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#462166 - 04/11/13 11:57 AM Today's Belize News: April 11, 2013
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


The San Pedro Sun

The Legends lead in local 11-A-Side football tournament
The Ambergris Stadium was packed with cheering fans this past Saturday, April 6th and Sunday, April 7th as the 11-A-Side Football Tournament continued. Squaring off on Saturday was the team of United FC vs. the Jokers and Juventus vs. DFC United. The first game started at 6PM, and at the end of regulation, United FC spanked the Jokers 6-1! The second game started around 8PM, and it was a 3-3 draw between Juventus and DFC United. On Sunday, three games were played: Veterans vs. Lebanese Boys, Los Catrachos vs.Caye Caulker team and Dennis Construction vs. The Legends. With the first game starting at 1PM, the Lebanese faced off against the Veterans, winning the game 1-0. Los Catrachos and Caye Caulker team settled for a 2-2 tie in the second game that took place at 3PM. The last game for the day started at 5PM and the Legends delivered a blow-out 5-0 game against Dennis Construction team.

SPTC issues new driver’s licenses and learner’s permits
The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) has issued a new look for driver licenses and learner’s permit. As of Tuesday April 9th, the SPTC will begin issuing a new PVC driver license card, which includes a protective holographic film layer to encase the information on the card. Of special note, the license now has a new feature: a blood type insert is included. This will aid doctors, nurses and police to quickly and easily identify a person’s blood type in case of emergencies that require a blood transfusion. According to Councilor Kenrick Bracket, whose portfolio includes Traffic, the new license and learner’s permit is more durable and authentic. While the previous driver’s license was a laminated type written card, this new digitally made license will now fit universal standards.New Drivers License-2

Costa Maya Committee announces 2013 Festival dates
Karen-Jordan-1The 2013 International Costa Maya Festival dates have been confirmed. On August 1st through August 4th, Belize’s biggest International Festival will be bringing top notch entertainment to La Isla Bonita once again. The venue remains the same: the old football field, which is currently undergoing aesthetic changes under the Sustainable Tourism Project. Of exciting note is the fact that during the Belize Fashion Week event taking place April 12th – 13th, Reina de la Costa Maya 2012’s first runner-up Karen Jordan Beitia will be officially crowned Reina de la Costa Maya. This is because the winner of the pageant, Mexico’s Natalia Villanueva was married in February of 2013. According to the pageant regulations, the Reina de la Costa Maya must be single (not married). As the new beauty ambassador, Karen Jordan will be back on the island for the Costa Maya Festival 2013 and will be crowning the winner for this year’s pageant. Everyone is asked to start preparing for an amazing four-day festival of fun, as the committee will be in full gear to bring entertainment to the island once again. Que viva el Festival de la Costa Maya!

Ambergris Today

International Costa Maya Festival 2013 Announced for August 1 to 4
After much speculation and anticipation, we believe that many will be pleased to know that the International Costa Maya Festival in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, will go forward for this year. Word just arrived to Ambergris Today from the organizing committee that the festival has been set for August 1 and run until August 4, 2013. The announcement came a bit late this year as for the speculations that there might not have been any festival this year. Construction of the Sunset Boardwalk at the old football field (venue of the festival) seemed to be getting in the way, but it does not seem so. The committee will get back to work in organizing another spectacular festival that brings so much entertainment and revenue for the island and Belize.

Hurricane Season 2013 Prediction Released
The 2013 hurricane season is still more than a month away, but predictions have been released on how active it will be. On average for the last thirty years, there have been about 12 named tropical storms, that is, storms with peak winds of 40 miles per hour or greater, of which six become hurricanes with peak winds of 74 miles per hour or greater, and approximately three become major hurricanes, ranked Category 3 or higher with sustained winds of over 130 miles per hour or greater. The Weather Channel has released its first 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, calling for another active season. The forecast calls for a total of 16 named storms, 9 of which are expected to become hurricanes, including 5 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).

Stylish Dining at O Restaurant, Las Terrazas
The modern and sleek O Restaurant at Las Terrazas, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, is a great restaurant that offers a very diverse selection of food, from seafood to steaks to pastas and is fast becoming a premier dining destination on the island. The uniquely named restaurant ‘O’ is inspired by the world famous scuba diving site, the Great Blue Hole of Belize. The building is surrounded by water as if the centerpiece of an elaborate fountain and the inside décor is reminiscent of the cool colors found at the Blue Hole with a light and elegant touch of a nautical theme. A brightly blue-tiled counter of its Top Shelf Bar mimics the brilliant color of the summer sky, where you can enjoy a great selection of Caribbean-inspired cocktails, including a well-edited wine list. The dining area at O Restaurant is not very large, but seating is well spaced out and very comfortable; plus you have the option of dining outside around the 70’ infinity pool or arrange for more private dining on the beach or atop the restaurants Rooftop Lounge.

Misc Belizean Sources

Jim Hanna Obituary
IN LOVING MEMORY OF - James (Jim) Robert Hanna - WHO WENT HOME ON MARCH 31, 2013. Born in Amityville, NY on July 11, 1954 to Alberta Durkin and Marcus Alonzo Hanna III. Jim grew up in Elyria, OH. He attended St. Edward’s high school through the 9th grade in Cleveland, OH while living at St. Anthony’s Home for Boys on the west side. At 14 yrs. old he ran away from the home to Springfield, Vermont where he lived with the Hennessy family.

Public Hearings on Waste Management

Sale and export of illegal rosewood
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) views the sudden announcement of an amnesty for sale and export of illegal rosewood flitches as a ‘knife in the back’ and contrary to the sworn duty of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to protect and safeguard our natural resources. The timing of this amnesty – with the Minister and Chief Forest Officer out of the country – is beyond suspicious. Despite Cabinet having taken an official decision to impose the moratorium, this amnesty went into effect in the absence of Minister Alamilla but it appears to have been government-sanctioned. This appearance of corruption in a Cabinet decision, turning back on its previous one, reflects badly on the collective responsibility of Cabinet to Belizeans. Furthermore, those left in charge appear not to be interested in monitoring the exporters coming to the Forestry Department compound in Belmopan for the next two weeks to cart off their ill-gotten gains. We can only say that someone appears to be interested in collecting their profits at the cost of national pride and dignity.

Falcon Field NW Sets Signs
The Falcon Field Neighborhood Watch, one of the newer of the 20 or so neighborhood watches around Cayo, has gotten their 8 signs, and has been setting them up around the area. The neighborhood watches are working, and crime is down by 20%. Keep up the great work! "On Monday night we were given our 8 signs which we were more than anxious to put up the following day. Mr. Bart and Cheming did all the work. Eva and I were there for the pics and emotional support. We are truly grateful to them and on behalf of the entire group I would like to extend an enormous thank you to them. Now the whole country can see that we The Falcon Field N.W. are serious and committed to keeping OUR neighbourhood SAFE."

SHC Auditorium Progress for March
The Sacred Heart College auditorium is coming along nicely. In the last 2 weeks, the progress has been astounding.

SI United Game Day Photos
The San Ignacio United have posted some pictures from their last 3 games. They are in 4th place, which does qualify them for the semi-finals. They play the Placencia Assassins this Sunday at Broaster Stadium. Good luck! "Pics From our last three games. (Verdes, Barcelona and Police)"

'Show Off Belize' Video Competition
Amber Sunset Jungle Lodge, located in Cayo off of the George Price Highway, is having a video contest where you can win 2 nights at their lodge. They are asking for 30 second videos of people doing fun things around Belize. Unfortunately, fb is part of the competition, but then again, that's about all it's useful for. The contest ends on May 31st. "Summer is just around the corner and we have something fantastic to give away in our Show off Belize Video Competition! We are giving away 2 nights for two."

Miss Belize in Miss Humanity International
Idolly Saldivar will be representing Belize in the Miss Humanity International pageant, which will be in July on Barbados. You might remember Idolly from the 2011 Miss Costa Maya pageant, where she did a great job as Miss Belize. They are currently doing the people's choice online voting poll, and Miss Belize is in 3rd place, just behind Mexico and Portugal. Help her get to 1st place! Good luck, Idolly!

Belizean Reggaeton at its Peak! Lo Que Siento Por Ti [VIDEO]
Lo Que Siento Por Ti by Chami-Ka featuring Melonie Gillett Official Video. Lo Que Siento Por Ti Music Video - Chami-Ka featuring Melonie Gillett. Reggaeton Music. Shot in beautiful Belize at Robert's Grove Beach Resort. Director: Melonie Gillett Production by: 3D Prototype Animation and Metamorph Creatives

Channel 7

COLA Says GOB IS Up To No Good With Rosewood
Last night, 7News told you about the Rosewood Amnesty: a 19 day suspension of the moratorium during which Rosewood dealers can recover their confiscated product from government, bring out all those flitches they’ve been hiding, and sell it all, most likely on the export market where it fetches top dollar. The decision has stirred public outrage because it seems to be a complete reversal in policy for Ministry of Forestry, which enacted the moratorium 13 months ago to conserve the precious but rare hardwood because it was being rapidly depleted. The fact remains, however, that rosewood is a valuable commodity, and millions of dollars in wealth was sitting on the ground at the Forestry Department. The official position put out in a press release yesterday is that quote, “The Ministry has decided to…allow the sale/export of already harvested rosewood over the (amnesty) period…to avoid the complete loss of value. As we understand it, Government will share 50/50 in the proceeds of sales of all confiscated Rosewood. Though all the details are not known – it’s an unusual arrangement that illegal traders should profit from legitimate sales of confiscated product. The first organization, which has come out publicly against the amnesty, is the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA). Today, the organization’s president, Giovanni Brackett, told 7News that it has the appearance of government corruption:

Family Spared In OW After Mattress Catches Fire
Tonight, a family in Trial Farm Village is lucky to have escaped a terrible end after their mattress caught on fire early this morning. It happened in the area of Blackwater Creek where 29 year old Karina Barkely, 25 year old Douglas Leslie and 3 year old Natasha Regalado were sleeping when a fish coil set fire to their mattress. The mother, step-father and daughter escaped with burns to their hands stomach and face. We can’t say how severe the burns are, because they are still being treated. They lived in a wooden house with five other persons – and this morning at around 3:00, a family member smelled smoke and got up to find the mattress on fire with the three sleeping on it. They all scrambled out of the house, which burned to the ground. It is of important historical note that in September of 2006 – in the same Trial farm village in the Orange Walk District, Two children, 2 and 6 years old died in a home fire caused by candles.

Alleged Ice-Pick Attacker to Court
Last night, we told you about 26 year-old Candelario Lemus, the man who tried to rob a bus driver in front of his passengers on Saturday using an icepick. As we reported, report, Eldon Chiac, was on his route on Princess Margaret Drive and he stopped his bus so that passengers could get out. After some passengers got off, Lemus rushed inside and grabbed Chiac by the shoulder, in an attempt to stab him with an ice pick. Chiac struggled with Lemus and was stabbed with the icepick, but he managed to escape. Lemus took that time to grab Chiac’s purse inside the bus, which contained $275 in the day’s proceeds. He didn’t get very far, however, because Chiac pursued him, and managed to keep him in sight until police intervened and arrested him.

Mentally Unstable Man Attacked Hofius Boss Jackie Roe
47 year-old Kirk Nicholas is spending the second night of a 2 year sentence after he was convicted of aggravated assault against a well-known businesswoman. Jackie Roe, the Managing Director of Hofius on Albert Street, testified that on May 8, 2012, she was walking on Albert Street when she heard a commotion behind her. She said that she looked back and saw that a man she later identified as Kirk Nicholas coming behind her with a knife in his hand. Nicholas reportedly had the knife held high and suddenly stabbed at her shoulder, but Roe managed to shield herself from injury by putting her purse in the path of the knife. Nicholas didn’t get a second attempt because civilians in the area came restrained Nicholas. Roe said that the next day, she was driving at the corner of Orange Street and East Canal when she saw Nicholas again, and he was standing in front of a store. She said that Nicholas recognized her, and immediately advanced on her vehicle in a threatening manner. She drove away, and went straight to the police station and reported the second terrifying encounter. Several days later, police arrested and charged Nicholas with aggravated assault.

Youth Explains Why McDonald’s In Cold Canada Is An Option
Many times before on this newscast we’ve told you about the group from Western Canada. We have spoken many times to the employers but we’ve never had a chance to speak with the prospective employee. And that’s because even though we’ve asked for interviews, most are a little bit shy about saying that they are out of work and willing to take a job in another country. But today we had the opportunity to speak with 18 year old Lloyd Gill – a 4th form Business student of Sadie Vernon High School who is unashamed; he feels like this is his big ticket to a future he could not otherwise afford Lloyd Gill - Student of Sadie Vernon "Every year graduates come out of school and it takes them a long while to get a job with a High School Diploma. So this will be a good opportunity for me and other graduates that are coming out of High School to get this job because it's a once in a life time opportunity. So that is why I think this job will be a good opportunity for everyone." Monica Bodden "Are you aware of how cold it gets in Saskatewan, Canada?" Lloyd Gill "Well mam' I'm aware that it gets really cold, colder than how Belize gets. But I have to make sacrifices if I want to make it ahead in this world. Maybe if I get a job and pay so that I can go to college, I will then have a degree and I could get something better."

Jack Charles Wants To Share On Son’s Birthday
He’s one of the biggest wholesalers of food products in Belize, but when it comes to his son Vansh’s Birthday, Jack Charles always keeps it humble and unique. Two years ago, he held a massive birthday party for his son in the biggest room at the Princess – and the guests were all the children countrywide who shared his son’s birthday – April 19th. This year, he’s got a similar idea, but with a twist. He wants to give all those April 19th children countrywide a super-sized gift-bag and a gift certificate – and he’ll do it here at Channel 7’s office. Here’s how it will work: starting next week Monday, April 15th and continuing to Friday, April 19th, all children 12 and under who are born on April 19th, between the years 2001 and 2012 can come to Channel 7 – with a proof of their birth date to pick up their gift bag and a gift certificate. Today, Jack Charles told us why he’s doing it Jack Charles - Owner of Extra House "Well we are celebrating Vansh’s Birthday, my son, and we did this event last year also where we had called all the kids 12 years and under born on 19th of April from Belize City at that time to come and attend the party and celebrate their birthday along with my son. Since last year we didn't have time to invite all the kids from throughout the country. I received several - good amount of text messages, like why were they left out last year.

Man Convicted Of Sex With Teen
36 year-old Arden Middleton, the man who was charged with unlawful carnal knowledge against a 14 year-old girl, was convicted today in the courtroom of Justice Troadio Gonzalez. The minor testified that on July 13, 2011, she was sitting on the verandah of Little Wilt’s Place on Caesar Ridge Road. She asked Middleton to use the bathroom, and he showed her where it was. The minor continued that when she went inside, Middleton followed her and had intercourse with her.

How Belize Can Join Caribbean Export
Caribbean Export and Development Agency, the regional organization for trade investment development and promotion, was in Belize today to hold a workshop for small business owners in Belize who have aspirations to expand and export their services. It’s part of the agency’s program where prospective private sector members can access funding under the Direct Assistance Scheme, and today 7News stopped by the all-day seminar to speak to one of the facilitators. He told us that there are some strict requirements that the business owners must meet, but it represents a major opportunities for these companies: Christoper McNair - Facilitator, Caribbean Export Development Agency "What we're doing this time around in Belize, is we are doing a direct assistant grant proposal workshop. We have a mechanism called 'The Direct assistant Scheme' that provide grant funding to small companies looking to export their services and products. So what we are doing here is actually teaching people how to prepare their proposal for submissions to the process to be considered a grant. We have two funding mechanism under the grant, we have what we call 'Accelerated', that goes up to about 5,000 Euros, then we have the regular program which goes up to 30,000 Euros. On the last call we had, last year, we had five companies from Belize benefiting from under the scheme. We thought Belize as an importan partner for us, we thought it was important to come back here to work again with the firms to build their capacity to write better proposals to further benefit from the program. So that is essentially why we are here.

G. Mike Fundraising For His Health
Regular viewers of the evening news should remember G Michael Reid from his days as police press officer between 2000 and 2008. Up to when he got his walking papers from the police press office after the change of government in 2008, he was active and robust, but since then his health has taken a sharp turn for the worse. He’s in the grips of an advanced stage of rheumatoid arthritis which is a debilitating immunological disorder. Now it’s gotten so bad that he needs a hip replacement. It will be his second and after years of seeking treatment home and abroad, he’s run low on funds for the procedure, which is why he is fund raising. He told us a little bit about his condition and how you can help out without giving a handout. G Michael Reid - Fundraising for Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment "A very debilitating disease, it tends to affect all the joints. It wears away the cartilage from between the bones so if you can imagine it's bones rubbing against bone, which is extremely painful. We're trying to do some fund raising, it's an extremely expensive thing when you get sick, as everybody knows. I had to have a previous hip operation, I was able to take care of that but all the medicines and a couple of trips to Merida and all that trying to get results has depleted basically all the funds. So I've had the need to reach out. The average working class person, I think the way, the best way to do that is a BBQ sale where you're giving back something, they're helping you, but they are getting something back in return. The BBQ is going for $6.00 a plate and everybody has to eat. If you go out there and try to find a decent meal, you're not going to get that for less than $6.00. So I think it's a fair exchange and in return, though, I'm getting a lot of help.

Guatemala Foreign Minister To OAS
The Guatemalan foreign minister Fernando Carrera was in Washington DC today to meet with the OAS Permanent Council. Their business was the discussion of the draft Declaration of the 43rd OAS General Assembly, to be held in the city of Antigua, Guatemala between June 4 and 6, 2013. The subject of that meeting will be: “Toward a Comprehensive Anti-Drug Policy in the Americas." At this time, there is no report on whether he had any side meeting with the OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza on the Belize-Guatemala issue. In other news from Guatemala, multiple newspapers in that country report that the Guatemalan government has acquired 6 new Brazilian made aircraft at a cost of 133 million US dollars. The planes will be used reportedly to stem deforestation, illegal occupation and other illegal activities in an area called the Maya Biosphere, which covers more than eight thousand square miles in the Peten region. A large part of that the area borders Belize’s Chiquibul Forest. This comes 3 months after 30 Guatemalan agents who are part of a Special Unit of the Police were stationed in the Peten, along its border with Belize to protect Guatemala’s natural resources from incursions and deforestation.

Did You Feel A Slight Shake?
Did you feel a very slight tremor today at about 1:15? We did and when we checked there was an earthquake! It happened near San Juan Pueblo Honduras. That’s about 100 miles north of Tegucigalpa, Honduras and right along the Motagua fault which caused a major earthquake that affected southern Belize in May 2009. This one, though, was not a major earthquake; it only measured 5.5 on the Richter scale. A spokesman for emergency services in Honduras said there were no immediate reports of damage.

Even In Transition, Cycling Still Beset By Controversy
A week ago, 7News told you about the impending elections for the Belize Cycling Association which will to be held using the federation rules which had been under dispute, but are now finally accepted. The process is now underway and on Sunday, the elections were held to field Federation representatives for the western region. Incumbent and embattled cycling Association president, Emil Moreno, was re-elected, along with the Vice-President candidate on his slate, Gilroy Requena. One of the candidates, Daniel Cano, has since come forward to protest the results based on an irregularity. In his formal protest letter to the elections’ oversight body, the National Olympic Committee, he says that the committee’s representatives allowed a mass registration on Sunday, and allowed them to vote in the elections. Today, Cano, whose protest has been documented, and is being allowed a hearing by the NOC, spoke to 7News. He explained why those members who registered on Sunday should not have been allowed to vote. Daniel Cano - Vice President Aspirant, Cycling West "I did a larger protest at that election, even before the election started on the grounds that on the morning of the elections there was a mass registration of new members to be able to vote in that elections. My concern is that goes contrary to what was agreed at a special general meeting held on March 2nd where there was cut off deadline of March 11th where people had to register by then to vote in the elections. You could still register afterward and be a member of the association but you would not be able to vote if you weren't registered by March 11th.

U-19 Team Ready For King James
Two Months ago, the Belize Basketball Association began to recruit talented basketball players around the country who are under 19. It’s part of their plan to prepare a team to compete in Belize’s second appearance at the King James Tournament in the US State of Ohio from April 26 – 28. It’s been an extended period of recruitment and training, and today the team’s coach, Bernie Tarr, caught up with 7News today to update us on the last-minute preparations being made before the team leaves in a few days. He told us that he feels that this year’s team is a lot more prepared than last year's Bernie Tarr – Coach "You know it's been a long process and it seems that its coming along very well. This past weekend we had the opportunity to travel to Cayo and Dangriga and played some games against the lower competition. We played the Western Ballers Senior Team, two games in Cayo and down in Dangriga we played the U-26 elect team. It was very very good. We were missing some players in Cayo and then we were missing a player in Dangriga so we learned a lot about our team. These are things we didn't do last year; we didn't get a chance to play against really superior competition until we got to the tournament so I think we got ahead of the curve. With all the verbal commitments of donations, I've been beating those doors down and shaking the trees on that. But just finalizing the paper work, we're going for Visas, I believe on Monday and so we're ahead by a few days from last year. We're planning on departing on Friday. You know just to touch base with the schools and principals, it's just a crazy time right now, so I appreciate them working with us. There are a lot of college coaches that have contacted me already and they look forward to seeing us."

Channel 5

Returning rosewood to dealers engaged in illegal activity
Rosewood is once again in the media spotlight; that is, confiscated or harvested rosewood. The much sought after timber first got all this attention because millions of dollars worth of its flitches were seized from illegal loggers even when a moratorium was in place. Now, ironically, it is getting all this attention because government is [...]

Wil Maheia says rosewood amnesty is invitation to criminals
But while government is ominously silent on the rosewood issue, public outrage has been fast and furious and very loud. This morning on the airwaves, Belizeans called the decision to return the illegally harvested rosewood shameful and disgraceful.  Today, News Five spoke to Toledo activist Wil Maheia, who has been involved in the fight to [...]

COLA outraged by rosewood fiasco
And the very active COLA, represented by its vocal president Giovanni Brackett, weighed in on the rosewood issue this afternoon as well. He says his organization is outraged, and will do whatever is necessary to call out the government to right what they see as an egregious wrong.   Giovanni Brackett, President, COLA “There are [...]

John Saldivar attacks free media (Patrick Andrews and Plus TV)
Belmopan-based Plus TV is being sued for libel by the area representative, Minister John Saldivar over a response made by Rise and Shine co-host, Patrick Andrews to a question posed by Minister of Education, Patrick Faber late last year. Now, libel suits are considered par for the course to media houses, but Louis Wade and [...]

Someone called him crazy, so he attacked a businesswoman
In the Belize City Courts, on Tuesday, forty-seven year old Kirk Nicholas began serving a two-year sentence for aggravated assault, following a psychiatric evaluation during which he was determined fit to stand trial.  On May eighth, 2012, he was accused of attacking fifty-two year old businesswoman Jackie Roe with a knife, as she was walking [...]

Verde given green light by mistake for court appearance
GST Supervisor, Reynaldo Verde, remains behind bars tonight waiting for a bail application to be heard by the Supreme Court. On Easter Sunday, Verde was detained by police for shooting a man with his licensed firearm. He was arraigned in the San Pedro Magistrate Court last Wednesday and remanded to the Belize Central Prison since [...]

Shopkeeper guilty of carnal knowledge
Guilty! That’s the verdict against thirty-nine year old Arden Middleton, a shop keeper who was accused of carnally knowing a fourteen year old girl. It took the jury of six men and three women only three hours to reach a unanimous decision. Inside the courtroom of Justice Troadio Gonzalez, Middleton appeared sad and shook his [...]

COLA condemns Guatemala’s proposed passports
The news that Guatemala has put out to tender four million passports which will feature a map in which Belize is included as a disputed part of its territory appears to have been greeted with indifference by officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But the always fiery President of COLA Giovanni Brackett, whose name [...]

A P.U.P. government would ban Guatemalan with offensive passport
The People’s United Party and its membership have been engaging in a series of consultations formulating a position on whether or not Belize should take its case to the International Court of Justice. While those consultations continue, they have rejected Guatemala’s proposals to amend the Referendum Act. The P.U.P. has taken a bold stance on [...]

3 second earthquake occurred near Tela, Atlantida
At two minutes past two this afternoon, a five point five magnitude earthquake occurred near Tela, Atlantida which shook up other areas in north, central and southern Honduras. It lasted about three seconds and while no deaths have been reported so far, telephone and electricity lines were interrupted. The earthquake was felt in north-eastern Guatemala [...]

Caribbean Export Development Agency and Direct Assistance Grants
The Caribbean Export Development Agency is in town, and that’s good news for businesses which could use some financial assistance in a wide variety of areas, from equipment modernization to market research and testing and nearly everything in between. Caribbean Export receives funding from the European Development Fund, and acts as the agency to pass [...]

Female athlete tryouts for U-17 Central American Tournament
Twenty-one female athletes seventeen years and under are being offered an opportunity of a lifetime…to represent Belize internationally in the football sport. On Saturday, the Football Federation of Belize and the National Women’s Football Committee will host open tryouts this Saturday at eight-thirty a.m. at the F.F.B. Stadium in Belmopan. The goal is to pool [...]

Water rates won’t increase for a year
The price of butane gas went down today and another utility bill that won’t see an increase is water for a year. The Belize Water Services Limited made a proposal to the Public Utilities Commission that there should be no Annual Review Proceeding to determine tariffs which means that water rates remain unchanged for the [...]


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#462167 - 04/11/13 11:57 AM Re: Today's Belize News: April 11, 2013 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

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CTV3

JB And Sons Closed Down Due To Unpaid Trade Licence Fees
Presently the Orange Walk Town Council has over two million dollars of property taxes and over $35,000 of Trade License Fees in arrears. The council is steadfast on collecting revenue in order to bring development to Orange Walk and to show how serious they are about collecting unpaid taxes, today a stop order was issued to Jaime Burns, the owner of JB and Sons Hardware located on Otro Benque Road. Kevin Bernard Mayor Orange Walk “This council is very much serious on its responsibilities, we need to collect our taxes, and we need to collect our trade and the revenues that are due to this council. Letters were sent out to some individuals, businesses that owe trade license and as you trade license have been due and payable by January 15th of each year and in the case of Jaime Burns to be exact a letter was sent to him to recommend and make his payment and so this morning a decision was made by the revenue manager and his team that they have to go out and issue the stop order and they requested the assistance of the police who accompanied them to issue the stop order and close down the business.” And it seems that the new measurement set in place worked because by one this afternoon, JB and Sons Hardware, was back in business. Kevin Bernard Mayor Orange Walk “Immediately after I receive the call by Mr Burns who was in Belmopan as I understand that payment would have been made and his son was there at one o’clock sharp making the payment and thus his business is now open.”

Ministry Of Forestry Mum About Movement of Confiscated Rosewood
Yesterday the movement of thousands of board feet of confiscated Rosewood from the Forest Department in Belmopan made headlines and also raised eyebrows. The flitches were loaded in two containers on Monday afternoon and by midday yesterday they were transported out of the Forest Department’s compound to an unknown destination leaving the media with more questions than answers. At six yesterday evening the Belize Press Office shed some light on the situation as they issued a release announcing the approval of sale and export of Rosewood over the period eighth to the twenty-sixth April, 2013 to avoid the complete loss of value. The timing of the amnesty is also being questioned since both Minister of Forestry Lisell Alamilla and Chief Forest Officer Wilbur Sabido are presently out of the country. As mentioned last night, the amnesty period allows for persons who harvested Rosewood before March 14th 2013, when the moratorium was put into effect, to bring out their flitches from hiding in order for them to be exported. While no one knew the exact destination of the two containers yesterday, tonight unconfirmed reports are that they are presently located at the Port of Belize in Belize City waiting to be exported to China where the market value for rosewood is high.

Man Charged For Rape Goes Free After Main Witness Refuses To Testify
Today the Northern Session of the Supreme continued here in Orange Walk Town. Eight of the nine cases that were brought forward to Justice Herbert Lord were adjourned due to the fact that the accused are unrepresented. One of the cases that were adjourned is the one against Eric Gonzalez who is accused of fatally stabbing Daniel Soto on February 26th 2009. That matter was adjourned to May 6th and so was the case against Osmar Sabido, accused of killing Christie Carrasco on February 28th 2011. The case of Krismar Espinosa, who allegedly murdered then 27 year old Rachel Chun in 2007 and the murder case against Benedicto Tillet and Geovanni Diaz, both accused of killing Josue Velasquez of San Lazaro Village on March 8th 2010, was also adjourned to May 6th.

Three Year Old Injured During House Fire, Family Losses All
An early morning fire has left a family of 8 homeless tonight. A little before 3 o’clock this morning the Orange Walk Fire Department was called to a scene on Woodpecker Street in Trial Farm Village where they encounter a zinc structure completely engulf in flames. Three persons were injured including a 3 year old girl. The fire department has not ascertained what caused the fire but family members have their own theory. Hipolito Novelo - Reporting This is all that was left of a zinc house elevated some 22 feet off the ground, after it was engulfed by flames shortly after three this morning. Sleeping inside the residence at the time was a family of 8 including Ellen Barkley, the owner of the house who was awoken by the smell of smoke. Barkley says when she made checks she noticed a bright light coming out of the room where her daughter 29 year old Karina Barkley, her son-in-law 25 year old Douglas Leslie and her granddaughter 3 year old Natasha Regalado were sleeping.

Recently Paved Streets Damaged In Orange Walk
In keeping with their mandate of serving the people, on Monday the Orange Walk Town Council paved five streets in Orange Walk Town despite the lack of resources. But even before the tar was dry the destruction began at least in the case of Staines Alley. This morning employees of the council were seen in the area patching the street that was recently paved. According to Mayor Kevin Bernard, if someone is playing mischief, it better stop. Kevin Bernard Mayor Orange Walk Town “It was brought up to our attention that some sort of damaged was done on the Staines Alley area, the street that we just recently paved and we immediately decided to take a look out there and it was obvious that whether it is through spitefulness or just drivers just wanting to wreck the recent paving that we did creating some sort of erosion on the street that we just recently paved, I think skid tyres and in some aspect it shows it was caused by bicycles and some of it was caused by heavy trucks. I want to plea to the residents and drivers and those bicycle people to be much careful especially on newly paved roads and let us remember that this is not just for the Orange Walk Town Council it is for the benefit for the people and monies invested in these street are not little money it costs us the worker time and energy, efforts put out there and for us to be able to put down these types of developments in our municipality just for it to be destroyed next day I mean it is sad to see these thing happening, it happened when I could recall very, very well in San Andres Street was paved by the honourable John Briceno and the next day someone went and skid tyres and we all know who did it but this are childish acts and it is silly to see things like these happening.”

Guatemala Says No Referendum On October 6th
The relationship between Belize and Guatemala is presently navigating in turbulent waters and stuck in between is the October 6th Referendum which will determine whether Guatemala’s territorial claim will once and for all be resolved by the International Court of Justice. But in order for that to happen, both countries must agree to take the claim to the ICJ and that’s where the dispute lies. Guatemala wants Belize to change its referendum laws to a minority vote, in order to level the playing field. As it stands, the law calls for sixty percent of the electorate to participate in the Referendum and fifty one percent to vote yes to go to the IJC. Guatemala refuses to hold the simultaneous Referendum on October 6th 2013 if Belize does not change its Referendum Laws. Now, we all know that the Government of Belize has categorically stated that they will not go down that road. In sight that there will be no changes on the Belizean side, Guatemala’s President Otto Perez Molina has made it clear that there intention is to postpone the date for the Referendum and today Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera reiterated his country’s position to the Secretary General of the OAS Jose Miguel Insulza after making a presentation during a special meeting held with the Permanente Council of the Organization of American States in Washington. The response of the OAS is not yet known.

5.5 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Honduras
A 5.5 magnitude earthquake shook the Honduran Capital of Tegucigalpa at around 1:25 this afternoon. While the quake caused alarm, there were no initial reports of damage. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake's epicenter was located 7 km South of San Juan Pueblo and 36 km Southeast of Tela. It was 6.2 miles deep. Reports are that the earthquake interrupted the electrical systems and telephone service in the city port of Tela. Moderate tremors were felt by the people of Arizona, San Antonio, Atenas de San Cristobal, La Masica and Santa Ana while people of Yoro, La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula, Roatan, Juticalpa, Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba, El Progreso and Belize felt light to weak shaking. The 2009 Honduras earthquake claimed seven lives and was even felt in Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize.

Water Rates To Remain The Same
The Public Utilities Commission sent out a press release today announcing that consumers will not have to pay any additional fees for water usage. According to the release, the PUC upheld a request from Belize Water Services not to hold an Annual Review Proceeding which would have determined the water rates and fees for relates services for the period of April first of this year and ending on March 31st, 2014. The PUC, in a statement issued, said that in accordance with the bylaws on Water and Sewage Tariffs "there was no exceptional circumstances to warrant that an ARP be initiated on the PUC’s own volition and accepted BWS’ proposal." As a result, water rates will remain the same which means that consumers on the mainland who consume less than 1,000 US gallons of water only will only pay $8.00. Consumers of water and sewer services in Belize City and Belmopan will remain paying $9.60. Consumers in San Pedro will still pay $23.45 while those in Caye Caulker will continue to pay $23.00 base on the consumption of less than 1,000 US gallons of water.

COLA Says 19 Day Amnesty Is a Knife In The Back
And while the 19 days amnesty has been the cause of public outrage, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) is describing the sale and export of illegal rosewood flitches as a ‘knife in the back’ and contrary to the sworn duty of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to protect and safeguard our natural resources. According to COLA, despite Cabinet having taken an official decision to impose the moratorium, the amnesty went into effect in the absence of Minister Alamilla but it appears to have been government-sanctioned. This appearance of corruption in a Cabinet decision, turning back on its previous one, reflects badly on the collective responsibility of Cabinet to Belizeans, according to COLA. It appears, says COLA that those left in charge appear not to be interested in monitoring the exporters coming to the Forestry Department compound in Belmopan for the next two weeks to cart off their ill-gotten gains. And then, COLA throws a hard ball by stating that someone appears to be interested in collecting their profits at the cost of national pride and dignity. COLA finalizes its release by stating that the rosewood exporters should not be allowed to reap profits from the legitimized sale of the product. Instead, the profits should be put in a special fund for a rosewood replanting program to replace all the Rosewood that has been harvested illegally.

LOVE TV

Man On Remand Charged With Drug Trafficking Following Discovery In His Prison Cell
Twenty-four year old Orel Leslie, one of three men remanded on a charge of murder, was one of three inmates who have been charged with drug trafficking, as a result of three separate quantities of cannabis that were reportedly in the locker of their cell. The others are 41 year old Floyd Anthony and Emmanuel Westby. But only Leslie and Anthony were arraigned today. Leslie and Anthony were charged with drug trafficking for 220 grams of cannabis. They were also charged with drug trafficking for two grams of cannabis and for 323 grams of cannabis. Leslie pled not guilty to all three charges. Anthony pled not guilty to two of the charges and he wanted to plead guilty to the third but his guilty plea was not accepted. The incident occurred on April 1. Prison officers executed a search in the locker of cell in which all three inmates were in and found the cannabis. The third inmate charged, Emmanuel Westby, has not been brought to court yet. Leslie is charged with the murder of ex-BDF soldier James Norales who was shot and killed on November 23, 2012 at the corner of Faber’s road and George Price Highway. Tyrone Meighan and Brandon Baptist are the other persons charged with Norales’ murder.

Butane Prices Decrease
The price of a hundred pound cylinder of butane has decreased by three dollars. The new price comes into effect tomorrow. In Belize City the price is $113.00, $114.00 in Orange Walk, $115.00 in Belmopan and San Ignacio, $116.00 in Benque Viejo, $117.00 in Dangriga and $118.00 in Punta Gorda.

Upgraded Park and Beach Reclamation To Be Completed In June
Meanwhile, in a matter of two months, the BTL Park will be ready to accommodate residents with a much more aesthetically pleasing environment. Mayor Bradley says that the seawall and reclamation aspect will be completed in two weeks and the whole park should be ready in time for the summer holidays. DARRELL BRADLEY “The BTL project is an impressive project; for a long time people have been talking about having a beach and upgraded park in Belize City and we are very pleased that we were able through our efforts with restructuring our finance and improve collection from our tax sources to be able to fund this and the sea wall and reclamation is going to be finished in 2 weeks and when that work is finished, the contractor will raise the park six inches, the entire park, even the original park and the reclaimed sections and they will be putting down grass. We are going to build a very nice amphitheatre that will allow for large concerts. We are going to build extended foot path that will allow for exercise in various times through the day and for persons just to walk with their kids and family activities. We will build on each of the sides a food court and we can accommodate 18 businesses. Bowen & Bowen has pledged already that they will contribute the kiosks and these will not be the kiosks like octanes in the park presently. We are going to build very nice attractive kiosks, permanent structure and of course preference is being given to the people who are in the park currently, As part of our open for business campaign, we want to use these spaces, if we could, generate more business activities so if persons would want to go into the park to apply their trades: sell food or sell other kinds of products or items, they will be able to do so and we will have activities for that. We are also going to build a 200ft pier into the sea and that will be a 200 ft by 30 ft pier and that will allow for interaction with the water.

Consruction Works To Start At Belmopan Market; Vendors Unhappy
The Belmopan City Council has announced that due to work that is soon to commence in the market area, vendors will have to be temporarily relocated. The venue selected is the show grounds in Belmopan but some of the vendors are not in agreement. Earlier today a group of the vendors staged an impromptu demonstration. Correspondent Fem Cruz was there and filed this story. FEM CRUZ “A number of vendors from the Tuesday and Friday market days here in the City of Belmopan were having a peaceful demonstration this afternoon when they were stopped by the police because of not having a permit to demonstrate. Ms. Marisa Logan, the organizer of this afternoon’s demonstration will explain.” MARISSA LOGAN “We were having a peaceful demonstration; we were coming to speak to the Mayor about our concern. The concern is that Friday will be the last day we sell out there, then we must go to the show grounds on the 16th to sell. Out there is so dangerous to go sell and we won’t sell anything; we usually sell to the students, the police officers, the office people and I don’t think we can have business out there; nothing can sell out there, we were there before; so I come to the office to speak to Mr. Lopez and they did not want to accept me to speak to him. The secretary told us that on no grounds she will assist us if it’s about the market. I don’t know what we will have to do because this is not correct for us. We live, we educate our children, we live out at the market; we go out there 2:30am, we leave at 5pm. It’s hard work that we do out there; how will the people get their vegetables? what will happen who, will go buy at the show grounds? nobody; and we know that show grounds it’s not good to sell at.

PlusTV

Family recovering after injuries sustained in fire
A family in Trial Farm Village was awoken by a fire inside their home. It was around 3 o’clock this morning, when Ellen Bartley noticed what she described as a bright light coming from inside her daughter’s room, where her daughter Karina Bartley, her common-law husband and their three...

Four year old boy knocked down by Police vehicle
Reports reaching PlusNews is that a four year old boy was knocked down by a Police vehicle. Fortunately, the toddler, it appears, was not seriously hurt. According to reports, the four year old was on the Bullet Tree Road when he dashed across the street, running into an oncoming...

Laptops stolen from Belmopan school
Belmopan Police are investigating a report of burglary. The Shepherd’s Academy has been in operation for almost five years now. The school provides education for approximately 100 students from Preschool up to standard six. In an effort to further improve on its curriculum and empower itsstudents; the school acquired...

Concerns in Independence Village over water transportation for students
Residents in Independence Village say that the transportation assigned by the Ministry of Education for students of the Independence High School is completely lacking proper safety measures. The students travel to and from school by boat, but that’s not the concern. As we saw when we visited the docking...

Police offer advice after assault and robbery
We’ve heard numerous stories of assault and robbery that have taken place on the walkway leading to the market, across the street from the Belmopan Comprehensive High School. Many residents avoid traveling on the walkway and so there is not much traffic in the area. This makes it all...

BCA election in San Ignacio disputed
The protest committee of the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association which is heading the interim committee supervising the Belize Cycling Association is scheduled to hear a protest from a candidate in Sunday’s disputed election in San Ignacio. Cycling enthusiast Daniel Cano, who ran for vice-president under Gilroy Spence’s...

Businesses learn how to get funds for development
This week the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) in conjunction with Belize’s Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) is conducting a pair of workshops designed to ramp up opportunities in Belizean exports. Today, the businesses were learning how to write the best proposals to get funds to develop their...

Three men in prison busted with weed
Three men awaiting trial in prison were busted with weed. The bust came on Saturday, when Police searched a locker inside a cellblock that three inmates share. Found inside were three bags of cannabis, weighing a little over a pound. Two of the men, 24 year old Orel Leslie...

Earthquake struck Honduras
Tremors were felt in Belize when an earthquake struck Honduras this afternoon. The Earthquake hit 22 miles south east of Tela, Atlantida, Honduras and had a preliminary magnitude of 5.5 on the Richter Scale and a depth of 10 kilometers, which is about 6.2 miles. Reports coming out of...

Punta Gorda Police confiscates rosewood for improper documentation
As you may be aware, there is an amnesty period for Rosewood harvesters, and so harvesters are making the best of two and half weeks grace period being given by the Forestry Department. However, Punta Gorda Police confiscated a load of rosewood yesterday. Plus news understands that the reason...

COLA suggests withdrawing from any activity involving Guatemala
The pressure group Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) today spoke out on two hot-button issues: the sudden amnesty on confiscated rosewood reported on this newscast earlier this week and Guatemala’s announced plans to print 4 million new passports with an offensive map on the front cover depicting...

President of Guatemala hopes for amicable agreement of Referendum
“No need to go through Congress to change the date of the referendum with Belize” – said President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina yesterday. The Prensa Libre is reporting that the President has expressed that he hopes they can come to an amicable agreement on the October referendum, with...

Joel Westby is Belmopan’s new Deputy Mayor
The Belmopan City Council has a new Deputy Mayor. Joel Westby now replaces Councilor Amilcar Umana, who held the post for two consecutive years. Westby is an educator who is presently teaching at the Kuxlin Ha Government School in Belmopan. Meanwhile, the Dangriga Town Council has also elected a...

Businessman celebrates son’s birthday with community
Vansh Chawla, son of supermarket owner and businessman Jitendra “Jack Charles” Chawla, turns six next Friday, April 19. But aside from a regular birthday party, Dad had the idea to honor all Belizean children born since 2001 on that date – all 296 of them! He shares details. Jack...

Butane down
The price of butane has taken a three-dollar decrease in hundred pound cylinder. Effective today, the new butane prices are as follows: Belize City and Corozal – $113.00, for Belmopan and San Ignacio – $115.00. In Benque the price is now $116.00, Orange Walk is $114.00, Dangriga – $117.00...

No water rate increases for a year
Today the Public Utilities Commission formally announced that there would be no changes to water rates and fees extending to next March, after provider Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) forwent an Annual Review Proceeding for the 2013-14 tariff period. The PUC says it found no exceptional circumstances to do...

G. Michael Reid needs assistance for artificial hip surgery
Former Police Department Press Officer and media commentator G. Michael Reid has been out of the public spotlight for some time as he fight a disease that has affected him since childhood. Rheumatoid arthritis slowly removes the cartilage between joints causing them to rub painfully against each other –...

New Horizon Mission Group offer free ear treatment
In an update to a story we aired last night about pre-screening sessions being held at the Western Regional Hospital, we have been informed that the group of medical professionals are ear, nose and throat surgeons, but will be focusing only on ailments of the ear. As we reported,..

Blogs

Direct Assistance Grant Scheme Proposal Writing Workshop
The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), in collaboration with the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), will be facilitating a Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) workshop, focusing on grant proposal writing. It is being held today Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina, from 8:30am – 3:30pm. The facilitators of the workshop: Ms. Celestine Moe, Grant Advisor, Caribbean Export Development Agency Mr. Kirk Brown, Senior Grant Advisor, Caribbean Export Development Agency

“Between the Lines” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
The day started off with me doing what I should ave done yesterday – posting the latest edition of the blog. The disciplines instilled in me when I worked in the newspaper publishing industry are sadly now not as rigidly followed by me as they once were. I am now retired though! With the edition published I got ready and went for breakfast – yes, at Estel’s – before catching the 8 am Belize Express Water Taxi to Belize City for my 11 am appointment with the dentist to have my stitches removed. Just before I left Estel’s I was pleasantly surprised when I heard a voice saying my name. I looked up to find that it was Wes, a reader of this blog for a couple if months. We didn’t get a chance to say much to each other because I had the ‘Taxi to catch and Wes was having a last breakfast at Estel’s before setting off for home. Brief though it was it was really good to meet him. The time in the chair this week was really short in comparison to my last visit. Doctor Pedro Habet didn’t take hardly anytime at all to remove the nine stitches – and painlessly (for me and him!) too – and take impressions of my upper and lower jaws. Next week the replacement programme starts (two sessions a day) and this will run for weeks. Nearly there. With such a quick visit to the dentist I was able to catch the noon ferry (this time I used the Caye Caulker Water Taxi) to get back to San Pedro and once again witnessed how they do things in Belize. We had left the mooring and were heading out when the boat slowed and went in to reverse to go back to the ‘Terminal to pick up three passengers! Imagine a bus in London doing this!!!!

A Sustainable Path: Agritourism In Belize
Mara Jernigan is currently the head chef and general manager of Belcampo Belize, a gorgeous property in the rainforests of Toledo and somewhere I visited years ago when it was initially Machaca Hill Lodge. I sought out to interview Mara because good news travels fast and word is that she is bringing a lot of exposure to Agritourism in Belize. Honestly, this news doesn’t surprise me because ever since I met her, it was obvious that she is innovative, has a passion for what she does, and wants to bring positive change for tourism in Belize. I encourage Mara to keep taking risks and I’m quite thankful that coming from such a developed country as Canada, she doesn’t mind being stuck “bakabush” as she helps to put Belize on the map.

The Grass-Beach Chronicles
Although promoted relentlessly by the “Travelcation” industry, sandy beaches are highly over-rated. I can confirm this having lived more than two decades near tropical beaches, from Mexico to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to East, West and South African shores and Louisiana; and another decade to boot, on Great Lakes beaches in and near Chicago. Famously, the beach across the street from my sea-front office (corner stool; Primo’s Casita Bar) in Corozal Town, Belize, Central America, is green-green grass gently sloping down to beautiful, topaz colored Corozal Bay. In contrast to a Rubicon of burning sand my beach is cool to bare feet. There, children gambol and are not crying because someone kicked grass into their eyes. I have watched bands of sand-beachcombers quarter a hot granular shore like bird dogs armed with metal-detectors proving what most already know, that a sand beach is a sink-hole-portal to another dimension where watches, rings, small-change and car keys vanish forever. I can report further that sand in one’s shoe, a condition romanticized by some, is not nearly as pleasant as a few blades of close-cut lawn caught between your toes. Even better, sand invading other body crevices is a non-irritation issue on my beach. Green grass does not collect in gritty piles on spread-out blankets, and children are not scolded by parents for walking on them because they have a few leaves of grass stuck to their feet. The blankets fail to blow away in a breeze, held fast by the living carpet; and, sand-free towels can be swept up to swaddle wet toddlers in an instant.

International Sources

Active 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Expected by CSU, TSR, and WSI
After three consecutive years with a remarkable 19 named storms in the Atlantic, expect another Atlantic hurricane season with similar levels of activity in 2013, says the hurricane forecasting team of Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU) in their latest seasonal forecast issued April 10. They call for an Atlantic hurricane season with 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 4 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 165. The long-term averages for the past 63 years are 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 3 intense hurricanes, and an ACE of 103. The active hurricane period that began in 1995 has averaged 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. The 2013 forecast calls for an above-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (48% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (47% chance, 30% chance is average). The Caribbean is forecast to have a 61% chance of seeing at least one major hurricane (42% is average.)

Celebrities Continue to Help Belize’s Conservation Efforts
Grey’s Anatomy star Kate Walsh’s recent reflections on her conservation efforts in Belize in an international magazine highlights the importance of celebrity recognition in raising awareness of important issues in small developing countries such as Belize, according to an environmentalist at Chaa Creek’s Natural History Centre, who said that assistance from celebrities continues to provide a much needed boost to the small Caribbean country’s conservation efforts. Chaa Creek naturalist guide and Natural History Centre assistant manager Brion Young said that several people had recently called his attention to an April 2013 article in Travel + Leisure magazine, and that this highlights the importance of celebrity endorsement of local conservation efforts.

Study Reveals Water Conservation Efforts Of Ancient Cultures
New research at the ancient Maya site of Medicinal Trail in northwestern Belize led by Jeffrey Brewer, a doctoral student in the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Geography (ArtSci), has revealed how populations in more remote areas built reservoirs to conserve water and turned to nature to purify their water supply. Brewer will present his findings on the hydrology of these hinterland societies this week at the Association of American Geographers’ (AAG) annual meeting. The new study is a continuation of a UC exploration of the ancient Maya civilization that has spanned decades. Primarily occupied during the Classical Period – AD 250 to 900 – the site of Brewer’s research functioned as a rural architectural community. It was a suburb, basically, of the major ancient Maya site of La Milpa.

Coral reef growth linked to air pollution: study
A research team linked airborne particles caused by volcanic activity and air pollution to episodes of slow coral-reef growth. Like tree rings, long-lived coral skeletons preserve a record of coral growth. Previously, scientists linked coral-growth patterns in the Caribbean to a phenomenon called the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation—fluctuations in sea-surface temperatures and incoming sunlight. In order to better predict the effects of climate change and human disturbance on reefs, Lester Kwiatkowski, University of Exeter, and researchers from the University of Queensland, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization and STRI analyzed coral-growth records from Belize and Panama spanning the period from 1880 to 2000. An Earth-system model simulation told them how well sea-surface temperature, short-wave radiation and aragonite-saturation state, a measure of ocean acidification, predicted changes in coral growth. Their data came from several coral cores drilled in reefs near the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal formed by the coral species Siderastrea siderea between 1880 and 1989, whereas samples from the Turneffe atoll in Belize showed growth fluctuations in the coral species Montastrea faveolata from 1905 to 1998.

Bitch Jacks
Last week I traveled to Southern Belize with all good intentions of fishing for permit and shooting photos in a place I’ve never been. I was able to check both goals off the list, but soon you’ll notice a conspicuous absence of a key component of this trip report. Note that I said, “fishing for permit.” Here’s what you need to know: Dennis Garbutt and his three brothers Scully, Oliver and Eworth, run a great operation out of Punta Gorda. They treat their anglers like family and their guiding skills are unmatched. Southern Belize offers an amazing variety of habitat: pancake flats, deep creeks, mangrove lagoons, and jungle rivers. Permit aren’t always abundant on bright sunny days with great visibility. Permit are sometimes incredibly abundant when it’s cloudy, raining buckets, or so calm that you can’t get near them. Permit don’t give a squat how many you’ve caught in your life. That slate gets wiped clean daily. When a permit eats your fly and runs right at you: keep stripping and curse/pray loudly. So here’s a smattering of images from a place that I’m already planning to re-visit. Yes, honey, I’m doubling down.


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