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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials
The San Pedro Sun
SPTC invites all softball enthusiasts to participate in Coed Softball tournament
The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) is looking forward to hosting its first Co-ed Softball Tournament for the New Year. Organized by Sports Councilor Hector Alamilla, Sports Coordinator Kent Gabourel and Earl Sutherland, the softball tournament will commence on Sunday, January 29th.
Five teams have registered so far, and SPTC is encouraging all softball/baseball enthusiasts to sign up. In an effort to boost other teams to register, a softball marathon will played this Sunday, January 22nd at the Honorable Louis Slyvestre Sports Complex. As Marion Mejia of the SPTC is currently is coaching the San Pedro High School team, other teams have been gearing up for the tournament. Alamilla reminds the public that the cost of registration is $200, and the deadline to register your team is Tuesday, January 24th. All teams are required to have 15 persons, and two of them must be female. Each team must also have a uniform or a color of shirt that identifies them, along with a number.
If you wish to register, or for more questions, please contact Kent “Bob” Gabourel at 604-9013, Earl Sutherland at 615-8861 or Tito Alamilla at 623-0772.
Tourist injured in traffic accident
A female American tourist, 25-year old Hope Elizabeth Chambers, was injured in a traffic accident north of San Pedro Town. The incident took place on Monday, January 16th and was reported as a hit and run. However, a couple of hours later, 27-year-old Nahaul Ayala, Belizean labourer of the San Pablo Area, took responsibility for the accident after he turned himself in to the authorities.
Ayala has been charged for a series of traffic offenses, including driving a motor vehicle not covered by third party risk insurance, driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, failure to stop and render aid and negligent grievous harm.
According to the official statement provided by the complainant to the police, Chambers had left from her hotel around 7:30AM on an orange women’s bicycle to do her morning exercise. However, on her way back she was suddenly hit from behind by a person (Ayala) on a red motorcycle traveling north. The impact threw her over the handle bar and she landed on the cement pavement. As a result, Chambers suffered a cut wound to her forehead and severe injuries to her left elbow. According to her statement, Ayala continued to drive away.
Jaguars participate in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana
The Belize National Football Selection is in Panama competing in the 14th edition of the Copa Centroamericana (2017 Central American Cup). The football tournament kicked off on Friday, January 13th and is scheduled to end on Sunday, January 22nd. Participating in the tournament are the national selections of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, with each team hoping to capture one of four qualifying spots for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. So far the tournament has seen three rounds of games, with Belize in the fifth overall position.
The first set of games took place on Friday, January 13th at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. In the first match, Honduras defeated Nicaragua in a 2-1 point game. The following match ended in 0-0 tie between Costa Rica and El Salvador. The last match of the day was also a 0-0 between the Belize selection and Panama.
Belize Assumes the Chair of the OAS Permanent Council
In Washington, DC, Belize’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Patrick Andrews, assumed the Chair of the Permanent Council of the OAS on January, 12th. Not only is Andrews accredited to the OAS, but he is also Belize’s seventh Ambassador to the United States and the OAS.
The OAS was established in 1948 for member states within the Americas to promote democracy, human rights, security, trade, and development. With 35 member countries, the OAS works to declare peace and justice, to promote solidarity, to strengthen collaboration, and to defend sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. Since becoming a member in 1991, Belize has played an active role in the OAS. Belize has even participated in various committees and specialized organizations to strengthen foreign policy and development agendas for the country.
Gasoline Lollipops to perform at The Dive Bar
Don’t miss the Gasoline Lollipops at The Dive Bar this weekend January 21st and 22nd. The Dive Bar will be celebrating its first anniversary with live music and special performances by Dennis Wolfe II, Brent Butcher, Jerry Jeff Walker “Picking Party” and the Gasoline Lollipops, not to mention delicious menu items and cocktails on happy hour specials. The fun under the sun starts at 3pm.
Gasoline Lollipops is an alt-country band from Colorado, USA that combines the sincerity of dirt-floor folk with the rebelliousness of punk. It’s an all-new incarnation of country music that’s both high energy and heartfelt, like the American highway’s soundtrack.
Offshore Oil Public Forum Scheduled for San Pedro
The business community and all concerned citizens are invited to convene at Central Park on Saturday, January 21, where an Offshore Oil Public Forum will take place. The forum will deliver more educational information on Multibeam and Seismic Surveys as well as on Offshore Oil Exploration.
The idea is for the organizers to peacefully walk from Central Park on to Middle Street and back to Central Park, sharing flyers and inviting everyone to a Public Forum. Food and non-alcoholic drinks will be available, so feel free to bring the kids! Pick up a free T-shirt and leave a small donation to continue these efforts.
Speakers on hand will be from the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, but more importantly the Forum invites all citizens to join the conversation and speak their concerns, ask questions, and STAY INFORMED!
Residents can take this opportunity to meet with other concerned community members and encourage healthy conversations on the NATIONAL issue of Offshore Oil Exploration, our environment and sustainable development.
The Forum will take place at Central Park from 10a.m. to 6p.m.
Public Consultation on Traffic Woes, Is there a Solution?
On Monday, January 16, 2017, The San Pedro Town Council hosted a community consultation regarding traffic flow, public transportation and the regularization of the taxi industry at the San Pedro Lions Den.
Four main topics discussed were:
* Traffic Congestion
* Parking Issues
* Taxi Regulation/ Taxi Manual
* Public Transport. The San Pedro Town Council invited Mr. Darwin Jewel form Alberta, Canada to speak to the community on changes that can be done for the alleviation of traffic congestion on Ambergris Caye. Mr. Jewel is a traffic consultant/ traffic manager; he has been in the traffic work force for the past 20 years at a municipal level. He has created many master plans for many municipalities therefore CARILED, who is the main sponsor of these consultations, invited him to Belize to speak on possible future plans that island authorities can undertake.
Ideas to put in place were suggested, such as expanding Nurse Shark Street (lagoon side) to connect with Swan Street (south side) and with Caribena Street (north side) in order to reduce the flow of traffic on Barrier Reef Drive (front street).
Belize’s Financial Woes - Creditors Reject Government Offer on Bond Restructuring
A Reuter’s report from New York, Jan. 17, indicates that a committee of Belize creditors has rejected proposed changes to terms in the country's US$530Mil super bond that were put forward by the government last week.
The bondholder group - appointed by a majority of holders of the 2038 notes and recognized by the trustee, Bank of New York Mellon - said in a statement on Tuesday that the changes would reduce the net present value of the bond by over 40%.
Belize launched a consent solicitation on January 12 to amend the amortization schedule and lower the coupon on the note, which local authorities say the country is unable to pay. The Reuter’s reports says that the solicitation is all but certain to fail without agreement by the committee members as it requires approval from holders representing 75% of the bond.
Senate to Meet Without Newly Appointed 13th Senator, NGO’s Disappointed
In a press release issued on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, The Belize Network of NGOs (BNN) expressed disappointment that the Government of Belize intends to proceed with this year’s first Session of the Senate before the Senator representing the NGO community has been sworn in. This would mean that the 13 Senator will not be able to participate in the Senate meeting scheduled for January 19, 2017. BNN has requested that the date for the substantive Senate meeting be postponed to allow the 13th Senator's participation, but their request has been rejected.
The Commencement Order for the 13th Senator was signed by the Prime Minister on October 20, 2016, to take effect on Friday, January 20, 2017. This means the 13th Senator should have been able to sit in Senate meetings as of January 20, 2017. However, the Clerk of the National Assembly and the President of the Senate announced in December 2016 that the next meeting of the Senate will be held January 19, 2017, just one day before the Commencement Order of the 13th Senator is to take effect.
Misc Belizean Sources
Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation
The U.S. Embassy is requesting proposals for the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. There's 10 days left to apply. The funds are there to be used, so if you have an idea that meets the requirements, please submit it.
"Reminder! TEN days left to apply for this great opportunity!"
Benque 4-H Club Mopan River Clean up
This past weekend FCD’s educator partnered with the Benque 4-H Club on a Mopan River Clean up and reforestation activity. 75 bags of garbage were collected and 22 seedlings were planted. FCD is thankful to Mrs. Garfield Murillo and the 4-H members for promoting a healthier river.
Jaguar relaxing in the Chiquibul Forest
Photo from PhD student, Lauren N. Watine and PTECS. Lauren is using cameras to understand the carnivores and other wildlife species found in the Chiquibul Forest, and how we can continue to promote their existence in this unique system.
2017 Belize Archaeology Symposium
161 days until the 2017 Belize Archaeology Symposium. It is never too late to plan ahead! It is always a great time to learn more about our history and meet up with new and old friends.
Benque Marimba Music Project
A day like today in History,January 18th, 2013 the Benque Marimba Music Project was established, salutations to our Founding members, the past and present generations that upkeeps the preservation and promotion of our Maya Mestizo Identity in Benque Viejo Del Carmen & Belize.
We are immensely grateful to each and every one, who in one way or another has believed and continues to supported the power of our Youths in the Art & Culture.
Punta Rebels and more in Dangriga Jan 28th
Come and see some of the BEST Belizean entertainers and dancers in one location!
Street Art Festival
Come and enjoy Live Art, Kids Zone, Food Court, Youth Stage, Sidewalk Chalk Competition and Entertainment.
Saturday, February 25 at 2 PM - 10 PM, Albert St, Belize City
Caye Caulker Getaway Package Raffle
Proceeds are for medical expenses for Mrs. Euphemi (Femi) Blanco, who currently has to undergo emergency surgery.
Join us this week at Crazy Canucks Beach Bar to paint "Beach Cruiser".
6th Annual Bob Marley Tribute 2017
Charitable Roots Foundation presents:
6th Annual Bob Marley Tribute 2017:-
Date: Saturday, January 28th, 2017
Venue: Muffles College Auditorium, Orange Walk Town, Belize
Time: Gates open at 6:00 p.m.
LADY MAVIS - Di Rebel Doll
N'Jah the poet
Prime Time Juggling by some of Belize's premiere DJ's and Selectas
DJ Jesse / Selecta G - Ras Cas Sounds
DJ Big Boy / DJ Mixx - Vibes Alive International
DJ Echo Stone - 5 Starr International
Fada Jesse / Ricky Blaze - International Vybz
DJ Ras / Demeech - Code One Sounds
Food / Drinks
Souvenir T-Shirt Sales
Proceeds go to Keshawn Bull who suffers from Sickle Cell Anemia
Isla Norte Ferry to discontinue its water taxi service from San Pedro to Corozal
Isla Norte Ferry would like to extend its gratitude to the San Pedro, Sarteneja and Corozal commuters who gave us an opportunity and took a ride and traveled onboard our water taxi service over these past couple months.
We truly envisioned providing a new advantageous option for connecting these three destinations so there would be more convenience and doors opened to new adventures for travelers.
As with any venture, and especially a maritime commute like this one, operational costs to make the service available in a safe and comfortable manner are substantial, thus requiring a high volume customer base for solvency. Unfortunately at this time, it proved not feasible. Isla Norte is left with no choice but to phase out the service.
Hopefully at another time in the future, there will be growth and we may be able to see this service come in line once more. We very much enjoyed providing you with a good and friendly service.
Isla Norte's Private Charter services remain Available. We will be glad to take your group charters to any destination our beautiful blue waters allow.
Pediatric Cardiology Clinics
GIFT OF LIFE BELIZE: Pediatric Cardiology Clinics - Dr. Jeffery Delaney and his team return from Omaha, Nebraska to see minors from birth to 18 years old who have been referred by a local doctor or have a history of cardiac conditions.
For those in the Corozal District patients will be attended at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City on Tuesday January 31st, 2017 from 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m.
Benque Mural Unveiling
Oceana is unveiling their latest mural this Friday at La Cancha Marshalleck in Benque. It was painted by Benque artists, so you know it's going to be amazing.
"We invite you to attend the official Benque mural unveiling ceremony this Friday, January 20th 2017 at 10:30 am at La Cancha, celebrating the precious resources we've been blessed with as Belizeans along with Benque's very own talented artists. Hope to see you there!"
Belize Fishing Report: January 8th – 14th, 2017
Sport Fishing Television was here for an upcoming episode. It was fantastic to be selected as one of their destinations this season. It paid off, as they had one hell of a permit fishing experience the last day! The wind made for tough fishing, but they persevered to victory. Only a couple tarpon this week with Mary again at the head of the pack and our Russian friend Sergey right behind her. One group found a good concentration of adult fish in the 100-pound range in crystal clear water. Apparently, the excitement level was so high on the boat that everyone forgot how to cast. I don’t know what it is about casting to a 100-pound tarpon 60 feet away that turns grown men into to incoherent mush with a tangle of line wrapped around them, while the tarpon swims peacefully by on their way to the next flat. Many of us live for this kind of experience.
"The Culture & Beliefs of the Rastafari" Exhibition
The San Pedro House of Culture in collaboration with IRIE Belize will showcase an exhibition on "The culture & beliefs of the Rastafari" Opening of the exhibition will be on January 25th at 7pm. The exhibition will be on exhibit from January 25 to February 3rd. One Love...Nuff Respect.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
On January 18th, 1816, George Frederick, King of the Miskito Nation, crowned at St. John's Anglican Church.
Source: Honduras Almanack 1829
It is to be noted that King George Frederick was one of three Miskito Kings that were crown at St. John's Cathedral. The British was able to devlop a great relatonship with the Miskito Indians from their first encounter with "Old Man", who was the king of the Miskito Indians at that time. It was after that first meeting that the Miskito Indians started to name their Kings with English names. History tells us that the English was able to use the strong aliance they had with the Miskito Indians against the Spanish.
The Miskito are a Native American ethnic group in Central America, of whom many are mixed race. In the northern end of their territory, the people are primarily of African-Native American ancestry; others are of mixed African-Native American and English descent. Their territory extends from Cape Camarón, Honduras, to Río Grande, Nicaragua, along the Mosquito Coast, in the Western Caribbean Zone.
Minor Killed In The City
Another city youth has lost his life to gun violence. 15-year-old Jaheem Mahler was executed last night. Mahler left his Faber's Road home around 7:00 to go to the store but about 1 hour and a half later, he was found in a drain on Iguana Street Extension, taking his last breaths. He was shot about 8 times all over his body. There are several reports as to how he ended up on that street and what exactly happened, but neither the family nor police can answer those questions definitively at this point. Courtney Weatherburne found out more about this murder of a minor:
Jaheem Mahler shaped and decorated this bamboo stick at the Gateway Youth Centre's Arts and Craft class. He was one of the first to enrol in September 2016 and apart from Arts, he excelled in all other subjects.
Cops Got The Gun, Have Suspect
Police were quick to respond to the murder scene, and based on information, they found the suspected murder weapon nearby. It had been thrown in a drain. Today, the press officer said they have the weapon and a suspect:
ASP Fitzroy Yearwood - Police Press Officer:
"Investigators have a person of interest that is being sought that they believe would shed some light into this investigation. I must say that the response of the police to the scene helped us to actually recover that weapon that we believe was used and we believe that they have enough information as to lead up to the apprehension of this wanted person."
ASP Alejandro Cowo - Officer Commanding CIB:
"Yes, we have a person of interest detained but we are looking for two other persons that definitely can assist us in the investigation. In regards to the weapon that we found last night we match it in our system, however it does not show any reflection it has been reported stolen or otherwise, noh?"
Man Charged For New Year's Murder
And while police have suspects in that case, today one man was charged for the New Year's Day murder of Colin Sutherland. The 22 year old was killed not far from his home in the Conch Shell Bay area.
Today, police charged 29 year old Daniel Cain, a Pinks Alley resident for the murder. He appeared in court before the Chief Magistrate and was remanded into custody until March 17.
Sutherland was walking with friends on Youth For The Future Drive at 7:00 on New Year's night when a gunman emerged from a parked car, ran down Sutherland, and opened fire, hitting him multiple times. He was shot in his chest, upper abdomen, back and upper thigh. Colin Sutherland was not known to be active in gangs but, earlier this month, his elder brother, Oliver, told us that the murder was orchestrated to hurt him:
Bus Killed Cyclist In North
And while Sutherland's murder was the first in a flurry of New Year's killings, there have also been a flurry of road traffic fatalities since Saturday. Three men have been killed: one on motorbike, two on bicycle. The most recent happened last night when a Tillet's Bus knocked down and killed a man on bicycle in the Corozal District. The police press officer told us that the victim is unidentified:…
Raphael Martinez - Police Press Officer:
"At 6:30 pm yesterday, police visited a scene at mile 69 on the Phillip Goldson highway in the village of Buena Vista in that vicinity where they saw a bus, passenger bus and a bicycle on the scene. And on the scene as well was a person, an unidentified male person who was fatally injured in that traffic accident investigations revealed that the bus was travelling towards Corozal and the bus was also travelling in that same direction when he was allegedly hit from behind and he reportedly died on the spot. Now the reason why this person has not been identified, police are still checking his identity because when the police searched him, his person they did not find anything to identify the victim. I can assure you, though, that they are on the ground and by anytime now we should be having an identification for this person who was hit last night."
Senate Probe Reveals: Few Controls At Immigration Department
Last week in the Senate Inquiry, Former Director Maria Marin was the one being interrogated by the Senate Committee about the mass irregularities detailed in the Auditor General's Report. Today, her predecessor, Former Immigration Director Ruth Meighan, was the one in the hotseat, and like everyone who's appeared so far, she wasn't given any sort of bly.
As we told you last week, the majority of the audit period which Dorothy Bradley and her team reviewed was under Meighan's tenure, and it was also during that time that those highly suspect immigration documents were being issued en masse. Meighan had to endure about 4 hours of intense grilling, and there's so much that we can't share all of it with you in tonight's newscast. But, right now, we pick up the conversation between Meighan and the Senators about the absence of checks and balances which aided the fraud and forgery on applications for visas, passports, and nationality certificates. Here's that back and forth between Meighan and the Senators:
Was Ruth At The Root Of "Rapidito" Nationality Document Irregularities?
From there, the Senate Inquiry turned to parts of the Auditor General's Visa report which singles out and questions Ruth Meighan's management of the Department in the way visas and permanent residency applications were being handled. That's where, as we told you, Asian applicants were able to get approval for visas, and with lightning speed, they were then able to get permanent residency – which they didn't legally qualify for. Some of those applicants got their visas approved, and in only a matter of days, and in some instances, a matter of hours, their nationality certificates and passports were being printed.
Auditor General Dorothy Bradley report points to an instance where 15 applicants received this sort of rapidito service, and her team's investigation pointed directly Ruth Meighan as the most senior Immigration Officer in the Department. Here's the tough questions they had for her:
Former Director In Hot Seat
As you heard, Ruth Meighan is alleging a sophisticated level of fraud and forgery of Belizean immigration documents, in which according to her, the stamps on the passports for these applicants looked so authentic that they fooled even her as the Director. You also heard her say that the travel stamps which each passport gets from the Immigration Officers when their owners entered Belize were falsified and backdated to hide the fact that these 1-day visa owners did not qualify for Permanent residency in Belize.
She approved these applications for permanent residency, when they landed her desk, based on the information of the vetting officers who were supposed to have scrutinized the applications and ensure that the documentation provided was accurate and authentic.
Well, the Senate Committee didn't just take her at her word for it, and they challenged her testimony. Here's how the exchange went:
Ruth Meighan Not In Mood For Media
So, as you saw, Meighan stuck to her story, no matter how the Senators prodded and probed. During each of the breaks for the day, our news team tried to get her to comment on the suggestion that she was approving visas and permanent residencies for applicants in only a matter of days.
Inside the hearing, she answered the question from the senators, but she sidestepped the media. Here are both attempts to engage her in an interview:
Ruth Meighan - Former Director of Immigration:
"Not at all. Not today."
"When would you be willing to grant us one ma'am?"
"I don't think I need to."
Cops Keeping Caye Cocaine Source Secret
Police still haven't said how they found over 50 pounds of cocaine on the South end of San Pedro Town over the weekend. And the cops still aren't releasing very much info, likely because intelligence led them to seize a bail of cocaine that belonged to a drug runner – who lost half a million dollars' worth of product. Here's how the Press Officer put it:
ASP Fitzroy Yearwood - Police Press Officer:
"I can tell you that this finding of that 25 parcels was based on information intelligence work on the part of San Pedro Police. If we found one we are looking to see if there is anymore and we will continue to safeguard the citizens of San Pedro and Caye Caulker and even inland - we don't know where this came from but we can tell you that we have taken the necessary steps to step up the man power on the island especially."
Customs In North Got Mexican Veg and Pickup
While you were sleeping on Wednesday morning, the Customs Enforcement Unit in Orange Walk was out prowling the back roads of the Orange Walk District. And it’s there on the old Northern Highway behind Carmelita that they came upon a Black Ford Ranger. The driver bolted and left behind a truckful of Mexican vegetables including 5 cases Sweet pepper, 18 sacks of carrots, 10 cases maseca, and 10 cases avocadoes. Police impounded the contraband items and the pickup. No one has come forward to claim it, but the customs department is looking for the owner who is known to them. The vehicle has no license, insurance or other identifying marks – which is typical for contraband cargo carriers.
Mayor Speaks On Growing Garbage Problem
So, now that the Mexican company just up and disappeared, who will deal with transferring waste from local stations to the regional landfill at Mile 24? The garbage has been piling up – though some efforts have been made recently to get things moving. And while the collection and transport of waste is generally handled by the Solid Waste Management Authority, municipal governments do have a say in how operations are run. Mayor Darrell Bradley gave us his position on the situation…
Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City:
"Well the City Council naturally is, together with the other municipalities and other agencies that benefit from the solid waste management project. Of course that is under the jurisdiction and control of the Solid Waste Management Authority, so that they are the entity that actually is dealing with the company. Dealing with the contract itself, dealing with trying to see how they can, if possible work out situations."
Barnett Says Bondholders Rejection Is Par For The Course
Last night in the news, we told you how the Committee representing Belize's bondholders rejected the terms of the Government's first offer to restructure the Superbond a third time.
The Bondholders are not interested in the consent solicitation offer because they say that the current proposed deal would, quote, "crystalize a further reduction in the net present value of the Bonds in excess of 40%, in addition to a cumulative reduction of more than 50% already provided by bondholders in restructurings of predecessor instruments to the Bonds in 2007 and 2013." End quote
We heard from the Committee spokesperson and the Leader of the Opposition, but how does the Government view this response? Well, that's what we asked Dr. Carla Barnett, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance. She told us that in this type of negotiations, the refusal of the first offer is to be expected:
And Justice For All...?
In his Supreme Court address on Monday, Attorney General Mike Peyreffite, committed to an open door policy, where any member of the legal community could engage him on any snag in the legal system and work along with him to fix it. He also mentioned that he would be working with fellow attorney, Anthony Sylvester, to possibly adjust minimum sentence legislature. We spoke to Sylvester today about why he thinks this is an important area in the law to focus on. He gave us an example of the case of a minor sent to jail for 12 years because he had sex with another minor...
Anthony Sylvester – Attorney
"An individual he was convicted and sentenced to 12 years for carnal knowledge. He was 15 years at the time, and the female was 13 years at the time. Here it was that you had two high schoolers, he was in third form she was in first form. And this individual was convicted and was sentenced with 12 years; he's been in prison serving a 12 year sentence since 2011. And so that instances like that, those of us who practice at the criminal bar realize that these mandatory minimum sentences, they do create disproportionate and cruel sentences in certain instances, and there needs to be a complete revision of the laws that determine the appropriateness of it.
Agassi Finnegan Called To Bar Before All Star Lineup
Agassi Finnegan has been a Crown Counsel in the Sol. Gen’s Ministry for the past two years and she was called to the bar today. Because UDP Senior Minister Michael Finnegan is her father, the young Ms. Finnegan grew up steeped in the UDP and the event had the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber, Attorney General Micheal Peyreffitte, and family friend Ralph Fonseca. Agassi Finnegan told the media what’s needed for those seeking a career in law:
Finnegan was called to the bar by Senior Counsel Denys Barrow with affidavits from Dean Lindo and Micahel Peyreffite.