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The San Pedro Sun

Evacuation Services by Tropic Air, re: Tropical Storm Ernesto
Effective immediately Tropic Air will begin Evacuation Service. Tropic’s goal is to evacuate our customers as safely and efficiently as possible. When developing your family’s evacuation plan, please keep the following tips in mind: • Tickets are issued on a first come, first serve basis. • Please arrive at the Tropic Air offices with your luggage, two small bags per person, prepared to evacuate. • Owners of large pets that require kenneling must evacuate pets during the hurricane watch phase of the threat to San Pedro. No space will be available during the height of an emergency evacuation (Hurricane Warning). • Please remember that cargo is on a space available basis, and over-sized items will not be sent during this time. • As the weather deteriorates, we will be forced to stop flying. Tropic Air will evacuate as many people as possible. Please help us make your family’s evacuation plan safe and efficient.

NEMO San Pedro activated…voluntary evacuation is advised
The San Pedro branch of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) was officially activated at 1PM on Monday August 6th. The Emergency Operation Committee (EOC) has been in full operation as the island continues to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Ernesto which is projected to be a Category One hurricane before making landfall. NEMO is advising residents living in the low-lying areas of Ambergris Caye to evacuate voluntarily to higher grounds. Speaking to the press after a 2PM meeting at the NEMO office in San Pedro, Deputy Chairman of the EOC for San Pedro NEMO Branch Mayor Daniel Guerrero said that the San Pedro committee is ready. “We have been meeting since early this morning. I have advised the people (residents) to put their respective plans into action and to do so early. We are advising them to buy their food and water, their flashlights and batteries and everything they need to do, they need to do it early. I want everyone to do their part and not leave it last minute for NEMO to do,” said Mayor Guerrero.

FORCE conducts survey on reef status in Ambergris Caye
The Future of Reefs in a Changing Environment (FORCE), a research project was on Ambergris Caye for the past weeks conducting research on the status of the reef. The group held a community meeting on Wednesday July 25th at 7PM at the Lion’s Den to inform the general public on the surveys being held on the island. The team of six: Dr. Johanna Forster, Dr. Rachel Turner, David Gill, Angelie Peterson, Cecilia Guerrero, and Lindolfo Chicas were on hand for the presentation and questions. Speaking of the project Dr. Forster stated; “It is an initiative that is looking at finding ways of managing Caribbean reefs. We are working in different countries in the Caribbean, speaking with people who use reefs for their livelihoods such as tourism and fishing. Our aim is finding out the changes they’ve seen with the reefs to see how the management of the reef is going and whether they think things are good, things are okay or things need to be changed. We are also looking at what the conditions are for improvement. We are really interested in finding out more about the livelihood dependency on the reef and reef management.”

Ministry Of Education conducts a one week Literacy and Arts camp
A portion of a literacy and arts camp culminated on Friday August 3rd. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Education office in San Pedro. Students from various levels from primary schools all across the island participated in the one week camp which took place at the San Pedro High School. The camp was held under the theme “Learn to Read and Read to Learn.” According to the Ministry of Education office in San Pedro, a total of about 120 students participated in this year’s camp. The students learnt various skills that will improve their reading. “Scientists believe that 60 to 70 percent of any reading materials consist of sight words. We notice that a lot of the participant had problems with sight words. With the help of the reading camp, I am sure they will improve a little more. I want to encourage parents to help their kids to improve their level or reading,” said Miriam Codd-Pott, the Belize Rural South Education Officer. The students were divided into different groups depending on the class they are attending at the primary school. At the closing ceremony, each group did a presentation for their parents and invited guests. All the students received a certificate of participation in the 2012 Summer Literacy and Arts camp. At hand to deliver the certificates was the Deputy Mayor of San Pedro, Severo Guerrero Jr. Councilor Guerrero also encouraged the students to keep on reading, because it help makes a better and more productive person.

Ambergris Today

Costa Maya Festival is King in Belize
What commenced as the San Pedro International Sea and Air Festival and now The Costa Maya International Festival, this Festival is King in Belize and soon Central American Region. This past week saw the 20th Annual Costa Maya Festival and there is lots to celebrate about its success. Despite a shaky start with no formal announcement of its opening to hype up the crowd, the presence of the beauty contestants of the Miss Costa Maya Pageant was enough to excite the crowd who immediately took sides with their favorites like Miss Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Mexico. The night, of course, became euphoric with the sensational performances of local singer Nathalie Arceo who debut a soon-to-be-released single along with San Pedro’s guitar pro, Derrick Banos; and of 11-year old Jael August of Belize City who mesmerized the audience with her powerful yet melodious voice.

Video Pick: Ladies of Divash Shake it Up at Costa Maya Beach Bash
The four sexy ladies of DIVASH from Guatemala performed at the Costa Maya Festival Beach Bash on Sunday, August 5, 2012, and capture the attention of beachgoers with all their shakes, twists and gyrations. Central Park was full with activity as the festival concluded with the party that moved from the festival grounds to Central Park for some fun in the sun.

Ernesto Nearing Hurricane Strength, Warnings Issued for Belize
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and the National Meteorological Service of Belize have declared Phase II and a Tropical Storm Warning have been issued for the entire country of Belize as Tropical Storm Ernesto nears hurricane strength. The Belize Rural South NEMO headquarter has issued its first Advisory on the storm and as of 9:00 a.m. this morning the following was there report:

Belize Internet Most Expensive and Slowest in the Region
For those who have ready access to the Internet, have you ever considered what life might be like if you no longer had it? For many of us, key aspects of our private and professional lives would effectively grind to a halt, which inherently demonstrates the growing importance of Internet service within the Caribbean. A recent survey of the Caribbean shows that internet speeds in Belize are among the slowest and most expensive. First, Belize was one of only three countries still offering speeds of less than one meg; in Belize the lowest speed that you can purchase is 128k - only Dominica is lower with 64k. Also, the price for 256k in Belize - $51US monthly would buy you one Meg in Anguilla; one meg is about 300% faster than 256K.

PHOTO: Nurse Shark Whirlpool at Hol Chan Marine Reserve
A whirlpool of sorts, as nurse sharks circle in a feeding frenzy at Shark Ray Alley, located at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. It's feeding time and visitors to the island enjoy the experience of feeding and swimming with these magestic and docile marine creatures. Just another great attraction in Belize.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Extreme Freediving, Belize Barrier Reef

Atlantic Bank Art Competition
Atlantic Bank is having an art competition for primary school students, with great prizes, like a netbook and a Kindle. The theme is "My Belizean Community, Building the Future Together." The deadline for entries is August the 17th. Good luck. Visit their website for more information: http://www.atlabank.com

Tropical Storm Ernesto on Weather Underground
Weather Underground has some of the best predictive software for hurricanes, and they update their tracking hourly. At this point, it does look like the eye of Ernesto will pass just north of Belize. NEMO is on most radio stations, and will keep everyone updated. "People living in areas that normally flood need to move to a dry and safe building area and bring along their food and water. Stay Tuned for further advisories from NEMO and the National Meteorological Service."

Ernesto – Hurricane or Tropical Storm, we will be prepared!
For anyone that is interested in our welfare and indeed wanting to keep up-to-date with the changes in forecast and current weather, then we will be at the end of the internet (as long as communication will allow!!). As far as Ernesto goes, all storms are to be respected – mother nature can produce enormous amounts of damage if we were not to heed warnings, however, we are not expecting anything more than perhaps a strong Cat 1 (the models vacillate between strong Tropical Storm and weak Hurricane). I would imagine that by the end of the day today we will be under at least a Tropical Storm Watch/ Warning or perhaps even a Hurricane Watch/ Warning and those with boats (including Raggamuffin) will commence putting them on land most likely this afternoon and tonight. However today and indeed this morning, the weather looks beautiful … you would never imagine that a storm would be pressing down on us!! We will be undertaking tours today, ensuring that those who have taken the time to come to this fair island will at least get time in the water!! Tomorrow we would expect the weather conditions to start to change ie clouds and increase in thunderstorms. We have had a particularly dry later July and August – very little rain at all for the past two weeks, we are due for some rain at least – however, we are all crossing fingers that the wind and as importantly, the surge remains as low as possible so that the island sustains little to no damage (which is likely from the force of winds predicted!!). We are prepared and that is the key – we are used to this by now and I could almost guaranteed that by Thursday, it will be business as usual – however, in the meantime, your thoughts and small prayers for us down here would be very much welcomed!! GO AWAY ERNESTO – You are not welcome!!

Channel 7

Ernesto Eyes Belize
Today, all across the country the red flags went up - as Belize was put under Hurricane Watch. Tonight, we are under a hurricane warning, which means that two Red Flags are now flying - with Tropical Storm Ernesto packing winds of 65 miles per hour and located 415 miles East of Belize's coast or 410 miles east south east of Belize City. The 6:00 pm update from the National Hurricane Center in Miami reports that Tropical Storm Ernesto is moving west North West at 12 miles per hour - which puts it on a track to make landfall north of Belize by Wednesday. The worry is that it can strengthen to a hurricane by later tonight and continuing to strengthen throughout the day tomorrow. Now, this is just a projection, a forecast, but anything and everything can change in the life of a storm. Twenty minutes ago we spoke vie telephone with the Chief MET Office, Dennis Gonguez to find out what the latest information means for Belize:.. Dennis Gonguez, Chief MET Office "At 6pm today Tropical Storm Ernesto was near latitude 16.5 north, longitude 82.1 west. That position is about 110 miles east south east of Belize City. Tropical Storm Ernesto had maximum sustain winds of 65 miles per hour heading towards the west North West at 12 miles per hour." "Our 7 day forecast track takes Tropical Storm Ernesto up near the northern sections of our country and making landfall somewhere around midnight around 3am on Wednesday morning."

Fifth Corozal Murder Since July Fifth
There was a murder in Corozal last night - the fifth murder in that town in a month - and this one, just like the last two was a public execution. The last two we refer to are Robert Hernandez and Kenrick Vaccaro - who were gunned down on sixth Avenue. Last night, a pair of gunmen waylaid James Swan Jr. on Seventh Avenue - which is the main street in Corozal. To understand how serious that are, you'd have to know that - unlike Belize City - at night, downtown Corozal is bustling with shoppers - and most stores are open. That was the setting at 7:20 last night when a spray of bullets from a nine millimeter pistol was released at the height of the evening rush. We found out why police think James Swan Jr. was targeted:.... Jules Vasquez reporting Deng's Supermarket is on the main street in Corozal Town. It's always bustling with activity - as it was last night at 7:20 when Belize City resident James Swan Jr was execute din front of Deng's Store.

OW Man Was Found Nude, Strangled With Underwear
And there was another murder in the North this weekend. Actually it may have happened before the weekend started, but the body of 35 year old Ricardo Blanco was not found until Saturday morning. Orange Walk Town resident, Blanco was last seen on Thursday night in Trial Farm - which is just outside Orange Walk. H was drinking with three men in front of a store named Diamonds. The owner told us that at 12:30 am, he saw the three men beating Blanco. But by 1:30 am, Blanco had recovered, regrouped with the same three men who were beating him and they left. He was not seen alive again. His mother started to worry from Friday morning when she saw that he hasn't gotten home. And on Saturday, she launched a search. She told us what they found:.. Francisca "Ms. Pancha" Blanco, Mother "We went in a picado road - my son-in-law was driving and suddenly he stopped and says that he sees something black in the grass and I say where and so he reverses and we came out the car. I saw his pair of tennis right there and then his shirt - his shirt was tore in half. I saw one of his socks over there. Now I came to the conclusion that he was dead."

Gang Boss Says Police Abducted Him
On Friday night we told you about gang warfare that had erupted in Belize City - reportedly between the Ghost Town and Back-A-Town Crews. There were shots fired - at close range and in broad daylight, but reportedly no one was hurt. And then on Friday night a police surveillance vehicle was reportedly shot in ghost Town turf. We say reportedly because though that is the information that has come to us from multiple sources, the police press officer told us he knows nothing of it. It is important because it set the stage for what the boss of Ghost Town says was a police abduction - which he claims would have been an execution if his wife hadn't gotten involved. It's a tall claim, but from where he sat on Saturday night, not an exaggerated one. He reports being whisked off in an unmarked heavily tinted Land Cruiser with private plates operated by police officers known to him. We got the first part of the story from his wife, who we found outside the Ladyville police station this morning. She had been camped there for almost 24 hours straight - right through the night - to make sure that her husband wasn't whisked off again. Here's their story:.. Julia Anthony, wife of Roger Anthony "We got a knock on the door after 10pm minutes to 11. It was the police, my husband went outside to open the door - I was getting clothed. I heard the keys and after that silence. When I ran out there the GSU had practically stuff him in a Land cruiser - only his feet was out."

City Prepares For Storm
Hopefully the violence subsides as the entire country prepares for a storm that could be a hurricane by the time you wake up tomorrow. Tropical Storm Ernesto is expected to strengthen into a category one hurricane tonight and make landfall on the southeastern tip of Mexico on Tuesday night, just north of Ambergris Caye with projected winds of 86 miles per hour. Again that is only a projection, and that's why The City Emergency Management Organization team says they are prepared for anything that comes. This afternoon CEMO held a press conference where they highlighted their plan of action for Belize City and also emphasized the importance of preparations. Mayor Darrell Bradley "The issue that I want to communicate is that persons need to cooperate with us. This is why we are putting in place all the plans today. When we issue the advisory that these shelters will be open and we are monitoring with NEMO to decide on an appropriate time that that will be done - if anything that will be done sometime tomorrow." "When we indicate to persons that these shelters are open they then need to take it upon themselves to move and to move quickly. when we think about hurricane and about hurricane preparedness we need everybody to participate. this is the reason we have call a press conference to advised the public exactly what we are doing and what they need to be doing. If they determine that they have to go to a shelter - make that decision very quickly and as soon as the hurricane shelter is open then they move into the hurricane shelter immediately."

Another City Shooting
And just before the council held its press conference, there was another shooting in the city. A Belize City man was shot while sitting inside his parked vehicle. It happened around 12:47 this afternoon. 24 year old Charles Fortune was reportedly inside his vehicle when a gunman, described as wearing a red t-shirt and black pants, approached his vehicle and opened fire. Fortune received injuries to the mouth, left arm pit and buttocks. After he was shot, Fortune managed to drive himself unto to Currasow Street where he then alerted someone that he was shot. He was taken out of his care and put into another which took him to the KHMH. We understand that tonight, that he is in a stable condition. So far police have not given a motive for the incident as their investigation continues.

Gilroy Usher Jr. Charged For Assaulting Cop
You may either know Gilroy Usher Jr. as the owner of First Stop Pawn Shop, or as an avid supporter of his politician father, Gilroy Sr., or as the newly-elected secretary of COLA. But tonight, Usher is in the news because he spent the weekend in police lockdown after allegedly threatening a court bailiff, assaulting him, and then assaulting one of the police officers stationed at the Magistrate's Court. The incident occurred just before 12:30, last week Friday, inside the office of the Magistrate's Court. This is the section where persons go to make payments to the court clerk, on seek out advice on the Magistracy department. Usher Jr. - who usually has business at the court in his capacity as the owner of First Stop - allegedly got into an argument with Gabriel Casey, a court bailiff. That argument quickly escalated to a physical confrontation. Reports are that Usher made certain comments and pulled up his shirt to show the bailiff his licensed firearm. It's at that point that Police Constable Edgar Poot, attached to the Prosecution Branch, saw the direction that this confrontation was taking, and he got involved to try to de-escalate the situation by escorting Usher outside.

Fatal Accident Claims Life Of Medical Student
An international medical student died over the weekend in a traffic accident near San Narciso Village on the Northern Highway. The accident occurred shortly after eight on Saturday morning and when 7News arrived at the scene, we witnessed villagers frantically trying to render medical assistance to two injured medical students while one of their classmates lay motionless in a cane field. According to the driver, nineteen year old Prandeep Saikia, he was driving his black Izuzu Rodeo towards Corozal when the vehicle suffered a blow out. Saikia lost control, ran off the road and flipped multiple times before coming to a stop in a cane field. The front seat passenger - who was not wearing a seatbelt, Jayandra Jahhar, was flung from the car as it overturned. The 21-year-old suffered fatal head and body injuries and died at the scene. The driver and the other passenger, 18 year old Sagar Sharma, suffered only minor injuries. Jahhar's body was subsequently transported to the Corozal Community Hospital for a post mortem examination. Prandeep Saikia has been charged for manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, driving without due care and attention. Police say they may also charge him for driving with an alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit - because the driver carried an odour of alcohol, but the police will have to wait for the result of a blood sample to come back.

B'zean Medwood Sputters In Semi/Bolt Brilliant For JA
400 meter hurdler Ken Medwood became the first Belizean to advance to the semifinals of any track and field event at the Olympic games. He ran his semifinal heat on Saturday at noon. It was live right here on Channel 7. So that was it for MEdwood - with his fifth place finish - but it was still history for both he and Kaina Martinez - as they both advanced in their respective races. From there, interest turned to the showdown on Sunday night in London - to see who would be the fasted man in the world in the 100 meter sprint. BOLT NEXT PARTICPATES IN THE 200METER - THE PRELIMINARY HEATS FOR WHICH WILL AIR LIVE ON CHANNEL 7 TOMORROW.

Belize's Best Three On Three Ballers Are ...
And while the world's fastest athletes gathered at the track in London - Belize's best three on three basketball players gathered at the Jamboree Parking lot for the national final of the three on three basketball tournament. Stakes were high as district champions came to the city to see who would go to New York City for the senior males and the world three on three championships in Spain for the Junior champions. In the end, Belize won in Juniours and Corozal in seniors, we spoke to the winners.... Tariq Middleton, Belize City - U-18 Champ going to Spain "As far as the tournament today it was way tougher. The teams from Belmopan, Orange Walk, Cayo and Corozal - they came with because they wanted to win." Jules Vasquez "What up with this championship game - the little part that I tape looks like you guys were having a fairly easy time with it - it was 9-2 I think." Tariq Middleton "The final score I think was 14-4 I think or 14-3." Jules Vasquez "It was fairly easy?" Tariq Middleton "I wouldn't say easy, but we work hard to get that."

Channel 5

Ernesto expected to become hurricane and reach northern Belize
Pull out your hurricane preparedness plans because a category one strength hurricane is heading this way and the entire coast is under threat. Tropical Storm Ernesto has been on the radar for about a week; it was initially expected to head north into the Gulf of Mexico but Ernesto has shifted and now has his [...]

City Emergency Management Organization ready for Ernesto
The City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO) also went into full gear in Belize City this afternoon. CEMO has set up its Emergency Operation Center here at Channel Five studios on Coney Drive, which will be the command center for its operations until the all clear is given. Before moving over, a press briefing was held [...]

Evacuation plans activated to move islanders
To avoid overcrowding, persons evacuating the islands are being taken to Orange Walk and Belmopan. CEMO says homeless persons across the city will be picked up and taken care of, but it is asking neighbors to inform them of any “shut-ins” who need assistance.   Darrell Bradley “All those persons who are coming into Belize [...]

NEMO Corozal prepared for the worse
In the north where the brunt of Ernesto is expected to be felt, NEMO dusted off the files and began preparations on Sunday.  This morning the Corozal District committee members met; top on the list was the opening of shelters. Willard Levy, Coordinator for the district says that while they are expecting a lot of [...]

James Swan Junior murdered in Corozal
There’s a highly sensational murder to report tonight. The son of the well known James ‘Raindrops’ Swan, was killed over the weekend. Recently, thirty year old James Swan Junior was named in the double murder of Charlie Espat and Eduardo Daniel Alamilla, who were found in a shallow grave in Santa Marta Village, Orange Walk. [...]

Body of missing Orange Walk man found
The other murder was in Orange Walk, where the naked body of a missing man was discovered early Saturday morning off a feeder road in the outskirts of the town. Thirty-five year old Ricardo Blanco, a jack of all trades, was reported missing on Thursday by his stepfather, Arculano Navado. According to Navado, Blanco left [...]

Med students’ fatal crash
Loss of life over the weekend was not only confined to criminal elements in shootouts. Three Indian nationals were involved in a Northern Highway accident that claimed the life of one man. The three men in their early twenties are all medical students studying in Belize who were heading to Corozal town on Saturday morning. [...]

Charles Fortune shot several times
Twenty-four year old Charles Fortune is tonight fortunate to have survived an early afternoon assault during which he came under fire by a gunman.  The shooting occurred on Curassow Street shortly before one o‘clock.  Fortune, who was seated inside a vehicle, was approached by a lone gunman dressed in a red shirt and black pants. [...]

Vasquez shot in the face inside vehicle
In Ladyville, another man was shot in the face. Reports have not been released by the Police Department regarding the incident, but we know that David Vasquez, who lives on Poinsettia Street was sitting inside his van which was parked in front of his residence when he was injured. An armed man came from the [...]

Aspiring politician gets caught in fight with cop
During this morning’s press conference with the police, two cases were brought up that involved altercations. One burglar could not wait for the occupants of the house to leave the premises, so he burglarized the place while they were still inside. And the other case involved an aspiring politician, Gilroy Usher Junior, who ran on [...]

Men, well known to police, shooting at a home
In the courts today, twenty-six year old Brandon “Battery” Smith, and twenty year old Wilburn “Punkey” Gentle, appeared before Magistrate Dale Lino to answer to a charge of discharging a firearm in public. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charge, but because the offense involved a firearm, they could not be offered bail at [...]

Taiwan Embassy burglarized
Taiwan announced today that its Vice President Wu Den-yih, who has been designated with the rank of special envoy, will be arriving in Belize on August eighteenth, following the inauguration of the new president of the Dominican Republic. The V.P. and a delegation will be holding bilateral talks with the government and will depart on [...]

B.N.T.U. and P.S.U. discussing salary adjustments with G.O.B.
It has been over a decade since the last salary adjustment for teachers, as well as public servants, who contend that the cost of living has increased by approximately thirty percent over the past eight years.  This, in addition to twenty-three other concerns, has been tabled for negotiations between Marion McNab, C.E.O. in the Ministry [...]

Kenneth Medwood’s hurdles at the Olympics
On Friday, Kaina Martinez gave us hope with her performance in the one hundred meter sprint at the 2012 London Olympics. She place second in the qualifying race, but did not move on after round one. The other Belizean, Kenneth Medwood, however, made it to the semi-finals in the men’s four hundred meter hurdles. He [...]

Sports Guru James Adderley’s winning sport moments
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The World will be talking for a long time about that electrifying performance from Usain Bolt of Jamaica in the 100 meters yesterday in the London Olympics. However, I’m a Belizean and I know you are too. Therefore, respect and support must be given [...]

LOVE FM

National Emergency Management Organisation Advisory #5
NEMO Public Advisory # 5 TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO TIME: 12:00 MIDDAY LOCATION: 16.2N 81.1W and EAST SOUTH EAST of BELIZE 483 MILES TROPICAL FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARDS UP TO 125 MILES FROM THE CENTER MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS: 65 MPH PRESENT MOVEMENT: West Nort...

Duo Arrested for Publicly Discharging Firearm
Two Belize City men have been detained pending charges of discharging a firearm in public. They are twenty six year old Brandon Smith and twenty year old Wilbert Gentle. Police say that on Friday afternoon, a mobile patrol on Sittee Street observed Smith firing several shot...

Businessman Detained for Allegedly Assaulting A Policeman
Belize City businessman, thirty two year old Gilroy Usher, Junior is in police detention pending charges as a result of a fight on Friday afternoon. According to police reports, Usher, along with police constable Edgar Poot and Court Bailiff Gabriel Casey were inside of the Baili...

Home Invasion in Belize City
A Belize City couple was robbed during a home invasion on Friday morning. According to police reports, Irma Novelo and her common-law husband Carlos Fidenso Medina were at home around six thirty on Friday morning, when a man armed with a rusty knife entered their home through the...

Northern Highway Accident Claims One Life
A traffic accident on Saturday morning on the Northern Highway in the Corozal district has left one man dead and another in police detention. The victim has been identified as twenty one year old Jayandra Jahhar, a medical student. According to police reports, around seven o&rsqu...

Belize Watches Tropical Storm Ernesto Closely
Tropical Storm Ernesto continued to follow predicted forecast track and behavior this afternoon as it cruised into the Western Caribbean Sea. At three o’clock this afternoon, the center of Tropical Storm Ernesto was located neat latitude fifteen point three degrees north and seventy e...

PlusTV

Ernesto forecasted to hit Belize as Category 1 hurricane
NEMO declares phase 2 and has issued a tropical storm watch. In its public advisory sent out today NEMO and the Nat...

Another person gunned down in Corozal
Shooting again in Corozal Town claims two lives; On Sunday (August 5) at 7:30pm Police responded to a report of a s...

Accident on Northern Highway claims the life of medical student
Fatal traffic accident on the Northern Hwy ends a man’s life. On Saturday (August 4) Police responded to a scene be...

Renovation of Belmopan Bus Terminal area gets underway
The bus terminal area is one of the busiest and most trafficked areas of Belmopan. That’s due mainly to the schedul...

Fight almost breaks out as tension rises among taxi operators
As we told you earlier in this newscast, works out at the Bus Terminal has commenced. And while the vast majority i...

Couple hides in bathroom as intruder ravages home
Belize City woman is robbed at knife point in her home. IRMA NOVELO of Belize City reported that about 6:30am on Fr...

Ruckus in Bailiff's office, man detained
EDGAR POOT, a Police officer attached to the Prosecution Branch in Belize City reported that about 12:25pm on Frida...

Hurricane safety tips
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is advising customers to make all preparations and take the necessary precautions ...

Organizations on stand still until "All Clear"
The Belmopan City Council has issued a release advising the General Public that, based on the threat of Tropical St...

Woman apparently drugged then raped
Tainted puro lead to sexual violation. On August 2 a 19-year woman of Mahogany Heights Village reported that on Jul...

Blogs

All eyes on Belize: Tropical Storm Ernesto heading our way
Well, here it is, the first tropical system of the 2012 hurricane season to threaten Belize. Seems that Tropical Storm Ernesto, likely soon to be Hurricane Ernesto, has his sights set on either northern Belize, where we live, or southern Mexico. The track seems to change every few hours, sometimes looking better for us, sometimes worse. The more north he goes, the better, as the strongest winds and heaviest rains will be north of the eye. So, with apologies to our neighbor Mexico, we are hoping he heads up that way and not to Belize City south of where we live on the island of Ambergris Caye! Since our condo is right on the ocean, and on the first floor to boot (about 7' above sea level), we obviously have to take storms like this seriously. However, Belize's offshore reef means that the wave action here is virtually nil, and storm surge extremely tempered. I wouldn't feel comfortable owning a first-floor, ocean-front condo on the Atlantic Ocean, but it's definitely a bit different here in Belize because of the reef. Our building, right on the Caribbean Sea Waves break over the barrier reef, not on the shoreline We are also fortunate because our building ("Chico Caribe") is built for hurricanes. It's new and all-concrete, and we have hurricane-strength sliding doors facing the ocean. Even luckier, the five owners in the building all pitched in and bought a high-capacity generator for the building during construction. It comes on automatically during all power outages and runs all our appliances. So, if there is a power outage, we lose only cable TV and internet, and everything else keeps right on cranking along as if nothing happened. It's kind of eerie looking out our windows and seeing the rest of Grand Caribe dark, aside from a few emergency lights, while our building is still lit up brightly. The generator wasn't cheap, but every time the power goes out, we feel very lucky indeed. We also don't have to worry too much about our water supply as Grand Caribe's water plant, which our building shares with them, is on a back-up generator, so at least as long as the generator has fuel, we'll have water for drinking and flushing. So, our hurricane prep is not nearly as involved as others on the island without a generator, who might lose power and water for an extended period of time in a significant storm and thus need to stock up on water, flashlights, batteries, and food that doesn't require any cooking. We have been talking to some of the workers here at the resort, and tomorrow morning they plan to take all the pool furniture to a safe place. We'll be doing the same with our veranda table and chairs, and we'll take the screens off our windows as they are lightweight and might be subject to blowing around. That's about all the preparations we really plan to do so long as this storm remains a Category 1 hurricane or lower. Yes, we are getting off pretty easy.

Hurricane Ernesto
We have a NEMO meeting at 6:00am downtown which meant setting my alarm for 4:40 am – ugh. Managing to get a bit of work done and at least one iced coffee in me before I set out. I did not pre-order a cab so hoping I can find one or hitch a ride when I get to the main road. It is still pitch black out but I can hear the rain, wind and thunder picking up now. When I opened the door to let some fresh air in I noticed a new addition to our canal, a big Catamaran parked outside our neighbors house. This is a common sign for hurricane preparation and at last nights meeting they announced small craft warning after 10:00m and people should secure their boats on the lagoon side of the island. They also said people need to de-plank their docks and take every other one out, this lessons the jackhammer effect and will have save the dock from getting totally beat up by the hurricane. I am looking at Wunderground map now and it is still tracking north and alternating between Tropical Storm and Cat 1 status. Flash back to last night’s meeting was blogging it on my phone. Sitting in NEMO meeting with Rhonda My Morning Matters. The ECO team has sprung into action and have been doing shifts around the clock. Cots are being made available for them and while they were getting food, someone at Super Buy made a $200 donation towards the supplies for the EOC team. Frank Pantone has been updating us on storm, using the NOOA hurricane center tracking maps with a projector screen so we could all see it on the wall, Ernesto will continue over the next 48 h. Tropical Storm Ernesto is swirling off the north coast of Honduras. According to Frank it will bounce around in the mountains a bit and this will stop the intensification of the storm.

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Ernesto Takes Aim for Belize: Boats & Docks Readying, Laundry Drying and Radios On
Everyone on Ambergris Caye and all of Belize has his/her eyes on Tropical Storm Ernesto which, according to the most recent projections, is strengthening a bit and headed straight for us as a Category One storm. Here is a current picture. It's incredibly humid, there are some heavy clouds and the sea is flat like a pancake. Here is the most recent update from wunderground.com. The storm is over a day away and the path, speed and strength can still change but here on the island, we are getting ready. The projections have been flip flopping between Tropical Storm and Cat. One hurricane for the past day. The first thing I noticed on my walk into the DFC area this morning was that every single radio is tuned to the local stations for updates and announcements from the emergency organization, NEMO. Certainly no panic...but just vigilant. Second thing I noticed? Everyone is trying to get their laundry done before the rain hits. I swung into Captain Shark's Boatyard on the backside of the island. They were busy preparing space for boats to move in this afternoon. Away from the waves of the ocean.

The Caribbean’s “First Tourist” Celebrated in Belize
On August 7 1498 Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean, an occasion The Lodge at Chaa Creek is celebrating with another surprise Super Tuesday Belize vacation discount deal, Marketing Administrator Larry Waight announced today. Mr Waight pointed out that August 7 also marks the halfway point of summer in the northern hemisphere, giving the popular eco resort all the more reason to celebrate. “People keep asking us when the next Super Tuesday will be held, but the whole point of the exercise is to combine the great discounts with the element of surprise, so we waited to spring it on the anniversary of the arrival of the Caribbean’s first tourist, Christopher Columbus and his party of sun seekers,” Mr Waight said. “We also realised that, according to the authoritative Wikipedia, August 7 marks the halfway point through summer, and since this is the summer of 2012 after all, it was another reason to launch our amazing Super Tuesday discounts, but this time with a twist,” he added. For the August 7 Super Tuesday Chaa Creek is offering 30 per cent discounts on all accommodation booked for the months of September and October with the proviso that, like all Super Tuesday Belize vacation deals, bookings are made between midnight Monday August 6 and Midnight Tuesday August 7 2012, Mr Waight explained.

Ernesto Our First Hurricane in Belize
Tropical Storm Ernesto will be our first experience with a hurricane since our move to Belize. So far the forecast is that it will be a category 1 hurricane when it comes ashore in Belize. A category 1 can bring winds of 74-95 mph. Everyone on the island for the most part is going about as usual. Some businesses are closing tomorrow until the storm passes. There is supposed to be some pretty gusty winds with this storm, so Bill is getting his pepper plants inside and protected from the storm.

International Sources

Ernesto likely to reach hurricane strength, hit Mexico's Yucatan
Tropical Storm Ernesto doused Honduras and Belize with rain as it churned through the western Caribbean on Tuesday and U.S. forecasters said it should strengthen into a hurricane before hitting Mexico's tourist Yucatan peninsula. Hurricane warnings were raised for the entire coast of Belize as well as the eastern flank of Yucatan, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said, warning of possible flash floods and mudslides, Ernesto had top sustained winds of 65 miles per hour (100 km per hour) on Tuesday morning and could soon cross the 74 mph (119 kph) threshold to become a hurricane. "Ernesto is forecast to become a hurricane before it reaches the Yucatan peninsula," the NHC said. It was expected to make landfall on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, with a dangerous storm surge raising water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet. It would weaken as it moves across land, the NHC said. Hurricane warnings - meaning steps to protect life and property should be "rushed to completion" - were issued for part of Yucatan's east coast and the entire coast of Belize. Tropical storm watches and warnings were in effect for other parts of Yucatan, Honduras and the Bay Islands.

Get Cultured: A Local Guide to the Hidden Treasures of Belize
On your first day here, seeing this is a must: Ancient Mayan Cities. Seriously, you cannot come to Belize without exploring at least one, so get straight into it. In the days of the Maya, Belize used to have over 1 million inhabitants, it now has about 300,000, so the country is covered with ruins and remains, most of which are yet to be excavated. The tallest temple in the country is at Xunantanich, and it’s a great tour to hop on. Stop off on the banks of the Mopan River, and take the hand-cranked ferry across to enter the national park. A short stroll onwards and you’ll find yourself engulfed in one of the greatest civilizations that ever existed. Most people don’t know this, but to get a true taste of the local Belizean culture… walk through the local towns and villages. Whether it’s strolling around San Ignacio, where you’ll see kids swimming alongside their moms who are washing clothes right there in the local river just as they have done for generations; trying some local escabeche, tamales or roadside BBQ (a very local and tasty meal); or strolling through beach towns such as Placencia where you might see the locals fishing off the ends of the piers or enjoying a few Belikin beers on the beach. For a glimpse of daily life, I recommend this form of transportation: Hiking. Over 40 percent of Belize is national park, and Belizeans are brought up with a respect for the outdoors, so many of the hidden natural gems have been preserved and are located just on the far end of a short (or long) hike. Whether you’re heading to a hidden waterfall, an inland cenote, a partially excavated ruin site, one of the many caves, or just enjoying nature, it’s a great outdoor pursuit that will give you a taste of the true Belize.

Wild Conservation at the Belize Zoo
The Houston Zoo sent some volunteers down, and they have praise for the 'best little zoo in the world.' They have some pictures of all the great signs at the Belize zoo, too. "After flying into Belize City, our group of 22 students and 2 instructors drove some 47km west to the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center (which would serve as our main hub over the 10-day stay)... We spent a considerable amount of time there, learning about their efforts to educate Belizeans about the rich wildlife diversity that is apparent in their country. What struck me most were their signs. All exhibit signs are hand-painted with quirky, sing-song like poems that encourage native Belizeans to learn more about, and take pride in their national animals. Like, their national animal for example…the tapir. How many people really know what a tapir is (outside the Zoo world), or where our tapirs come from?"

News Exchange Magazine
The current issue of News Exchange magazine can be found at the Venus in Cayo. It's full of great articles, including quite a few photoshoots. Jose Luis Zapata has quite a few pictures in there. The movie shot in Cayo, Kurse a di Xtabai, has an article about it. Joris Hendrik's Designs can also be seen in there.

Hurricane warning issued for Belize as Ernesto approaches
At 5:00 pm EDT on Monday, the centre of Tropical Storm Ernesto was located about 135 miles northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua/Honduras border and about 330 miles east of Isla Roatan, Honduras, moving toward the west-northwest near 12 mph. A hurricane warning has been issued for the entire coast of Belize. According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, this general motion is expected to continue for the next 48 hours. On the forecast track, the centre will be passing north of the coast of Honduras on Monday night and Tuesday and be near the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula early Wednesday. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph, with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Ernesto could become a hurricane by early Tuesday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles from the centre. A hurricane warning is in effect for Chetumal to Punta Allen on the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula; and the entire coast of Belize. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Honduras from the Honduras/Nicaragua border westward to Punta Sal, including the Bay Islands, north of Punta Allen to Tulum on the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula