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The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro High School is now offering evening division
Running the program is its director Paul Kelly. Kelly is a certified teacher and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology Education as well as an Associate’s Degree in Medical Laboratory Technology. He worked as a Medical Laboratory Technologist for some seven years after which he entered the teaching career. He has been teaching for 15 years, eight of which he spent as a Science teacher at the San Pedro High School. He has also served as SPHS’ head of the Science Department and Sport’s Coordinator for five years. The program will be offering Tourism Electives during the third and fourth year, preparing students that may wish to enroll in the University of Belize’s Tourism Program being offered at San Pedro Junior College. Further to this, the program hopes to offer programs such as ESL – English as a Second Language, as well as Home Economics, Culinary Arts, Learning about Wines and the History of Drinks, among others. For more information on the SPHS Evening Edition, Kelly may be reached at the San Pedro High School at telephone number: 226-2045.

Trees cut by BEL is cause for concern
The SPSun has left numerous messages for the Senior Public Relation Officer at BEL Vonnetta Burrell to respond to the concern highlighted by the island residents regarding the cutting of trees along power lines. We attempted to find out if it is a common practice by the electrical company to cut trees along power line without notifying property owners and to find out who is responsible to remove the trees once they are cut by BEL. Given the fact that on mainland Belize BEL compensates affected owners, we also wanted to find out if those affected property owners on the island would similarly be compensated as well. Despite multiple requests and messages left for Burrell, all were unanswered.

nstitute of Archeology combs excavation of old football field for artifacts and antiques
According to Batty, to determine the antiquity of a bottle several things need to be looked at which includes the mouth and neck of the bottle as well as any attachment to the bottle that is made by hand and not machine. Batty says that they are also looking for single hand blown objects that are not clean cut, such as the case of industrially produce bottles or those made with the use of a mold and are made in large quantities. They are also observing the wear and tear of the bottles known as the patina or commonly refer to as the onion skin, which is a strong indicator of the antiquity of a bottle. The team of two are conducting surface collections from the piles of dirt being excavated and hope that with the help of the senior students, who are participating as a community service, they can dig into the piles before it is being trucked to a different location. The involvement of the students, explained Batty, is part of the Institute of Archeology’s practice to get the community involved, for them to see some of the things collected from within the area. “Regrettably a lot of the larger bottles are broken because the dirt was removed with an excavator so it is expected. On the bright side, the smaller bottles are intact and we are glad for that. For now we have collected about 60 bottles some of which are antique medicine and Vicks bottles and a lot of ceramic. Some of the larger bottle, we picked up the rim or the neck and the base of it so that we can get an idea of the number of bottles that were out here,” explained Batty. So far a few Maya artifacts such as three intact grinding stones have been found. Part of the Saca Chispas area was filled with community garbage in its early stage of development and according to Batty one of the best places to search for evidence of the way people lived are in such areas. “Well one mans trash is another mans treasure and this is similar to what we do in Maya archeology. A lot of the most interesting areas to look into are the rubbish heaps. It tells you what type of bottles where being used, the amount of bottles being used, where they were imported from and so forth. If you are not looking at the garbage heap then where else would you look at to get a good chronology of the materials that are being used in a common household,” explained Batty.

Misc Belizean Sources

A Brighter Future for Young People in Belize
Upon entering the offices of Belize Family Life Association (BFLA), I immediately felt cozy. Colorful murals covered the walls and the atmosphere is attractive and informal -- the perfect setting for a program exclusively for youth. After a lunch of an amazing variety of homemade tamales, I found myself thinking that a hammock would be the perfect addition to the comfortable conference room, which had a warm breeze coming through shaded windows. This was the place where I met Arthur Usher, a long-time participant of BFLA who eventually became its Youth Officer. Like many staff at small organizations, Arthur Usher wears multiple hats. He greets the young people who come to BFLA for services and assists the Program Director with coordinating youth programs. I'd gone to BFLA to learn what young people take from participating in its Youth Advocacy Movement (YAM), and what effects it has on their lives beyond receiving sexual and reproductive health services. Young men in Belize face a significant risk of dropping out of school, and those who obtain an education dream of leaving the country. As I talked with Arthur about his experiences with BFLA, and advocating with the members of YAM, I began to realize what it must mean for a young man to have Arthur in his life. BFLA provides a safe space for young people to grow into themselves, and Arthur represents the possibility of a brighter future not only for the young person, but also for the country.

VIDEO: Diving Mosquito Canyon, San Pedro
Open water dive candidates and Lionfish Divas on the hunt.

Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic Website
The BWRC, located in Cayo, at Central Farm, has their new website up and running. There are some cool videos on the site of some of the exotic animals they've saved. They'll be having their grand opening next month, on the 19th of October. They are using the x-ray machine, which they got after winning the Heska grant earlier this year, all the time now. Thanks, BWRC! "The Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 with the help of a host of partners and friends. After many years of assisting wildlife without a clinic facility and only basic medical equipment, the BWRC can now offer on-site x-ray and gas anesthesia; for both wildlife and domestics. This is a first in Belize, and world class by any measure. We’re now seeing wildlife patients on a regular basis, and we are establishing veterinary associates for our domestic referral services. Our main focus is making the clinic fully operational, and of course the clinic fundraising."


San Pedro's Independence Day Parade...AMAZING AGAIN. Part One
I love Independence Day in Belize. Love, love, LOVE it. To me, it should be the one day of the year that every hotel in town is full. Everyone pours their whole heart into it. From the parents that spent weeks glittering the school float to the kids who practice their "slow tornado" dance moves to the DJs that bought an 11th speaker to make sure the music was just-beyond-ear-drum-shattering, it rocks. Go Walter! Best DJ of the parade. And I took one billion pictures. So let me just start posting them. (Click here to play the correct music for viewing...and turn it up. LOVE THIS SONG.) I think they are self explanatory. AND luckily the weather held out...and a breeze, ever so slight, picked up during the parade. Phew...relief. It was tough going down Front Street, low hanging signs and lots of parked vehicles. The first float carrying Miss San Pedro (isn't she cute?) and leading the town council...

The Blue Hole: A photo-blog
After pouring over photos of the Blue Hole before leaving this summer, I had utterly convinced myself that I needed to see it from above. The stark contrast with the surrounding water, like an eye in the ocean, was captivating. So in the tradition of ridiculous extravagance (20 dollars for a hostel room? Seems a bit pricey... Rather more than that to charter our own plane? Sure!) we went to the airport and booked a tiny three seater plane. The flight was incredible and well worth every penny. With two hours of flight time, we not only explored the hole but also the reef and some of the smaller islands, our pilot enthusiastically pointing out interesting features and snapping shots with his own phone. As it was only us on the plane, we could choose how long to spend in each area, and the time flew by. Here are a few photos from the trip...

Caye Caulker’s Independence Day Bash!
For us Belizean’s it is the holiday of the year, the one that everybody, and I mean everybody, celebrates the birth of their independence back 31 years ago. Here in Caye Caulker the streets have been adorned with the red, white and blue of the Belizean flag for the entire month of September but it is really the 20th and 21st on the Caye that we really celebrate the month. Beautiful paraders.Miss Lobster Fest 2012 - Sylvia Josephand more color! The eve of Independence was Thursday night and all islanders, from young to old were out to watch the spectacle of the fireworks – they did not disappoint, and for tourists in the crowd they were treated to a display of international standards to see in our 21st!


PHOTOS: Independence Day in San Ignacio Town


VIDEO: Independence photos from San Pedro

International Sources

Meghalaya's Living Bridges
Awesome story of using nature to solve problems. In "The Land of Clouds" of India, Meghalaya, is the land of living bridges. People here find Ingenious natural solutions for fighting the forces of Nature.

Courts lay bare Quinn's oil empire
The millionaire guru Tony Quinn's business dealings are coming under the spotlight... The bizarre world of that international man of mystery Tony Quinn is being peeled away, layer by layer, in courts in Dublin, Denver, Colorado, USA and the Caribbean island of St Kitts & Nevis. The Dublin-born 'guru' has been dragged centre stage over a series of legal actions revolving around what could be a billion dollar oil fortune in Belize. The tanned and bearded Dubliner, Tony Quinn, one of whose followers claimed she was indoctrinated to believe he was "the reincarnation of Jesus Christ", only made one visit to the Central American country of Belize, but it turned out to be a very profitable journey. At a ceremony on October 10, 2006, two of his then "admirers", Susan Morrice and Irish woman Sheila McCaffrey, presented him with 'Class A' shares in the oil exploration firm International Natural Energy (INE), registered in the Carribean island of St Kitts & Nevis and which were later valued at more than $16m (€12.2m). Ms Morrice and Ms McCaffrey "appear" to have known each other since 2002 and, according to court documents, Ms McCaffrey was involved in oil and gas exploration in Ireland before they began putting the Belize project together. INE was set up to hold shares in Belize Natural Energy (BNE), which carried out the oil exploration in Belize and "to the industry's surprise" struck oil in 2005, began to sell it in 2006 and has been "astonishingly successful" with reserves that could be worth billions.

Seafood mislabeling in Belize
This post was co-authored with Courtney Cox, a PhD student in my lab at UNC, studying fisheries management and reef resilience in Belize. Our paper on seafood mislabeling in Belize is out in Conservation Letters (here). This paper is the fist of several from our project designed to evaluate the effectiveness of Belize’s national ban on herbivorous fish harvesting as a coral reef conservation tool. Recognizing that MPAs alone were not preventing the degradation of its invaluable reef ecosystem, the Belizean government passed a new regulation in April 2009 preventing the harvesting of any species of parrotfish (Scarids) or surgeonfish (Acanthurids) nationwide: “No person shall take in the waters of Belize, or buy, sell or have in possession any grazers” (Statutory Instrument No. 49 of 2009). This is the first legislation of its kind and, if effective, has the potential to globally revolutionize coral reef management. Nearly all Belizeans claim they dislike and have never eaten a parrotfish, which given the severely overfished state of parrotfish populations, seems unlikely. The national grazer harvest ban also stipulates that fish fillet must be sold with a small intact skin patch, so that consumers can recognize the scales and coloration as parrotfish. However, we only observed this at one vendor in 2011 over the course of three years of sampling. As a result, visual censuses will likely miss the presence of illegally harvested herbivorous fish. After a series of interviews, meetings, and workshops with local fisherman, MPA managers, marine reserve police, biologists from the Belize Fisheries Department, and our partners within several NGOS, we have come to the conclusion that the only way to accurately assess the degree of compliance with the ban, was to purchase fillet in the markets, restaurants, grocery stores and fishing cooperatives (mainly for export) and determine the actual identity using molecular genetics.

Edited by Marty (11/17/12 09:48 AM)