Real Estate taxes are due for San Felipe residents. Remember,the stamped receipt that you get with your fideicomiso name on it is the very best piece of proof that you exist and own something. Treasure it. Pay in January and you will get a 16% discount.
Passport requirement changed. The Bush administration announced plans to develop inexpensive identity documents for Americans to use when returning from Canada or Mexico, backing away from a previous proposal to require such travelers to show passports at border crossings. More information here.
Road to Puertecitos. Repaving of the highway to Puertecitos has reached Km 52. Beyond the newly paved super freeway, you'll find many potholes of all sizes. It's very hard on your cars, so watch your speed. The workers have told residents their plan is to pave another 15 to 17 miles, which means the road will be paved from La Hacienda to the outskirts of Puertecitos. The road from San Felipe to the airport is in dire need of attention. There are places in the road where there is no shoulder and the road itself is not much bigger than one lane. Use extreme caution when driving at night. More photos here.
New crime wave in San Felipe ? (16 January)
We are now hearing reports from people returning from their Christmas vacations and finding that their homes have been broken into. Out at La Hacienda we hear of a case where not only TVs and electronics were stolen, but also food, liquor and bathroom items (towels, soap, shampoo, spices, women's makeup and other beauty items). Clothing had been picked over and only matching outfits were missing, as well as shoes, hats, and other apparel. The returning resident did not even have soup, peanut butter or crackers, to eat while assessing the mess of clothing and other items left on the floor piled up ready for future theft.
Crime is a perennial a problem in San Felipe and it results in major expenses and heartache for the individuals or businesses involved. It also tarnishes the reputation of our town and negates much of the work we do to try to promote this region for retirement living and vacationing. We hear from Steve of the SF Animal Rescue project (SFAR) that the recent burglary there (details below) will result in a need for $100,000 expenditure to rebuild and replace the destroyed structure and supplies.
We can only hope that the various communities of San Felipe can finally start working together to bring the crime under control and to do something to eliminate its root causes in this community. We have reported on this subject when the last big crime wave hit us in 2003. Our Delegado responded by holding a meeting with all concerned citizens who wanted to attend to listen to their complaints and observations. He made welcome and effective strategic changes in the police force response at that time. It may be time to have another community meeting. Our surveys over the years have consistently shown that both residents and visitors rate safety and security at the top of their wish list for San Felipe. Most homeowners in San Felipe would be prepared to see a rise in our real estate taxes (most of the McMansions average under $200/year) if the money could be used to strengthen the safety and security for all. New developments should also be assessed fees to take into account the demands that their new residents will make on the limited resources of this town.
$2,500 Reward for Information Offered (16 January)
Cheryl Babcock, head of Big Dog Rescue, is offering a reward of $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of the people responsible for the destruction and arson at the San Felipe Animal Rescue. This is a group that rescues big dogs in the United States. "We feel deep sadness for those poor animals". Anyone with information is urged to contact SFAR Project at this email or call 577-2708.
St. James Infirmary Sold (12 January)
San Felipe's hospital, St. James Infirmary, has sold to a private party and Doc and Caroline Somers are no longer the administrators. Dr. Abasolo will no longer be the Chief of Staff (effective immediately) and he will be moving his offices to the small building beside 7-lleven (Pemex coming into town). He is temporarily at his brother-in-law's office, Dr. Felix Rodriguez (the dentist across from Yet Mail), until January 15. It is not known at this time if the hospital will remain non-profit but the new owners did bring their own people to run it. This is a sad day for the many Americans and Canadians who donated thousands of dollars to keep it running. We will post more information as it becomes available. Dr. Victor Abasolo gave up a very lucrative private practice to run the hospital. Neither Lowell nor Caroline Somers were available for comment.
Fire at San Felipe Animal Shelter
In the small hours of Sunday morning (8 January) , the San Felipe Animal Rescue Shelter near the Colony of Las Minitas (towards the mountains from the San Felipe Marina Resort) was broken into. The twelve foot gate was forced open, probably with a car. The vandals then broke into the mobile home used for food, supplies and medicine. Nursing puppies were also in the trailer, along with the mother. After stealing tools, air conditioners, a generator, and whatever else they could carry out, they then set fire to the mobile home, incinerating the 14 dogs inside. It was burned to the ground. The remaining 100 dogs are in the kennels and were not harmed. For more information and to make a donation, please click here.
Financing your new home. San Felipe has a new finance company in town. You can now obtain financing for your dream home. This, I believe, is a first for San Felipe. The company, ARA Capital, has their offices in the strip mall next to The Net. For more information, click here.
Passport Requirements for 2006-2008
The U.S. government has extended the time table for requiring passports to travel by land from Mexico and Canada. The original time table allowed for the implementation of land border crossing requirements at the end of 2006. However, the government has realized that it will take more time to implement and is inviting public comment (see link below). The new proposed timeline will be as follows: December 31, 2006 – Requirement applied to all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. December 31, 2007 – Requirement extended to all land border crossings as well as air and sea travel. The Departments of Homeland Security and State formally submitted the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative proposal for public comment. Those wishing to comment on the proposal may access the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at this link. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. First time passport holders must appear in person. You may renew your valid passport by mail. If your passport has expired, you must appear in person. You may fill out your application on line and print it out, but you must sign it at the passport office. More information here.
New laws on drinking
(1 January) New laws on the serving of alcohol are going into effect in the entire state of Baja California. The thrust of these laws is to prohibit the "2 for 1" and "all you can drink" promotions that are so popular with the teenagers that flock into Baja for holiday weekends. The details of the laws are yet to be released but we expect that they could have a significant effect on the Spring Break crowd.