Authorities Ask Not To Trick or Treat This Halloween

Due to the increase of active coronavirus cases and intubated patients in Baja California, Alonso Perez Rico, head of the State Health Office, and Governor Jaime Bonilla, recommended not to take kids trick or treating this coming Halloween.

“Kids are perfect carriers of Covid. They are the persons who more likely will catch the disease asymptomatically but can transmit it perfectly. I would advise any parents to keep doing social distancing,” said Perez Rico.

Although there has only been a slight increase in active cases, a more notorious increase has been seen in suspected cases, which most certainly will become active soon.
“It would be a serious mistake to allow children to go knocking on doors, and it would be an even bigger mistake to open the door to them because you don’t know if you’re really opening the door to COVID that night,” stated Governor Bonilla.

Sempra’s Energy Ensenada Investment Will be Decided Today

The public consultation regarding the acceptance of Sempra’s Energy 2-billion-dollar investment in expanding their current Ensenada plant, is going on today.

The exercise is promoted by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who says that every transcendent decision for the country should have its citizens’ approval.

Anyone with a valid Mexican voting ID, with an Ensenada address, will be allowed to vote on the consultation in any of the booths set up for this.

Critics of the consultation say that Sempra is only missing one permit to go ahead with its expansion, and it has nothing to do with the consultation. The only license they are missing is one from the federal Energy office, and the decision of this office will be completely independent of the output of the consultation.

Several business groups and the government of Ensenada have been very vocal in their approval of the investment; as they say, it will positively improve our state’s economy.

Sempra has committed to investing 21 million dollars in public works that will directly benefit Ensenada’s citizens.

Your Electric Bill Just Got a Little Cheaper

The Mexican Supreme Court announced last Tuesday that it had declared illegal for any of the cities in Baja California to collect public lighting taxes, better known as DAP, in the CFE bill.

Each city defined the DAP tax amount, and the CFE collected the money and passed it on to each government. It ranges from $17 to 55 pesos every two months, depending on the city, and it’s supposed to maintain and pay for public lighting.

The Supreme Court deemed the charge unconstitutional since the cities cannot charge extra for this service, as it’s supposed to be paid for with the money gotten from regular taxes.

Mayor of Ensenada Armando Ayala stated that the new ruling would hit Ensenada hard, which is already known to have severe budget deficits, as they are losing 6.6 million USD every year with the DAP charge cancellation.

Que Pasa In Baja?

Table dance converts to a restaurant overnight. After a decision from the local city council in Ensenada to refuse to allow table dances to reopen yet, the popular table dance “Hot Fox” switched all its outdoor signs to “restaurant bar”, in a clear effort to bypass the council decision and open its doors.

Representatives from the Ensenada government stated that “Hot Fox” is not yet capable of operating under the “restaurant bar” category since it’s not as easy as changing the signs to be allowed to open as a “restaurant bar”. In order to be classified as such the business needs to have special permits and prove they actually have a kitchen and offer prepared foods to their patrons.

Tijuana Mayor Announces Leave of Absence. Arturo Gonzalez, mayor of Tijuana, surprisingly announced that he had submitted a leave of absence effective next Wednesday because he is interested in participating in the internal process of choosing a state coordinator for the Morena party.

He emphatically denied that he was leaving his post because of the many allegations by Governor Bonilla criticizing his work in the city.

He stated that the governor has repeatedly tried to discredit him and uses illegal tactics to diminish his odds of winning the governor’s seat in the coming election.

Both the Governor and Tijuana Mayor come from the Morena party, but they have not been able to get along since May.

Big Investment From Sempra Energy. Most of Baja’s construction and engineering sectors have expressed their excitement over a $2.3 billion dollar investment that Sempra Energy is planning for the expansion of its current operations in Baja.

It is estimated that at least 30% of this investment will be spent hiring local companies, providing a much-needed source of revenue to businesses that suffered greatly from the pandemic.

The new facility will process natural gas brought from the US, mostly Texas, to liquify it and export it to the Asian markets.

The investment will be made over a 4-year period, with an estimated $50 million being spent every month. For comparison, that is approximately the same amount as the total annual budget for the city of Ensenda.

Ensenada Starts Issuing Ecologic Fines. A total of 17 fines have been issued by the recently-created Ecological Police, mostly for pouring sewage illegally, excessively loud music, abuse or neglect of pets, vandalizing cars in the street among others. Oswaldo Portillo, head of the Ecologic Police, stated that the fines were issued in just a 6-day period.

Violators have 5 days to appear before the judge to appeal their case or pay their fine, which can be up to $140, depending on the case.

Reports to the Ecological Police can be made directly to the 911 phone number, where operators will then pass on the report to the police.

San Pedro Martir Sierra National Park Reopens. Starting this past October 8th visitors are again allowed in the San Pedro Martir National Park, along with the usual precautions.

Mario Escobedo Carignan, head of the state economy and tourism office, said that the park will be open every day from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and those visitors wishing to stay overnight must make advance  reservations by phone at (646) 172-3000 ext. 3229.

Don’t forget that face mask! In order to register your vehicle, you will have to apply at the receptionist there, and they won’t allow anyone into the park who isn’t wearing a mask.

U.S. / Mexico Border Not Opening This Month. After several social media news sites announced that the border was finally opening for non-essential travelers after 7 months of being closed, authorities from the Customs and Border Protection office have stated that the information is false and they do not have a date to reopen the border yet.

On September 30, chancellor Marcelo Ebrard stated that the US had agreed to open the border only when the border states were declared to be in the green, regarding the COVID-19 crisis.

Couple arrested in Frank Aguilar’s disappearance. State police apprehended Fanny “N” and Santos “N” regarding the 7-week old disappearance of Los Angeles fireman Frank Aguilar.

They were stopped on the road to Rosarito and in a preliminary inspection they were found to have in their possession Frank’s Bank cards. When asked about it they denied even knowing Frank.

Authorities have already stated that Frank met with Fanny at a house in Mision del Mar, where Santos and she had planned to kidnap him.

The suspects have refused to give any statements to authorities, and they are being charged with “forced disappearance” until Frank is found.

Women Campaign to Improve the Community

Fundacion de Amazonas was founded about 6 years ago, and its original goal was to provide shelter and employment opportunities for battered women.

The project was established by Nataly Valdos, who named the organization “Amazonas” as recognition for the fact that historically, women have shown strength, resolve, and capability in situations where such characteristics were beneficial.

Working with women in the community to acquire the resources necessary to initiate and expand the program from a concept to a reality, Nataly found several people eager to assist her in achieving her goal.

What better time than October to recognize the altruistic efforts of Nataly and women like her, because this month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. BCAM is an annual global campaign by major breast cancer charities, all of which seek to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

It also stresses the importance of annual screening to detect the presence of the disease early, thus allowing treatment to occur before the situation becomes a major crisis.

Nataly is a cancer survivor herself; she’s 58 years old, and has been undergoing cancer treatment for the last 4 years.

In keeping with the moniker “Amazonas,” Nataly has shown her strength and resolve in maintaining the program to provide opportunities for women to find work that gives them a sense of accomplishment and simultaneously satisfies a need in the community of which they are a part. She refuses to let her own difficulties deter her from providing the essential service that is so meaningful to her, and so helpful to others.

Nataly met a friend through the Ensenada chapter of Companeros Asociacion Civil, a local partnership of people who meet to focus on, and attempt to resolve, issues within the community.

Together, they envisioned an opportunity for women to work by learning to use sewing machines to manufacture clothing and accessories which they could then sell as a means of supporting themselves.

Nataly and her friend, along with other women who joined their cause, solicited funds from the community to purchase the machines, along with the materials and accessories necessary to begin their projects and to embark upon a newly found sense of worthiness and independence.

These women, who had suffered physical and sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and financial insecurity were now able to support themselves in a manner which gave them a sense of pride and accomplishment, while at the same time teaching them a new skill and fulfilling a need within their community.

Initially, the idea was to simply make clothes and sell them.

Eventually, the ladies realized that besides engaging in a sort of “retail” activity, they could assist other members of the community by providing clothing to children in orphanages and schools.

In that way, they themselves became benefactors, graduating from people in need to people now in a position to help others in need.

Their work has been gratefully received by the children, who look sharp and feel proud in wearing garments that are clean, new and stylish, clothing which was made specifically for them.

As with any charity during the Covid-19 crisis, Nataly and her organization needs donations and volunteers to continue the community service which she and her friends so unselfishly provide.

Please search for her timeline on Facebook under “Fundacion Amazonas de Ensenada” and offer whatever help you can to make life a little better for these women, who in turn make life better for struggling children and others in need.

Thank you for your support!

Bomberos Need Your Help

Baja is deep into its annual fire season, and as in every year in recent history, brave firefighters are in need of help from the public. The first major fundraising event of the year, Valle en la Playa, was held in the gardens of Castillos del Mar Hotel and Resort in September, with all funds going to help Rosarito’s firefighters through the Pro Firefighters Board. This was a “must-attend” meeting, even with respect to Covid-19 social distancing. Thanks to event organizer Martha Dominguez for granting me last-minute press coverage as a representative of this periodical.

Valle en la Playa 2020 was held with COVID safety elements firmly in place: tables, widely spaced, had seating reduced from 10 or 12 guests per table in past events to six; servers and guests were temperature-tested and hand-sanitized prior to entry, and masks were worn by all when not seated at tables.

Valle de Guadalupe wineries in attendance were La Cetto, Al Ximia, Corona del Valle, Santo Tomas, and Vinos de Casa Emiliana, aka “VE.” The Rosarito Tourism Board was also set up to announce that Rosarito is still open for visitors from the North as well as other Mexican cities. “We want to create a different impression of Rosarito,” declared Paul Corona, Emcee of the event. “We are more than Papas and Beer.”

Small monthly events, to be held at different venues, are planned to continue to raise money for the Rosarito Fire Department. Three-course meals, following pandemic safety protocols, will be held at various Rosarito establishments, with proceeds going to local firefighters.

Proceeds from the evening’s tickets were donated to the Pro Fire Fighters Board towards the purchase of a special drone with a thermal camera to allow firefighters to view and better plan their firefighting efforts before entering dangerous areas.

Rosarito proper is not the only area needing to help their Bomberos. La Mision firefighters, who serve areas such as Santa Anita and Alisito, are community volunteers that spend much of their own money on uniforms, firefighting equipment and gasoline. Fire boots have been set up as collection jars at Del Valle Café, Shorty’s vet shop (across from Magana’s), Splash, and Kraken, to gather funds to go toward gasoline and other necessities. Please throw a handful of pesos in them when you visit. The firefighters will be there for you when the need arises.

Currently the firefighters of La Mision are renting space in a nearby building, but a new fire station is being designed by students at the University of Ensenada as a permanent installation. Future plans include training by certified trainers in Baja. These newly trained firefighters will return and train others.

The La Mision Rotary is very active in helping out the firefighters in the extreme southern area of Rosarito, and the “doorway” to the Valle de Guadalupe. Of number one importance is money for gasoline for the fire engines, trucks and support vehicles. Also needed are four Scott air tanks with straps, Indian (or like-brand) collapsible backpack sprayers, as much of the firefighting is “gorilla” style. Also needed are firefighter gloves, suspenders, and boots of varying sizes.

Several Rotarians have contacts that can help with the purchases, so cash donations are of utmost importance. If you have contacts that could help firefighters, please contact Sunny Crowley at sunima8@mac.com. The official Bomberos Facebook page is www.facebook.com/groups/507783403257151.

We can all help our local firefighters when called upon through social media to purchase cases of water, or help make sandwiches to be delivered to firefighters on the line.

Tijuana Mayor Announces Leave of Abscense

Arturo Gonzalez, mayor of Tijuana, surprisingly announced that he had submitted a leave of absence effective next Wednesday because he is interested in participating in the internal process to choose a state coordinator for the Morena party.

He emphatically denied that he was leaving his post because of the many allegations by governor Bonilla criticizing his work in the city.

He stated that the governor has repeatedly tried to discredit him and uses illegal tactics to diminish his odds of winning the governor seat in the coming election.

Both the Governor and Tijuana Mayor come from the Morena party, but they have not been able to get along since May.

 

With information from: El Vigia

Baja Community Benefits Farmworkers

Debra Blake and Carol Woodruff are among the many expats working with the local community to improve the living standards for everyone.

Their group, “Feeding Farmworkers’ Families,” focuses on those  whose arduous labor provides sustenance not only for their neighbors, but also for communities outside the local area.

It all began about 41/2 – 5 years ago. Debra Blake joined a small group of volunteers, spearheaded by Barbara Bridge and Patty Rodriguez to offer an opportunity to provide some basic education, with an emphasis on English-language instruction, to the children of the farmworkers.

The volunteers hoped that once the kids were comfortable speaking some English, they could overcome their shyness regarding Gringos, and be more confident in seeking to communicate and collaborate with them; in this way, both the people from El Norte and the natives of Baja would benefit by employment options and through sharing the history and the traditions of both cultures.

The current school is very spartan, consisting of only a concrete foundation and a roof, a simple structure with no walls, having evolved to that point from teaching the kids who sat on blankets in the open air.

The boys and girls were naturally eager to have an opportunity to improve their opportunities through education, and of course their parents welcomed the chance to see their children broaden their horizons.

The school, “Escuela en Las Lomas,” quickly grew from a few families to 40 to 90 students, primarily the children of 30 Oaxacan farm worker families with whom the founding group of volunteers developed strong relationships of trust, great expectations, and hope for a brighter future. Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced the closure of this project.

The farmworkers who are the focus of the group’s efforts are very poor. Some of them live in homes provided by various church groups, but many others live with extended families in plywood and black plastic shacks with dirt floors. About half of the 30 families have no electricity, and none have running water.

Their homes, marginal as they are, can only be reached by a dirt road that is impassable during wet weather.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the families were already very poor, working hard in austere conditions to earn a meager $8 – $10 per day per person.

The pandemic very quickly resulted in the closing of schools, restaurants and other institutions dependent upon the produce that the farmworkers provided, thus reducing demand for their output by more than half.

This caused layoffs, which made an already needy community even more insecure; some families could not even afford to provide themselves with basic necessities, including food.

The food delivery program began in mid-April of this year; Carol and Debra expected (“hoped” is a better word) that the situation would be short-lived. Of course, that has not been the case.

The need for assistance to these struggling families continues to this  day.

Carol and Debra obtained the despensa (“pantry”) guidelines from DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia) in April and began to procure and distribute full allotments of rice, beans, lentils, sugar, eggs, milk, oil, oatmeal, canned vegetables, tomato sauce, pasta, tuna, and other basic nutritional needs every two weeks to the families in their care.

Eva’s Garden (a local organic grower/distributor) contributes an assortment of fresh, organic veggies.

In addition to food supplies, they are able to provide sanitary products from a regular donor who purchases them from Costco and donates them to the families through this team.

Carol says, “Our donors are families and friends. The Punta Banda community has been very generous.”

As schools remained closed due to the Covid crisis, Debra and Carol became aware that the children were in need of structured activities and materials that stimulated them to become more involved in learning.

To that end, Barbara Bridge provided the students with homework, which they actually loved; it gave them an opportunity to reinforce what they had learned in a classroom setting, such as writing and math skills.

The older students are given supplemental worksheets from LaRousse Publishing, the results of which are collected by Debra and Carol, who provide feedback and award stickers to reward the kids’ efforts.

Each child learns at his or her own pace, depending on individual capability and eagerness about a given subject. Age/grade levels are not relevant in such an environment; each child’s willingness to learn dictates how fast he or she will progress.

More recently, FFF provided a mobile library, which now has 75 books in Spanish, with more on the way. The kids are so grateful for this additional opportunity to grow and learn that they have proven themselves responsible by returning the books so that they may check out others.

Some of them are already on their 3rd book in as many weeks.

Beba ‘Cosmo,’ who teaches Early Childhood Education at Alocalo University, selected and provided the books. Beba is the owner of the popular Punto en el Cosmos Restaurant in Maneadero.

Other notables who have generously given their support to FFF prep and delivery operations are Hideyo Hirada, Chris Blake, Gary Woodruff, and Kathleen Estay.

Pris Austin of Los Adoptables in Maneadero adopts and treats the sick animals that the group sometimes encounters on their travels in the hills.

As Carol says, “It takes a village, and so many people have contributed in different ways.”

The next project underway is a collaboration with Baja Networks (Carlos Munguia) to install solar panels and a microwave receiver in an empty casita in the area without electric service; this will provide internet access to families and allow kids to attend classes via tv.

If you would like to make a donation to help our community to thrive, the FFF PayPal pool is https://paypal.me/pools/c/8oDfwG0bVK. Clothing and shoe donations suitable for hill terrain, non-perishable food, and school supplies are needed and would be greatly appreciated. Contact Debra Blake or Carol Woodruff via Facebook.

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