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The San Pedro Sun

Boca del Rio Park inaugurated with a Day of Sports
On Sunday, December 15th, the Boca del Rio Park was officially inaugurated with a full day of sporting activities. The sports day was organized the newly formed San Pedro Sports Committee (SPSC) along with the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and Canary Coves Resort. Events included a cycling race, basketball marathon and a five-a-side football marathon. It certainly was a family friendly environment, and the perfect way to celebrate the newly inaugurated park. The cycling race was divided into two categories, juvenile and juniors. And like always aspiring young athletes were eager to test their cycling abilities. In the juvenile category, 16-year-old Deandre Vasquez made an early lead in the race, winning him his first ever cycling race. But the real competition was between 17-year-old, Byron Lara and 18-year-old, Brandon Santos as they raced in the junior division. In the end it was Lara who won first place, leaving Santos to settle for second place.

Fatima Arceo featured in 2014 Inspiration Calendar
San Pedro’s very own miracle child, Fatima Arceo is one of the eight young Belizeans who are being featured in the 2014 Inspiration Calendar and Agenda. The Inspiration Calendar and Agenda was developed four years ago by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow. The calendar showcases artwork by the children with special needs. The purpose of the calendar is to raise awareness on the various disabilities faced by Belizean children, while also advocating for the need to stop stigma and discrimination towards children living with disabilities. The calendar was launched on Friday, December 14th by the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children. The art pieces used in the calendar was obtained through a special program organized by Care Belize and Special Olympics Belize. A biography of each child was also submitted along with the artwork. During the event, a check for $29,000 from the proceeds of the 2013 Inspiration Calendar sales was handed over to Barrow by McNab Designs, the printers of the calendar.

It’s a busy holiday season for The San Pedro Red Cross
On Saturday December 14th, The San Pedro Red Cross held a Christmas Bake Sale at Roadkill Bar on Coconut Drive. The sale featured tasty treats from some of the island’s best bakers and was held from 11AM to 2PM. Islanders had the chance to satisfy their sweet tooth while they contributed to a “sweet” cause, as the proceeds raised went towards funding the training of San Pedro High School teachers in First-Aid. The San Pedro Red Cross Branch was able to find sponsors for all 30 teachers before the sale. During the fundraiser sale, a check was presented on behalf of Mark and Brooke Maggiotto, who generously sponsored 19 of the teachers. Among those that came out to support the Red Cross sale were: Coco Loco’s Beach Bar, Casa Picasso, The San Pedro Lions Club, Sherry (Lil Red), Edward D. Mulligan and Paul of Caye Coffee, who also donated $5 to every bag that was sold. The San Pedro Red Cross Branch extends much gratitude to Wade and Kathy of Roadkill for hosting the event, and also to everyone else who contributed in making this fundraiser a success. Training for these teachers will take place on Friday, December 20th.

Students participate in Kids Meet Sharks Writing and Arts Competition
Over the past few years, the Wild Life Conservation Society has been spearheading the Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program in various parts of the region including Belize. As part of the program, children have been one of the focus groups and in Belize they have been targeted through the Kids Meet Sharks program. Over the weekend, students that were involved in this year’s Kids Meet Sharks program had the opportunity to display their knowledge in a writing and art competition. The entries were judged on Saturday December 14th at the San Pedro Lions Den. The Kids Meet Sharks Project started in 2011after Dr Rachael Graham won a monetary award from the Whitley Fund for Nature. In keeping with her sharks and rays conservation effort, Graham embarked in the Kids meet Sharks project as part of the Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program educational campaign. Through the program, students from various parts of Belize have had the unique opportunity to swim with sharks and rays and learn about them. The main purpose is to educate them about the importance of these species that are faced with diminished numbers due to increased fishing as a result of the relentless demand from the shark fin markets.

Congratulations Caribbean Christmas Colors winners 2013!
It was another joyful ride for The San Pedro Sun elves – er…staff – as they rode around San Pedro Town on Saturday, December 14th, for their 9th Annual Caribbean Christmas Colors Contest. Joining the merry ride and having the great honor to choose their favorite brightly lit homes were esteemed judges Jan Brown, Melanie Paz and Enrique de Leon. Children were surely happy to see the golf carts adorned with Christmas decorations driving past their streets, as the mini parade went along judging the festively decorated houses while handing out sweet treats in the spirit of holiday sharing. Santa Claus even joined the procession of carts for a moment while he was out checking to see who’s been naughty or nice. Although the rain and challenging roads tried to damped their holiday spirit,the gang still managed to tour through town core, neighboring areas and even ventured over the Boca del Rio Bridge for a short distance. The procession then ventured south, all the way to Escalante. Unfortunately some areas were impossible to reach due to street conditions because of the rain. Despite it all, nothing could stop the fun, which was certainly the sight of the festive houses, each uniquely decorated. The three judges certainly had a difficult task, as all the decorated houses had their own special Christmas touch. The hardest part of the night was choosing the lucky winners. Houses were judged on which portrayed the different categories best: Judges Choice/Best Overall, Best Theme, Most Creative,Jan Jensen Memorial Award, Neighborhood Star, Honorable Mention, Mrs. Claus’ Choice, Best Business, Business Honorable Mention and Editor’s Choice. After a brief deliberation by the judges, decisions were made and the choices were unanimous.

Ambergris Today

Tropic Air Assists Six Families with Christmas Food Drive
Tropic Air Belize Ltd. has been proudly serving the country of Belize since 1979 and is dedicated to the highest quality of customer service. This year in the spirit of goodwill and giving, Tropic Air decided to give back to all the Belizean communities they serve by holding a Holiday Food Drive. The Belize Airline collected basketfuls of items at each of their nine stations countrywide, asking customers, friends, and staff to contribute to this worthy cause by donating non-perishable food items. All collected items were matched by Tropic Air and given to the less fortunate of each area. Tropic Air Station Manager, Alberto Wade, was in charge of finding families that were in most need of help in San Pedro Town and on Monday, December 23, 2013, six lucky families were handed out boxes of goodies just in time for Christmas. The families were that of Susana Mejia, Juana Choc, Chantal Rubio, Sandra Novelo, Mike Campos and Maria Dias.

Crime Rate Down to Almost Nil in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
Even though there was an attempted armed robbery over the weekend in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, which resulted in the shooting death of one of the suspected robbers, the San Pedro Police Department is reporting a significant decrease in crime on the island since the start of the festive season. Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Department, Luis Castellanos, updated town officials and heads of neighborhood watches last week that since the beginning of the month, only three burglaries and three thefts have been officially reported at the station. This includes three consecutive days of crime free reports at the department; December is proving to be a pretty safe month for the island. San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero attributes this decrease in crime to the fact that there has been an increase in confidence on the San Pedro Police Department; the heads of the department are more approachable and easier to work with, says Mayor Guerrero. Castellanos adds that residents are now less afraid to make police reports which is of great assistance to the department.

Belize Pro Dive Center Christmas Toy/Food Giveaway
Christmas is the season of spreading joy and happiness and with this in mind The Belize Pro Dive Center held its first annual food and toy drive. The management and staff of Belize Pro Dive Center are a close knit family and believe in the spirit of sharing, caring and always have the community of San Pedro at heart. Food and toys were donated to the dive center by locals and visiting divers. On Saturday, December 21, 2013, the staff of Belize Pro Dive Center, along with Santa, visited about ten families in different areas of the island and delivered chicken, rice, beans and canned goods, along with other food items and toys, apples and sweets to the children.

25 Years Ago: Old Timers on New Year's Tradition
Now this is funny but there is something called old timers during the old times. Yes, these are the old people or the married people who lived in the 1950. The teenagers and children in the 1950’s are actually today’s old timers. Got it? Well, this being cleared, we can now begin to appreciate the differences. The old timers in the old times attended a special dance on New Year’s Eve called ‘El Baile de los Viejos” or the dance for the old people. Actually it was a special dance held only once a year on this day for all the married couples of the village. They could not go and would not be accepted to enter the dance for the youngsters. And similarly teenagers would not be accepted to participate in the ‘Baile de los Viejos’. Old timers attended their dance usually at Tio Pil (Felipe Paz) residence. They had their own musical group comprised of some of the best guitarists, vocalists and an accordion. It was the same thing for the youngsters who held their dance at the customary place, Daddy’s Club. At the teenagers’ dance every boy tried his best to stick to his young love. At the ‘Baile de los Viejos’, on the contrary, each man danced with his wife at the beginning and then with his ‘comadre’, ‘prima’, or any woman that would be willing to. (a comadre is a woman who stands as your child’s godmother. A prima is a cousin)

Flashbacks: Children of San Pedro in Christmas Celebration
If there is anyone who enjoys Christmas, it must be grandparents who delight in seeing the children opening their gifts. No, it must quite likely be the parents wrapping gifts and hiding them under the beds and the Christmas tree. Or could the happiest persons be the teenagers concentrating in clothing, fashion, and going to party all night long. I am now certain that even as of many years ago in San Pedro the most thrilling moments of Christmas were experienced by children who patiently await the arrival of Santa Claus. And even though the Christmas tree was pretty pale the toys were always a thrill. Bigger was better as were the talking dolls, walking dolls, crying dolls, and even dolls who wet their pants or could wink their eyes. Ask Odilia Nuńez about her Walking doll. Or you can ask Mundo Nuńez about his huge top which could spin for two minutes and whistled a tune at the same time. A bag of 500 marbles also made a great Christmas gift as was a tea set something to boast. What about play stations? Sorry, not 25 Years Ago in San Pedro.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belizean Humor - Belizean diving dog video
Only in Belize. Have u ever seen a dog dive before? Have u ever seen a dog dive 10-15 feet to the bottom of a river with a heavy shell in his mouth? Just watch.....

SIR BARRY BOWEN BRIDGE HAS BEEN REPAIRED!
The bridge will be accessible to vehicular traffic such as GOLF CARTS, MOTORCYCLES and TAXIS ONLY!

HARD CORE FOR STREETS DECEMBER 2013 (31 photos)
MORE HARD CORE! The road by by Zaak Bajo has received a few loads of hard core. More hard core is on its way!

HARD CORE FOR STREETS DECEMBER 2013.
Good day, It went really well! We did not come to a final solution, but everyone agreed to work hand in hand with the San Pedro Town Council, such as providing machinery, tools and to an extent financially.

Commissioner of Police Christmas Message 2013
As we celebrate and remember the birth of Christ at this time of the year the Belize Police Department would like to extend season greetings to your families, friends and love ones. As the season approaches we reflect on our past achievements, strength and weaknesses. In addition, I would like to express my profound gratitude to the members of the Police Department and the General Public for the support in the decrease of crime during this past year. Without your support; there would be no success. Whilst we saw a general decline of crime statistic earlier this year; we must be cognizant of the fact that there are still major challenges to overcome despite the decrease in crime.

How Moving to Belize Changed My Life
Following the third year of my mother’s severe depression, I suggested dad that we should probably go for a family vacation; to a place where there is fresh air, fresh food and nature; the doctor said my mum needed a lot of fresh air, a healthy diet and loads of sunlight to recover and feel better. So we looked up for locations that have the perfect mix of all these things – We chose Belize. It took quite a lot of convincing, struggle, and scolding to take my mother not only out of her bed but also out of the country for a vacation; we finally succeeded. The moment we set our foot on the Belizean land, my father and I looked at each other in the eyes and then to my mother, and we knew it; this IS the place where we have to be. Belize felt like heaven. It’s simply breathtakingly beautiful, beaches meet the blue horizon, and the greenery spreads as far as you can look. This beautiful Caribbean destination worked wonders for my mother; in only a couple of days she started responding to little things and taking interest in things – saying things such as “this place is beautiful”. This was just a big milestone for us. After years of depression, silence and negative feelings, this, coming from my mum, was a treat for us all – Belize did well to her, to all of us. Belizeans are amazingly warm and friendly people. The official language is English so it wasn’t hard getting through places to buy food, or search for places. The traditional Belizean cuisine is so delicious, I believe it’s because they used fresh local produce in it. Open markets are found everywhere in Belize; costermongers sell fresh spices, fruits and vegetables, and almost everything really. I guess that’s what’s good about Belize, it believes in simple living.

Corozal's Christmas Parade
Here are some photos of Corozal's Christmas Parade last night as Doc leads the way with his golf cart. From the Corozal Daily, here is wishing you and your loved ones peace, health, happiness and prosperity in the coming New Year

Channel 7

Jealous Husband Chops Canadian Man To Death In Buena Vista Village
A Canadian man was murdered on Friday in the village of Buena Vista in the Cayo District. 68 year old Keith Haslam, who lives in Salvapan was found murdered on a farm five miles from Buena Vista. He had been beaten and chopped to death. Why such a brutal end? Well, the man who allegedly did it thought Haslam was having an affair with his wife! Daniel Ortiz went west to find out about his confession today:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting This farm, some 6 miles outside of Buena Vista village, is where the body of 68 year - old Canadian Keith Haslam Dawson was found. He had multiple chop wounds, and it is believed that the one he suffered to windpipe was the fatal injury. The man he was staying with was the first person to realize that he was missing. Nelson Hyde - Reported Him Missing "I notice the man was missing because on the morning that I woke up, I know that he didn't have anywhere to go and I saw him missing. I had figure that something was wrong because I saw some hair from him in my yard. That's the reason I figure that something had happened to him and I ended up making a report to the police because the incident happened at my house and I wasn't involve in that in any way. I have my children that are very young to take care of and I don't want to shield those kind of things because it is a serious matter."

15 Year Old Killed In Cayo By 17 Year Old
And there was another murder in the Cayo District this weekend. It happened in San Ignacio Town. The victim is only 15 and the accused is a 17 year old. This one happened on Saturday night on Burns Avenue - and as Daniel Ortiz found out, the stabbing death was motivated by a petty misunderstanding:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting On Saturday night, San Ignacio resident, Alexander Aguilar lay on the ground struggling to trying to survive a stab wound to the chest. Residents gathered around trying frantically to save him. But ultimately he passed away from that injury. Insp. Reymundo Reyes - Deputy OC, San Ignacio "About 10:55pm San Ignacio police visited an area in front of Venus Hotel where on arrival they saw a male person bleeding from the left side of his chest. He was immediately rushed to the San Ignacio Hospital but died on arrival at the hospital. His name is Alexander Vasquez Aguilar, 17 years old. Present for that investigation we have a minor in custody and investigation is being conducted, statements recorded and it will be forwarded to the office of the DPP for advice also."

Chinese Grocer Shoots Robber On San Pedro
And another young man was killed this weekend - allegedly in the commission of a robbery. 21 year old Ajlan Raheem Requena was shot once to the chest when he was allegedly involved in the robbery of a convenience store on San Pedro. It happened at W and W Convenience Store in the DFC area of San Pedro Town at 8:00 on Saturday night. The San Pedro Sun reports that the storeowner's wife and her 14 year old son were tending the business when two men pulled up on bicycles with their shirts pulled over their faces. One of them pulled out a 38 revolver, and pointed it at the storeowner's wife while the other jumped behind the counter to get to the cash. The 14 year old slipped out and alerted his father who came back in with his firearm, a licensed Ruger 9 millimeter pistol. He fired a warning shot and the armed robber responded. Gunshots were exchanged and that is when Requena who did not have a gun was shot. He dashed out the store and fell dead in a drain at the back. He was found with the shirt still pulled over his face.

Woman Dies In Traffic Accident
AND, there is another death to report on tonight. This time, the victim died in a traffic accident on Saturday Morning. Police have not sent any official details on the accident as yet, but 7News has confirmed that Independence Resident, Victoria Bol, who is originally from Silk Grass was killed when the vehicle she was in collided with a Special Branch van. Inside the van were all off-duty police officers coming from a department party, some of whom are attached to Belmopan Police, and today, the Officer Commanding that station updated the media on the information they have so far. Here's what he told us: ASP Sinquest Martinez, O.C., Belmopan "Police responded to a fatal traffic accident on Saturday morning around 12:45 where they saw two vehicles: one was a pickup GMC truck was extensively damaged and then a van. The van was traveling in the direction to Belize City, while the other vehicle was traveling in the opposite direction when they collided and unfortunately we had a fatality."

Late Evening Shooting In City
A man is at the KHMH after he was shot in Belize City an hour ago. Mechanic Delton Flowers was at his shop at the corner of Peter Seco and Consuelo Streets around 6:00 pm when he was shot. He was rushed to the KHMH but we were unable to find out his condition this evening. Police were processing the scene for rounds and other evidence. We'll have more on this tomorrow.

Gang Feud?: Moses Shot In City On Sunday Morning
And a man was shot not far from that area on Sunday morning in what is believed to be a gang feud heating up. Around 10:00 am, 34 year old Moses Gongues was walking on Mahogany Street near Public's when four shots were fired at him. He received multiple fractures to his lower body and is in a stable condition at the KHMH. Gonguez is from nearby Lakeview Street and Police believe that two neighboring gangs are at war.

Sugar Standoff Remains
The Cane Farmers and ASR/BSI met for three hours today at the BSI staff club in Orange Walk. And the news tonight is that there is no breakthrough; the stalemate remains and the season for this important industry continue to hang in the balance. The meeting had a three point agenda, but according to our reports, no progress was made ultimately because the Cane Farmers insisted on having a commitment that BSI would pay for bagasse in black and white. BSI's position is that it has committed to negotiate a payment in a letter to the BSCFA Chairman and the prime minister. Now, if the difference between agreeing to a payment and agreeing to negotiate a payment sounds like splitting hairs, it is, but for big companies like ASR, the splitting of those hairs could mean the difference of millions of dollars.

Delta Direct, From LA to Belize
Los Angeles has one of the largest Belizean Americans populations, but to get there, or to get to here from there, travelers have always had to take a connecting flight from LA to either Miami, Houston, Dallas, or Charlotte, and then fly from those cities to Belize. Well, Los Angeles is now open to Belize on a direct flight from Delta Airlines, which officially opened for business on Saturday. Daniel Ortiz was there: 150 passengers arrived on that first flight from LA.

City Pays Waste Control Half Of Court Ordered Payment
The unease between City Hall and its sanitation contractor, Belize Waste Control, continues tonight. Attorney for Waste Control Fred Lumor confirms that this afternoon he received a cheque for three hundred thousand dollars, about half of the court ordered payment that is due from City Hall. Lumour says he has gotten no indication when the other half will be forthcoming. The City undertook to pay Waste Control 654 thousand dollars last week Friday as settlement of an arrears dispute. Mayor Darrell Bradley told 7News on Friday that though he undertook to pay the money, such payments have to be reasonable, and the contract with the sanitation companies he claims are unreasonable. Lumour says that he awaits instruction from his client, Waste Control and they may have to go back to court in the New Year.

“Hutchy” Shared Out Of Christmas Cheer
We've reported extensively on Government's Christmas Cheer programme, which is being apportioned by area representatives and UDP political caretakers. Well one caretaker who is none too cheerful about it is the UDP's Michael Hutchinson. The former Belize Rural Central Representative has been holding over for the UDP in the area since he lost the last election in 2012. But now he's about to face a convention with two challengers, Dean Samuels and Beverly Castillo. And he says that three way race is why he's been boxed out of his share of Christmas Cheer:.. Michael Hutchinson "People have been flocking me and ask me when am I going to spend my $25,000. It's sad that it had happened this way and it is also sad that sad that it had announced that care takers that this money that would be given to Belize Rural Central would be disperse through the village council. I have no problem with that being disperse through the village council. By any means whether it came through me or the village council, it would be given to the people, but the thing is that it was not given to me and I am still getting a flogging for it by the people; people are not only harassing me but also my family members, throwing all sorts of insult of me receiving cash and withholding. I want to set the record straight and let the people of Belize Rural Central know that they need to speak to their village council; their chairman or other council members, so that they can received whatsoever benefits they can received from the $25,000."

Hon. Herredia Says Caye Caulker Residents Playing With Sand
Another UDP politician who needs to clear things up is Manuel Juniour Herredia. Last week, we told you about the sand situation in Caye Caulker, where sand is being removed and taken to San Pedro. The company's representative, Damien Chamberlain, has smoothed things over with the villagers, but the real problem is the streets. Those residents say they feel doubly neglected by Heredia; they claim that he's focused on San Pedro and ignoring their island. During another event this weekend, was asked Heredia about their concerns: Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism "When people react is because that they dont probably like, but of you can recall the rain is something natural that is all over Belize and all over our region and if you go to the island of San Pedro likewise and resources are limited. Our Prime Minister had made an extra effort to make sure they assist every single area of Belize and Caye Caulker and San Pedro will be no exception and I have given the goods and services, or sometimes even more than what San Pedro gets."

George Hyde Charged For Canadian Killing
At the top of our newscast, we told you about 68 year-old Keith Haslam Dawson, the Canadian man who was found chopped to death outside Buena Vista Village. Well, the man who confessed to it was just charged. DPP Cheryl-Lynn Vidal has perused that statement, and she has just issued the directive for George Hyde, the brother of Nelson Hyde, to be charged with murder. George Hyde, seen here, will be arraigned tomorrow in San Ignacio, at the earliest convenience. As we had reported, George Hyde and Ruth Jones, the woman in the middle of the love triangle which caused the Canadian to be killed were charged and arraigned on perjury in Belmopan on November 4 for deliberately given evidence to mislead police who were investigating the murder of Orlando Smith.

A Play For The People
Last week, 7News told you about the production called "Nowhere to Fly, Gangs and Boys", the first play to leave the theatres and actually hit the streets of Belize City. It's a very interesting social experiment, and 7News went out to Central American Boulevard to see how City residents would receive them. Daniel Ortiz reports: "Nowhere to Fly" will have 3 repeat performances in different areas in Southside Belize City. The project is funded by the UNESCO "Peace in the Parks" Program.

“Navidad” Both Good And Bad
And, our news team also hit the streets today. We wanted to find out the answer to the immortal question: "How is the Christmas coming?" We found that the "navidad" is a mixed bag, with both good and bad:..

Channel 5

Two murders in the West: 1 minor is stabbed to death by another
There are two murders to report in tonight’s newscast, both coming out of the west and which occurred within less than twenty-four hours of each other. The first occurred early [...]

Would be robbers hit Chinese store in San Pedro; 1 dead and 1 on the run
One man is dead and another remains on the lam, following a daring attempt at holding up a Chinese grocery store in San Pedro over the weekend.  It is reported [...]

Retired Canadian National brutally killed in Buena Vista Village, Cayo
As we told you earlier in the newscast, there were two murders in the west. The second occurred early on Saturday morning. Retired Canadian national, sixty-eight year old Keith Haslam [...]

Woman killed in fatal traffic accident on Hummingbird Highway
Another person was killed in the west, but it was as a result of a road traffic accident.  Just before one on Saturday morning, forty-two year old Victoria Bol lost [...]

Help is on the Way; Caye Caulker streets to be repaired says area rep
Last Thursday, residents of Caye Caulker voiced their discontentment with the ferrying of sand dredged off the coast of the island for use in neighboring San Pedro.  A group of [...]

ASR/B.S.I. representatives meet with BSCFA; bagasse on the discussion table
Our news team is just back from Orange Walk, where they were awaiting the decision out of a meeting between B.S.I. and the BSCFA. The session started at two and [...]

But no decision on the start of the Sugar Cane Season
There seems to be some confusion. As you’ve heard, B.S.I. is waiting for indication from the BSCFA on what it needs to move forward, while the BSCFA is waiting for [...]

Football and cycling on Sports Monday with James Adderley
Good evening I’m James Adderly welcome to Sports Monday. Week eleven in the Belikin Cup found the Belmopan Bandits hosting a struggling Police United inside the Isidoro Beaton Stadium Saturday [...]

LOVE FM

Fifth Murder in Corozal for 2013
Corozal Police is investigating the fifth murder for the year in that municipality. The body of 28 year old Darwin Salazar was found partially nude in the wee hours this morning in the Village of Chan Chen. Senior Superintendent and Officer in Charge of the Corozal Police Department, Andrew Ramirez told Love News that the motive for the murder is still unknown. ANDREW RAMIREZ “Acting upon information received the Corozal Police visited Chan Chen on the road to the northern border on the Philip Goldson International Highway where they observed the motionless body of a male person to be identified as Darwin Salazar of San Jose, 28 years old. He had what appeared to be stab wounds on the back of the neck area and a severe gouge to the left side of the neck. That’s the information we have about the incident; we will try our best to figure out the matter of this heinous crime. We have no motives and no leads at this time.

PUC Explains Lower Energy Rates
As Love News had reported on Thursday, come 2014, electricity consumers will pay cheaper rates. This comes about because of a number of factors. Engineer in the Electricity Sector of the Public Utilities Commission, Derrick Davis, says that the law allows the PUC to review rates in December for the months from January to June of the following year. And during that review, they discovered that there were cheaper rates from Belize’s Mexican supplier, as well as higher water levels at the dams. The reduction in rates, Davis says, is eight percent. DERRICK DAVIS “The Commission met on Wednesday and decided that it was adequate to give 8% reduction in rates to customers. BEL made a submission to the PUC; that’s way the process works. They proposed a three cents reduction, the Commission reviewed the situation and decided on a 4 cents reduction raise equivalent to 8%.

BNTU Educates Executive Members
Executive Members of the Belize National Teachers Union met for a two day seminar in Corozal. The seminar is held every two years and the President of the BNTU Corozal Branch Esteban Cruz told us more. ESTEBAN CRUZ “It deals mostly with educating our executive members; most of the themes and topics we discussed are based on national issues within the education area and also we have our own business that we discuss. Like this year we have reviewed a little bit of our constitution; we also dealt with our strategic plan that we have had and those were the main topics that we had in our seminar. The seminar is mostly concerned on that process of continue educating our executive members because the seminar was based with executive members from all the different branches so every branch, remember we have 10 branches from all over the country and every executive member is present in that. This is an education process. So we have the seminar through an educative process for all executive members. So it’s not like a workshop where we are learning so we can it’s not that.” The seminar was held on the 17 and 18.

Solid Waste Management Goes Modern
The Solid Waste Management Authority says that with the New Year come new standards. After years of limited funding, the current government of Belize acquired a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB and the OPEC Fund for International Development for a Modern Solid Waste Management Project. The objective of the project is to improve waste management practices in the Western Corridor by moving away from harmful environmental practices such as the burning of household garbage, illegal dumping and unsanitary landfills, to a more sustainable and environmentally sound waste management system. The loan has allowed the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority, which was formed by an Act of Government in 1991, to assemble a staff of qualified environmental, sanitary and civil engineers who have been busy during the past year establishing relationships with key partners involved in waste management. During 2012 and the first half of 2013, the Authority has worked very closely with its partners to close and secure the old landfills located in Belize City, and at mile 73 on the Western Highway which served the San Ignacio/Santa Elena and Benque Viejo areas. The old landfills have been replaced by transfer stations, where the garbage that is collected is manually then separated and that which is to be disposed of, transported to the new sanitary landfill that was built at mile 24 on the George Price Highway, while the recyclable portion is baled. The new landfill is designed to protect ground and surface water from contamination, minimize the accumulation of toxic landfill gases and allow for green use of the landfill after it has reached the end of its useful life. As 2013 draws to a close the Authority says that they are currently preparing to focus its energies on introducing and sensitizing everyone to this new solid waste management system.

Armed Robbery at Money Gram
A Money Gram office in Belmopan was robbed this morning. Reports are two female employees were inside the Money Gram office at the Emporium Plaza when two men entered. One of the men was armed with what appeared to be a nine millimeter pistol and dressed in a gray tee shirt and long black pants with a cap over the face. The other was wearing a red and white polo shirt. The armed man walked up to the cashier, pointed the gun to her head and demanded money. The men made off with five thousand eight hundred dollars in Belize currency, five hundred US dollars and three cellular phones. The men then escaped in a getaway vehicle that was waiting for them. Police investigations continue.

PlusTV

Canadian National Murdered, Wife and Alleged Lover Detained
Did a love triangle end in death for Canadian national 68 year old Mr. Keith Haslam Dawson? That is one angle that San Ignacio Police are exploring tonight. Dawson was found with a large cut wound to the back of his head on a farm land about 5 miles east of Buena Vista Village, two days after being reported missing. According to reports, Dawson was last seen in the company of his wife and a male friend; those persons we understand, are in Police custody, pending imminent charges. We note that such duo are also the main suspects in the recent murder of Belmopan cab-driver, Orlando Smith. We spoke with the male suspect’s brother Nelson Hyde, today at the San Ignacio Police Station. It was at Hyde’s house that Dawson and his wife were staying for some three days prior to Dawson’s death. All four individuals were reportedly drinking under a shed at Hyde’s home on the night of December 20th. Hyde says he went to sleep at around midnight and the following morning, woke to find his visitors gone. He noticed strands of white hair in his kitchen and grew suspicious.

15 year old Murdered, Accused Minor Turns Himself In
Alex Vasquez. Initial investigations revealed that Vasquez had a misunderstanding with another minor, who reportedly inflicted the fatal injury. Saturday’s deadly confrontation, says Deputy Commander in San Ignacio, Inspector Reymundo Reyes, is the result of a long-standing rival between the two minors. Inspector Reymundo Reyes- Deputy Commander of the San Ignacio Police “This is an ongoing rivalry that has been apparent in these two guys that they had; something that stemmed up with fights. The young man is alleging that a month ago he was attacked by the deceased and that he was injured with stab wounds to that effect, but no report was made to the police. In fear of that, when they met by the Welcome Center on Friday, it steamed up again to throwing up phrases and so forth and that is eventually laid up in front of Venus where the young boy was approached and stabbed”. The person who is believed to have stabbed Vasquez, a seventeen year old, is currently in Police custody. Our Cayo affiliate Kent Pandy spoke with his father earlier today. He said that his son told him he was acting in self-defense.

Blogs

Where’s the spirit and Crime Stoppers Belize Christmas Greeting
For some reason this year the spirit of Christmas has just not hit me. For the past 8 years (almost) we have lived here I have always enjoyed taking pictures of all the colorful and sometimes tropical decorations as many people and businesses San Pedro town go all out and this year I have only made one attempt at Christmas pics. Friday night on our way home I tried to get a shot of the wings pickup truck all decorated with lights, a strange tall character, Micky and Minnie mouse on the back. We both had a good laugh at their live drive by commercial, unfortunately it all happened so fast and my camera settings were not right so all my pictures came out fuzzy or as crazy light images. Paul said I should post some anyways, so in the spirit of the fun time we shared at that moment, here are a couple of not so great pictures :) Even though I could not capture my own, I knew where to go to find the Holiday Spirit and a good picture to go with this post, all I had to do was Google the 9th Annual Caribbean Christmas Colors Contest hosted by San Pedro Sun.

San Pedro Scoop: My Best of 2013 – Part Three
I’m really dragging this out…but let’s keep it rolling. Part One took me through the first half of the year, Part Two most of my busy summer, I’m going to soldier on… Hardly hard work, I love looking at all of these pictures. I pick up at the end of August. I took a trip to Placencia for the first time ever to see the caye, Harvest Caye, that was sold to Norwegian Cruise Lines and will be developed as a cruise ship port. UGH. The area is so beautiful. Dolphins raced us as we made our way over to the Caye, just a short ride from Placencia. I also developed a bit of a food and beach crush on Placencia. What a beautiful place to visit (or live). Here’s the colorful deck at Barefoot Bar.

Ramon’s Village in San Pedro – Did They Make the Construction Deadline?
Ramon’s Village in San Pedro has been FEVERISHLY rebuilding after the huge fire at the end of August. I took pictures the morning after the fire while many of the buildings were still smoldering and then pictures in mid-October and then in the beginning of December. COULD Ramon’s open for the official date, would they have the big town party? If I was a good reporter and REALLY on top of my game, I would have taken the exact same picture at four different points to show, really show, the development. But…I am not that guy. Well…due to HEAVY rains for a few days last week, construction was slowed and they had a Thursday night staff party but not the big party for everyone else. That is postponed until the New Year. It is ALMOST done and the bar and inside restaurant are being finished as the place packs up for Christmas. Here are my pictures from yesterday afternoon. The place looks super cool. It was a beautiful day. Wind was kicking up the sea so it was a bit murky by the shore.

A New Rum From Belize!
Belizean rums may not be world famous, but the fans are legion and widespread. Just the other day an email between and Australian and New Mexican were extolling the virtues of one of Belize’s most well-known rums. And now there’s a new one entering the market. Tiburon, Spanish for shark, is the result of a partnership between Basil DeStefano and Travellers Liquors, producers of the aforementioned drop. According to the makers, The rum is aged and blended in a “variety of barrels,” then given a second go in Kentucky oak bourbon barrels. The final product is a blend of four, six and eight-year-old small-batch rums, with the goal of producing about 12,000 bottles a year. We haven’t had a taste so far, but the makers say Tiburon has a golden amber colour and an aroma of vanilla and caramel.

Belize Cops Invite Public to Join in and Celebrate Drop in Crime
While we anxiously wait for the finally tally of crime in Belize – 2013, all concerned with such matters say major crime in Belize City is the lowest it’s been in maybe ten years. Pretty cool, isn’t it? So, to say thanks to Belizeans, the Police Performing Arts Club staged a free night of dance and drama on Saturday night at the Bliss Center, where all the lead roles were played by police. Commander of Operations for Eastern Division Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster (who did a solo dance routine himself!) explained that COPS is a loose anagram of Commissioner of Police Offering Peace to Society, and that all actors and participants would be from the Police department. We were truly sorry not to have been able to make it, but did what we could and checked out a taste on YouTube – we loved it, and bet you will too. Watch it here at:

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Orange an' Lemon Marmalade..a Gift …
Jam is always a nice lil gift ta gif' someone fer Christmus. Thishere brite an' purty marmalade is simple ta make. It’s wunderful servet un toas, biscuits, er buns. Er add ta yer meetball sauce fer a lil pizazz. And let me nairy fergit, have y'all tride marmalade muffins? These air jes a few idees but no matt'r hoe y'all will use it..it is deliciyus! And thar is jes t'bes citrusy aroma waftyun' through t'rayler as thishere jam cooks. So if'n y'all air still wunderin whut ta gif' someone er add ta a gift basket..wunder no mer, y'all a'ken quicklee whip up a batch o'thishere marmalade!

International Sources

Acoustic Archaeology solves a mystery at Chichen Itza
Without acoustics, archaeology is deaf. Without archaeology, acoustics is blind, and “acoustic archaeology” is merely acoustics. Clearly, convergent facts from both fields are needed for an investigation to be designated as acoustic archaeology. These are the opening words from David Lubman’s research abstract into the Acoustical Solutions to Archaeological Mysteries at Chichen Itza’s Temple of Kukulkan which he presented at the 2nd Pan-American/Iberian Meeting on Acoustics in Cancun earlier this month. Historically, archaeologists have largely ignored acoustical science as a tool for archaeological discovery. This however is changing with the advent of acoustic archaeology. The study, begun in 1998, employed acoustical science to study a problem that had puzzled archaeologists for decades involving the serpent shadow that appears on the northwest balustrade of the north staircase of the temple of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza, Mexico. The phenomenon starts at the spring equinox, and continues for about a week. Is however, the equinox shadow the result of intentional design? Despite compelling ethnographic ties linking the equinox display to ancient Maya culture, Maya archaeologists found no evidence of intentional design. Without such evidence, the pyramid’s solar orientation (responsible for the equinox shadows) is seen only as a coincidence.

Can Sustainable Tourism Thrive in Belize?
Interview with Mike Green, Sustainable Tourism Consultant in Belize Two weeks ago, I attended the 28th Annual General Meeting of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) in Belize City. The BTIA is the largest tourism association in Belize with over 25 years of membership commitment and is the voice of tourism related concerns. "Tourism Business and Sustainable Development" was the theme of the general meeting and the special guest speaker at the event was Dr Kenrick Leslie, a world-renowned scientist on climate change who spoke about the intricacies and challenges of climate change in the tourism industry and why the BTIA has to play an instrumental role in leading an effective sustainable tourism movement in Belize. After the meeting was over, I met with Mike Green who is a sustainable tourism consultant and independent Green Globe auditor to talk about sustainable tourism and the rise of green certification in Belize.

Oil and gas losers of 2013
New World Oil and Gas (NEW) has seen continued problems from its operations in Belize in 2013, which have caused the shares to plummet and then kept them low. It began with a 10% dip in January as New World announced that drilling of its Blue Creek #2A side-track well in Belize had been slower than anticipated, and accelerated to a 44% plunge when the well was eventually abandoned at the beginning of February. New World has attempted to salvage the situation through focussing on its Danish licences, and the discovery of a new drill-ready prospect on the Danica Resources project did boost the shares by around 4% in early August, but so far this has not been enough to make up for the losses provoked by Belize.

How to Blog Your Way to a Beachfront Income
The ocean breeze blows in through the open door as I sit in my rocking chair—a surprisingly favorite Nicaraguan furnishing. Sunlight glitters on the ocean, almond and coconut trees sway in the wind. This is my office for today, a four-bedroom house right on the beach that we rent for $350 a month. Previously we spent time on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, beneath the shadow of three majestic volcanoes…swimming in one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, shopping in the local markets, and interacting with the indigenous people who still wear their traditional clothing and speak Spanish as their second language. Our entire family liberally learns of language, culture, and tradition—one of the major reasons we love to travel. Our family of seven has spent several months exploring the richness of Mexico, climbing ruins, swimming in rivers, and exploring world-famous museums. We’ve snorkeled in the Caribbean waters off the islands of Belize and eaten pupusas (thick corn tortillas) in El Salvador. How can we afford it? With my laptop and an Internet connection, I have the freedom to work from anywhere. Sometimes that has been in the highlands of Guatemala, on a tropical island in Belize, or like today, beachside in Nicaragua. Next month, it may be in the Central Valley of Costa Rica.