More Than Another Brick in the Wall

Only an invisible line separates the United States from Mexico, and the two countries have lived harmoniously for decades. Recently, the mayor of San Diego declared that the southernmost counties of that city, together with all of northern Baja, are codependent upon each other economically, socially and creatively; he dubbed the region “CaliMex.”

One individual who personifies that union in the most joyous fashion is Enrique Chiu, a resident of Tijuana, originally from Guadalajara; he’s the artist whose work decorates that otherwise hideous tin wall that is supposed to separate our two cultures.

Enrique recently had his work on display at one of Ensenada’s premiere cultural and civic centers, the notoriously famous Riviera. An admirer of his work gave me his contact information, which I pursued with vigorous anticipation.

Enrique painting on the border wall in Playas de Tijuana. Photo by: Noemi Ramirez
Enrique painting on the border wall in Playas de Tijuana.
Photo by: Noemi Ramirez

The man is an artist whose work is so positive and energetic that neither one of the governments dividing our two nations has ever tried to suppress him in any way. His work is nonpartisan, and celebrates the gift of life with colors bright and joyful, with messages that unify disparate cultures and express with uplifting energy the passion and cohesion that unite human beings in a manner that supersedes the spoken language.

Enrique told me that he became interested in art at a very early age. He grew up in Guadalajara, a city rich in culture, a metropolis blessed by museums, a rich history and              an optimistic attitude toward the future.

He traveled to the United States, where he continued to study art, music  and history. Always, during his travels, he expressed his impressions in paintings that caught the spirit of individualism while opening the door to human dignity and respect. His love for life is so contagious that his followers are numbered in the hundreds, if not thousands; his work attracts and energizes children as well as adults. His images are expressions of joie de vivre, “the joy of life,” and to see his work is to feel the happiness and hopefulness of humanity at its best.

From Long Beach, California, to Guadalajara, Mexico, Enrique has opened workshops for children, and encourages everyone, regardless of age, to express him or herself with vigorous and joyous respect and gratitude for the life we have been granted on this magnificent planet.

Enrique Chiu
Enrique Chiu

I was teasing him about his Mexican first name and his Chinese surname, and he responded with the good nature that one would expect from an artist whose life is his work, and whose work brings joy and unity to the human family: he said “I am an artist, altruistic, social and committed to things that can make changes in society.”

He went on further to tell me that he is a Mexican with Chinese and Spanish grandparents. How fortunate are we to have such a unique individual living among us; how beautiful and unifying is his art.

Next time you travel north to the United States, remember that although political differences will always challenge us, art will always unite us. Beauty, passion and joy are gifts that human beings treasure and revere.

Those treasures that we share will allow us to forgive our differences.

When you see Enrique’s art on any one of the panels he has decorated, remember that the man is expressing himself in a manner of peaceful coexistence and a presence of mind that encourages the future of our species in the simplest, purest and most innocent manner; that simplicity and innocence has driven artists throughout human history to create works in whose shadows we shall forever stand in awe.

Enrique Chiu’s love of humanity flows from within his heart to the panels on which he designs his art. Those panels are reminders that although our differences may be many, our similarities are our common bond.

Hearts of Baja Christmas Toy Drive

As the weather cools, thoughts turn to Christmas. C’mon. By now you’ve realized the days are growing shorter, and the stores are filled with Christmas ornaments AND Halloween candy at the same time.

Many children will not be experiencing a very merry Christmas this year. You can help to guarantee they are not forgotten. Hearts of Baja Children’s Network is announcing their “1000 Dolls and Balls” drive to ensure all local children have something to open on Christmas Day. Now, you can donate any new unwrapped toy to the cause (it doesn’t have to be a ball or a doll). Nor does it have to be a toy. Also needed are all sizes of shoes and clothing, as well as blankets. Sure, “throws” are acceptable, but more children can fit under a blanket than under a throw. You can even help out families by donating non-perishable food items.

No time to shop? You may donate money using PayPal, MasterCard or Visa at the Hearts of Baja website, www.Heartsofbaja.com. Simple. Just do it. Feeling generous? Sign up for a monthly donation of $5 or more. You won’t even feel it; just one less Big Mac each month.

All items may be conveniently dropped off at Click-On Mail Room, Surf Brewing, Charly’s Taqueria, Bobby’s by the Sea, Gary’s La Fonda, La Paloma, Café Conrado, Plan B, or the Judith Douglas Spa. I’m sure readers of the Gringo Gazette live pretty close to one of these fine establishments, or have a handy computer on which to donate funds.

Hearts of Baja, partnering with Baja Outreach and Angel and Rosy Lopez, can now reach additional homes and farms in the hills, not previously served. The more happy kids, the better.

Hearts of Baja Children’s Network thanks you very much, in advance, for your generosity. For more information, or to donate, please visit: www.HeartsofBaja.com, or Hearts of Baja Children’s Network on Facebook.

What To Do If You’re Stopped By The Police

Although not every policeman is corrupt around here, there are definitely many bad apples in the group.

People! Do not feed these thieves, you only make it worse for yourself and for everyone else. If nobody gives them money, they will stop asking.

If you are stopped, and you have actually made a boo boo, ask for a ticket and go down to the police station later on or the next day, or even the next week, and pay it. They will take your driver’s license to insure that you show up, and that’s OK. They do not want your license, and there is nothing they can do with it. You will get it back.

If you have not broken any law, just keep asking for a ticket. “Dar may un teeket por favor”. Be polite but be firm.

If they threaten you or get nasty, write down their name, or if they are not wearing their name badge, (mandatory, but still it’s common for them to stick it in their pocket), then haul out your phone and take their picture. That’s like holding a mirror up to a vampire, and they will jump in their car and scurry away like cockroaches when you turn on the light. They will let you go with some face saving mumble like, “just a warning this time”.

It’s extremely rare for them to write a ticket, and for sure they will not cite you when you haven’t done anything wrong. And, if you have broken a law, the ticket is ridiculously small. Man up and go down and pay it, don’t take the cowardly/lazy way out and throw money at the officer.

OK, once more now, altogether, “dar may un teeket”

This police extortion would stop in a week if everyone would grow a back bone and stand up to them. If it doesn’t stop, then it’s your own fault.

UPDATE: We heard that the police are now using the new “tinted windows law” to shake down foreigners. It is in fact illegal to have your windows tinted if they are dark enough that you can’t see inside of the vehicle. The law says that the officer should give you a chance to remove the film of the windows right then and there and you will not get a ticket, if you get the ticket you will have to remove it to get your license back anyway. If it’s too dark get rid of it! Better to comply with the law than to support corruption every week.,

What’s Up With The Trash Collection In Rosarito?

You may have noticed that your trash cans are being emptied on a different day than they were in August. Rosarito’s Secretary of Urban Development Jose Michael Angle released the new schedule of the city’s rubbish pickup. Many areas of Rosarito, specifically neighborhoods in the hills, complained of sporadic pickup or no pick up at all of their trash, leaving a “very bad smell” in some neighborhoods. Blamed are an increased population and high tourism rate.

The Municipal Public Works Department will have eight trucks active during the day and three trucks at night. Night collection is for the Benito Juarez Boulevard and Popotla  business districts. There are also three trucks available for “heavy duty” item pickup.

Many are not happy with the new schedule (including me, who now has pickup on Saturdays instead of Wednesday when my housekeeper is here). Has your pickup date changed? The new schedule is available at the Public Works office in the City government building. You may also contact FRAO (Foreign Relations Assistance Office) through Facebook/ Cal Rox  (FRAO Rosarito) and check their post dated August 28.

Mexico Gets A New Federal Tourism Official

BY SANDY BEECH

Finishing projects that are already under way, reviewing programs currently in place and not undertaking new, grandiose ventures will be among the tourism priorities of the next federal government, according to the man who will be Mexico’s new tourism secretary.

Miguel Torruco will be our next top federal tourism leader. President elect Lopez Obrador, (commonly AMLO), has already appointed most of this cabinet and they’re hitting the road running. Already. Torruco promises he won’t abandon any projects currently in progress, specially citing the Escalera Nautica, (Nautical Staircase), project in Baja. That was a scheme that so far hasn’t gained much traction, (other than insiders already buying up property near it). Escalera Nautica is a series of small craft marinas planned for about a day’s boat trip between them. “There won’t be grandiose projects that remain unfinished,” Torruco promised.

Torruco also said that he will carry out an “exhaustive review” of the Pueblos Mágicos,(Magical Towns) program, saying the parameters and objectives have become unclear and that the designation now gets handed out like candy. To become a magic town, there has to be something special about it. Tecate, an hour from Rosarito, or 90 minutes from Ensenada is a magic town.

Miguel Torruco and AMLO celebrating thier victory.
Miguel Torruco and AMLO celebrating thier victory.

“We have to be realistic, a town that enters into the program should have certain characteristics and commitments,” Torruco said. There are now 111 pueblos mágicos in Mexico, a number that has grown rapidly in recent years and led to claims that the program is more about politics than tourism that a magical designation comes down to negotiations between state governors and federal authorities, with money being the main motivator. Magic towns are for sale? Yes, some of them have been bought and paid for.

Torruco said that in order for a new town to now be awarded magical town status, it must not only meet certain requirements that make it worthy of the name but also that agreements with municipal, state and federal authorities as well as the private sector must be in place to ensure that it is funded and developed as it should be. And that has been a complaint by some magic town citizens. That there are certain programs that must be implemented and some of them are costly. The incoming secretary cited San Cristóbal in Chiapas as an example of a destination that received the magical town destination but failed to meet the objectives of the program due to a lack of funding.

Meanwhile, Roberto Cintrón, the president of the Cancun Hotel Ass. promised support for the new guy, and promised they would get a handle on the latest infestation of stinky ugly seaweed that has invaded their beaches. And, oh yes, they could use some help with that periodic problem.

Torruco said that diversifying the tourism market to avoid over-dependence on United States visitors would continue to be a priority for the next government.

The future secretary said he was committed to stamping out corruption in the tourism secretariat and implementing cost-cutting measures such as eliminating first-class travel for high-ranking officials. “We will continue to have the same budget at Sectur, (the Secretariat of Tourism] but there is going to be a salary reduction for those at the top to increase salaries for those at the bottom.”

Rosarito Calendar Of Events

Every Monday through Thursday, 10 am – 1 pm; Pickleball at Castillos del Mar Hotel, k 29.5. Organized by Robert Canaan. Court fee $3; lessons available at extra cost. BYO paddle and ball. Maximum 8 players per day at this time. Facebook.com/ SuperFunBaja.

Every Sunday 4 pm. Cultural Sundays in the park. Local Mexican and American dancers and musicians.  At the IMAC in Abelardo L. Rodriguez park, west of Banamex. Facebook IMAC Rosarito. Free.

Every Sunday 2 – 4 pm at the IMAC Central Park (behind the Banamex on Juarez) Dancing for seniors. Salsa and merengue (among others) tunes designed to not throw out a hip. www.facebook.com/IMAC Rosarito

Second Sunday of every month, Pet sterilization by the Baja Spay and Neuter Foundation at the Centro de Diagnostico Clinico Vetrinario, ave. Queretaro #2331-3, Col Cacho, Tijuana. 200 pesos, 661-124-3619, or Robin at www.BajaSpayNeuter.org.

Last Sunday of every month, Jewish Chavurah. Gordon Kane – gordonmkane@gmail.com.

Every Monday, 10:45 am, duplicate bridge at Baja Gold Bridge Club, KM 42 at the Rosarito Beach Christian Church. bajagoldcoastbridgeclub@gmail.com.

Every Tuesday – Rotary Club meets at Rosarito Beach Hotel. 664-376-2620.

Every Tuesday 10am to 11am.  Chair Yoga – Rosarito Wellness, Healing, Living at IMAC Park, room 1 in Rosarito (behind Banamex). Improve Balance & Coordination.  Receive all the benefits of yoga in a gentle, Healing, Meditative yoga class where a chair is used for support and balance. Bring water, small towel and comfortable clothing. Instructor: Erendira Abel, Certified Holistic Health Specialist. $5 per class, paid at beginning of month. For registration and location:  (661) 614-6036 Mexico or (619) 632-2965 US. Email: wellnesshealingliving@gmail.com

Every Tuesday. 9:00 am. Board Meeting for Yo Amo Rosarito at Ortega’s Buffet. See what events are under consideration or volunteer to help plan and run upcoming events.

Every Wednesday, 7:30 – 9:00 am; Tai Chi classes with certified instructor Eugenio Encinas at Galeria Fausto Polanco Rosarito. 350 pesos per month. Alyce: 664-368-6733; Alberto: 661-125-9191.

Every Second Wednesday (except December). 10 am. Friends of the Library meeting at main library of IMAC building next to Abelardo Rodríguez Park. Promotes reading and literacy in Rosarito. www.friendsofthelibrary.com.mx. 661-612-3659.

Second and FourthWednesday, 1 pm; Cruz Roja Primo Tapia Bingo at El Pescador Restaurant. 6 games/ 2 cards for $5. Reduced price menu; Jamesphausmann@gmail.com; 1-623-217-9795.

Every Second Wednesday OR the Wednesday prior to the Second Saturday (except December); Flying Samaritan’s General Meeting at Rene’s Casino (k28) at 1:30. Come early and enjoy lunch! www.flyingsamaritansrosarito.org; Susan Smith @ susansmithz@hotmail.com; US: 1-858-240-2360; MX: 661-100-6066.

Every Third Wednesday, 10 am, Meeting of Rosarito Sister Cities at City Hall, Fojadores Room, 2nd floor. Information and RSVP: FRAO@Rosarito.gob.mx.

Every Third Wednesday (except December) 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Flying Samaritan’s Outrageous Bingo at Popotla Jr. Restaurant (across from El Nino), Food and Drink specials; free parking behind restaurant; Six games, 4 cards for $10; Karen: kajomc@yahoo.coojm; (US) 1-818-515-0067l (MX) 664-609-3419.

Every Last Wednesday, 11:30 am, Wellness Wednesday Workshop “Intentionally Aging Gracefully” with Erendira Abel at IMAC a Abelard Rodriguez Park (behind Banamex). $6, and pre-registration is required. Info: wellnesshealingliving@gmail.com; (US) 1-619-737-2453, (MX) 661-614-6036.

Every Thursday. 8:30 am. Local Board of Realtors (APIR) meets at Oceana Grill. Good place for buyers or sellers to find a Realtor

Every Thursday, 10:30 am, Learn Spanish “Naturally” with Erendira Abel at Rosarito Beach Christian Church. $5, and pre-registration is required. Info: wellnesshealingliving@gmail.com; (US) 1-619-737-2453, (MX) 661-614-6036.

Every Second Thursday. 10 am. Cruz Roja Volunteers, Rosarito Chapter General Meeting at Popotla Restaurant. www.cruzrojarosarito.org.mx; President: Mary Moreno, miqueridomx@yahoo.com.

Every Third Thursday. 10 am. General Meeting for FRAO, Foreign Residents Assistance Office. Open to the public. Calafia Hotel.  Speaker’s presentation. FRAO@Rosarito.gob.mx.

Every Fourth Thursday of the month, 12 pm, Baja Babes, the Rosarito Chapter of the Red Hat Society for ladies over 50 monthly luncheon. Each month a different restaurant. margit@prodigy.net.mx.

Every Friday. 4pm.  Spanish class main library, by IMAC, in Abelardo Rodriguez park behind BanaMex. Free but donation appreciated.

Every Saturday, 10:00 am at IMAC Central park. Chess for all ages. www.facebook.com/IMAC Rosarito.

 Every First Saturday. 10 am. United Society of Baja California (USBC) general meeting at Casa Blanca Restaurant, Rosarito Beach Hotel. Good info for the English speaking community of charitable, community service and social organizations. www.unitedsocietyofbaja.org. 661-614-1113.

Every First Saturday. Noon-sundown. Open Studio Art Walk, a free tour of galleries in Rosarito Beach Hotel commercial center. Meet artists at work in their studios. pacothepainter@hotmail.com

Every Third Saturday. 1pm. USBC, United Society of Baja California, monthly potluck dinner, at La Maroma sports bar, across from Burger King. Different theme every month. Usually live entertainment. Free. Membership $20 per year.

Every day but one day at a time AA Grupo Gringo meets daily #16 Mar Meditteraneo (two blocks behind Del Mar Beach Club). Saturday, 3:00; Sunday, Monday, Thursday: 10:00 am; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 6:00 pm.  Additional meetings in Cantamar (just south of the footbridge) Tuesday and Friday, 10:00 am.  661-614-1678.

October 1, Monday, 7:30 pm; Alma Berumen and Jazz Quartet performance at CEART Rosarito. Free. www.icbc.gob.mx; Facebook/ CEART Playas de Rosarito; 661-100-6271.

October 4, Thursday, 5:30 – 8 pm; Cocktails with the (Mariachi) Stars at the Rosarito Beach Hotel, Quixote Room. $25, includes appetizers, wine, and photo with the stars. All proceeds to benefit Rosarito Boys & Girls Club. Rosymtorres@hotmail.com; www.clubrosarito.org; 661-850-1773.

October 4, Thursday, 7 pm; Pascal Gutman Trio Concert at CEART Rosarito. Free. www.icbc.gob.mx; Facebook/ CEART Playas de Rosarito; 661-100-6271.

October 5, Friday, 5 – 10 pm; Rosarito South Mixer at Castillos del Mar Hotel. Information on Facebook/ Rosarito South Mixer.

October 6, Saturday, 6 – 11 pm; Mariachi Grand Concert at Rosarito Beach Hotel Gardens. Tickets: VIP Reserved: $100; Diamond: $65; General: $25.All net proceeds to benefit Rosarito Boys & Girls Club. Rosymtorres@hotmail.com; www.clubrosarito.org; 661-850-1773.

October 7, Sunday, 2 pm; “Love Letters” by A R Gurney fundraiser for La Mision Children’s Fund at the home of Kathleen Dwyer in Playa La Mision. $35 includes the play, appetizers and wine.

October 10, Wednesday, 12 pm; The Bella Prize Award Ceremony presented by the Rosarito Friends of the Library at IMAC Central Library in Abelard Rodriquez Park, following the Board Meeting. Money to be used to purchase books for Rosarito schools and libraries. All are invited. Free. www.friendsofthelibrary.com.mx.

October 11, Thursday, 1 – 5 pm; 1st Annual Flying Samaritan’s Oktoberfest at Real del Mar  Club House featuring live African Safari auction, silent auctions, beer, wine, food, music and entertainment. (Call bids for safari auction will be accepted).Tickets: $45. www.flyingsamaritansrosarito.org; 664-631-3207 or 1-619-400-3773. SusanSmithz@hotmail.com.www.flyingsamaritansrosarito.org.

October 13, Saturday, 1 – 5 pm; 3rd Annual Cruz Roja Primo Tapia Oktoberfest, at Mision Viejo Club House (K 50), benefits Cruz Roja Primo Tapia ambulance service. Food, beer, wine, and Fun! Entertainment by Hola Soy Lola. Costume contest, yodeling contest, German food, plenty of beer and wine. Raffle. Tickets: $10 (advance, at the CR PT Thrift Store), $15 (at event). www.cruzrojaprimotapia.com.

Let’s Drink For A Good Cause

Cruz Roja and the Flying Samaritans offer you the opportunity to pretend being a drunk German and feel good about it!

 

No? Well, I know where you can get LOTS of beer: Cruz Roja Primo Tapia will host their 3rd Annual Oktoberfest Saturday, October 13, 1 – 5 pm at the Mision Viejo North Club House (K 50), just south of the sand dunes.

Entrance tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the event. Advance tickets may be purchased from any CRPT Board member, at the CRPT Thrift Store (Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10:30 – 2:30), or online at www.CruzRojaPrimoTapia.com.

Great wursts and kraut is on the menu, with wine and beer (mucho beer!) Music will be provided by Rosarito favorite Hola Soy Lola. There will also be a yodeling contest and a costume contest, so tone up those vocal chords, iron that dirndl, and polish your Lederhosen.  If you’re like me and just want to quietly celebrate Oktoberfest, there is a silent auction and raffle that will need some attention.

All proceeds will benefit the Cruz Roja Primo Tapia ambulance service. For more information and tickets, go to www.cruzrojaprimotapia.com, and help keep the ambulance service going strong.

Can’t wait that long? The Flying Samaritans are having their 1st Oktoberfest on Thursday, October 11, 1 – 5 pm, at the Real Del Mar Club House.

Authentic German food and beer in abundance, with music by the Jazz Bajhemians. In addition to the silent auction with a lot of great stuff, there will be a special live auction of a 6-day South African Safari.

Funds will benefit the Rosarito Chapter of the Flying Samaritans, a free medical clinic for Mexicans who have no other access to health care. And with the loss of their major July 4th fundraiser, mucho dinero is desperately needed to fund these indispensable clinics.

For information and tickets: www.flyingsamaritansrosarito.org, or contact SusanSmithz@hotmail.com; (US) 1-858-240-2360, or (MX) 661-100-6066.

Both of these fine organizations are US 501(c)(3) registered which means that all of your donations for these events is US tax deductible.

Public Safety Enhanced By Drones

Ensenada’s experience with CAPE’s crusaders in the sky

 

As we reported last year, the City of Ensenada had enhanced its police protection with the collaboration of a state-of-the-art technology company based in Redwood City, California.

This collaboration, which utilized the services of a network of drones, was initiated by Mayor Marco Novelo on a trial basis to determine how much the company’s assistance could improve public safety in regards to crisis management and crime prevention.

The result was a significant reduction in crime since the inception of the program in October of 2017, as reported by Mayor Novelo as late as June 2018.

The Mayor reported that as of that time, 513 arrests had been made as a result of patrols, and that management of crisis situations were greatly enhanced by drone surveillance. By the time the program ended, over 1,000 arrests had been made as a result of drone intervention and guidance!

That Bay Area company is called Cape, which provided Ensenada with a network of drones that gave emergency services here unprecedented and incomparable coverage of the entirety of its large geographical area.

In order to appreciate the level of sophistication that Cape provided to the police and other emergency services, Gerardo Cervantes, Operations Manager at Cape, who also has an office locally, said that a drone could be deployed to within a 5km radius of a 911 call in less than three minutes!

Once the drone arrived at its assigned destination, its “eyes” on the situation provided critical information  to the drone operator, revealing instantly what resources were necessary for adequate management of the emergency; for example, were fire trucks, ambulances or utility company’s services necessary, and, if so, what kind and how many of each? That information, rapidly communicated by dispatchers, could make the difference between life and death in critical situations.

Hector Elias is an Ensenada native who works with Cape locally. He explained that the drones are so sophisticated that they can operate independently of an operator, i.e., if for some reason the operator is disconnected from the unit (which so far has never happened in a practical application), it will automatically return “home” – its original launching point – and land itself safely!

Cape drones have shown that they are indispensable allies to the local police department. They are also valuable assets to the military, private industry, large agricultural concerns, and private security companies.

Hector demonstrated one of the most desirable traits of Cape drones: They can  be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world. As he stood at his test site at Playa Hermosa, he pointed to a drone that was coming in for a landing; that drone was being piloted by a Cape operator in Redwood City!

In the U.S., Cape is currently partnering with the city of San Diego for the UAS Pilot Integration Program, providing Cape-enabled drones to assist in emergency response support, offering the incomparable crime fighting and crisis management services that only a highly sophisticated squadron of drones can provide.

According to Mr Cervantes, the FAA’s flight pattern restrictions in the United States offer challenges  more restrictive than those in Mexico, such as “line of sight,” but he is certain that Cape will be able to offer solutions to any challenge posed by that federal agency, noting that the restriction could be lifted once the FAA is convinced that Cape’s drones can be operated remotely – and safely – from anywhere in the world.

As he says, with justifiable confidence, “There is no competition.”

The Rosarito Mariachi Fest Is Here

And it’s all about “Coco”!

 

If it’s October, it must be Mariachi time in Rosarito. The 9th Annual Mariachi and Folklorico Festival will return to the Rosarito Beach Hotel October 3rd – 6th. Three days of intense talleres (workshops) in singing, dancing, and Mariachi instruments precede the Grand Concerto event on Saturday, October 6.

As always, 100% of the net proceeds will benefit the Rosarito Club de Ninos y Ninas (Boys and Girls Club). This year, the funds will go towards additional construction and Club operations of the facility, located in Colonia Lucio Blanco. If you haven’t been up there yet to see the Club, please do so! Visitors are always welcome to tour the place and see what goes on…and maybe offer to be a volunteer.

If you are brave enough, sign up for the workshops. The cost for three days, October 3 – 5, is only $60 and open to people (even non-Mexicans) of all ages! Choose between singing, folkloric dancing, or Mariachi band. And you don’t have to bring your own instrument!

Tickets are available for the popular Cocktails with the Stars (5:30, October 4), featuring appetizers from local eateries and some really great wine. And don’t forget to have your photo taken with the stars of the Mariachi.

Prior to “Cocktails” is the annual inauguration of Mariachi greats into the Mariachi Hall of Fame, located in the Rosarito Beach Hotel, right next to Chaubert’s Restaurant and the Quixote Room. And this event is free!

Friday night is the Student Showcase Concert where students will perform musical numbers learned in the workshops. Get some really good mariachi performances for a mere $15. And keep your eyes and ears open for “Playing and Singing for Food” activities at several Rosarito eateries during the week.

Saturday is a full day, starting at 10am, with Competitions featuring Mariachi groups and Folkloric dancers from all over Mexico for a mere $5! Prepare to see some great acts, including (hopefully) ladies that dance with full (unopened) bottles of beer on their cabesas. You will have plenty of time to get home and clean up for the Grand Concert at 7 pm.

Doors for Saturday night’s Grand Concert open at 6 pm. This year, Mariachi Fest celebrates the 2017 Disney-Pixar film “CoCo,” a film about a boy who has dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol.

And this year it IS all about “CoCo.” Workshop teachers for the week all worked on the animated movie, which won the Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Achievement in Music Written for a Motion Picture.

Tickets for Saturday evening’s performance range from General Admission ($25) to  Diamond (better seating at $65), and VIP (reserved table seating, $100.) Headlining is Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan and the Mariachi Divas.  Other celebrities participating Saturday night include Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar, Musical arrangers of “CoCo,” and winner of multiple Grammy Awards, and many other performers.

Los Angeles’ Ballet Folklorico, who performed the Oscar-winning Best Song of the Year at the Oscars, will perform, as will Trio Ellas, who is very popular at Mariachi Fest.

Never before seen will be the world premiere of Impresario Edward March’s “MagiConcert Virtual Orchestra,” performing on the big screen and stage concurrently.

Tickets are still available for all of these Mariachi Fest events, by visiting www.Clubrosarito.org, or contacting Rosy Torres at RosyMTorres@hotmail.com. For special Rosarito Beach Hotel packages, go to www.RosaritoBeachHotel.com, or (US): 1-800-ROSARITO or (MX) 01-800-265-2322. ,

Ensenada’s Public Safety Greatly Enhanced by Drones

As we reported last year, the City of Ensenada had enhanced its police protection with the collaboration of a state-of-the-art technology company based in Redwood City, California.

This collaboration, which utilized the services of a network of drones, was initiated by Mayor Marco Novelo on a trial basis to determine how much the company’s assistance could improve public safety in regards to crisis management and crime prevention.

The result was a drastic reduction in crime since the inception of the program in October of 2017, as reported by Mayor Novelo as late as June 2018.

The Mayor reported that as of that time, 513 arrests had been made as a result of patrols, and that management of crisis situations were greatly enhanced by, drone surveillance. By the time the program ended, over 1,000 arrests had been made as a result of drone intervention and guidance!

That Bay Area company is called Cape, which provided Ensenada with a network of drones that gave emergency services here unprecedented and incomparable coverage of the entirety of its large geographical area.

In order to appreciate the level of sophistication that Cape provided to the police and other emergency services, Gerardo Cervantes, Operations Manager at Cape, who also has an office locally in the Ensenada Business Center, said that a drone could be deployed to a within a 5km radius of a 911 call in less than three minutes!

Once the drone arrived at its assigned destination, its “eyes” on the situation provided critical information  to the drone operator, revealing instantly what resources were necessary for adequate management of the emergency; for example, were fire trucks, ambulances or utility company’s services necessary, and, if so, what kind and how many of each? That information, rapidly communicated by dispatchers, could make the difference between life and death in critical situations.

Hector Elias is an Ensenada native who works with Cape locally. His “office” is underneath a palapa at Playa Hermosa, next to the circular building used by cruise ship tourists as an observation post!

Hector explained that the drones are so sophisticated that they can operate independently of an operator, i.e., if for some reason the operator is disconnected from the unit (which so far has never happened in a practical application), it will automatically return “home” – its original launching point – and land itself safely!

He works at that location daily, running tests and designing and upgrading new applications for Cape’s product line.

Cape drones have shown that they are indispensable allies to the local police department. They are also valuable assets to the military, private industry, large agricultural concerns, and private security companies.

Hector demonstrated one of the most desirable traits of Cape drones: They can  be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world. As he stood beneath his palapa at Playa Hermosa, he pointed to a drone that was coming in for a landing; that drone was being piloted by a Cape operator in Redwood City!

Police officers from Ensenada and drone pilots doing remote surveillance of problematic parts of the city.

Even though the municipal government is currently experiencing budgetary shortfalls, the Mayor is trying to get the federal government to allot funds to Ensenada to continue the program.

Hopefully, with the recent election of a progressive, forward-thinking president, that request will be granted.

It would behoove the feds to approve the request for the allocation of such funds, because, as the statistics from the trial have revealed, the reduction in crime and the more efficient allocation of emergency resources would more than pay for the cost of a partnership with Cape.

In the U.S., Cape is currently partnering with the city of San Diego for the UAS Pilot Integration Program, providing Cape-enabled drones to assist in emergency response support, offering the incomparable crime fighting and crisis management services that only a highly sophisticated squadron of drones can provide.

According to Mr Cervantes, the FAA’s flight pattern restrictions in the United States offer challenges  more restrictive than those in Mexico, such as “line of sight,” but he is certain that Cape will be able to offer solutions to any challenge posed by that federal agency.

Line of sight seems an archaic restriction in the view of Cape’s worldwide network Internet coverage; Cervantes notes that he can be in Hawaii and control a drone in Ensenada!

As he says, with justifiable confidence, “There is no competition.”

Cape has an impressive website, that allows the viewer to fly a drone remotely! They’ve posted videos of example situations, like drones being used to catch burglars in the process of attempting to leave crime scenes with stolen goods, only to be surprised by the arrival of the police, who’d been notified by drone operators who “saw” the crime through the eyes of their technological partner in the sky!

There are also recorded images of crisis situations for which drones provided the information to dispatchers which allowed for the deployment of adequate resources to manage the situation.

It’s really a no-brainer: How can the city NOT continue to employ the services of a company which unquestionably enhances the safety of the public, while greatly assisting the police and other emergency systems?

In the long run, it’s probably one of the most “renewable” financial expenditures that could be considered by the government. It would more than pay for itself in the long run.

You can learn more about the company by visiting their website at: www.capedrones.com

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