Yucatan News: IBM and Kiteboards
IBM’s New Investment in Yucatan
This past week, IBM’s $4 million USD investment in its new office in Merida became IBM's seventh office in Mexico. Merida’s location, along with its established connections to Europe, Central and South America, were specifically noted as characteristics that made this city attractive to IBM. Merida’s investment in food-processing, clothing, education and transportation have also all led to an increase in the value of the city as an industrial center. In keeping with its corporate mission to apply the technology and knowledge of IBM to helping solve social needs, IBM has donated three learning modules of their “Little Explorer” KidSmart program, along with Reading Companion software licensing for all students and teachers from 26 secondary schools. This donation will serve more than 200 elementary school students, as well as over 16,000 high school students. The “KidSmart” modules include all of the computer equipment and programs necessary to reinforce skills in mathematics, basic science and literacy for preschool children. The Reading Companion helps children and young people to improve their English language skills using IBM Web-based voice recognition technology. All of Yucatan welcomes IBM to our corporate family as they seek to improve the quality of life in nations throughout the world.
In spite of a noise reduction law already on the books in Merida, the City of Merida received in excess of 200 noise-related complaints from residents of the Historic Center (Centro). The areas with the greatest intensity of noise pollution includes the Lucas de Galvez and San Benito markets, Calles 54 x 67, 65 x 58, 59 x 58, 56 x 63, 56 x 61, 69 x 56, and 63 x 64. The hours most affected are from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM. In Centro, most of the complaints have been about a variety of audio devices used to promote products in stores. These are used both inside and outside of any number of businesses. In outlying areas, most complaints are about the horn honking of butane trucks. The City of Merida, along with several of its environment-related departments has now banned the use of loud speakers in and around businesses in Centro. Even though ten shops have received business suspensions, while others have gotten fines of up to 300 minimum wages, the problem has not yet begun to decrease. But keep those complaints coming in! It's bound to make a difference eventually.
Prelude to Semana Santa and Spring Break
By the time this news reaches our readers, Spring Break and Semana Santa will be in full swing. The beaches of Yucatan have, however, been crowded for the past two weekends. Restaurants and merchants are doing well, and even the babies are enjoying a dip in the kid-friendly waters of the beach in Progreso. Not to be outdone, teenagers are having a wonderful time and parents are taking the whole family out to eat together. Yucatan’s beach areas have always been family friendly, and that is one of the best characteristics about this state. We hope everyone has a chance to, at least once, spend a few days at the beach, in Yucatan, during Semana Santa.
First Annual Kiteboard Tournament
Progreso was chosen as the location for the First EEK-IIK National Freestyle Kiteboard Tournament because it has perfect wind and weather for this sport. Awards were presented by Asociación Yucateca de Kiteboard, A.C. For more information about this tournament and how this growing global sport is developing in Yucatan, visit the Facebook page of Asociación Yucateca de Kiteboard, A.C.
Annual Red Cross Fundraiser
The Mexican Red Cross has launched its annual fundraiser in Yucatan, with a 2013 goal of raising $5.5 million pesos. To underscore just how important the Red Cross is to Yucatan, data shows that they provided 12,125 emergency services last year, an increase of 27%, and 90,758 consultations at the orthopedic and cancer center. With 2,200 volunteers working on this fundraiser, everyone should have an opportunity to contribute between now and April 21. Funds raised this year will go to modernize the fleet of ambulances, improve cancer care and disaster training, as well as opening a medical unit that specifically serves vulnerable groups. Many thanks also must go to Telmex. This year, their service users can donate by dialing *6565 and Telmex will match their donation 100%. With more than a few expats having benefited from the emergency services and specialty hospital care provided by the Mexican Red Cross in Merida, this is one fundraiser that we know is more than a worthy cause. Please do give generously.
XXI Annual Marathon of the Marina
Lots of information here about the marathon from Merida to Progreso on Mexico's Navy Day here, and on their website www.maratondelamarina.org.mx which will continue to have updates:
Date: June 2, 2013
Time: 5:00 AM
Location: Begins at Merida’s Monument to the Flag, Ends at Progreso’s Monument to Juan Miguel Castro, with the opportunity to compete using a relay system. A half-marathon, starting at the Komchen Bridge and ending at the same place, will also be offered.
Categories: Men: free, submaster, master, veterans, veterans plus wheelchairs. Women: open, submaster, master, veterans and veterans plus.
Prizes: For both the male and female runners (First through Fourth place): $4,000 pesos, $2,500 pesos, $2,000 pesos, and $1,500 pesos. In the open category (First through Third place in both men and women’s categories): $9,000 pesos, $7,000 pesos, and $6,000 pesos.
Register: at General Salvador Alvarado Stadium
Fees: April 15 – May 15: $150 pesos, May 16 – June 1: $180 pesos
Organized By: State of Yucatan’s Institute of Sports (IDEY), the City of Progreso, Yucatan Athletic Association, and the Navy Day Organizing Committee
To Benefit: the Food Bank of Merida
Attention Runners: There is often a “rest of the story” in Yucatan and this is an aside just for runners. For the next six years, Yucatan is going to be very much more active in the sport of running. For a clue as to why, you need look no further than at the front of the pack, where you will, more likely than not, find a runner named Rolando Zapata Bello, who just so happens to be the Governor of the State of Yucatan. If someone is running for a good cause, he’s there – so now is the time to work hard to develop this sport throughout the state.
Yucatan Represented at Tianguis Turistico de Mexico
This past week saw the Governor of Yucatan cutting the ribbon on the Yucatan exhibit at the nation’s premier tourism fair, with the mayors of Merida and Izamal by his side. This fair is one of the most important tourist industry events of the year in Mexico. This one was not only attended by the Secretaries of Tourism throughout Mexico, but by members of the National Confederation of Chambers of Commerce, Services and Tourism as well. In addition, representatives of Yucatan’s tourism industry were able to meet with their counterparts from the U.S., Germany, France, England, Canada, Japan, China, and Argentina. Flights into and out of the State of Yucatan were discussed, as were tourism in and around the archaeological sites and cenotes, as well as the promotion of Yucateco cuisine in European countries. Next year the Tianguis will be even bigger for the Yucatan Peninsula, as the convention will be held in Cancun.
Korean Ambassador Visits Yucatan
In his recent visit to Yucatan, Korean Ambassador Soan Ho Kong brought us new information about the relationship between his nation and Mexico. According to the Ambassador, South Korea is Mexico’s sixth largest trading partner. We knew the relationship was important, but had no idea it had grown to the point of having a $2 billion dollar impact on the economy of Mexico. We also were pleased to learn that not only is Korean tourism growing in Mexico, but that Yucatan is a favored destination for Korean travelers. Yucatan’s Korean community recently celebrated 100 years in Yucatan. Read our history of Koreans in Yucatan for more on how the Koreans came to Yucatan and, perhaps, why so many Korean tourists feel connected to Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo. We hope the Ambassador had a wonderful time and want our Korean visitors to know that they will always be welcome in Yucatan.
Yucatan: An Environment with an Entrepreneurial Spirit
A few years ago, we noticed an increasing number of fairs featuring entrepreneurs. They seemed to be everywhere, with most associated with and/or supported by local universities. Yucatan can grow anything and soon took up what can best be described as farming entrepreneurs. The crop has been spectacular, with 20 new companies already providing 60 new jobs. Universidad Tecnologica de Merida has become a prestigious institution in the area of business incubation and the entrepreneurs who come out of their program can look toward a future that is sitting on a solid foundation. Our congratulations to all of the entrepreneurs of Yucatan for their innovation, creativity and tenacity.
Student Instructors: Heroes of the Week
It’s the unsung heroes that always tug at one’s heartstrings, and this is certainly one example of how badly some young people want an education and how far (literally) they are willing to go to get it. In Mexico, as all over the world, there is a shortage of teachers and it is next to impossible to get degreed teachers to travel to remote locations to teach just a few children. Mexico thinks it has found a way to solve that problem and the beginnings of the program have come to Motul. What they are doing is interviewing and testing students who want to further their educations. If they will agree to travel to remote schools and teach a minimum of five to 28 students, the program will not only pay their expenses, but will also provide them with the resources to continue their educations. These young people will be signing on for a full calendar year. Their training will be in July and August, and they will take over their new students from September through June of next year. Most expats have at least passed through the kinds of remote locations this program will serve, so we know how much these students are giving up in order to earn the opportunity to finish their own educations. We have much to be proud of in Yucatan and these young student instructors top the list.