegedly again grabbed the policeman’s .38 revolver and fired two shots at him, hitting the officer once to the left side of his head. Bernardez managed to again escape and police are now looking for him. The officer was transported to the Caye Caulker Health Center and later to the KHMH where he was treated and released.

Prison Officer and Three Others Convicted on Separate Drug Trafficking Cases
On Monday April 2nd, four person were convicted in the Belize City Magistrates’ Court on separate drug related offenses. Three of them were for drug trafficking while a tour guide pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of possession.

Counterfeit charge withdrawn from cop
On Friday March 30th, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions withdrew charges of possession of counterfeit notes against Sergeant of Police, Sherwood Wade. Wade was arrested and charged after he was allegedly found trying to deposit U.S. counterfeit money into his account at the Belize Bank branch office on the Northern Highway on May 18, 2011. Police said at the time he was found in possession of 16 - $100 US currency notes.Two days after the bust, Officer Wade on Friday, May 20, appeared in Court #1 before the then Chief Magistrate, Margaret Gabb McKenzie where he was read a single charge of possession of counterfeit notes. Sgt. Wade pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail of $8,000 plus two sureties of $4,000 each.

The 84th Riding for the Garland this Saturday
The Belize Cycling Association will be holding its 84th Edition of the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic on Saturday April 7, 2012. The race will start at 6:00 am from the Old August Meat Shop at Mile 1 1/2 on the Western Highway travel to San Ignacio Town around Columbus Park and return to finish in front of the Memorial Park on Marine Parade in Belize City for a total distance of 142.4 miles. According to the Belize Cycling Association, the event is open to athletes of the U-23, Elite and Masters categories. The Technical Meeting for the 84th Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classis is scheduled for Thursday April 5, at 7:00 pm in the Santa Rita Room at the Radisson Fort George Hotel. The Belize Cycling Association says that only team managers will be allowed to attend this meeting. The Belize Cycling Association is asking all team managers to contact the secretary at telephone number 621-0952 to collect passes to enter the meeting. Team managers are kindly asked to note that verification of documents will be done during the allotted time of 6:00-7:00 p.m. At this time, all registration for the race and verification of proof for all payments including outstanding fines must be presented. Team managers are reminded that failure to provide proof of payments will result in a denied start.

National Sports Council invites Boxing Enthusiasts to meeting
The National Sports Council is inviting all boxing officials and enthusiasts to a very important meeting on Tuesday April 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm at the National Sports Council Office at Rogers Stadium. The goals of the meeting is to discuss the way forward for the re-organisation of the discipline of Boxing in Belize and to set a date for new elections for the Boxing Association.

CONPASA concludes General Assembly Congress in Valencia
Valencia, State of Carabobo, Venezuela, Monday April 2, 2012 The Confederation of Pan American Softball Associations concluded its 15th General Assembly on Sunday April 1, 2012, at the Stauffer Hotel in Valencia, State of Carabobo, Venezuela. The 15th General Assembly officially got underway on Wednesday March 28, with 20 countries of the Americas in attendance. The President of the International Softball Federation, Don Porter, addressed the congress and its delegates at the official opening ceremony. The congress also received the reports from its various sub-committees as well as that of the national federations that make up the organisation.

78th Belize City Senior Female Softball Competition set for Wednesday April 11
The 78th Belize City Senior Female Softball Competition for its regular season is scheduled to commence on Wednesday April 11, at 6:30 pm at Rogers Stadium, the home of softball in Belize. This year’s competition will feature four teams that will compete in 8 rounds of competition before the playoffs are set to commence. On Wednesday April 11, at 6:30 pm, in the first game of the 2012 campaign will feature Orchid Blazers against Hurricanes. The competition will then continue on Friday April 13, at 6:30 pm when newly crowned marathon champions, Mirage Lady Rebels, will see action against the defending champions Telemedia. The champion and sub-champion from Belize City will represent the association at the 22nd National Women’s Championship scheduled for August 24-26, 2012, at Rogers Stadium.

Searchlight: The Parameters of the Law
Several articles have been reprinted in the past week underlining the casual cruelty meted out to slaves in what is now modern Belize. The reports concentrate on the ill treatment of slaves and were sent to the Colonial authorities by various visiting officials. They were shocked by what they perceived as a failure by the magistrates touphold the existing laws and thus protect slaves from excessively cruel treatment. These officials accepted slavery as an institution but were appalled by its practical implications. The visiting officials reserved their anger for individuals especially cruel slave owners but did not admit the cruelty of an institution that classified the rights of human beings according to their status and not as an inherent right of all persons. They recognized that magistrates, who were also slave owners could not be relied on to impartially administer the laws. Even had the laws been strictly followed, they offered slaves a bare minimum of protection. Whipping and lashing were permissible up to a predetermined limit that certainly caused extreme pain and suffering. There were no laws to protect the integrity of families who could be split up at the whim of owners and none to protect women and ...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker applauds one of it’s own
Born and raised in Caye Caulker, Ilna Alamina (Auxillou) started studying for a degree in education in 1946, at the tender age of 14 yrs. She also began her teaching career at that age, handing over her monthly paycheck directly to her parents (approximately $15 US / Month) to help out with the family household expenses. Over the years, Ilna Alamina consistently passed every level of the Teachers Exams available in Belize, thereby completing her secondary education in this country. To obtain a tertiary education, she would need to leave the country, and left the country she did. Leaving her tiny country and even smaller island behind, she headed for Jamaica to continue her studies. Ilna described that experience as foreign as ‘going to the moon’ might be. Ilna Alamina-Auxillou achieved her goals, obtaining a Teaching degree, by attending various universities abroad on educational scholarships. Her first university years were done in Jamaica, followed by Michigan State University, and then finally the University of Leeds in England. Ilna Alamina-Auxillou, always a hardworking and dedicated individual, will be the first to tell you that in the early days she studied by candle light, or kerosene lantern, yet managed to get straight A’s in class. During the course of her 30+ years teaching career, Ilna Alamina-Auxillou taught at Holy Redeemer R.C. School, and St. John’s College extension in Belize City; following that, she became the first local principal at Caye Caulker R.C. School. She was also the principal at Ladyville R.C. School in the late 1970′s, before becoming a teacher and assistant principal at Junior Secondary High School (1) and Junior Secondary High School (2) in Belize City in the early 1980′s. Ilna Alamina-Auxillou applied for early retirement in 1983-1984, when she migrated to the USA with her four teenage daughters.

Amandala

Manhunt for 16-year-old on Caye Caulker
He stole 2 guns from 2 officers, shooting one of them... Caye Caulker police are conducting a village-wide manhunt for a teenager who shot their fellow officer in his head and stole two of their firearms in Caye Caulker around 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 2.

Court of Appeal rules $2.13 million for Janae and Georgia Matute
Awich judgment reduced by half-a-million... The Court of Appeal has upheld a landmark ruling made in the Supreme Court in October 2010 against Dr. Raju Meenavalli, a former government doctor now in private practice, who was accused of negligence and medical malpractice before Supreme Court Justice Samuel Awich, in the case of Georgia Matute and her child, Janae, who developed cerebral palsy, as a consequence of a premature birth by C-section.

PI concludes today; decision 2 p.m. Wednesday
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has set tomorrow, Wednesday, April 4, at 2:00 p.m., as the time when he will declare whether he will allow Martin Galvez, the PUP candidate for Lake I in the March 7 general elections, to file an election petition challenging the validity of Mark King’s election to the House of Representatives on the basis of a contract with the Government of Belize that King has allegedly failed to disclose.

15 years for Akeem Thurton, 19
Who “set up hit” on Rodwell Williams? It is his first criminal offence, and 19-year-old Akeem Thurton of Belize City was given every benefit of the doubt by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin before being sentenced to serve a 15-year term of imprisonment on a charge of attempted murder today.

Schakron election petition denied
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin today denied an application made to the Supreme Court by Yolanda Schakron, Lake I political aspirant for the Opposition People’s United Party, to file an election petition to challenge the decision by Returning Officer Noreen Fairweather to refuse her nomination paper following an objection made by a voter, alleging Schakron’s disqualification due to her dual Belizean-American nationality.

Twin tourist tragedy
Two tourists, an American and an Italian, drowned in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, near San Pedro, after they became separated from their snorkeling group, reportedly because of rough seas and strong currents.

Ricardo Cak, on the run after brother’s shooting, turns self in
Punta Gorda Police have confirmed that Ricardo Cak, 25, wanted for questioning in the shooting death of his younger brother, Cesar Cak, 18, during an apparent hunting accident, turned himself in on New Year’s Eve, December 31.

III National Junior Karate Championship results
The Belize Karate Federation (BKF) held its III Annual Youth National Karate Championship on Sunday, April 1, in Benque Viejo, Cayo District. Despite the event clashing with Palm Sunday, a total of 50 youths participated in this all-day, action packed, family fun filled event!

2 weeks of war to reach the Premier League playoffs
Week 8 is history, and there are now only 2 more weeks of regular season games remaining in the Premier League of Belize opening season, to determine which 2 teams from the North and which 2 from the South will make it to the big 4-team playoff round.

More than a race
Socio/cultural/historical journey - international war of the wheels... The 84th Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic is only a few days away, and the Easter weekend frenzy and fever, the romance and the nostalgia of family reunions, are inevitably beginning to kick in, as Belizeans make their travelling preparations, those who are leaving for the holiday weekend, and everyone is looking forward to the race that rekindles life in the nation, after the somber suspension of activity with mournful Good Friday gives way to the fresh dawn of Holy Saturday filled with hope. Holy Saturday is when the full glory and uniqueness of our cultural legacy takes center stage, as we review and relive the historical episode of the first Cross Country, and the many epic journeys since, that make the folklore ever growing for Belize’s special race. No other cycle race possesses the mystique and the historical significance to match the ‘Country – the reenactment of the painstaking plotting of the social and cultural ties that bind the folks in our productive western hills and valleys, through the eastern flatlands, and persevering on through nature’s favor or challenge to reunite with their seaside relatives and friends in the old marketing capital.

Sugar City Girls win back-to-back against Millennium
There was no “pay back” for the Millennium girls of Belize City on Sunday at the MCC Grounds, where they faced the team that beat them 2-1 the previous week in Orange Walk. Sugar City Girls promptly shut out Millennium this time, 3-nil, with 1 goal late in first half, and 2 more in second half. Speedy Sugar City striker, no. 10 Giselle Baizar shook the net at the 40th minute, and she returned early in 2nd half for her second goal at the 51st minute to make it 2-nil. The final tally to secure the 3-0 victory for Sugar City came from the very formidable #9 Karen Garcia. Outstanding Sugar City midfielder Natalie Macias says she is an American Peace Corps presently attached to the Ministry of Education in Belize on a 2-year stint. She hails from Los Angeles, California, and played on her college women’s team as well as for a while in the Women’s League.

David Craig wins leave to file election petition for Albert division
Stating that the question put before her this morning in the Supreme Court was “an important legal question that should be argued, properly ventilated and determined in a court of law,” Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana granted leave to defeated candidate in the March 7 general election for the People’s United Party (PUP) in the Albert division, David Craig, to file an election petition in respect of the validity of the election of his opponent, Herman Longsworth of the United Democratic Party (UDP).

SICA Secretary-General visits Belize to strengthen ties
Juan Daniel Alemán, Secretary-Gen



Edited by Marty (11/17/12 04:13 PM)

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#434882 - 04/05/12 02:41 PM Re: Today's Belize News: April 5, 2012 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

EDITORIAL: 1993 and 2012
If the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) had gotten a few more votes on March 7, perhaps just 60 in all, in the Cayo Northeast and Cayo Central constituencies, they would have formed a 16-15 government, even though they polled 3,000 fewer votes nationwide than the United Democratic Party (UDP) did. The PUP would have been, in the sense of overall voter support, a minority government, which is precisely what the UDP was between 1993 and 1998. In the June 1993 general elections, the UDP polled 2,000 fewer votes than the PUP did, but won 16-13 in seats.

From The Publisher
Over the last three decades and more, the field of Afro-Mexican research has experienced explosive growth, most notably amongst the academics in the great United States of America. The Mexican regions which are being studied include Veracruz, the Pacific coast and states like Guerrero and Oaxaca, and, most important and relevant for us Belizeans – the Yucatán.

The Kushites: who were/are they?
In Genesis chapter 9 verse 18, we are told that the sons of Noah were Shem, Ham and Japheth, and that Ham was the father of Canaan. The story continues that Noah got drunk and lay naked and that Ham went and told his brothers, Shem and Japheth. But exactly what did he tell them? That their father was drunk and that he was naked? The Bible doesn’t say. In verse 24 of the same chapter, Noah awakens and learns what his younger son has done. But what was that? If Noah was drunk, it had to be something that his other two sons told him what Ham had done.

The Reporter

Blogs

Our Sojourn in San Ignacio - Day 5: Return to San Pedro
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and today was our day to return to San Pedro. Not that that is such a bad place to go, by any means, but we'd been having so much fun on our various excursions in San Ignacio and the Cayo District of Belize, we hated for our time there to draw to a close. We really love spreading our wings by visiting new places and are so fortunate our retirement is allowing us the precious time to do this! We tried a new place for breakfast this morning recommended by Becky and Gonzo, "Pop's". It was the least expensive place yet and full of locals, so it had to be good -- and it was. Barry got -- what else -- a breakfast burrito (with a choice of meat this time; he chose ham); and I got waffles with bananas and one egg on the side. The restaurant was just a short walk around the block from the Casa Blanca, our home for the past four days. We even got to see Pops himself serving some of the folks, though he did not wait on us.

Big Boats at the Belize Yacht Club, The New Holiday Hotel and Some Changes in Town
I haven't been into San Pedro town in a while...at least not since I returned from my trip to Mexico. Yesterday, we took a walk and passed the Belize Yacht Club. About 8 BIG boats are parked along the dock and their crews were furiously swabbing the decks. All boats were flying American flags and none had home port on the stern except for a huge one on the other side from Oyster Bay, NY. A crew member said that all the boats (except the one from Long Island) were owned by Guatemalans, that they are in Belize for Easter and that they are headed down to the Rio Dulce. Great looking boats. This is one of the medium sized boats, Vitamin Sea.

International Sources

DHS Holding Co. Signs Purchase Agreement for Land Development in Belize
DHS Holding Co. (pinksheets:DHSM), a holding company with experience in the health care sector including Cyber Security, Authentication and Identification, Specialty Medical Devices, Medical Banking and Electronic Funds Transfer, Electronic Remittance Advice and proprietary software solutions, announces today entry into the international land development sector by signing a purchase agreement to acquire a 40-acre parcel of land in the northern region of Belize. The 40-acre site is on the Belize-Mexico Border in an area called the EPZ Zone. The property is located directly across the street from the Mexican Immigration department and duty free shopping zone. The area is traversed every day by several thousands of people. This is the first part of a multi-phase project for DHS in the country of Belize. "We strongly believe that the tourism and gaming industries will continue to flourish in Belize. The purchase of this land will allow DHS and its shareholders the opportunity to engage in these growing sectors while helping to develop a richer economy for the citizens of Belize," stated DHS CEO Michael Rohling. DHS Holding has begun clearing the land and has hired Architect Daniel Arguellas and his firm International Environments LTD. to begin the process of developing concepts for the land.

Goshen man dies on family vacation
Goshen businessman and inventor Roger Burger drowned Tuesday while on a vacation in Belize with his wife and son. Burger was one of two drowning victims from the same snorkeling party. An Italian woman also drowned. Burger, his wife Becky, and son, Zach, were part of a party of tourists who left Caye Caulker Tuesday morning to experience Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley, one of Belize’s top destinations for snorkelers and divers, according to the “San Pedro Sun,” a Belize newspaper. According to the newspaper account, Burger, the Italian tourist and others were caught in rough seas and strong currents and separated from the group. Police rescued the other divers after receiving a distress call at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Two survivors were hospitalized with cuts and abrasions. Burger will be remembered for his sense of humor and quiet intelligence, according to his friends.

A Tillsonburg family hopes Mike Holmes will help make their home more accessible
The doorways of Denis and Alrae Turcotte’s Broadway Avenue home are scraped, nicked and scarred from constant abuse. The wear and tear is due to friction from a wheelchair that is too large and awkward for the cramped main floor kitchen, living space and tiny washroom in the home. The wheelchair belongs to Denis Turcotte, 64, who was critically injured when he was run over by a tourist boat while scuba diving with his son Alden Turcotte in Belize in 2008. His trip to Belize to swim with whale sharks was supposed to be an adventure that would allow Turcotte, an avid sportsman, to cross one more thing off his bucket list. Instead, a dive boat going full throttle through shallow water left Turcotte hovering between life and death. Despite trying to dive to the bottom of the sea to avoid the collision, Turcotte’s head and leg were clipped by a propeller. “He floated to the top, his arms outstretched, a pool of blood,” Alrae Turcotte said. After a ride on the boat that hit him, and then torturous ride down a winding dirt road to a local hospital, Denis Turcotte was transferred to Belize City for surgery to remove bone from his brain before being transported to an intensive care unit in Florida. A stroke left him paralyzed on the right side, which was further complicated by pneumonia and a blood clot. “I wasn’t sure he was going to survive,” Alrae Turcotte said. After several weeks, he was transferred to London Health Sciences Centre and then to Parkwood for rehabilitation. Just before Christmas 2008, he finally moved back to his Tillsonburg home. In order to deal with his mobility issues, the home was modified slightly with the help of local firefighters. They built a ramp and porch to help Denis Turcotte into a van, specially purchased so he could be transported. Altogether, the couple spent about $75,000 on medical expenses, transportation and minor renovations at the time. As a result of the tragedy, the couple was also forced to retire as Alrae Turcotte became her husband’s chief caregiver. Denis Turcotte had been employed at Tillsonburg Memorial Hospital as the manager of the X-ray department while Alrae Turcotte was a senior mammographer at Woodstock General Hospital. “Our pensions are adequate, but because of ongoing medical expenses, there is no money to do the expensive renovations we need,” Alrae Turcotte said. In 2011, the family learned Denis Turcotte would never walk or stand again. He also suffers from aphasia, which affects his speech.

Dental Hygiene students traveled to Belize to offer a prevention-oriented dental program through "Project Smile"
Six select senior students in Savannah Tech’s Dental Hygiene program travelled to Belize to provide prevention-based dental care for indigent children. As a participant in Project Smile, Savannah Tech students offered their services free of charge alongside two STC faculty members and Savannah dentist Dr. Steve Acuff, who is one of STC’s clinical supervising dentists and the president of Project Smile. Project Smile began in 1992 as a cooperative effort between the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and the Anglican Diocese of Belize, in Central America. It is a prevention-oriented dental program for indigent children at St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in Belize City. An unused classroom at St Mary’s School is home to a permanent seven-chair dental treatment facility. In March 2010, Project Smile opened a four-chair clinic in the mountains near Guatemala. The clinic treats children ages four to 14 years through cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings, and treating abscesses. Every child in the schools receives toothbrushes and toothpaste, which are used every day after lunch at school. Every Wednesday students receive a fluoride rinse given by trained adult volunteers.


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