'Articles from 2007' Category

sizzling event 2011

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Suspect Sought in Denver Slaying Apprehended by CBP Officers at Lukeville, Ariz. Port of Entry

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Lukeville, Ariz. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Lukeville port of entry this morning apprehended a man wanted in a connection with a weekend slaying in Denver, Colorado. The suspect is identified as 25-year-old Timothy J. Boham.

– U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Lukeville port of entry this morning apprehended a man wanted in a connection with a weekend slaying in Denver, Colorado. The suspect is identified as 25-year-old Timothy J. Boham.The apprehension occurred at approximately 10:40 a.m. today when CBP officers working the pedestrian inspection area noticed a man loitering just outside the inspection facility on U.S. soil. CBP officers approached the unknown subject at which point the subject asked if the CBP officers were with homeland security. The CBP officers identified themselves at which point the suspect told the officers that he was being sought on a murder warrant. CBP officers took the man into custody without incident and performed standard name queries. They were able to confirm an active first-degree murder warrant out of Denver. Boham is suspected in the weekend slaying of a 43-year-old businessman in Denver.

CBP officers notified detectives in Denver. They are currently making arrangements to have the suspect returned to Colorado. This is the second homicide suspect from Colorado to be apprehended by CBP officers working at Arizona border ports of entry this month. On Saturday, November 4, CBP officers at the Nogales port of entry took 27-year-old Justin Austin into custody. Austin approached the officers stating that he wanted to turn himself in because of a warrant for his arrest, but did not tell the officers what the warrant was for. The officers checked his name against the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database and discovered a warrant for his arrest on charges of first-degree murder, out of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office in Littleton, Colorado. The officers immediately took Austin into custody.

During fiscal year 2006, CBP officers at the ports of entry in Arizona processed over 35 million people, apprehending 879 people with warrants for their arrests, ranging from simple local offenses to national warrants for murder, homicide, kidnapping, child molestation, assault, sex offenses, and weapons violations.

The Office of Field Operations is responsible for operations at the border ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers’ primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, and protecting the nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control, and protection of our Nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Article posted by http://www.customs.gov/xp/cgov/home.xml

Furnishing a Habitat to make it home

Monday, December 24th, 2007

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer, and this story about a deserving family moving into a newly built home with beautiful donated furniture, just in time for the holidays, certainly fits the bill.

Habitat for Humanity built the home for the mother and her three children in Rocky Point. The cost to the homeowner: 250 hours of sweat equity in the construction, plus a 20-year, no-interest mortgage for about $70,000. Donated labor, materials and federal and state affordable-housing grants paid for the rest.

The furnishings, however, are the result of a new relationship between Habitat and a small business with a charitable heart on Long Island’s East End. The ClearingHouse, with stores in Southampton and Greenport, is donating the furniture for this house and others now under construction.

And its owners, James “Nick” Nicolino and Victoria Collette, say they hope this arrangement can serve as a model for philanthropy nationally.

The ClearingHouse sells high-end furniture and accessories at below-market prices on consignment for homeowners of nearby “fine homes and estates,” says Nicolino. It also receives numerous donations, from pricey settees to mundane household objects.

The high-value donations are sold at the ClearingHouse’s charitable No Place Like Home Foundation shop in Greenport to raise funds for its charitable operations (although, with charitable activities and expenses rising, ClearingHouse’s owners say they are looking for corporate sponsorships to help defray some of the costs of trucking, insurance, warehousing, sorting and staff.)

The rest – from sofas and lighting to mattresses and microwaves – is trucked to agencies with clients who can put it to use. The Retreat, the East End shelter from domestic violence, and the women and children who move on from there to apartments, get much of it, says Nicolino.

“We’ll pick up the table set, the blankets and couch and recycle them back into the community,” he says. “The need is unbelievable. We didn’t realize it ourselves until we started doing it.”

The Habitat for Humanity houses, says Nicolino, seemed like a natural fit, but surprisingly, he says, “no one has ever said we can consistently give you the furniture you need so you can furnish the houses as you build them. It’s a radically new concept.”

He says he and Collette, a designer, think this concept “could go national.” They belong to a national furniture bank, with a membership of 70 businesses, that recycles furniture into the communities in which they operate. “If we can do it here locally, then why can’t it be implemented across the country?”

Nicolino and Collette are working with Christine Baker, family services director for Middle Island-based Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk, which has built more than 110 houses in the county in the last 20 years. She’s enthusiastic about the new arrangement.

“I’m very psyched,” she says. “It’s very exciting, and I’m hoping this thing explodes. Maybe we could go worldwide.”

“Whatever we can do to help these low-income families is a good thing.”

The new owner of the Rocky Point house is Joannie Toro, 35, a school district employee who lived in a water-damaged apartment in Brentwood with her children, ages 6, 8 and 11, until Habitat moved them into transitional housing.

Under Habitat’s rules, families selected for houses agree to sweat equity of 250 hours of labor on their home and other Habitat houses, plus they agree to take out a 20-year, zero-percent interest mortgage of about $70,000 to pay for costs not covered by, in Toro’s case, $35,000 in state and federal affordable housing grants, and by donated labor and material.

Recently, Baker brought Toro to the ClearingHouse to give Collette an idea of what she and her kids liked.

“She was very shy about asking for anything; they’re overwhelmed that this is happening to them,” says Collette, who is busy choosing, rechoosing and stockpiling pieces for the new home. “She was very drawn to colorful things with flowers … She liked a yellow floral chintz sofa, and I have something very similar that just came in. Every time something new and better comes in, I save it for her.”

She adds, “She said she always wanted a table in back of the sofa to put pictures of her family, and I registered that in my mind … It’s like when the kids give you the Christmas list and you go out and find them, and they show up under the tree miraculously.”

In fact, the charity will donate everything from drapes to towels to a whitewashed armoire and captains’ beds.

Baker says in the past, families came to their new Habitat houses with old, usually insufficient furnishings and had to acquire and set up the rest. Not anymore.

“For everything to arrive instantly, it’s a wonderful gift,” Baker says. “I know the family is overwhelmed with gratitude.”

Story by Carol Polsky at carol.polsky@newsday.com


Border arrests drop along new barriers near Yuma

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Between the Colorado River and a desolate rock hill to the east are 48 miles of various types of barriers dividing the United States and Mexico, almost all of them new.

While other parts of the southwestern border remain porous, this small part of Arizona has become an example in the federal government’s effort to stop illegal immigration and other traffic.

In the Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector, arrests of illegal immigrants have dropped from 119,000 in 2006 to 38,000 in the fiscal year that ended in September, and the trend continues downward.

Though the various barriers aren’t impermeable – in some stretches, they block only vehicles, and some rocky hills aren’t covered at all – they seem to be working.

Authorities in Mexico say they see fewer immigrants trying to traverse the border. Authorities in Arizona report that border crime has dropped significantly.

Federal, local and Mexican officials cite the fences as a major reason for the reduction in illegal traffic, arrests and crime in the region.

“We used to see groups of five to 20 illegals every other night during the busy season,” said Michael Bernacke, a Border Patrol agent. “These days, we stop a group a week, just about.”

But the future of the fencing program is unclear. A 2006 border-security law put the new fencing in place. Now, changes to that law, which Congress passed this week, ease the federal fence-building mandate. The process to build barriers will involve more collaboration with local leaders but could be more complicated than what the original law called for.

That move has infuriated border-security supporters. In the meantime, the Yuma area’s fences, barriers and other obstructions are the most extensive border-deterrent system in the region.
Building fences
The barriers are being built by a combination of regular Army and National Guard troops and private contractors under the direction of the Boeing Corp. Fence construction accelerated with passage of the Secure Fence Act in October 2006. It calls for 680 miles of double-layered fencing in select places along the 1,950-mile frontier. Almost all of Arizona is slated for some form of improvement.

This week, Congress passed a bill amending the act, giving Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff flexibility to decide where to build the fence, what form it should take and how much to build. The bill steered $1.2 billion for the work next year.

In towns and official border crossings, the fence strategy calls for metal walls to block people from illegally entering the United States on foot. A little farther out, the government has put up reinforced mesh fences to also stop cross-border trucks. In more remote areas, deemed unreachable by foot, metal bollards or welded sections of rail are in place to stop trucks.

The plan relies on sensors and cameras to monitor remote areas between the physical barriers.

Arizona, the busiest smuggling corridor on the border, has seen much of the early fence building. By the end of the federal fiscal year, the government had added 73 miles of fencing, bringing the total to 157 miles in Arizona, said Mike Friel, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman. Barriers of various kinds have gone up in or near San Luis, the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range, Lukeville, Sasabe, Nogales, Lochiel, Naco and Douglas.
Deterring immigrants
The fences aren’t the only factor in the drop in arrests. Officials on both sides of the border also point to the presence of more U.S. Border Patrol agents or National Guard troops and a fear of jail time under a new program to prosecute first-time adult border-crossers in Yuma County.

In the past two months, border agents in the Yuma area have made one-third fewer arrests than the same time last year. The undocumented immigrants who do attempt cross tend to be more desperate and have longer criminal histories, authorities say. In Mexico, Ricardo Ramirez Piñal leads Grupos Beta teams out into the desert between San Luis Rio Colorado and Sonoyta to advise immigrants at staging camps against crossing north into the United States. In the past year, he has come across 70 percent fewer people attempting the trek.

Piñal said that immigrants will cross into what is widely regarded as the most inhospitable region of the entire frontier. “Three years ago, there were migrants every day, all day,” Piñal said. “Now, the migrants hear they will be arrested and get 15 days in jail. So they don’t cross here. They are afraid to cross here.”
Drop in border crime
In San Luis, Ariz., neighborhoods near the fence have reported a drop in crime, said Capt. Javier Nuño Jr., the city’s acting police chief.

“We would get bombarded by prowler calls until about eight months ago,” Nuño said.

Residents would report two or three times a night groups of 10 to 20 illegal immigrants hiding in their backyards. These days, it’s more like three times a week and the groups are smaller, Nuño said.

Two years ago, the fence was a 10-foot-high line of corrugated steel, a recycled helicopter landing mat from the Vietnam War. The fence was riddled with holes, and people flooded into the San Luis neighborhoods by the dozens.

Today, the holes are patched and stretches of the steel wall are entirely rebuilt. Thirty yards north of the wall, a 16-foot metal mesh fence stops those who climb the wall. A string of floodlights runs parallel for as far as the eye can see. The double fence buys Border Patrol agents, watching through binoculars or using remote-control cameras, time to intercept. If fence-jumpers manage to get through the second fence in San Luis, they run into a standard chain-link fence, topped with barbed wire.

Nuño said the fence and a quarter-million dollars the federal government paid his department have made the difference. Before the improvements, Jim Cuming would find dozens of cellphones and enough trash to fill half a dozen garbage bags on his border farm two miles up the Colorado River from San Luis. These days, he rarely finds such refuse left by illegal immigrants. He said the fence has accomplished what it was supposed to, but he remains “totally opposed” to it and would prefer the money be spent on more border agents.
Looking ahead
In the Yuma Sector, physical construction of the primary border-line fence is done, except for along the Colorado River. U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to wire the border farther east with an array of sensors and cameras known as the “virtual fence.”

In the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, physical barriers begin again west of Lukeville, where there are about 39 miles of barriers designed to stop trucks. The most recent, detailed construction estimates come from Glenn Spencer, founder of American Border Patrol, a group of anti-immigration volunteers who monitor the border. About every month, he flies along the international line documenting fence-construction progress with a digital camera and global positioning devices.

On Nov. 20, he catalogued 196 miles of barriers on Arizona’s 389-mile border with Mexico. Spencer found damaged fencing and foot tracks on the U.S. side of the fence and concluded that it’s too early to say the barrier works.

He objected to revisions to the Secure Fence Act. Under the changes, funds for fencing and other border security will not released until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has consulted with other federal agencies, local governments and property owners. It also could decide to build no physical barrier at all. Spencer and other fence-first proponents believe the double fence is a minimum requirement.

Elsewhere in Arizona, the Homeland Security says it plans more Arizona fences but hasn’t decided how much or where. In California, Texas and soonest in New Mexico, the government plans to build 116 miles of new barriers of various types, according to its Web site.

The government hopes the results of the Yuma Sector will replicate. For now, the Yuma barriers end near a lonely hill southeast of San Luis. The nearest sign of civilization is an hour’s drive on the rutted, unpaved Camino del Diablo.

The fence is metal mesh, but the hills are naked with no fence at all. It’s easy to walk around the barriers. But here in the desert on the Mexican side, the tire tracks from smugglers’ trucks lead up to the fence, then turn around. None of the tracks cross over to the U.S. side.

“Yuma has become a very uncomfortable place to cross the border,” said Bernacke, the Border Patrol agent.

Article posted by www.azcentral.com  

Rocky Point Mexico- Undisovered Sea Side Paridise

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Rocky Point is the name gringo’s have given to Puerto Penasco, Sonora Mexico. It is just 60 miles over the border from Lukeville, Arizona. It is 210 miles west of Tucson Arizona and 210 miles south of Phoenix. Visitors from out of the area you can fly into Phoenix International Airport rent a car and drive the short four-hour drive to the beach community.

Rocky Point is a delightful get away at the top of the shimmering Sea of Cortez. Currently it is one of the fastest growing communities in Sonora, and all of Mexico. Once a sleepy fishing village it has recently been discovered by vacationers and investors.

This beautiful place has magnificent beaches to play on, ancient lava tide pools to explore, sea shells to collect, breathtaking sunsets and sunrises that bring tears to our eyes, fishing, snorkeling, parasailing, sunset boat trips, and more. Take a day trip by boat to see Bird Island and swim with the sea lions. Enjoy watching pelicans swoop for a tasty morsel, porpoises play and mother whales feed their newborns.

You can rent a big beach house in Los Conchas for a laid back relaxing stress-melting experience or rent a condo in a resort complex with lots of amenities including hot tub, spa, swimming pools, a bar and restaurant close by.

Take your pick of a variety of interesting food from fish tacos to gourmet seafood dishes. Chefs prepare creative entréare a delight to your taste buds. Try drunken shrimp and finish with fried ice cream. There is a variety of night life activities for all ages from light jazz to disco and rap.

Rocky Point is a free port and has easy entry into Mexico with no special visitors permit. The US border patrol will require a valid passport beginning January 1, 2008 to return to the United States.

Property investment is a big plus for a second home, a vacation rental or a family get-away. A new International Airport just opened and a transcontinental coastal highway from San Luis to Hermosillo will be completed on 2008. Investments will just keep growing as property values rise.

Property lots are held in a trust account secured through the Mexican Government and administered by a Mexican Bank. They are safe and protected. Mexico law forbids foreigners from owning land 31 miles form a shore and 63 miles from a border.

If you’re looking for a relaxing and fun Holiday vacation spot—or for a place to invest consider Rocky Point, México you will be glad you did.

Article Source: http://www.article-idea.com

New travel rules leave Native Americans in limbo

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

By Tim Gaynor

LUKEVILLE, Ariz (Reuters) – The U.S. border inspector at this lonely desert crossing with Mexico fingers the tribal enrollment card decorated with a wooden staff and eagle feathers, and glances at the holder’s photograph.

Tohono O’odham elder Ofelia Rivas, 51, has used the document to cross between the tribe’s ceremonial sites in Mexico and her home in Arizona for years, but the inspector tells her that it will soon no longer be valid for international travel.

The U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative in January will require U.S. citizens to present government photo ID, such as a driver’s license, plus proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, when they enter the United States by land or sea.

The measure, which is to be followed by requirements for a passport by June 2009, is causing confusion and anxiety among some Native American tribes that straddle the United States’ borders with Mexico and Canada.

According to the National Congress of American Indians, there are around 40 U.S. tribes whose members cross regularly over the northern and southwestern borders, some to work and visit kin, others to attend ceremonies at traditional sites.

With implementation of the new travel rules looming in just a few weeks, some tribal members say it is still unclear whether enrollment documents issued by their own tribal governments will be acceptable at the borders, and are unsure if they can meet the new travel ID requirements if they are obliged to comply.

“We were all born at home with a midwife, and nobody at the time recorded our births,” said Rivas, explaining the difficulty for her and other members of her family who cross frequently to and from Mexico using their tribal enrollment cards.

“I have no birth certificate so how am I supposed to get a passport?”


The U.S. travel initiative kicked off in January this year, when all people traveling between the United States and Canada by air were required to present a passport to enter or re-enter the United States.

The second phase for land and sea travel comes into effect on January 31 2008. It will be followed by tougher rules requiring all U.S. citizens to hold passports or new “passport cards,” created for limited cross-border travel, by June 1 2009.

The impending changes will affect traditional nations including the Confederated Colville Tribes, the Blackfeet and the Mohawks, who cross back and forth across the northern border with Canada, as well as several tribes who travel between Alaska and British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.

Southwest border tribes affected include the Tohono O’odham, in Arizona and Sonora, the Campo Band of the Kumeyaay Nation who have members in California and in Baja California in northwest Mexico, and the Kickapoo Band of Texas and Tribe of Oklahoma, who have ties to kin in Coahuila, Mexico.

The new passport rules make exceptions for some travelers including cruise ship passengers embarking from and returning to U.S. ports as well as U.S. and Canadian children traveling in designated groups, who will not be required to show passports for travel.

But so far, the Kickapoo are the only tribe authorized to cross over the border using their American Indian Cards instead of a passport, under a special law that was passed in the early 1980s.

Several border tribes are in talks with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security individually to discuss the status of tribal enrollment cards, yet it remains unclear what arrangement they might reach.

“It’s very confusing. Nobody except for the DHS staff who are writing it right now knows what the final law is going to look like,” said Heather Dawn Thompson, the Director of Government Affairs at the National Congress of American Indians.


The U.S. government recognizes several hundred Native American nations whose members lived on the land for centuries before the United States, Canada and Mexico existed, speaking their own languages and following beliefs centered on the natural world.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Reuters that Native Americans will be able to continue presenting tribal enrollment cards if they are affixed with a photo ID during the transition period from the end of January.

Kelly Klundt said the challenge remains in ensuring that all tribal enrollment documents have adequate security features to comply with the new requirements, and that tribes can demonstrate that the issuing process is secure.

“We are working with the tribes to see what solutions we can come up with that will meet the security requirements while recognizing their cultural and historical needs,” Klundt said.

“It is very high on our radar, and we are very cognizant of their specific concerns,” she added.

But despite assurances that tribal ID documents will continue to be valid for travel, the situation on the southwest border is confused.

While crossing north from Mexico through Lukeville with this correspondent late last month, Rivas was told by a CBP inspector she would need a passport to cross from January.

Rivas said that the lingering uncertainty over Tohono O’odham members’ ability to visit family and carry out sacred ceremonies at Quitovac in Mexico haunts her and other traditionalists in the tribe.

“The elders are distraught that they might not be able to go and conduct a ceremony that we have carried out since Creation,” she said. “It is devastating. I can’t imagine not going.”

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Eddie Evans)

Posted by www.reuters.com  

The Challenge of Housing Puerto Peñasco’s Emerging Mexican Middle Class

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Visitors to Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) often comment on the wide disparity between the new condos being built on the beach for wealthy American vacationers and the existing lower-income housing stock (much of which would be described as “shacks” by Americans) lived in by local Mexicans in town. They ask when the new housing for Mexicans is going to be built. The answer is complicated.

Americans are used to identifying neighborhoods as “wealthy,” “middle-class” or “poor.” Those who earn more money, move to better neighborhoods. A young American city usually expands over time as wealthier families move “up and out” of older neighborhoods to brand new subdivisions on the outskirts of the city. As traffic worsens and commute times from the suburbs to the central city get longer, people will eventually start to move back into the central city, buying up older housing stock and refurbishing it or tearing it down to build new homes (often referred to as gentrification).

Driving through many parts of Puerto Peñasco, one will find something that looks like the beginning of a gentrification phase – occasionally seeing a newer and larger Mexican home located right next to lean-to shacks. However, in Puerto Peñasco this is not occurring because a different class of people is moving into the neighborhood. Instead, families who have living in a neighborhood for years have been able to increase their incomes through the tourism boom or have made money from selling family land to developers. Instead of moving “up and out” to new neighborhoods, these families have simply expanded their homes or built new ones in their current neighborhoods.

This phenomenon is partly cultural – with families sometimes reluctant to leave a piece of land owned for many years. But it also stems from a lack of new housing communities in Puerto Peñasco in a price range that this upwardly mobile class of Mexicans can afford. Better access to credit and the many new tourism-related jobs in Puerto Peñasco combined with the influx of new Mexican professionals working for the resorts has continued to fuel the growth of this emergin middle class that is demanding these new homes. So the question must be asked, what is keeping these new homes from being built?

In larger Mexican cities, one will find large new subdivisions of “move-up” housing for the growing Mexican middle class, priced between approximately $20,000 and $50,000 USD. In Puerto Peñasco, the challenge facing developers in providing this “move up” tier of homes continues to be the lack of infrastructure, the high price of land and high construction material cost (due to Peñasco’s remote location). The city is working hard to rectify the infrastructure situation, with a major water works refurbishment and expansion of its electrical capacity. But the price of land and construction materials have remained high enough that building this “move-up” housing in Puerto Peñasco at an affordable sales price for the Mexican middle class is virtually impossible. Therefore, the new housing subdivisions such as San Jorge Privada, Country Garden Estates, Los Agaves and Las Gardenias are all priced much higher than standard Mexican “move up” housing – ranging from $85,000 and $150,000 USD per home. Many Mexican families simply can’t yet afford these prices and find it more economically viable to just improve their current home and stay in their old neighborhood.

In some respects this “problem” is good for the town. If everyone who makes money simply moves to a new subdivision, the neighborhood left behind remains poor. Instead of leaving their lower-income neighborhood behind, the emerging middle class of Mexicans in Puerto Peñasco are staying put and therefore improving the housing stock in their existing neighborhoods (thereby improving the overall neighborhood).

But Puerto Peñasco is not only working to improve its current Mexican housing stock – it also is working to provide additional housing for the many new arrivals to town. Mexican professionals moving to town today usually have a very difficult time finding adequate housing to rent and are often unable to buy. By some estimates, the city is expected to triple in year-round population over the next five years, adding up to 100,000 more people. Many of these new arrivals will not be able to afford the new housing currently on the market (previously mentioned) and there are few spots left in the existing housing to put all of them.

There have been efforts by the Sonoran government to reach agreements with some of the larger landholders in town to subsidize land or provide enough tax benefits to make this new lower-priced “move-up” housing possible. But to date, I am not aware of any definitive deals that have been cut to accomplish this.

So it remains to be seen whether developers and the government will manage to solve this puzzle of providing adequate new housing in Puerto Peñasco for the expected local population growth and the emerging Mexican middle class. In the meantime, a good investment in Puerto Peñasco should continue to be existing local housing that can be rented to new arrivals in town.

Used with permission from Paul P. Kingsley. Mr. Kingsley is a founding member of The Primestone Group LLC (http://www.primestonegroup.com) and writes a business, real estate and

tourism blog about Puerto Peñasco at http://www.puertopenascopost.com). 



Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Real Estate Investors have thrived in Puerto Peñasco, (Rocky Point) for many years. This important aspect was seemingly overlooked in recent articles published in the Arizona Republic. An informed, unbiased representation of the real estate community in Rocky Point should mention that the vast majority of investors, literally tens of thousands of satisfied people have had much happier stories to tell than those found in North Beach. One could walk for miles along Sandy Beach, Playa Encanto, Las Conchas or most other communities around Rocky Point on any weekend and hear glamorous reports from people not represented in recent articles. Living in Rocky Point is such a pleasure; we are so often reminded of our blessings as we greet the return clients and happy homeowners. There have been some challenges and obstacles, which certainly can happen anywhere.

NORTH BEACH IS AN UNUSUAL SITUATIONThere were misfortunes that hurt many good people in North Beach, an expansion of beach approximately 15 miles away from downtown Puerto Peñasco, bordering the Mayan Palace. Many people were attracted by developers with beautiful marketing material and equally attractive visions of grandeur. It is however, irresponsible to characterize the practice of real estate in Rocky Point or Sonora as similar in whole to one with issues older than most of the respected developments in this town. There is no question that North Beach has had some issues, some going back to 1996. Also very important to point out is that the problems faced by the developers and resting on the shoulders of investors are not losing their money; there are delays in gaining title. The article in one sentence wrongfully challenged the credibility of a bank trust, stating that “All believed literature published by government agencies, including the Arizona Mexico Commission, stating that Mexico’s Fideicomiso, or bank trust, system safely ensures property rights to Americans.” It then went on to say that none of the people devastated in the North Beach debacle ever received trusts. Raul O’Farrill, A notable attorney practicing in several Mexican cities as well as the U.S., was retained in 2003, long after the deepest of issues took root in North Beach. Two satisfied clients within the boundaries of North Beach were quoted, as being extremely satisfied; together they represented about 150 homeowners in North Beach’s sub-communities of Playa Dorada and its neighbor, Playa Miramar. This by itself indicates 150 satisfied clients. The Mexican, (Agrarian Law) legal system is complex much like the Common Law system used in the U.S. There are pros and cons involved with both systems; one example in the Agrarian system is the way the facts are presented to a judge, in writing, and not to a jury, thus eliminating the ability for flamboyant showmanship skills influencing decisions. O’farrill’s continued involvement through many disputes shows evidence of satisfied clients and no more implicates him than to imply that Johnny Cocheran was an accomplice of O.J. Simpson. The recent article, though it painted a much more dismal description than we are actually witnessing here may help bring the attention of Mexican officials, and help us resolve the issues in this one community, most of which have little to do with the developers themselves. HOW TO BUY SAFELY IN MEXICOThere are several things to consider when investing in Mexico. First and foremost, with proper representation it is totally safe to invest in Mexico. The Fideicomiso, also known as a bank trust is not a lease. If it was not a safe mechanism, companies like Stewart Title, First American Title and others would not warrant its validity. The United States Government would not allow the investment in Mexico Real Estate as legitimate self directed IRA’s if there was uncertainty. There are a number of highly regarded financial institutions lending millions of dollars that certainly would not risk this kind of revenue on leases or unwarranted real property, and more than 1.6 million Foreigners in Mexico would not be happy homeowners in MexicoINFORMED BUYERS GATHER INFORMATION AND DEMAND DISCLOSUREAnother consideration is that an uninformed buyer can get hurt. When someone buys a home, they have a right to expect honest full disclosure. Disclosure is a very important aspect that has often been overlooked by investors in Mexico’s beachfront communities. Impulse has driven many investors toward their acquisitions, most experienced positive results. When purchasing real estate anywhere, remember to ask yourself, “Who is representing me?” In the end, any buyer can protect themselves, in any development with the proper contract that addresses potential issues. In Rocky Point we often refer to all buyers as investors because in a sense, real estate for most has outpaced the stock market, or most any other holdings. It is however important to differentiate a condo buyer looking for a place for the family to enjoy, from an investor. A one time second home purchaser expects to pay money and receive a clear title with no liens and no surprises. An investor looks to overcome risks based on gathering information and implementing controls or risk management through carefully drafted contracts. The concept of higher risk/higher gain comes to mind, but needs clarification. The risks can be identified by asking the right questions. What is the title situation? What are the financing sources? Is my earnest money expected to be used for construction or will it be held in a third party controlled escrow account? (Third party escrow accounts were not commonly available when the first clouds appeared over North Beach.) There are many other questions that need full disclosure that require attention. If the answers are not explained in full, there should be yellow flags going up and these and all other questions need to be addressed in the offer of trust contract. If title insurance is offered, understand what is insured and what is not. If title insurance is not available ask why. Title insurance is not the magical savior in all cases and in some rare instances can simply be an extra unnecessary expense. Proper representation is what is important. Demand proper representation and full disclosure. Do not hesitate to request information, and make sure your agent knows what questions to ask. You are not out of line to ask your agent or developer for full disclosure, or request specific documents, such as permits, title insurance documents, as well as financing agreements; and have these looked over by a Mexican attorney or qualified individual. LICENSED REAL ESTATE AGENTS ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLEThe real estate community as a whole in Sonora has changed dramatically in the past several years. In Puerto Peñasco there are approximately 200 agents and two organizations with the specific purpose of protecting buyers and sellers. AMPI for example is Mexico’s National Association of Realtors. About a year ago, AMPI Puerto Peñasco started requiring its members to be certified at the state level. This certification included criminal background checks, fingerprinting, as well as continuing education classes to insure the highest level of trust and security. An AMPI agent is a Realtor that has accountability enforceable by law. Effective in 2007 every single real estate professional obtaining income in the state of Sonora, by virtue of commissions not only needs to be certified but needs to hold a real estate license. The licensing process is very similar to that in the U.S. including a course mandated by the state that is 109 hours of intense real estate studies. The topics included in this course provide current technical and administrative skills to participants allowing them to improve their performance in Real Estate activities this accreditation did not come easy, but was done to insure problems in the past do not surface again. Both associations, AMPI and PPREA hold integrity of ethical standards as their most important virtue. Has Arizona seen its share of real estate scandals? How many buyers threatened with foreclosure due to the turn of the market and the sub-prime lending craze would speak of questionable representation? Were some not pressured with hard to understand documents explained briefly by commission hungry agents? Does this mean that all real estate transactions in Arizona are suspicious? There have been examples of prime debacles in many places but to paint us all as Frito banditos is wrong. There are plenty of upstanding ethical professionals selling real estate in this community, and there are highly credible developments worth noting. SAFE INVESTMENTS ARE ABUNDANT Not all agents are the same, and our system is not perfect, but with the best interest of the long term growth of Rocky Point and beyond, in the hearts and minds of licensing and oversight organizations there is no reason not to consider investing in what so many Americans and Canadians have found to be paradise. You truly can enjoy your investment portfolio in Mexico, but as they say, don’t leave your brain at the border. There were issues handled poorly in the past, and there will be projects with all the best intentions in the world that fall short yet to come. But with the right information available now, and your ability to protect yourself through contracts that address any of the unknown variables you don’t have to be a victim. Do not attempt the process alone recruit proper representation. Kent WhiteRealty Executives, SonoraPresident Elect AMPI Puerto Peñasco

Vaya  con   Dios !
Realty Executives
Puerto    Peñasco
602 –  288  –  8649

Napolitano signs onto Real ID secure license plan

Monday, December 10th, 2007

By The Associated PressWASHINGTON — A deal between Arizona and the government will mean new and more secure state driver’s licenses, including one for use as ID at border crossings as early as next year.

WASHINGTON — A deal between Arizona and the government will mean new and more secure state driver’s licenses, including one for use as ID at border crossings as early as next year.Arizona becomes the fourth state to sign up for a federal program intended to offer an enhanced version of a driver’s licenses.

Arizona becomes the fourth state to sign up for a federal program intended to offer an enhanced version of a driver’s licenses as secure as a passport for the purpose of crossing the U.S. border under tighter, post-Sept.11security measures.

Governor Napolitano says Arizona’s standard license eventually would comply with the program — known as Real ID — that is designed to make it harder for would-be terrorists to get a license.

Unlike Arizona’s enhanced license, a Real ID license would not be sufficient proof of identity to enter the U.S.

Both types of Arizona licenses will be available only to U.S. citizens.

Napolitano said she hopes the new license will be available by the end of 2008.

Posted by www.azfamily.com  (Video Available)

Employment: Field Education Internship – CEDO – Pto. Peñasco

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Posted by: CEDO on Sunday, December 09, 2007 – 06:10 AM
CEDO Intercultural has immediate opening for on-site field education intern at its facility in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico

For Spring Semester 2008 – January to July 2008

CEDO, the Intercultural Study for the Studies of Deserts and Oceans offers opportunities for recent graduates and professionals to advance their educational and professional goals by participating in CEDO’s ongoing programs and projects. This program combines the personal interests and talents of each participant with CEDO’s needs, resulting in a meaningful contribution in education, conservation and research in the Upper Gulf of California and surrounding Sonoran Deserts region.

Interns are will be engaged in full-time support of CEDO’s field education program during their stay at CEDO. Flexibility in working hours is required as the intern schedule may vary tremendously from week to week.

Resident Duties include:
* Receiving and orienting groups using the CEDO facility.

Specific duties include:
* Providing teaching services for student and tour groups. (Tidepool & estuary tours, slideshows, general CEDO talks.)
* Publishing CEDO Currents, a bi-annual publication of CEDO current events.
* Organizing special events such as eco-tours, beach clean-ups, Earth Day celebration, intercultural exchanges, etc.
* Management of the Sea of Support, an on-going fundraiser.
* Visitor Center/ Gift Shop support
* Public Relations.
* General office support.

Opportunities for further involvement:
* Biological/ecological studies.
* Social/cultural studies.
* Environmental Education (curriculum design and implementation).
* Computer applications.
* Exhibit design.
* Community service.
* Language studies.

Alternative internship opportunities may be available on a summer or semester basis to be engaged in full time research or conservation projects. Please contact CEDO for more details.

Interns will be provided with housing in the CEDO facility located in the Las Conchas housing development just east of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico. The facility is equipped with dormitory-style accommodations. Kitchen and new bathroom facilities are available, but towels and linens are not provided. No pets allowed. Additional residency guidelines will be given when application is accepted.

Interns will receive a monthly stipend but are responsible for providing their own transportation and food.

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have a college degree in science, preferably marine biology or related field. Spanish proficiency required.

This Internship position is being offered for the spring 2008 semester (December 2007 or January 2008 to June 2008). This intern would be invited to apply for the 2008-09 internship if interested.

If you are interested in participating in the internship program, send the following by December 15:

* A letter of inquiry stating your professional interests.
* Résumé.
* Two references.

By email to: rick@cedointercultural.org
Or by regular mail to:
CEDO Internship Program
P.O. Box 44208
Tucson, AZ 85733

For more information, contact Rick Boyer at 520-320-5473 or by email: rick@cedointercultural.org.
Additional information about CEDO is available at: www.cedointercultural.org