'Articles from 2007' Category

Concern for lack of Control in firework sales

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

As it is a problem that affects everyone, and is the direct responsibility of those living in Puerto Peñasco, efforts will be sought to put order to the sale of fireworks in the city. This issue is currently out of control, affirmed Nicandro Cornejo Torres, Municipal Coordinator of Civil
Protection. Cornejo Torres stressed that although the Secretary of National Defense regulates the management of gunpowder and regulations on fireworks fall to the Secretary of the Treasury, the problem is here at home and needs to be addressed. In this sense, he added, they will begin a program to regulate the manner these type of products are sold and the urrounding safety conditions. Cornejo Torres remarked that they would have to work with those who live off the fireworks business in order to prevent any complications or tragic accidents. The Coordinator of Civil Protection for the city reiterated that the intent is to guarantee that indeed minimum safety measures are being complied with and prevent accidents in the best manner possible.
Cornejo Torres commented that this process is of the utmost importance. They will have to be extremely careful in order to truly show that establishments that sell fireworks are safe
while setting a basis for the control of this market. Preparations to apply regulations Cornejo Torres reported that as soon as the City Council of Puerto Peñasco approved the new Municipal
Regulation on Civil Protection, they began working on preparations for its implementation and in this way assure a safer city environment. The Municipal Coordinator for Civil Protection stated that it is only a question of time for the new rules to be published in the Official State Bulletin for them to go into effect, which they expect that will take place shortly. He reiterated that with the City approved document they await regulations in the orderly growth of security
systems. He remarked they would hire a team of at least three specialized inspectors who will carry out enforcement of the Civil Protection rules. He indicated that in fact, they have begun intensive work to assure the adequate operation of fire protection systems, as this preventive measure had not been done for about seven to eight months. Cornejo Torres detailed that the
new Municipal Regulation on Civil Protection contains 380 articles and will allow for the regulation of all public establishments including governmental offices, entertainment areas, nightclubs, all types of industrial and commercial businesses, and any areas of mass gatherings.
These new rules contemplate fines on establishments that fail to comply with the programs for the prevention of fire and accidents, and evacuation routes, among other points



Expectations met and occupation rate grows 11%.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

By: José Antonio Pérez
More than 3.5 million tourists, of whom 1.920 million were foreigners, visited Puerto Peñasco during 2006, meeting expectations for the outgoing year, revealed the Director of the Visitors and Convention Bureau, Rafael González Valenzuela.
González Valenzuela indicated that the hotel occupation rate increased by at least 11%, achieving an average of 70.3% for the year.
He explained that in the specific case of international tourism, which represents 65% of the total of visitors, the city saw an increase in the influx of tourism of 270,000 people. In 2005, the registry of visitors to the area was 1.65 million while in 2006 this number reached up to 1.92 million.
With respect to economic earnings, he added, in 2006 this recorded between 18 to 20 million dollars, while in 2005 this was 16 to 18 million dollars.
González Valenzuela indicated that currently they are working on plans and promotional programs in a manner so that expectations are to reach an average hotel occupation rate of 75%.
He added that 2007 began well with an important flow of tourism, as the first day of the year registered an 80% occupation rate and hopes are that this will increase, principally over weekends and particularly with visitors from Arizona.
In addition, the Visitors Bureau Director remarked, expectations are for an upturn in occupation at the RV parks with the return of “snow birds” and winter tourism during the first three months of the year
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Lukeville crossing set for two more lanes

Monday, November 19th, 2007

By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.17.2007
Arizona will spend $1.5 million to construct more lanes at the border crossing at Lukeville to help prevent Arizonans from having to wait for hours trying to get back into this country after visiting Puerto Peñasco.
Members of the state Transportation Board approved the funding at their meeting Friday. Doug Nintzel, spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said the board wants to increase the number of vehicles that can be processed at the often-crowded port of entry.
The funding, though, is contingent on private firms coming up with $1 million. But Gov. Janet Napolitano told Capitol Media Services she has been assured that companies in Puerto Peñasco — better known as Rocky Point — want to expedite the flow of tourists and goods and are committed to providing the money.
Friday’s vote comes as Napolitano met with Luis Tellez, Mexico’s communications and transportation secretary, to try to get his government to come up with funds for improvements at border crossings on the other side of the line.
“We need to improve port infrastructure to facilitate the legal movement of goods and people,” the governor said after the meeting in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora. She said Tellez agreed the traffic jams that often tie up cars and trucks for hours harm both countries.
“Our economies are being hampered,” she said.
And Napolitano said that while Tellez did not commit to providing a specific amount of money, he told her these projects were an objective of his government.
The governor said the ADOT funds will finance two new lanes on top of the existing four on the U.S. side, one of which is dedicated for commercial traffic.
She said, though, that the ADOT money, even if matched with private dollars, isn’t the total answer, as additional lanes won’t mean anything by themselves.
“I’m not interested in putting money in unless the federal government will staff them,” she said. Napolitano said her next job is persuading the federal government, which operates the port, to put money into the budget for the necessary employees.
Beyond that, Napolitano said she wants the border station open 24 hours a day, at least during peak traffic periods. Now the station is closed from midnight to 6 a.m.
The governor said the new lanes are the second part of a three-pronged effort to eliminate the backup on the Mexican side of the border.
Last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agreed to direct motor homes and vehicles towing trailers into the commercial lane, at least on Sundays and Mondays. That should make the crossing faster for those in passenger cars.
Napolitano said the entire port of entry, about 100 miles southwest of Tucson, needs to be reconfigured to ease the flow.
Napolitano’s trip to Mexico also produced a new agreement with Sonora Gov. Eduardo Bours to work together to lure new firms to the area for Mexico Real Estate.
Napolitano acknowledged making that happen, though, has potential political pitfalls.
“I need to be doing things that create and hold jobs in Arizona,” she said. And Napolitano said that, from a pure cost perspective, a company that wants to build things will find that labor is cheaper in Mexico.
But the governor said a case can be made for having operations in both states.
“Certain kinds of jobs are better situated in Arizona,” she said.

PetroSun BioFuels Engages Grupo Santa Maria for Its Algae-to-Biofuel Program in Mexico

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Tuesday September 11, 12:47 pm ET

PHOENIX, AZ–(MARKET WIRE)–Sep 11, 2007 —

PetroSun, Incorporated (Other OTC:PSUD.PK – News) announced today that PetroSun BioFuels Mexico, a subsidiary of PetroSun, has completed an agreement with Grupo Santa Maria to provide consulting services for its algae-to-biofuels program in Mexico. Grupo Santa Maria and PSBF Mexico have focused their initial attention in the State of Sonora, identifying potential algae farm and extraction plant sites near Hermosillo, Guaymas and Puerto Penasco.

“Grupo Santa Maria and its management team have extensive knowledge and relationships in Mexico that will enhance the opportunity to expand our commercial operations into Mexico in the near term,” said Gordon LeBlanc, Jr., CEO of PetroSun. “The US-Mexico border region is ideally located for our algae-to-biofuel program, as it provides all of the necessary requirements for production and an expanding alternative fuels market in the US and Mexico.”

About PetroSun

PetroSun’s operations include oil and gas exploration, development and production, algae-to-algal oil alternative fuels production and oilfield services. The oil and gas division is focused on the exploration of the Canning Basin of Western Australia and the Holbrook Basin of Arizona. The Company will continue the development of oil and gas reserves in Louisiana. The alternative fuels division is in the pre-commercial stage of the algae-to-biofuels production technology. The Company plans to establish algae farms and algal oil extraction plants in Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, California, Mexico and Australia during 2007/2008. The algal oil product will be marketed as feedstock to existing biodiesel refiners. The oilfield services division is in the process of upgrading our capabilities to support the exploration, development and production operations. PetroSun is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona with field offices in Shreveport, Louisiana and Opelika, Alabama. For more information about PetroSun visit the company’s website at http://www.petrosuninc.com  

Except historical matter contained herein, matters discussed in this news release are forward-looking statements and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements reflect assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties, which may affect the Company’s business and prospects and cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements

Proposed Scenic Corridor in Puerto Peñasco

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Recently plans have been announced for a $50 million USD scenic corridor that will connect the Malecon/Old Port to Mirador with landfill and a new boulevard around the seaside edge of Whale Hill. This is exciting news for Puerto Peñasco. One of the difficulties experienced by tourists and residents alike is the lack of continuity across the town’s tourist districts. Currently, visitors must travel all the way around Whale Hill from Old Port to get to Mirador, the other main entertainment district in town. This interruption in public tourism spaces has stunted the growth and redevelopment of both areas and presents problems with traffic flow in the city.

Not only will this new boulevard around the sea side of Whale Hill connect the two main tourism/entertainment districts, it will also create an opportunity for additional tourism spaces, featuring restaurants, hotels, bars and public gathering areas along the new boulevard. This proposed area has the potential to become the central tourism zone for Puerto Peñasco.

According to my sources, money has not yet been appropriated for this ambitious project and therefore no start date has been set. It remains to be seen where this money will come from, but my sense is it will be primarily private development money. So like most large projects proposed in Puerto Peñasco, I wouldn’t get too excited about it until the day when machinery is actually at the site and working. Nevertheless, this proposal shows forward thinking on the part of government officials in Puerto Peñasco and Sonora and it is good to see these types of creative projects proposed. If it becomes reality, it will be a great boon for the city.

Arizona, Sonora officials seek to improve flow at border ports of entry

Friday, November 16th, 2007

By Howard Fischer

Arizona and Sonora officials are meeting this week in hope of easing the crunch at border ports of entry. Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano said a major theme of the two-day conference in Ciudad Obregon will be improving the flow at those crossings “so we get the lines shortened.”

She said much of the focus will be at the Lukeville-Sonoyta crossing where backups on some weekends can result in delays of seven hours or more to get into the United States. But the governor said work is needed at all the ports.

The push for speedier crossings comes as members of the Arizona-Mexico Commission look at various ways of improving the region’s economy.

Napolitano said she and Eduardo Bours, her Sonoran counterpart, are particularly interested in working to encourage firms to co-locate operations in the region.

“It’s what I call the ‘Motorola model,’ where they put the manufacturing side into Sonora but the research, development and business administration side into Arizona,” she said.

Similarly, Napolitano said there are efforts to promote Arizona and Sonora as a joint destination for international tourists.

But Napolitano, speaking to Capitol Media Services in advance of the trip, said all that effort requires that people and goods be able to move easily across the border.

While both states are interested in improving the ports of entry, they are largely dependent on their two federal governments providing the cash.

Ramon Riesgo, a border station specialist for the U.S. General Services Administration, is scheduled to brief commission members about what is being done on the American side of the border.

And Napolitano said she is going to be meeting with Mexican Transportation Secretary Luis Tellez.

“We will be discussing with him putting Mexican resources into that (Lukeville-Sonoyta) port, and any other land ports as well,” she said.

Napolitano also said she is “open to” an idea suggested nearly two months ago by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that businesses wanting expanded ports of entry might consider offering some funding to speed the process along.

“I don’t know exactly how it would work,” she said. But Napolitano said any such plan could be expedited through the Arizona-Mexico Commission, whose participants include many business owners and managers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“For example, we have some of the large agricultural interests that do shipping through the Mariposa gate at Nogales,” she said.

The governor said it’s possible those interests might be willing to put some money into improvements to “make the ports more efficient.”


Banco Wal-Mart Someday Soon in Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point)?

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

From www.puertopenascopost.com

Wal-Mart reportedly hasn’t yet settled on where it is going to build in Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point), but multiple sources say it is eventually going to put a store in the area. News out yesterday is that Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB has opened up consumer banking branches in four of its Wal-Mart stores in Mexico and is planning on eventually rolling out branches in many of its stores across the country. The idea being to provide bank accounts to Mexicans who don’t currently have them because of the high fees the major Mexican banks charge and minimum balance requirements that many cannot meet.

Presumably when Wal-Mart does take the leap and opens up a store in Puerto Peñasco, it will include a Banco Wal-Mart branch that will provide low-cost consumer banking competition to the other banks in town.

The Full Article

By Adriana Arai

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, made its first foray into banking, opening branches in Mexico and undercutting fees at the biggest local lenders, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and Citigroup Inc.

Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB is offering free interest-bearing accounts with unlimited cash withdrawals at its stores for a minimum deposit of 50 pesos ($4.57), according to employees at one of the company’s four branches, which opened Nov. 7. It’s also offering loans of as much as 50,000 pesos for in-store purchases.

The Mexican subsidiary of the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer plans to open 75 branches by the end of next year to take deposits from millions of Mexicans who don’t have bank accounts. Mexican authorities signed off on the plan last month, after Wal-Mart abandoned plans to open its own bank in the U.S. The company withdrew it U.S. bank license application in March, after meeting opposition from the banking industry.

“Many people in Mexico don’t approach a bank because there’s a perception that financial services are expensive,” Angelica Bala, a banking analyst with Standard & Poor’s in Mexico City said. “There’s a huge potential market for Wal- Mart.”

In 2006, the FDIC, a Washington-based agency that insures deposits at U.S. banks and regulates industrial banks, imposed a freeze on applications from commercial companies, including Wal- Mart, to give Congress time to weigh in. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in May that would bar new industrial banks owned by non-financial firms. The Senate has yet to act.

Competitors’ Rates

Wal-Mart de Mexico Chief Executive Officer Eduardo Solorzano will meet with analysts in Mexico City tomorrow to provide details of its banking operations. Wal-Mart de Mexico is two-thirds owned by its U.S. parent.

BBVA’s Bancomer unit charges an annual fee of 109 pesos plus tax on its flagship savings account, El Libreton, and requires a minimum balance of 3,000 pesos to pay interest, according to its Web site. Citigroup’s Banamex unit charges a flat monthly fee of 30 pesos on its Cuenta Perfiles account, or per-transaction levies, and requires a balance of at least 1,000 pesos to pay interest, according to the company.

Wal-Mart de Mexico will open a bank branch in all stores and restaurants with the space to accommodate them, Solorzano said in an Oct. 2 interview. Wal-Mart runs 980 stores and restaurants in Mexico.

`Totally Independent’

Three of the new Banco Wal-Mart branches are open to the public in Toluca, an industrial hub about 70 kilometers from Mexico City. The fourth serves employees and suppliers at the retailer’s headquarters in Mexico City.

Inside one of the Toluca stores, on Paseo Tollocan, the new bank branch is sandwiched between an eyeglass retailer and restrooms in a row of small storefronts just beyond the checkout lanes. It employs two tellers and three account executives who share a single long desk. The slogan outside the branch reads, “As easy as going to the supermarket.”

Daniel Garcia, one of the executives, approached shoppers Nov. 9 as they wheeled their carts from the checkout lines past the bank. “Do you know Banco Wal-Mart?” he asked. “We’re a new financial institution that isn’t the fruit of partnerships, mergers or acquisitions. We’re totally independent. We’re backed by Wal-Mart.”

One interested customer was Erick Adan Rojas, 28, a cab driver and father of one, who said he makes about 2,000 pesos per week and needed credit to furnish his rented house in the working-class neighborhood of Coacalco, in Mexico City.

Taking Market Share

Banamex rejected his application for a credit card and BBVA Bancomer demanded “too many documents,” Rojas said.

Garcia said Banco Wal-Mart would need about two days to talk to Rojas’s neighbors before approving his loan because he can’t provide proof of his income.

“For every 1,000 pesos in credit, you will have to pay 1,433 pesos back in a year,” Garcia told Rojas. He added that Banco Wal-Mart, unlike other lenders, doesn’t charge any penalty fees if the loan is paid ahead of schedule.

Solorzano said in an Oct. 2 interview that Wal-Mart market surveys showed that about 80 percent of clients don’t have a bank account. Banco Wal-Mart Chief Executive Officer Julio Bosco Gomez, a former Bank One Corp. executive, said in a statement today the bank will eventually offer services to small companies.

“Wal-Mart will take some market share from the traditional banks,” said Alejandro Garcia, who covers Mexican and Central American banks for Fitch Ratings Inc. in Monterrey, Mexico. “In the low-income segment, the competition will be among equals.”

BBVA Bancomer declined to comment. Jose Ortiz-Izquierdo, a spokesman for Banamex in Mexico City, wasn’t available for comment, according to his office.

Wal-Mart de Mexico fell 2.3 percent today in Mexico City trading, widening this year’s losses to 20 percent. The benchmark stock index in Mexico is up 6.6 percent this year.


Rocky Point bike rally expected to hog-tie border traffic

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.08.2007 
Planning to head to Puerto Peñasco this weekend? Pack plenty of patience.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is advising travelers of an expected increase in traffic at the Lukeville Port of Entry due to a motorcycle rally with an expected turnout of 10,000 to 15,000 riders.
CBP will work their counterparts in Mexico to try and ease congestion by dedicating one traffic lane for motorcycles and two for passenger vehicles.
Drivers of recreational vehicles and pulling trailers are reminded that the commercial truck facility is reserved for their use on Sundays and Mondays.
Travelers to have all their documents ready before approaching the port of entry to help east the screening and entry process, officials say.
The motorcycle rally in Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, begins today and runs through Sunday.

Lukeville will ease re-entry from Mexico

Friday, October 26th, 2007

By Gabriela Rico and Brady McCombs

Travelers returning from Mexico through the Lukeville Port of Entry will catch a break starting this weekend.

Every Sunday and Monday, recreational vehicles and those towing trailers will be directed into the commercial lane to help ease the congestion that has plagued the port for years.

Mexican officials will separate and direct traffic before it enters the port, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced Thursday.

A fivefold increase in visitors to Puerto Peñasco since 2001 has created a logjam on Sunday evenings at the port of entry as beach-goers return home.

When the renovated Lukeville port opened in 1976, there was one hotel in Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point.

Today, there are 42 hotels and motels and 14 RV facilities with 6,000 units that attracted approximately 2.3 million people in 2006, a 15 percent increase from the year before and a nearly fivefold increase from 2001, said Epifanio Salido Pavlovich, director of the Sonora Office of Tourism.

The port — with its three passenger lanes and one commercial-truck lane — was built to handle 400 vehicles a day, said Brian Levin, a CBP spokesman. This past fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, the Lukeville port processed 830 on the average weekday and up to 5,000 per day on holiday weekends, he said.

Waits can be one to two hours long on regular Sundays. On holiday weekends, the wait can be six to eight hours.

“We have a dual mission of law enforcement and facilitation at the ports of entry,” David Higgerson, CBP director of field operations, said in a statement, “and while we won’t sacrifice our enforcement operations, we are continually looking at ways of improving our ability to facilitate legitimate international travel.”

CBP and its Mexican counterparts devised the pilot program for peak travel days, which typically occur between noon and 7 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays, Levin said. The port is open from 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.

A new airport in Puerto Peñasco with direct flights from Tucson and other cities is set to open by the spring of 2009, Salido said.


Finding the Next Big Thing in Mexico

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

A lot of people want to know what the next big investment hotspot in Mexico is going to be. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. There are so many wonderful places in Mexico, that it is hard to pick just one. Baja California has been a longtime favorite, with cities like Los Cabos and Rosarito attracting scores of Americans and Canadians looking for a more peaceful life. In the past few years, Sonora, home to Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) and San Carlos has been booming with developing. Puerto Vallarta still remains high on the list for those looking for a vacation home or primary residence in Mexico, but most of the new development is taking place in Nuevo Vallarta and the Punta Mita area.

Mexico’s east coast is famous for the Riviera Maya, which is a peninsula that is comprised of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and other smaller towns. This whole area has seen an influx of new hotels and residential projects.

My suggestion is that you visit the location before you buy. If possible, rent a house or a condo and spend a few weeks there so you can really get to know the town. Also, read all you can before you buy. Did you know that Rocky Point is getting a new airport and a new superhighway? Did you know that Ensenada will be home to the largest marina on the west coast? Ask local realtors about future improvements to the city, as they may have inside knowledge that you couldn’t find elsewhere.


If you do decide you would like to visit Rocky Point, and see what their is to offer, call Sea Side Reservations at 1-866-785-2350 or 602-404-2982. We can help you with all your Rocky Point needs!