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Cerros Project Receives Grant
Florida Museum of Natural History researchers recently received $53,000 to enhance the museum's online database of Mayan artifacts. The two-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities coincides with the museum's new temporary exhibit "An Early Maya City by the Sea: Daily Life and Ritual at Cerros, Belize," open through Oct. 7. Florida Museum curator of Latin American art and archaeology Susan Milbrath and Debra Walker, a museum courtesy assistant curator who has worked extensively in Cerros, received the grant. University of Florida anthropology graduate students Jeffrey Vadala and Lucas Martindale Johnson developed the exhibit under their direction. "Some of the artifacts being displayed are shell trumpets, jade beads, very early cooking pots that date back to 350 BC, lip-to-lip caches, masks and a huge vessel which originally contained a cache of jade heads in it," Milbrath said. "One of the interesting things about Cerros is that a lot of the deposits are caches that are specifically very ritual – in other words, they put things in a certain spot, in a certain way and people are able to recover it because the site was pristine and there wasn't a lot of looting."

Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant 2012 Presents Miss Panama
The International Costa Maya Festival takes place on August 2nd through Sunday 5th this year. One of the most anticipated events, the Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant, features beauties from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama. As always, residents eagerly await the announcement of the beauties that will be participating and working hard to have the honor of wearing the crown as our Reina de la Costa Maya. This week, we present to you the lovely Miss Panama, Karen Elena Jordan Beitia. She is a 23-year-old brown-eyed brunette who stands at 5 feet, 7 inches and measures 34-24-35. She has a degree in physical therapy and is a graduate student in Pediatric NeuroRehabilitation. In her spare time she enjoys modeling, reading, shopping, cooking, travelling and playing tennis and volleyball. She joins Miss El Salvador, Nathaly Jazmin Mena Arauz and Miss Honduras, Esthefany Maolyth Pineda Perez in the race for the title currently held by Miss Mexico’s Valentina Cervera Avila. ¡Bienvenida Karen!

The Next Miss Belize films in San Pedro
The Next Belize pageant is scheduled to take place on Saturday July 7th at the Bliss Institute for Performing Arts starting at 7pm. Vying for the coveted title are nine beauties from across the country of Belize. This year, the Queen of the Jewel has teamed up with NICH, BTIA and Love FM to bring the entire journey into the homes of Belizeans countrywide in the form of a reality show. Follow the girls as they go to their various home towns and become a tourist ambassador, showcasing the various destinations that their individual home locations have to offer. Competing for the title of “The Queen of the Jewel” and the opportunity to be Belize’s Beauty Ambassador and compete internationally are: # 1- Port Loyola Belize City- Maryam Quwiyy, # 2- Punta Gorda- Charlyn Flowers, #3- Freetown Belize City- Audralee Enriquez, #4- Corozal – Christine Dominguez; #5 – Orange Walk- Negril Crawford; #6- Orange Walk Arbunie Clare; #7- Belmopan- Jasmine Baiza; #8- Caye Caulker – Jenna Bernard; #9 Dangriga – Tonya Barillas and #10- Destiny Arnold representing Roaring Creek in the Cayo District.

Costa Maya Festival says, “Turn Me On” Kevin Lyttle!
Soca artist Kevin Lyttle will be lighting up the stage on Friday, August 3, 2012 at Costa Maya. The committee members have been working arduously to line up some entertainment for all ages, and with Los Pasteles Verdes already set to headline Saturday night’s International stage, who better to bring out for Friday’s stage than Lyttle? Hailing from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Kevin Lyttle found stardom with his 2001 soca ballad titled Turn Me On, which featured dancehall artist Spragga Benz. His strong live performances of soca influenced by dancehall and contemporary R&B made the song a hit throughout the Caribbean. The single was released successfully in 2003 in the United Kingdom, followed by strong releases in Finland and Australia, and twelve other countries. When the single was released in the US in 2004, accompanied by a video on MTV, Turn Me On claimed gold status and peaked at number four on the Billboard Charts. Lyttle has performed alongside Byron Lee, Arrow, and has released two albums, including his self titled debut and “Fyah”. Fyah features contributions from Alison Hinds, Kevin Rudolf, Lexxus and more. Lyttle is currently working on a new album to be released later this year. Be sure to catch him at Costa Maya!!

Primary School Graduations 2012
Maestro Reyes School of Knowledge Saturday and Sunday June 23rd and 24th were the days of graduations for three primary schools here on the island. Proud parents, families and friends converged at the various locations to celebrate this milestone in the students’ lives. San Pedro Roman Catholic School graduated 55 students San Pedro Roman Catholic School (SPRCS) said goodbye to 55 students during Saturday’s Graduation Ceremonies. Under the theme “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” the graduating class rejoiced in their many accomplishments as they proudly accepted their various awards and certificate of achievements. Holy Cross Anglican School graduates 34 HCAS held its graduation exercise on Sunday June 24th at the Paradise Theater. A theater was packed with well wishers, families and friends. Master of Ceremonies for the event was Mr. Daniel Jones. Following the parade of graduates, a prayer was offered by Mrs. Francis Wilson and the National Anthem marking the official commencement of the ceremonies.

First ever Eco-Pro Kayak Challenge held in Ambergris Caye
The first ever San Pedro Eco Pro Kayak Race was held over the weekend from Friday June 22nd to Saturday June 23rd. Taking the much coveted $10,000 prize were Jerry Rhaburn and Christopher Guydis of Team Ziprider from Belize City. The idea of the race was born after organizers of the Lagoon Reef Eco Challenge realized that they were being forced to turn away professional paddlers from kayaking in the annual Lagoon Reef Eco Challenge. Organizer, Elito Arceo stated, “We would love to see our kids continue to participate as they are doing now. The Eco-Pro provides the opportunity for them to take the challenge to the next level, which would be to bring down the professionals.” With the abundance of beauty in our environment, the committee hopes that this will provide not only another venue for local athletes to focus their talents, but as well provide the platform to showcase to international paddlers and their family and supporters a little bit of what the island has to offer, while promoting conservation of our eco systems. The Eco Pro challenge incorporates a part of the route of the Lagoon Reef Eco Challenge however it takes it a step further, taking the paddlers entirely around the island and finishing at the Central Park with the annual Lobsterfest block party.

Spartan budget to be delivered in the Capital. Will there be cuts?
This Friday, the House of Representatives will convene for the first time since the March general elections. There will be a stronger Opposition across the aisle so the budget debate is expected to be fierce. At Friday’s sitting Prime Minister Dean Barrow will table the national budget. The PM has already warned of an austerity [...]

Restructured for comfort, Hoteliers and GST
While cuts are anticipated in government expenditure, in the tourism industry the GST is expected to be introduced to replace the hotel tax. But stakeholders are not complaining. Since its introduction several years ago, hoteliers were exempted from charging GST on goods and services; instead, guests had to pay a nine percent hotel accommodation fee [...]

K.H.M.H. says audit exonerates it from allegations
The special audit of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (K.H.M.H.) has been completed. A former employee became a whistleblower alleging improper procurement practices of supplies and drugs and irregular uses of the KHMH credit card and contracts to international companies. The Prime Minister ordered the audit following the allegations made by Delroy Herrera. The areas [...]

Stevedores slow work pace for union negotiation
A go-slow by stevedores of the Christian Workers Union (C.W.U.) on Tuesday was stepped up to a work stoppage on Wednesday. The stevedores complained that the negotiation process for a Collective Bargaining Agreement (C.B.A.) between the Union and the Port of Belize Limited was moving at a snail’s pace. The troubles go back to May [...]

Port of Belize Receiver surprised by protest
The Port of Belize Limited, however, says that a framework agreement was signed between the CWU and PBL on March twenty-third in respect of the negotiations of a collective bargaining agreement and that they are surprised at the actions of the stevedores and the CWU. The release says, “For the CWU to create industrial action [...]

Belize Tourism Industry Association meets on industry issues
The Belize Tourism Board reports tonight a seven point four percent increase in tourism visitors between January and May. March recorded the highest increase with a historic thirty-two thousand visitors coming to the Jewel, followed by February. With that impressive rebound, the B.T.I.A. met this morning in bi-annual general meeting. Aside from a GST to [...]

Green Tropics must rehabilitate protected biological corridor
Green Tropics, a Spanish company, became known in earlier this month when its operations were put on hold for dredging at the Labouring Creek Jaguar Corridor Wildlife Sanctuary. The company has now agreed to pay an environmental fine of over one hundred thousand dollars to the Ministry of Environment for damages, but it’s not over [...]

Simplis Telethon to raise $1 Million for Children with Special Needs
A mega telethon is planned for this weekend by Kim Simpliss Barrow and Care Belize. This coming Saturday, the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts will be the venue for the Inspiration Telethon, a first of its kind fundraising effort through which the Special Envoy for Women and Children is hoping to raise a million [...]

Trial about murdered witness to another murder falls apart
Now turning to the courts, another murder trial fell apart in court today, when the prosecutor faced two hurdles she could not cross. The case relates to the murder of thirty year old Gilbert Olivera, who was gunned down near his home on Dean Street in May 2009. It is believed that Olivera was killed [...]

GSU puts away another man with an illegal loaded gun
The GSU conducted a number of operations today. At mile four on the Western Highway this morning, Francis Benitez, a Salvadoran national was arrested and charged for firearm related offences. He was travelling as a passenger in a pickup truck towards Belize City when he was searched and the GSU found a point thirty-eight special [...]

Benque Town Council and S.S.B. agree on debt payment
The Social Security Board issued a press release today responding to a news story we aired on Wednesday night. News Five had received a copy of a letter, issued to Benque Viejo businesses from the S.S.B., asking them to pay their taxes directly to the S.S.B. to cover a debt of over one hundred thousand [...]

The indomitable Michael Finnegan helps kids with graduation bill
Graduation exercises were held last week at the Salvation Army Primary School. It was a happy occasion for some, but for others, well they didn’t get their certificates because of outstanding fees to the school. This afternoon, however, all that changed because the Mesopotamia Area Rep, Michael Finnegan, came to the rescue. News Five’s Isani [...]

Police week celebrated with cool visits to Belize City Hot Spots
A number of city cops were in the hot spots in the old capital; they didn’t make any arrests, instead they were meeting the residents of these areas. As a part of the police week activities, the officers did one-hour rounds on Mahogany, George and West Streets, Lovely Lane, Victoria and Usher Streets, Neal Penn [...]

At risk youths get conflict resolution training courtesy of U.S. Embassy
While police cooled temperatures in the hot spots, a conflict resolution training was taking place at the IT-VET with the US State Department and Restore Belize. A team of instructors versed in mediation skills are conducting the workshop, which is sponsored by the US Embassy. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.   Delahnie Bain, Reporting Representatives [...]

Healthy Living cleanses the facts about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
The Ministry of Health says that about a hundred cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease have been confirmed among young children in Belize. The disease is contagious and viral but fortunately not life threatening. Healthy Living gets the details on this disease and how to prevent your child from getting it.   Marleni Cuellar, [...]