Fire broke out in the Pueblo Magico of Todos Santos shortly after noon on Thursday, February 28th. Todos Santos is located 50 miles south of La Paz.
The General Secretary of the Municipality of La Paz, Guillermo Beltran Rochin informed local media at a press conference held shortly after the blaze was contained that once the emergency call was received by municipal officials that there was a fire in the area of the palm tree orchards at the entrance of the town of Todos Santos, the La Paz Fire Department were sent out immediately to the scene followed shortly after by the military, Mexican Navy, CONAGUA, CFE, and the Los Cabos Fire Department, joining local volunteers. With the collaboration of all groups involved, the fire was confined to a controlled area by 5:00 pm that afternoon.
Electricity had been shut off for the better part of the afternoon in the town and the highway between La Paz-Todos Santos blocked off to allow authorities and water trucks to arrive to the area in a timely and organized manner.
The first emergency phone call received by the Todos Santos Fire Department was just after 12 noon.
Beltran Rochin said he was asked by Mayor Esthela Ponce to attend to the situation personally and to coordinate all personnel at the scene, verify damage and lend support to those people affected by the fire.
At press time, it is still unknown what caused the fire but Beltran Rochin acknowledged that it could have been man-made. The blaze was hard to contain due to high winds. Approximately 10 hectares of land were affected in the area including 7 homes and a few businesses. 10 homes were evacuated and one person, male, was reported with first-degree burns.
A shelter was set up in the CECYT, for those who were evacuated and needed a place to go.
It the following days, the municipality of La Paz will be working with those families affected by the blaze with assistant programs. Also, it was announced that an investigation into what caused the fire would be carried out by the Policia Ministerial (detectives) according to the law.
The population of Todos Santos was 5,148 at the census of 2010.
By Erwin Verburgt
Everybody talks about “sustainable” these days. The term is mentioned when referring to living, energy, development, even relationships (however terrifying that last one sounds).
The definition of the word, “capable of being sustained”, really means getting by with the bare minimum. And very few people want to “just get by” regarding any of those things mentioned above.
We prefer abundance.
The thing is, abundance is all around us, even if we do not always recognize it.
Without denying the influence of economics in life, and without wanting to sound overjoyed with the realities that we face these days, there are a lot of resources at our disposal that we do not use, and that can make our lives better, healthier, and more abundant.
Let’s leave the gas guzzling SUV and the 5 star vacation out of it for a moment, and look at our basic needs: food, water, shelter and energy. When considering those needs, we often make the mistake that “abundance” means having to spend more money; Money buys more and “better” food, exotic water from a mountain far away, a bigger house, more air conditioning and televisions ….the list goes on. And when things get tough, we complain about how much we have to spend to keep up with this life style, while better options are within our reach, for less money, and with more benefit.
Let’s talk about food first.
“Sustainable” frequently refers to the environment and nature, but in nature’s case “bare minimum” simply does not apply; nature is extremely abundant if we accept its generosity.
Take this Indian squash that someone brought us the other day; it must have been close to 3 feet, and could have served as a great side dish for at least 20 people.
You, of course, say “But that’s India, we’re in Mexico”; True, but we happen to live in a region where you can naturally grow, on a seasonal basis, a great amount of fruits and vegetables, among which Indian squash, Jericho lettuce from Israel, Okra from the Deep South, and plenty more.
Still, La Paz imports 80% of its food supply from elsewhere.
But back to the squash; the point is that when we opened and cleaned that squash, out came over 200 seeds that each represented another 3 footer like it. That’s 4000 portions of natural-, healthy- food right there, if properly planted, cared for, and given the time to grow.
If you happen to not like squash, or you prefer not to have 600 feet of it in your garden, no worries: it applies to practically anything that you grow from natural (not genetically manipulated) seeds.
Think fruit trees, tomato plants, lettuce that grows back three times after you cut and harvest it, and then still produces the seeds for you to replant. Every time you spit out a nasty seed when you eat a naturally grown orange, you are basically spitting out an orange tree.
What business will give you a 10,000% return on investment? Nature does.
And of course there is the quality issue. This isn’t like the Pepsi test from the 90s, where you compare two very similar products and choose the one with more bubbles; in the case of fruit and vegetables we are talking about an enormous difference in quality, in taste and in properties for one’s health, between industrial agriculture and naturally grown food.
In terms of food, sustainable living can be as abundant as you want it to be; it’s the other stuff that gets in the way, like seeing prices at the grocery store go up, while your income doesn’t.
Many people may know these things already, but they prefer to not have their own food garden for different reasons; they think it’s too much work, or that they don’t have enough space because they live in an apartment, on a boat, or have no yard, patio or garden.
Truth is that for a family of two adults and two children, little more than a square meter of space is needed to enjoy homegrown fresh vegetables at your table. Once planted, you only need to water once a day, and after harvesting a couple of times, you use the seeds that come from the plant, to have more. You can grow food in a pot, a bucket, hanging from the wall, or behind a window that catches sunlight.
It’s not necessary to have a food forest in your backyard, but it is very beneficial to eat natural food instead of industrially processed food.
Growing your own food is easy to learn and the benefits are numerous; for starters, you can turn a basic need that you’re paying for at the moment, into long-term free abundance.
For more information please check out the webpage www.sembramoslapaz.com.
Next edition… Abundant Living.
During the first general meeting of 2013 of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises (EMPRHOTUR), the organization announced that it will be spending 9.4 million pesos over the next year in national and international promotion and marketing of the capital city of Baja California Sur.
The meeting was presided by the President of EMPRHOTUR, Agustín Olachea Nogueda, the State’s Secretary of Tourism, Rubén Reachi Lugo, and the Director of Tourism for the Municipality of La Paz, Pedro Aguilar Bazua.
Ana Garcia Altable, the manager of the Tourism of La Paz Trust presented the marketing budget at the general meeting to association members and the media, explaining where money will be spent over the next 12 months. Garcia Altable said that for marketing La Paz nationally, main expenditures of the budget include attending tourism fairs, expositions and seminars as well as attending the National Tourism Tianguis, where the city will be represented along with other destinations in BCS.
This year is was also announced that EMPRHOTUR plans to market a Promotional Tour of the Grey Whales in August of this year in conjunction with the airlines to promote tourism to the city; the objective is to attend events where the airlines will be selling direct seats to city and at those events, La Paz representatives can promote Grey Whale touring packages to go along with their airfare.
Internationally, EMPRHOTUR will continue to promote La Paz heavily on the western coast of the U.S. and Canada, it’s strongest international market. It was emphasized that in cooperation with the campaign of the Committee of Tourism Promotion in Mexico (CPTM), La Paz will have presence in specialized magazines that promote adventure tourism that the destination has to offer as well as continued presence on the internet and social media. The association will also continue to host Familiarization Trips, which have been highly popular in the past. The FAM trips brings journalists and travel writers to the destination to learn about the city, its people and enjoy its attractions.
After attending the general meeting of the Mexican Association of Hotels and Motels (AMHYMAC) in Zacatecas, Zacatecas last weekend, the Secretary of Tourism Rubén Reachi Lugo and Emprhotur President Agustin Olachea are pleased to announce that La Paz will host the 3rd Annual Convention for AMHYMAC in July of this year.
The association, which 75% of hotels and motels in the country are a member of, choose La Paz after an invitation was extended by Olachea and La Paz’s Hotel Association to host the event.
The convention will bring more than 500 business people from the travel industry to the capital of BCS, giving La Paz the opportunity to promote itself to the national tourism market.
With the help of many generous people, we distributed about 100 blankets to kids in the colonias last month. Sadly, there were dozens more who went home empty handed.
During these chilly winter nights as I snuggle into my cozy bed, I can’t help but think of all those kids who are sleeping on the ground, often without so much as a blanket to keep them warm.
Sarah and Shannon are the two young women who volunteered to distribute the blankets in December. They’re the ones who saw the beaming faces of the kids who got one, and the look of disappointment on those who didn’t. ‘The girls’ have just launched a new fundraising campaign on Indiegogo to buy more blankets for the kids out in the colonias. Their goal is to raise $1500 USD in the next 40 days. That’s enough to buy about 230 blankets.
Please visit the Indiegogo site at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/308299/x/1069687 and help them reach their goal!
It is important to note that Mary Schroyer at Marina de La Paz will gladly accept blankets, coats, mittens and scarves, although blankets are really needed. Whatever is received will be delivered promptly.
“We are working to get through deep and old problems and follow a plan that will allow the City to grow as the capital of the State should and that is with the quality of life that all Paceños deserve,” Mayor Esthela Ponce Beltran announced at the unveiling of the first few steps towards the City’s goal of completing all actions and strategies required toward honoring the new Municipal Plan of Public Transportation.
Accompanied by the Municipality of La Paz’s Secretary General Guillermo Beltran Rochin, city council members, general directors and public transportation users, the mayor started with the delivery of the first few commitments established in the Plan on Sunday, January 26th. A good part of all actions need to be completed by August of this year.
The Mayor hopes that with the delivery of commitments from the various departments of the Municipality of La Paz, the modernization of the City’s public transportation system will better service and the lives of users.
One of the first actions the city started on was the repairing and repavement of over 400 kilometers of city streets, many of them routes of the public transportation system. This also includes streets in Chametla and Centenario.
During the press tour on the 26th, the Mayor was presented with the new image for all public transportation units in the city. All units will eventually be uniform will the same image.
Mayor Ponce also delivered the first of 87 promised bus stops that are to be located in different areas of the city where they are needed. The bus stops are made of metal and are easy to install and easy to clean.
The Offices of Security and Transport presented the uniforms that all bus drivers should be wearing while on duty and the Municipal Institute of Youth presented the new discount card for students of the ages of 12 to 29. With the card, students receive discounts on fares (50% off the regular fare, 365 days of the year) as well as promotions and benefits to different commercial establishments in the city.
After a meeting attended by Governor Marcos Covarrubias Villaseñor, Secretary of Tourism Rubén Reachi Lugo and Emprhotur President Agustin Olachea, the General Director of Aeromexico Andrés Conesa Labastida announced new air service between the capital city of BCS and Los Angeles that will occur Thursdays and Sundays, starting June 6th.
The two weekly flights are tentatively scheduled to leave La Paz at around 1:00 pm and depart LAX at 3:30 pm, allowing for connections to come in from the West Coast, Japan and other Asian countries. The planes will seat 50 passengers but the airline is hoping to increase both flights and airplane size come high travel season in November.
Alaska Airlines had announced in October of 2012 that it was discontinuing Horizon Air’s service between Los Angeles and La Paz in April of 2013. Flights after April 6 were made unavailable for purchase in their reservations system.
“Unfortunately, the La Paz market has been very inconsistent for Air Group and is currently unprofitable,” says Ben Munson, director of network planning. “We’ve tried various service patterns and combinations of Alaska and Horizon flights to make the market work, but without success.”
La Paz will have to live without international air service for the months of April and May but Olachea is excited about the new partnership between the City and Aeromexico.
“I am thrilled with the decision of Aeromexico to fly internationally from La Paz to LAX. It is somewhat of a bittersweet announcement as I had hoped for more flights and bigger aircraft but it is a start and I know that once we show that we can fill up the flights and prove to them there is a market here, they will change the schedule accordingly. They promised their pricing would be competitive. We really look forward to working with Aeromexico.”
A trust has been set up with $900,000.00 US to guarantee the flight. The State of BCS guaranteed $400,000.00 and the remaining $500,000.00 contribution will come from Pacific Airport Group (PAC). If Aeromexico doesn’t meet their breakeven point on their La Paz-LAX flights, the trust is there for them to take out the money to make up for what they lost. “I really feel they won’t be needing the trust and that the flight will be more than profitable for them. I can see us with 4 or 5 weekly international flights come high season,” Olachea commented.
It is important to note that Aeromexico also announced an LAX-Loreto-Culiacan-Mexico City route that will begin March 22 that will also fly Thursdays and Sundays. Money to guarantee the flight will be supported by the State and business group HOMEX.
The Department of Public Security, the Preventative Police and Municipal Transit are asking the public in general and especially drivers of vehicles to please respect disabled parking spaces around the city.
The rules for disabled parking spaces are designed to give preferred access to people with physical challenges and are typically marked in La Paz with the International Symbol of Access and painted blue.
If parked in a disabled reserved parking space, the permit holder should make sure their portable placard can be seen in the vehicle’s front windshield.
For those who choose not to respect parking spaces designated for the disabled and park without a disabled parking permit, you could be ticketed by the municipality police a fine that holds a cost of 100 minimum salaries, the highest possible fine, which is the equivalent to 6,223 pesos.
Avoid problems and the expense and respect those parking spaces designated to those who need them.
Friday, December 21st was a very special day at the Shelter for Women and Children. A group of fourteen very generous La Paz Quilters donated their creativity, time, energy and money to create 11 unique quilts, one for each of the children at the Shelter.
The children were thrilled to receive their own special quilt with their name monogrammed on the back. The majority of the Quilters came to visit the Shelter and helped us celebrate this happy event by sharing hotdogs and cake with all the children and the women at the Shelter.
Mujeres Ayudando a Mujeures, A.C. wishes to publicly thank the 14 La Paz Quilters and the knitter for the beautiful hand crafted quilts and scarves. They sure made this Christmas a very special one for all the children and the women at the Shelter. You all have huge hearts and your generosity is beyond words.