Yucatan News: Presidents and Rain
The President of Mexico Came to Merida
This past week, the President of Mexico visited Merida. One of the reasons he came was to preside over the official launch of Mexico’s new investments in Yucatan’s Science and Technology Park. This will ensure that Yucatan remains one of the most economically important states in all of Mexico far into the future. It will also bring much needed employment for Yucatan’s college graduates so that our young engineers and other professionals will be able to look forward to a future right here at home. Then, in a boots on the ground effort to ensure that every family in Mexico has a digital television by the end of December, the President helped with door-to-door delivery in Merida. This is an important program because analog signals will be discontinued on December 31, and goodness knows, everyone has to have a TV! Seriously, there is a real reason for the TV giveaway: the replacement of old TVs with new HD TV's will reduce electricity usage throughout the country.
Urgent: Help Madeline Go Home
Many expats remember Madeline Parmet from her years as the first owner of the hotel Luz in Yucatan. If you were dreaming of living in Yucatan in those days, you probably came across her witty website, designed by Eclectec, that included the ability to get a lower price on a room if you didn’t make much money, or pay more if you were doing well. Luz in Yucatan soon became the most coveted reservation in downtown Merida. When Madeline sold the hotel, she moved to Montevideo, Uruguay. Now, after a series of strokes, currently unable to speak and with a broken leg, she is in a hospital there and wants simply to go home to her own bed and to be with her cats. Madeline has always had a heart for anyone who is suffering and helped so many people during her years in Yucatan. If you knew Madeline (or even if you didn’t) and have been touched by her wit and big heart for those who are suffering, please consider donating to this GoFundMe project. It is going to take $5,000 to provide Madeline with the care she needs at home. This is an urgent plea because the hospital is going to discharge her whether she is able to care for herself or not. To read the full story of Madeline’s need and how you can help, please visit GoFundMe’s Help Madeline Go Home page. Every donation, no matter how small, will be deeply appreciated.
U.S. Taxpayers Living Abroad: ACA Fees & Exemptions
This is just a reminder for expats who may or may not be paying for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Most Americans are required to have qualifying health coverage or pay a fee for the months they do not have insurance. However, there are exemptions and living abroad qualifies many expats for an exemption to those rules and saves them from having to pay the fee for not having the insurance. The website HealthCare.gov gives details on exemptions, as well as helping taxpayers find all exemptions that may apply to them. Given the cautionary tale that preceeded this particular story, however, we urge any expat to make sure that they have some form of healthcare insurance.
Record Rainfall in Yucatan
From January through November, Yucatan received 96.7% of its average annual rainfall. With more rain expected, there can be little doubt but that the state’s annual rainfall, for 2015, will exceed the average, probably with quite a number of inches to spare. Government agencies are asking the public to watch for alerts from the National Weather Service and Conagua. Several nortes are expected as well, so do be prepared. These nortes tend to result in port closings for fishermen and often have a serious impact on the local economy. If this happens where you live, it might be a good idea to consider contributing a little more (in time or money) to local organizations that help the populations that are so vulnerable to the whims of weather.
Be Mindful of Leaks in Gas Cylinders
This time of year, many expats use much more propane and butane than at any other time of the year. Hot water and cooking demands alone account for much of the additional use. Earlier in the year, thousands of LPG tanks were found to be little more than time bombs. They were replaced and destroyed, with a goal of 40,000 replacements by the end of 2015. Now, a similar situation has been found in butane tanks. If you have gas tanks of any kind in your home, please have them checked for leaks. This can lead not only to explosions, but also to illness from breathing gas fumes, and can even hit your wallet as they empty out faster than they should. In all cases, if you have gas tanks in or around your home, you cannot be too cautious. If there is a problem with your gas company, you can call Civil Protection and ask for assistance.
SSP Asks for Continued Citizen Participation in Security
We never hear much about people being robbed at ATM machines, in stores, or in the streets in Yucatan. One of the reasons is that no one in Yucatan hesitates for one second to call the SSP (066) if they see anything that is the least bit suspicious. The SSP gives kudos to citizen participation in ensuring the safety of the state, and reminds us all never to lower our guard. We did read recently that some of the ATM scammers were arrested in Mexico City, which is great news. But we still encourage you to not get cash at isolated ATM machines (go to bank ATMs) and never flash money or other resources in public.
Yucatan: 25,000 Vehicles with Foreign Plates
First, we have to clarify that “foreign plates” simply means “not from Yucatan.” Thus, foreign plates could mean that a vehicle is from another country, or from another state in Mexico. The SSP is asking, as a security measure, that the owners of these vehicles register them with their local vehicle registration office. This is a serious security issue, as the SSP needs to be able to identify vehicles and their owners as quickly as possible when there is an emergency, and especially should that emergency be part of a security situation. With the holidays upon us, we all need to be traveling in vehicles that are properly registered. Now that there is no vehicle ownership tax, there’s no better time to regularize your vehicle.
Holiday Checkpoints on the Way
Automobile accidents involving alcohol are the most common vehicular accidents in Yucatan. In order to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving, and to give the public fair warning, the number of checkpoints and breathalyzers that will be on the roads on Christmas and New Year’s Eves has just been announced. The SSP will have 60 checkpoints and the state police will have 31. There will be breathalyzers at all 60 SSP checkpoints. The number of state police breathalyzers has not been announced, but they will have them. The checkpoints will be active from 6:00 PM December 24 to 11:00 AM December 25, and from 6:00 PM December 31 to 11:00 AM January 1. If you are having a party or attending one during those hours, please make certain that none of your friends get behind the wheel if they are drinking alcohol.
Neighborhood Watch in Merida
Amazingly, there are more than 500 Neighborhood Watch committees in Merida! Some have over 4,000 members! We knew they were here, but had no idea of their reach. The result of their watchfulness is that, with a population that is still climbing, Merida’s crime rate is dropping. These good citizens are watching homes, stores, and vehicles in their neighborhoods and picking up the phone to call police at the first sign of anything suspicious. The cultural value of security is part and parcel of the definition of life in Yucatan. Today, however, with all of the new business and technology investments in Yucatan, we see “security” always on the list of reasons why those good, new jobs are coming here. Congratulations to every member of all of Merida’s Neighborhood Watch committees. We appreciate all that you do.
Respiratory Diseases Becoming Common in Yucatan
While some still debate the concept of climate change, the residents of Yucatan are all too aware that nortes are more frequent and cooler than they have been in the past. This has led to infections (colds and influenza), bronchitis, bronchiolitis, rhinitis, sinusitis and pneumonia. While houses made of cane poles may be a tourist draw in the summer, the children who live in them are at risk for any number of respiratory diseases in the winter. The local IMSS is asking that everyone please take advantage of the vaccines that are available to protect against some of these diseases, as well as take precautions to keep warm and eat well all the time. During this time of year, it is recommended that children play indoor sports and stay out of crowded, inclosed spaces. As always, Yucatan is the home of a thriving citrus industry, so there is no reason all of us cannot take advantage of that and drink as much Vitamin C as we need.
We're Delivering the Book!
Yucatan Living's beautiful book of photographs, Ten Years of Yucatan Living, is being delivered and shipped. The 60+ books that were brought to Merida have all sold out, days before the book signing event on December 8 at 7 pm at Hennessy's (...hope to see you there! If you ordered a book for Merida pick-up, it will be there. Afterwards, it can be picked up at Botella Verde in Parque Santa Lucia). The book has met to rave reviews... the Working Gringos report that their favorite review was thanks for not writing another expat report about moving to Mexico. Rest assured... this book has very few words, but lots of beautiful and evocative photographs that will continue to remind you about all the things you love about the Yucatan. If you want to order one to be shipped to your home in the USA or Canada, go to the book page (down to the bottom of the page...) and order yours today!