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earthquakes, boating and harbor fees, summer electricity costs, flu prevention....

September-October 2009
hurricanes, earthquakes, customs duty, border changes, railway line...

November-December 2009
Founder of The Net announces retirement, death of Tony Reyes, closing of stores due to the depression, the space station sighting, winter electricity rates, ATM fraud, Puerto Penasco's new airport, tourist spending..

January 2010
Kitesurfing in the windy months, the South Campos land problems, strange fish at Bahia Santa Maria, moving the fisherman statue from the Malecon, rains of the week of 18 January.

February-March 2010

El Nino, drug cartel operations, the Chile earthquake, tightening of border crossing regulations, the Baja 250, tourism decline..

April 2010 - the Mexicali earthquake and its aftermath

May-June 2010 - more earthquake news, extensive reapirs to roads, Memorial Day, Vaquita, property ownership problems

July-August 2010 - Profeco and property title issues with delinquent developers, July 4th, summer heat, cheap housing, money regulations, road repairs in earthquake territory, the new legal system, future cable television service, new SENTRI lanes, International Space Station sightings, more earthquake news, chiles en nogada in San Felipe.

September 2010 - Mexicana airlines, restrictions on dollars, medical services in San Felipe, bicentennial celebrations, more earthquakes, opening of the shrimp season, completion of roadwork in earthquake zone, Baja 1000 route through San Felipe

October 2010 - stormy weather, Mexicali police, EDR Safe letter

November-Decembar 2010 - Calexico SENTRI lane, Baja 1000, the cold wave, the change in the Mexicali municipal government

January-March 2011 - The new delegado, more roadwork on the Mexicali road,the Malecon cleanup, dental care, the strengthening peso, attacks on elderly residents, the baja 250, Japanese tsunami, extreme tides, grunion run

April 2011- Mexicali traffic tickets, anniversary of the earthquake, the road construction project, Easter

May2011 - May Day, the road construction project, employment at the gold mine, real estate conditions, tourism recovering? a great Memorial day.

June-July 2011 - The loss of the ERIK and death of fishermen, Totoava statue Tony Reyes and Chichi Fernandez, the new party boat "Mi amor otra vez", plans for the road south

August 2011 - San Felipe in sleep mode, weekend tourism coming back, searing heat..

September 2011 - The Tecate SCORE San Felipe Challenge of Champions 250 race, Hurricane Hilary.

October 2011 - Road conditions to Gonzaga, the summer ends in San Felipe, liquor allowances for visitors and residents

November2011 - Work starts on the Malecon remodel, the Baja 1000, rain in November, the Shrimp Festival


Regional Topics, the San Felipe Economy and more.....

... Tony Colleraine


Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Winter weather is upon us and today it is raining in San Felipe. South of town, the amount of precipitation has been small but reports are coming in of gully-washers to the north. I am sure that the Mexicali road will be seeing very poor driving conditions at times. Let us hope that the construction zone at the south end of the Laguna Salada (km85-90) is prepared for a deluge from this latest low pressure system. It could become a mud bath there.

As I mention every year, very little business gets done from now till after the festival of 'El Dia de Reyes' (Three Kings Day), also known in much of the world as Epiphany, on 6th. January. The date marks the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas and commemorates the three wise men who traveled from afar, bearing gifts for the infant baby Jesus. In many parts of Mexico, gifts are exchanged on this date, not on Christmas day.

This is the time when I get a lot of demands because impatient Americans do not understand the system. Why is their paperwork not finished? Why does nobody answer the telephone or reply to email? What can I say - I also take it easy and only infrequently find time to attend to the deluge of email.

After Tres Reyes, business starts to pick up. Executives and bureaucrats plan their return from vacations and family visits, and by mid- to late-January Mexico is humming again. In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy holiday season. Relax and enjoy it. We will talk soon!


Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticied a subtle change in the appearance of our web pages for the past couple of days. Over the past several months, Luis and Anita (who run San Felipe's premier website solutions company ..>) have been building a new site with a new theme. It is a really huge task to migrate a website the size of the San Felipe site to a new system and to test it. After all, there are pages of history built with Adobe PageMill (if anyone still remembers this early website building tool) going back to 1997. In fact there are well over 4000 pages and tens of thousands of pictures from the past that will provide some remarkable insights on a bygone era in San Felipe development for computer "archeologists" of the future. Stay tuned as we experiment and bear with us if any of your favorite features appear to be missing. Rome was not built in a day! Right now, we are back to the old way of doing things while we assess the comments and feedback from some of our testers.

Over the weekend, Doug Magee from Gonzaga reminded me that the US is introducing new regulations for absentee voters living abroad. Here are the highlighs:

Be an active voter. Start thinking about your participation in the U.S. 2012 elections today!

The Consular Section staff at the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana is ready to assist you in completing your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) -- the form you need to complete this year to register to vote in the 2012 elections as an overseas absentee voter. Our purpose is to inform and educate you about your voting rights, to ensure you are able to exercise your right to participate in elections for federal offices (President, Vice President, Senator, and Representative), and to assist you with voting in state or local elections, if allowed by your state.

New absentee voting laws are in effect for the 2012 elections. You will no longer automatically receive ballots based on a previous absentee ballot request. All U.S. citizens outside of the United States who want to vote by absentee ballot in the 2012 primary and general elections must complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) every year if they wish to vote from abroad. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election. No matter what state you vote in, you can now ask your local election officials to provide your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). You can now also confirm your registration and ballot delivery on-line. Be sure to include your email address on the form to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. This is the fastest and most reliable way to receive your ballot on time, and we strongly recommend that every overseas voter take advantage of it. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) website www.FVAP.gov.

Beginning in January 2012, presidential primaries will be held in the states of New Hampshire (January 10), South Carolina (January 21), Florida (January 31), Missouri (February 7), Wisconsin (February 21), Arizona (February 28), and Michigan (February 28). Other states will follow throughout the spring and summer. Voter registration deadlines for primaries are as early as January 3, 2012. Note: Participation in party presidential caucuses by overseas voters is not protected by federal law and requires in-person attendance in most cases. If the party you are affiliated with selects presidential nominees by caucus in your state contact state party officials for further information.

You can obtain a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) at FVAP's website. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories. It allows you to register to vote and request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (presidential and state primaries, run-off, special, and the November general elections) during the course of the year. An online wizard will help you complete the form. Depending on your state's voting requirements, you then either send in the FPCA electronically or mail it to your local election officials. To mail it, print out the completed FPCA and the (U.S.) postage-paid envelope containing the address of your local election officials. If you bring in your forms or ballots to us we will mail them back home for you without you having to pay for international mail. If it's easier for you to use Mexico's postal system, be sure to affix sufficient postage and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery. Of course, if you wish and have the opportunity, you may still mail your ballot yourself directly from the United States.

If you want to submit your ballot through the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana, you may drop it off with someone from our staff in the American Citizen Services waiting room. In Baja California Sur, you may drop your ballot off in person at the Consular Agency. We are here to serve you.

Even if your state does not have a presidential primary in the early months of 2012, it is important that you submit a new Federal Post Card Application this and every January to receive all absentee ballots for which you are eligible. By applying early, you also allow enough time for election officials to contact you and resolve any questions or problems with your registration/ballot request.
Remember that your vote counts, and that many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%. All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it's valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Be an Educated Voter. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain via numerous websites such as Project Smart Voter. You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line, or search the Internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP's Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.
If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the US Consulate General's Voting Assistance Officer at (664) 997-2000, or at ACSTijuana@state.gov.

Also over the weekend we saw the start of the Posadas for the Christmas season. Many people participate in the parades that leave the Arches each evening and proceed down Chetumal to the center of town and to the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadelupe.

There were also a number of people who contacted me about the acrid smell in the air and haze over the town that caused burning sensations in the eyes. The phenomenon was easily visible on Saturday and Sunday from our tidecamera.

Some people contend that it was connected to the burning of rubbish at the dump in the desert that started on Friday:

This is a necessary procedure to reduce the volume of trash and to stop any toxic pollutants from seeping into the groundwater if rain is expected. The burn on Friday was started when the winds were blowing south towards the airport but an unexpected shift in the winds may have brought some small part of the smoke out into the bay. The traces of rain we had on Sunday and Monday were enough to clear the air.


Saturday, December 10th, 2011

This is turning out to be the coldest December that I can remember in many years and it is showing in the cost of heating bills. The majority of people who visit this town or come looking for a place to retire do not appreciate how extreme the climate can be. The common perception is that you need nothing more than swimsuits and shorts for your visit - wrong! Fur coats would be more appropriate this week and a pair of Uggs is always a welcome accessory for the months of December through February if you plan to go out in the evening.

One thing that catches winter visitors off guard is that many hotel rooms do not have heat, so you should plan accordingly. Smuggling in a small electric space heater is definitely discouraged, with talk of the danger of starting a fire because of old wiring. In most cases, the real problem is the exorbitant cost of electricity. I find that an electric blanket is the ideal solution for the bed and I have had friends who came to visit who brought battery-powered gloves and socks. I will always remember one New Year's eve of eating in a local restaurant where most of the diners (including my party) were wearing hoodies to keep their ears warm.

A very popular way to heat the living room for many residents is to use a propane heater. Some of these (often used to heat garages and workshops) can put out a lot of heat quickly and the operating costs are around one sixth of that of a comparable electric space heater. The room can get quite stuffy after a while so it is always advisable to keep a window slightly open to let in some fresh air.

Incidentally, the sea water is now around 57 F so if you really want to get into the water I suggest a trip to the hot springs down in Puertecitos, a pleasant one hour drive south on good pavement. Just be sure to go around the time of high tide to avoid getting scalded (check the tide calendars on the weather page).

The tearing up of the sidewalks along the south end of the Malecon is proceeding and deep trenches are being dug to put the utilities underground. I am sure that AnitaNet will have some interesting photos of the work over the next couple of months.

Parades have now started in town as part of the Christmas season. The holy day honoring the Virgin of Guadelupe is almost upon us and this marks the end of the working year for many people. Do not expect any significant progress to occur on any paperwork you may have in the pipeline until after Epiphany. I plan to substantially cut back on my business activities till then.


previous months news - - November2011 - Work starts on the Malecon remodel, the Baja 1000, rain in November, the Shrimp Festival

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