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The San Pedro Sun

Hello 2014!! Happy New Year to our readers!
The year 2013 has left us in the capable hands of 2014. The Editor and Staff of The San Pedro Sun have (literally) scribbled their thoughts on 2013 and wishes for the new year.

San Pedro rings in the New Year island style!
A wonderful way to bring in the New Year was watching the fireworks over the Caribbean Sea from the shore of Ambergris Caye. Enjoyed this with Tamara, Jem, Nana, Tara and Trey!

Misc Belizean Sources

Fabulous photography of Belize (especially Caye Caulker) by Fran Dwight - Happy New Year to all!
Below are different links to different online galleries from the last few years of photos from Belize. The first link is to Tony and Mel's little wedding party last year. You can order prints from the first and last gallery, if any of them catch your fancy. And I think you can download ( "right-click" "save-as" works) images from the other galleries as well (but not order prints). Some will be familiar to many, maybe there are some surprises here, too. Please feel free to forward the links around to those who might enjoy. Fran

Extensive Trip Review of Ambergris Caye
First of all, I’d like to thank all of the people who have posted up on the San Pedro forum. We were very prepared and had lots of “local” knowledge before we even stepped into the city. I’ll try and give you our experience and hit on the major topics and questions that come up here on TA very often. My family consists of me, my wife, and two sons (16 and 21). Our primary focus was to SCUBA dive. Accommodations: We stayed at the Holiday Hotel right in the center of town. The HH was very clean, quaint, and functional. Our room was right on the beach. It had 3 beds, one queen and two twins, and a pull out futon. The air conditioning was ice cold and the showers had more hot water than we could ever use. Housekeeping was super functional and did a great. The cost all said and done was $2400 US for 12 days and 11 nights. I know there are cheaper places in San Pedro. But there is a Golden Rule in travel that never gets broken: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!!! ALWAYS!!!!!!! The key to the HH is the location, you are in walking distance of almost everything on the island that is touristy. We were able to get to all of the major attractions north and south in less than a 20 minute walk. I’d give this a huge plus. We dove with a family that was staying at one of the swanky places north of the bridge and they liked the resort but hated the constant travel back and forth into town.

“My favorite 2013 experiences”: Lets get crocking for Hope with ACES, or my first flight to the rescue.
I know blog updates have not been forthcoming. I have been too incredibly busy, chronically, to the point of exhausted. But I shall try again, I promise. When I started to think about my favorite 2013 experiences I realized there are so many to still be mentioned, like the Tamandua with skull fracture cared for amazingly by Ella Baron, or the field visit for the Peregrine Fund, and the spay and neutre clinics, especially the one on Tobacco Caye, and not to forget the amazing people I have gotten to work with this year. Definitely there are too many stories for one blog. And there is too little time in my life to write. I and BWRC will attempt to produce a biannual Newsletter in 2014 to not forget the many amazing critter stories. So to keep it short highlighting the best of 2013 and some of BWRC’s amazing partners one at a time here another crazy wild animal rescue assistance we were able to provide. It starts as usual...

NEW YEAR'S EVE 2013 (45 photos)
Central Park was swarmed with spectators to bid the year 2013 farewell and to welcome the new year 2014! The San Pedro Town Council held its annual countdown in front of the town clock where the timer was set at exactly one minute away to guide us in counting down the last few seconds left to the new year! Before the clock hit 12, the crowd was treated to performances by the San Pedro High School's band the New Generation as well as a reunion from the the San Pedro High School Band from 1997. Following their performance was Blackhenoh featuring Dale Wallace and music from Skynet Soundz. Mr. Clive Welsh from the Lighthouse Christian Radio graced us with a prayer to welcome the new year. Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism & Culture welcomed everyone to the event and wished every one the best for the upcoming year.

San Pedro Mayor's New Year's Message 2014
20 second video

Counting down 2014 live from Lola's Pub
Downtown San Pedro always comes alive on New Years Eve. This video is the official countdown from Lola's Pub street party as a Giant Coconut Drink "dropped" from Belize Bank.

2014 Holidays - Happy New Year!
Public and Bank Holidays 2014

Byron Pope wins Krem New Year’s Day race
The 24th annual Krem Cycling race was staged on the Phillip Goldson Highway today January 1, 2014. In the Female section of the race, Shalini Zabaneh successfully defended her championship finishing the race in solo fashion. In the Junior male category, Tarique Flowers is the 2014 champion. In the elite section, Byron Pope won the New Year’s Day race in a time of 3 hours 48 minutes and 11 seconds. Coming in second was Carlos Lopez, while Giovanni Lovell rounded off the top three finishers. The race started this morning at 9 o’clock in Corozal and riders rode the entire length of the Phillip Goldson Highway finishing at the intersection of Mahogany Street and Central American Boulevard in Belize City. That is a total of 97 miles. The Krem Cycling race is the second biggest event on the Cycling calendar in Belize.

Channel 5

News 5 - Year In Review 2013
54 minute video

Blogs

Celebrating NYE downtown San Pedro Style
Some years it is a case of the older we get the more it changes how we celebrate :) We started out planning to go to the big NYE party at Lola’s and do town, as the day got closer, decided for something more low key like the party down south at Lone Star or dinner at Black Orchid Restaurant. By the time tacoboy got home from work at 7:30 and I could tell that even though he was still willing to get cleaned up and go out on a date, he was feeling tired and over socialized from work. I was still working and messaging back and forth with Matt about how their plans for the night were shaping up after their dinner at Caprice. Part of me wanted to go meet them in town for the party but decided on a quiet night at home watching tv. It was totally what I needed and I was asleep by 10:00pm or so not long after tacoboy :) The rapid machine gun fire of neighborhood firecrackers woke me up just in time to catch the fireworks display in town, we get a partial view from our house. As I stood there watching the colorful fireworks, I thought even though I was missing a good party and most of our friends were there, I was glad I opted out of the party this year.

New Year’s Eve 2013 – 2014 in San Pedro: Belize Style
Clearly New Year’s Eve is a massive party around the world. And San Pedro, Belize is a party town. There is something going on pretty much every night of the year. So on New Year’s Eve, things need to be turned up just a bit. They need to be cranked to eleven if you know what I mean. You really didn’t have to go far to find the next party. They walked passed the Lions’ Den (the party that really doesn’t get going until the wee hours of the morning)… Lola’s Pub (THE place to watch sports in San Pedro) was the expat party hub. They had a full block party set up. I’d been there earlier in the day…

“All Night Long (All Night)” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
This has got to be the busiest week of the year for the restaurants, bars and hotels and being in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to see in and celebrate the beginning of a new year is the primary reason for the high level of bookings and increased level of tourism spending. Oh, and by many of those that live here too! So, although It’s not my usual type of ‘gig’ I thought that some of you might like to see some photos of how New Year’s Eve was celebrated and Rose and I chose Lola’s Pub in Barrier Reef Drive for this. We went to the inaugural block party for last New Year’s Eve and it was good, really good but this year Steve Jacobson, owner of Lola’s Pub, surpassed it. And by some. We arrived around 21.15 hours and the area in front of the bar was already busy and the street was throbbing with the sounds of The Cover-Ups who were playing in front of the Belize Bank.

International Sources

A Mexican Coachella gives new meaning to 'roots rock'
Mexican rock bands sing in Tzotzil, Zoque and other disappearing languages of native pueblos, part of an effort to save the ancient tongues. Valeriano Gomez was standing on a festival stage cradling his black guitar as fans spread out before him, waiting for the count-off, the downstroke, the next electric blast. Gomez and his group wore matching woolen ponchos, dyed jet black, that made them look like some far-out garage band from the late LBJ era, the flavor of a long-gone week at the Whisky a Go Go. But the scene took on a different tone when Gomez, 28, began to sing: Mi xa na', bu likemtal la tsunubale Albun mi x-vul ta ajol … Gomez's group, Yibel Jme'tik Banamil, was among the featured performers at Mexico's polyglot version of Coachella, a festival of rock not en español. The language was Tzotzil, a tongue spoken by Gomez and about 300,000 other indigenous Maya in the central highlands of Chiapas, one of Mexico's poorest states.

Brian Townsend Missing: Body In Guatemala May Be That Of Edmonton Missionary
The Edmonton family of a Canadian man missing in Belize since Christmas fear the worst may now be reality. Brian Townsend, who was working as a missionary in the Central American country, went missing on Christmas Day and a body fitting his description has been found in Guatemala, according to a Facebook page set up to help with the man's search. "It is with sad and heavy hearts that we report the developments of yesterday," states a post on the page. "The body fits the description of Brian. We are awaiting final confirmation of the identity of the body. We ask for you to pray for the family and to pray that these countries will work together in harmony so we can confirm who this person was." Channel 5 Belize recently reported the body was likely Townsend, a Canadian missionary who had been living in the small town of Valley of Peace since 2001, and probably met with foul play.

The ups and downs of 2013 shark conservation policy, and a forecast for the new year
It’s been another exciting year in shark and ray conservation policy! Once again, there’s a lot to herald, quite a bit to regret, and much work yet to be done. Here’s my take on the year’s high and low points as well as a preview of key opportunities in 2014. This post obviously reflects my perspective, and is therefore focused on science-based limits on shark and ray fishing and trade. While the work has sometimes been exhausting, and this review is quite long, the scope is by no means exhaustive. While a huge chunk of the year’s social media and press attention was focused on satisfaction over bans on shark fin soup and shark fin transport, as well as dismay over problems implementing bans on shark fins in several US states (met with differing opinions), there were also significant developments related to bans on the practice of shark finning (a different thing, ICYMI). Most notably, the shark fishing powers of the EU and India both mandated in 2013 that sharks be landed with fins naturally attached. Such a policy is widely regarded as by far the most reliable method for enforcing finning bans. The EU has also begun proposing stronger international finning bans with fins attached rules through the Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs), in most cases joining forces with the US, which has been urging such improvements for years. This represents a significant shift as the EU was responsible for weakening the first international finning ban (from what the US proposed by insisting on a high fin-to-carcass ratio) and not long ago was a vocal opponent to change. So far, all of the fins-attached proposals at RFMO meetings have been defeated, primarily due to opposition from Asian countries, but momentum for ending at-sea fin removal is growing. At the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in November, a long-standing fins-attached proposal from the US, Belize, and Brazil gained seven new co-sponsors.