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SAN FELIPE - Michele Lundeen

Blues & Arts Musician Spotlight ~ Michele Lundeen, "The Queen of Steam" Returns to Blues & Arts Fiesta Stage

Michele Lundeen, aptly dubbed "The Queen of Steam", returns to the ocean cooled, mountain framed stage venue for the 5th Annual San Felipe International Blues & Arts Fiesta scheduled for March 26, 2011. The premier regional fund-raising event is sponsored by the San Felipe Lions Club and promises that Michele's electrifying performance style will rock the house. The Blues & Arts Fiesta 2011 brings Michele and her incomparable style back to the best little town in the Baja, to join returning guests, and our new musical acts who guarantee to shake things up. Michele Lundeen is universally recognized as gifted interpreter of blues oriented songs. And her high energy performances tell the story of songs in a deeply emotional way that hits listeners right in the gut. Stirring vocals and her white hot stage presence visibly moves audiences everywhere. You must experience the earthy, bluesy, robust intensity of her style and evocative voice. Michele rivets her audiences with an artful blend of classic roadhouse rhythm & blues, jump swing, Memphis groove, sultry jazz, and rocky soul which simmers into a magical blues stew served in gigantic, satisfying portions. Michele's signature personal connection with the live audiences is palpable too. Humor, empathy, and that VOICE! Michele sings from the heart with a soul-revealing intensity rarely matched today, and evokes the very best comparisons with Joplin, Midler, and Raitt.

And Michele Lundeen's community involvement is in alignment with the reason for the Blues & Arts Fiesta productions. Her strong belief that music can have a dynamic impact on people's lives complements the show's mission of "Changing Lives Through Music and Art". Michele is a leader in the "Blues in Schools" workshop programs in San Diego which provide music instruction, music history presentations, and instills appreciation of the art form. Michele's love for music impacts people all year long, and on this one very special day, March 26, 2011, the exceptional showcase of all the musical talent will be the audience's common denominator to experience the universal binding effect of music and art. Michele sends you a personal invitation too, to come to safe, affordable, friendly San Felipe.

Sponsored by the San Felipe Lions Club, the Blues & Arts Fiesta showcases world class musicians and the visual arts in order to raise critical funding for local humanitarian work. Local recipients include schools, medical services, eye exam clinics, the new orphanage, and more. Funds go directly to those in need. The energy of the musicians, artists, audience, and all our supporters hits a critical mass that day in which we celebrate the very best in all of us. You just have to experience it once and you'll be hooked. Look for more weekly updates about the bands and artists. Make your plans now to come to the show. It all comes together March 26, 2011 in San Felipe, on the shimmering Sea of Cortez in the beautiful Baja. We want YOU to be part of the party of this year.

NEWS & POLITICS - 2010 Year End Tax Planning

The midterm elections have changed the Congressional landscape, with Republicans winning control of the House of Representatives and picking up seats in the Senate. The Congress in mid December passed the 2010 tax legislation everyone has been waiting for. Click here to see the details.
We have compiled a checklist of actions that can help you save tax dollars if you act before year-end. Not all actions will apply in your particular situation, but you will likely benefit from many of them. We can narrow down the specific actions that you can take once we meet with you to tailor a particular plan. In the meantime, please review the following list and contact us at your earliest convenience so that we can advise you on which tax-saving moves to make.

The foreign earned income exclusion for 2010 is $91,500 and the IRS has revised the maximum housing deduction for many foreign countries.

You can reduce your taxes by (subject to the exception below) making contributions to an IRA (before 4/15/10) but that will only work to the extent your foreign earned income exceeds your foreign earned income exclusion by at least the amount of the IRA contribution. The same rules apply whether the contribution is made to a Roth or a regular IRA. Exception: If you are covered by a US pension plan by your employer in most cases you would not be able to make any IRA contribution unelss your earnings are low.

Form 8839 will be required with your form 1040 this year if you have $50,000 or more in foreign investment or financial assets. It requires a lot of information on those assets has large penalties for not filing. Though the insructions to that form have not yet been release, financial assets include foreign bank accounts, brokerage accounts, stocks, bonds, rental properties,financial contracts, etc. See the draft of the form at or click the link at the end of this letter.

Year End Moves for Individuals:

•Increase the amount you set aside for next year in your employer's health flexible spending account (FSA) if you set aside too little for this year. Don't forget that you cannot set aside amounts to get tax-free reimbursements for over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin and antacids (2010 is the last year that FSAs can be used for nonprescription drugs).

•Realize losses on stock while substantially preserving your investment position. There are several ways this can be done. For example, you can sell the original holding, then buy back the same securities at least 31 days later. It may be advisable for us to meet to discuss year-end trades you should consider making.

•Increase your withholding if you are facing a penalty for underpayment of federal estimated tax. Doing so may reduce or eliminate the penalty.

•Take an eligible rollover distribution from a qualified retirement plan before the end of 2010 if your are facing a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax and the increased withholding option is unavailable or won't sufficiently address the problem. Income tax will be withheld from the distribution and will be applied toward the taxes owed for 2010. You can then timely roll over the gross amount of the distribution, as increased by the amount of withheld tax, to a traditional IRA. No part of the distribution will be includible in income for 2010, but the withheld tax will be applied pro rata over the full 2010 tax year to reduce previous underpayments of estimated tax.

•Make energy saving improvements to your main home, such as putting in extra insulation or installing energy saving windows or buying and installing an energy efficient furnace, and qualify for a 30% tax credit. The total (aggregate) credit for energy efficient improvements to the home in 2009 and 2010 is $1,500. Unless Congress acts, this tax break won't be around after this year. Additionally, substantial tax credits are available for installing energy generating equipment (such as solar electric panels or solar hot water heaters) to your home (this break stays on the books through 2016).
• Convert your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA if doing so is expected to produce better long-term tax results for you and your beneficiaries. Distributions from a Roth IRA can be tax-free but the conversion will increase your adjusted gross income for 2010. However, you will have the choice of when to pay the tax on the conversion. You can either (1) pay the tax on the conversion when you file your 2010 return in 2011, or (2) pay half the tax on the conversion when you file your 2011 return in 2012, and the other half when you file your 2012 return in 2013.

• Purchase qualified small business stock (QSBS) before the end of this year. There is no tax on gain from the sale of such stock if it is (1) purchased after September 27, 2010 and before January 1, 2011, and (2) held for more than five years. In addition, such sales won't cause AMT preference problems. To qualify for these breaks, the stock must be issued by a regular (C) corporation with total gross assets of $50 million or less, and a number of other technical requirements must be met. Our office can fill you in on the details.

Take required minimum distributions (RMD) from your IRA or 401(k) plan (or other employer-sponsored retired plan) if you have reached age 70 1/2. Failure to take a required withdrawal can result in a penalty of 50% of the amount not withdrawn. A temporary tax law change waived the RMD requirement for 2009 only, but the usual withdrawal rules apply full force for 2010. So individuals age 70 1/2 or older generally must take the required distribution amount out of their retirement account before the end of 2010 to avoid the penalty. If you turned age 70 1/2 in 2010, you can delay the required distribution to 2011, but if you do, you will have to take a double distribution in 2011—the amount required for 2010 plus the amount required for 2011. Think twice before delaying 2010 distributions to 2011—bunching income into 2011 might push you into a higher tax bracket or have a detrimental impact on various income tax deductions that are reduced at higher income levels.

•Make annual exclusion gifts before year end to save gift tax (and estate tax if it is reinstated). You can give $13,000 in 2010 or 2011 to an unlimited number of individuals free of gift tax. However, you can't carry over unused exclusions from one year to the next. The transfers also may same family income taxes where income-earning property is given to family members in lower income tax brackets who are not subject to the kiddie tax.

Year End Moves for Business Owners

•Hire a worker who has been unemployed for at least 60 days before year end if you are thinking of adding to payroll soon. Your business will be exempt from paying the employer's 6.2% share of the Social Security payroll tax on the formerly unemployed new-hire for the remainder of 2010. Plus, if you keep that formerly unemployed new-hire on the payroll for a continuous 52 weeks, your business will be eligible for a nonrefundable tax credit of up-to-$1,000 after the 52-week threshold is reached. This credit will be taken on the business's 2011 tax return. In order to be eligible, the formerly unemployed new-hire's pay in the second 26-week period must be at least 80% of the pay in the first 26-week period.

Put new business equipment and machinery in service before year-end to qualify for 50% bonus first-year depreciation allowance. Unless Congress acts, this bonus depreciation allowance won't be available for property placed in service after 2010.

Make expenses qualifying for the $500,000 business property expensing option. The maximum amount you can expense for a tax year beginning in 2010 is $500,000 of the cost of qualifying property placed in service for that tax year. The $500,000 amount is reduced by the amount by which the cost of qualifying property placed in service during 2010 exceeds $2 million. Also, within the overall $500,000 expensing limit, you can expense up to $250,000 of qualified real property (certain qualifying leasehold improvements, restaurant property, and retail improvements). Note that at tax return time, you can choose not to use expensing (or bonus depreciation) for 2010 assets. This is something to consider if tax rates go up for 2011 and future years, and you'd rather have more deductions after 2010 than for 2010.

•Set up a self-employed retirement plan if you are self-employed and haven't done so yet.

•Increase your basis in a partnership or S corporation if doing so will enable you to deduct a loss from it for this year. A partner's share of partnership losses is deductible only to the extent of his partnership basis as of the end of the partnership year in which the loss occurs. An S corporation shareholder can deduct his pro-rata share of an S corporation's losses only to the extent of the total of his basis in (a) his S corporation stock, and (b) debt owed to him by the S corporation.

•Consider whether to defer cancellation of debt (COD) income from the reacquisition of an applicable debt instrument in 2010. The business can elect to elect to have the cancelled COD income included in gross income ratably over five tax years beginning with the fourth tax year following the tax year in which the repurchase occurs (i.e., beginning with 2014).

These are just some of the year-end steps that can be taken to save taxes. Again, by contacting us, we can tailor a particular plan that will work best for you.
Very truly yours,
Don D. Nelson
Attorney at Law, CPA

Draft of Form 8938 -Report of Foreign Financial Assets now required if you have $50,000 or more of financial assets located outside of the USA during 2010
Info Provided by :
Don D. Nelson, Attorney, C.P.A.
Phone (949) 481-4094 Fax (949)218-6483

HAPPY New Year Everyone!

Happy New Year everyone!
It’s time to do something different.
From John & Rachel Pack

With each new year, Rachel and I will write our annual todo list, which will have items we wished we had done and others we want to do. We’ll then share the list on Google Docs and either one of us will look over the others shoulder, or we’ll sit next to each other, each of us with our own laptop and discuss the list. Each year the discussion goes the same direction; we haven’t been anywhere really, and we work too hard for too little.

However this year, Rachel and I, after much review of of the Google Doc, decided we didn’t want to work less, we loved what we did and our needs are few; we are happy. So, it wasn’t really “we work too hard for too little”, but rather “we don’t work hard enough on what’s important”.

We decided that the most important things are quality of live and love. Of course, our magazine, the club and virtually everything we do, has been with these goals in mind, but we get sidetracked sometimes. This time, with quality of life and love in mind, we came up with a way to put a new spine on Baja and we want all of Baja to get involved.

We’ve all been fighting a battle against the lies and negative press being used by the US media to keep the dollar north of the border. Many have been scared away, however there are still thousands of Americans and Canadian visiting Baja every year, and we want you to help us reach them all.

On February 14th, Rachel and I are going to ride our bicycles from Rosarito Beach to Cabo San Lucas, we are encouraging everyone to join us, or participate in your local community ride. The ride is going to raise money for Baja kids, and also illustrate the immense improvements in the Baja highway system and show that Baja is a safe and welcoming destination.  More information about the Baja Love Ride in the January Edition.

BGLC DISCOUNT - La Competencia - Building Materials

BGLC DISCOUNT - La Competencia - Building Materials
San Felipe, BC Mexico
BGLC Member Discount: 5% discount on all in-store products

Two locations in San Felipe:
North of town Hwy 5 next to Otro Market & Ave. Mar Caribe S/N Seccion II
5% discount on all in-store products. Products include plumbing, electrical, lumber, brick, hand tools, power tools, paint supplies and more.

Contact La Competencia - CLICK HERE

Join today and SAVE Big on Baja! BGLC Discount Mex Auto Insurance - Policies STARTING at $77.00.

BGLC DISCOUNT - Baja Expeditions

BGLC DISCOUNT - Baja Expeditions
San Ignacio, BCS Mexico
BGLC Member Discount: 5% discount

Fly or drive at your convenience to our newest whale watching camp in San Ignacio Lagoon, where your accommodations are in comfortable cabañas, elevated from the sand. Book the dates that work best for you or choose from four scheduled departures. Twice-daily skiff rides take you to the whale viewing area, where you'll experience the thrill of friendly whales surfacing just a few feet away.

Contact Baja Expeditions - CLICK HERE

Join today and SAVE Big on Baja! BGLC Discount Mex Auto Insurance - Policies STARTING at $77.00.

BGLC DISCOUNT - Cava Tapas & Wine Bar

BGLC DISCOUNT - Cava Tapas & Wine Bar
Loreto, BCS Mexico
BGLC Member Discount: 15% discount

Cava Tapas & Wine Bar serves Tapas and Unique daily specials, and has its own wine shop with over 83 different wine from Mexico, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, California. Thursday Night Tapas,features select wines and tapas.

Contact Cava Tapas & Wine Bar - CLICK HERE

Join today and SAVE Big on Baja! BGLC Discount Mex Auto Insurance - Policies STARTING at $77.00.

ACTIVITIES - Baja Whale Watching

By Kerri Moser

The waters that surround Baja are home to the world’s most incredible and amazing ecosystems. The waters are filled with aquatic life that continues to evoke mystery, wonder and respect. Of all the creatures, large and small, that call the warm and welcoming waters off the shore of Baja home, none mystify and capture the hearts of mankind more so than whales. The largest most majestic mammals of the seamesmerize anyone lucky enough to watch their massive bodies navigate the water, break through waves, splash their enormously strong tails and give birth to their young. Whale watching off the coast of Baja is an experience that makes the to-do list of any adventurer who desires to see the earth’s most fascinating creatures up close and in their natural habitat.

While there are many types of whales that call Baja home, none are more revered than the gray whale. Gray whales are the largest and can measure over 100 feet long. They can weigh up to 150 tons. These giants of the sea also make the longest migration of any creature on Earth. They travel over 10,000 miles a year making their migration from the frigid Bering Sea off of Alaska to the warm, clear, and tranquil lagoons off of the coast of Baja. They spend the summer months enjoying the constant sunshine and plentiful supply of zoo plankton off the shores of Alaska then navigate down to spend January through March in the waters of Baja. They give birth at this time and spend their Baja vacations teaching their calves to swim and play, preparing them for the long trip back up north. Visitors at this time can see hundreds of whales birthing their young in the shallow lagoons. Trips out to sea to enjoy the sights, sounds, and the once in a lifetime touch of a gray whale are hugely popular.

During the 1840’s and on into the mid-20th century, over hunting by whaling ships greatly diminished and nearly wiped out the gray whale population. With roughly only 500 left in existence around the 1940’s, the Mexican government moved to protect the waters and the whales from the brink of extinction. Scientists also intervened, realizing these mammals of the sea have a lot to teach us measly humans. Thanks to efforts started in the 1940’s, the gray whale population has recovered to over 20,000 and is no longer endangered. The lagoons where they blissfully birth and introduce their young to the world are protected waters and give people the best opportunity to see these creatures. Other whale species that can be seen off the coast of Baja are pilot whales, fin back whales and blue whales.

The whales enjoy watching and studying people as much as we do them. The moms and young alike will often nudge up against boats, looking to be touched. Scientists believe they seek out human touch as a form of pleasure stimuli. Most whale watching tours in Baja can promise the closest encounters you can find of Earth. However, as with any unpredictable and wild animal, respect and caution are advised. Reputable whale watching exhibitions on Baja boats will teach tourists all they need to know before they experience the largest and most interesting creatures that share our world.

Baja Good Life Club Discount - Activities & Tours:
When you schedule your tour to see the whales, please tell them you are a Baja Good Life Member. SHOW YOU CARD AND SAVE!
Green Tortoise - San Ignacio
Member Discount: 10% discount on selected trips
Baja Expeditions - San Ignacio

Member Discount: 5% discount

Nichols Expeditions - La Paz
Member Discount: 5% discount

Jones Adventures - San Ignacio
Member Discount: 10 percent discount

Whale Watching with Pachicos Eco Tours
Member Discount: 10% discount on whale watching tours

Whale Watching with Baja Eco Tours - San Ignacio
Member Discount: 10% OFF ANY San Ignacio Packages

HOLIDAY - Holiday punch: Ponche navideño

In addition to being served in Mexican homes during the Christmas and New Year holiday season, hot ponche is sold at night by street vendors who ladle it out from steaming cylindrical vats. The tejocote is a small fruit, golden in color when mature, similar in taste to an apple, but with a pastier texture. It is not easily found outside of Mexico, but apples make a good substitute. In Michoacan, a piece of beet is often added instead of jamaica to color the punch.


¾ pound small apples or tejocotes, peeled and sliced
10 guavas, halved
½ pound raisins or prunes or a mixture of both
6 oranges, scrubbed and sliced with rind
1 cup jamaica (dried hibiscus) flowers
4 pieces sugar cane stalk, peeled and cut into strips (see note)
3 sticks cinnamon, each about 6” long
7 quarts water
sugar to taste (the usual proportion is 1/3 cup to each quart of water)
brandy, rum or wine to taste (optional)
Place the apples, guavas, raisins or prunes, oranges, sugar cane and cinnamon in a large stockpot with the water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add sugar to taste, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. If adding brandy or other alcohol, add and simmer a few minutes longer. Serve hot in mugs. Serves 16-18.

NOTE: If sugar cane is unavailable, increase the amount of sugar added.

NEWS & POLITICS - If it's Christmas, it's time for a toast with Tijuana journalists

TIJUANA — If it's Christmas, Tijuana journalists know it's time for El Brindis, the yearly toast to the season with the public officials they cover.

On Tuesday morning, the press corps crowded inside the state government offices with Baja California Gov. Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan, nibbling on small sandwiches and raising glasses of apple cider to the coming year.

The governor took questions on a wide range of issues, but took off before the rifa, a lottery where journalists won gifts such as bottles of wine.

On Wednesday night, several dozen gathered for dinner at Tijuana's upscale Club Campestre at the invitation of Carlos Bustamante Anchondo, Tijuana's new mayor.

As the journalists raised glasses of whisky and beer, Bustamante avowed his commitment to government transparency. The mayor then left just as dinner was being served: It had been a long day, as heavy rains left many areas of Tijuana with flooding and mudslides.

LORETO - La Mision New Years Party!

LA MISION LORETO HOTEL has prepared A Special Celebration just for you !
December 31st
New Years Party - The Last but no Least...a Night to be remembered a whole Year...All INCLUSIVE Party!
Fine Dinning, Drinks, Dancing and Lots of Fun!!! From 7:00 p.m. at The Restaurant, Price $69 usd + tax (11%).
Please Make your Reservations at 134-0350

Submitted by: Maria Jose Sanchez

Baja Love Ride - A Charity Event for Baja Kids

The first of hopefully many Baja Loves Rides is being planned. Baja Love Ride will be a bike ride for charity that will hopefully improve the lives of countless children who need support from the entire peninsula.
The ride will be approx. 1000 miles long through 12 communities down Baja. It is slated to last 15 days, starting on February 14th in Rosarito Beach and finishing on February 28th in Cabo San Lucas.  
Riders are encouraged to get the word out and bring in as many participants as they can. They are also being encouraged to seek donors to support the cause. This ride is perfect for athletes, seasoned cyclists or anyone who wishes to engage in the personal challenge of completing the course. It will also be an amazing way to experience the breath-taking landscape that is Baja.
Riders can join the Baja Love Ride as a team. Teams can be made up of two to four riders. 
With a team in place, the ride can be completed in a relay fashion, allowing individual riders to sit out some of the course and basically share the load. There will be sponsors and supporters all along the ride route to assist or guide any rider. There will be ample rest stops, designated hotels and meals for participants along the way.  
If a 15-day peninsula long ride is outside the scope of your participation, like it would be for worries, the ride is design for everyone. Symbolic of the need for a child to have a good start on life, the ride will begin each morning with a “Good Start” ride. The Good Start ride will be approx. 5 miles long from the starting point to a sponsor restaurant, where a presentation will be given about the ride, the charity and children.    
John and Rachel Pack, of Baja Good Life Club, are the creators behind Baja Love Ride and see the idea as a win-win for them and everyone in Baja. They are extremely passionate about promoting the best about the land they love and call home. They see the ride as a way to help better the lives of innocent children who have no control over their circumstances and also a creative way to promote Baja both culturally and socially. Plus, for them and others in the area who strive to be the best they can be, it is an awesome way to stay or get in shape.
They personally encourage anyone interested to join and begin seeking donors to ensure this ride is a success and hopefully something the needy children of Baja will come to know as an annual helping hand. Find out how you can help at

SAN FELIPE - New Years eve Party at The Pavilion Rest

New Years eve Party @ The Pavilion Rest.


1st Course
Specialty Salad
Poached Pear, Candied Walnuts, Blue Cheese Crumbles Over a Bed of Mixed Greens Served with a Raspberry Vinaigrette

2nd Course
Seafood Fusion
White Fish, Shrimp, Seasonings and Dijon Seared and Topped with Fresh Fruit Compote and Served with Vinaigrette Dressing

3rd Course
Main Course
Baked Breast of Chicken Stuffed with Spinach and Mushrooms, Topped with Bechamel Sauce and Served with Grilled Vegetables and Roasted Red Potatoes Tossed in Olive Oil and Rosemary

4th Course
Italian Tiramisu Cake
Biscuits dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks and mascarpone and flavored with liquor and cocoa

Your choice of Margarita, beer, well drink or white wine with your dinner ticket. Champagne toast at NY mid night.
Special chocolate treat from baja chocolates lovers.


PRICE $ 40.00
FOR MORE INFO CALL 686 216 1938 OR

ROSARITO BEACH - Grand New Years Party

Place: Rosarito Beach Hotel
Time: 7pm-2am
Date: December 30
Entrance Fee: Pendant
Place: Salon Mexicano
To celebrate the end of 2010 and the Beginning of 2011, We will have Dinner, Mariachi, Live Music for dancing, DJ, Ballet Folkloric.

More info: or call US 1 866 ROSARITO / MEX 01 800 265 2322
Info provided by

MEXICO - Mexico to defer some Colorado River water until 2014 to allow for quake recovery

MEXICO CITY (AP) — U.S. and Mexican officials reached a deal Monday for Mexico to defer part of its water allotment from the Colorado River until 2014 while farmers in the Mexicali area repair irrigation networks damaged by an earthquake this year.

Under the agreement, Mexico can defer delivery of up to 260,000 acre-feet of water through 2013 and then seek to recover that in the following three years, when its canals will be better able to handle the load.

Mexico's annual allotment under a 1944 treaty is 1.5 million acre-feet, a measurement equal to the amount of water needed to flood an acre one foot deep.

The agreement was announced in a meeting between Mexican Environment Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Salazar said the two nations want to negotiate a full management plan for the Colorado River in 2011.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor said a comprehensive management agreement "is of particular importance in light of ongoing, historic drought in the Colorado River Basin," where reservoirs have dropped from nearly full levels in 2000 to approximately 55 percent of capacity.

He said that if current drought conditions persist, states like Arizona, California and Nevada may be subject to shortages as early as 2012.

The magnitude-7.2 earthquake on April 4 killed two people and damaged Mexican farm villages near the California border.

CABO - Hacienda Sand Castle Contest

Hacienda Sand Castle Contest - Cabo San Lucas - December 27-29
Champion sand castle builders Archisand will show you how to build your own sand castles and if you're interested you use your new skills and enter the Hacienda San Castle Competition which will be held on December 29th at the Hacienda Resort in Cabo San Lucas. To enter the competition, contact the Hacienda Beach Club concierge at (624) 163-3100 or visit the Beach Activities palapa at the resort.

BORDER UPDATES - U.S.-Mexico commission meets on border violence

MEXICO CITY — A joint U.S.-Mexico committee met for the first time Wednesday to address border management issues and border violence.

The committee was created By Presidents Barack Obama and Felipe Calderon in May.

Mexico has expressed concern about the deaths of migrants during recent incidents involving U.S. Border Patrol officers, and the two countries agreed on the need to "minimize the need for United States and Mexican federal law enforcement officers to resort to lethal force."
They also agreed on "patrolling on either side of the border ... to prevent and adequately respond to crime and violence, including incidents of rock-throwing, incursions, port runners, (and) assaults on law enforcement personnel."

U.S. authorities say they sometimes are assaulted by migrant and drug traffickers and must defend themselves.

A joint declaration by the executive steering committee noted that "recent incidents along our common border underscore the urgency with which the United States and Mexico need to take decisive actions to avoid the recurrence of such events."

It said those incidents involved loss of life, but did not say whether they involved the shooting of migrants or drug violence.

Mexico was angered in June, when a Border Patrol agent fatally shot a 15-year-old Mexican youth as officers came under a barrage of big stones while trying to detain illegal immigrants on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande.

In May, Mexican migrant Anastasio Hernandez, 32, died after a Customs and Border Protection officer shocked him with a stun gun at the San Ysidro border crossing that separates San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. The San Diego medical examiner's office ruled that death a homicide.

And on Wednesday, a Border Patrol agent in Arizona was fatally shot near the border amid a shootout with bandits known for targeting illegal immigrants along a violent smuggling corridor in the desert.

The committee endorsed expanding coordinated patrols and "expanding existing exchanges of passenger information to detect and detain possible drug and weapons smugglers, and other criminals that travel between the U.S. and Mexico."

The statement also pledged support for various projects aimed at improving ports-of-entry and border crossings in several states, and "expand trusted traveler and shipment programs by facilitating enrollment and making them more advantageous and easy to use." It also supported the establishment of pilot projects for cargo pre-clearance in both countries.

The issue of migrants and how they are treated remains a sensitive subject in Mexico, even as their overall number of migrants moving across the border drops.

The number of Mexicans deported or repatriated by the United States dropped 23.2 percent in the first 10 months of 2010 as compared to the same period of the previous year, Mexico's Interior department reported Wednesday.

A total of 410,442 people were returned to Mexico.

Of those, 23,359 agreed to be flown to Mexico City and transported to their hometowns, rather than simply being expelled over the border. That annual program was in effect from June 1 to Sept. 28.

The mayors and governors in some Mexican border states have complained in the past about crime and unemployment problems created by the deportation of large numbers of migrants to border communities.

The number of women repatriated dropped even more steeply, by 34 percent to 44,356 in the first 10 months of 2010.

NEWS & POLITICS - NASA research shows higher earthquake risk for Southern California

LOS ANGELES -- Equipped with new NASA technology, scientists say there is mounting evidence that the 7.2 Easter Sunday earthquake in Mexicali, Mexico, directed tectonic stress toward Southern California, putting the region at a higher risk for a future quake.
The observations are being made possible by a new radar imaging system created by NASA that can detect how land moves after earthquakes. NASA has spent tens of millions of dollars on the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar, which has been scanning California landforms by aircraft since early 2009.

By comparing old maps with new images after the quake, scientists gained a precise understanding of where the earth moved, and how earthquake tension shifted toward California. For example, the radar system shows that the April 4 quake and its aftershocks triggered movement on at least six faults, including the Elsinore and San Jacinto faults. Those faults run close to heavily populated areas in eastern Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire region.
"There's a number of activities at the southern parts of these long, dangerous faults that indicate there is a changing stress environment," said geophysicist Jay Parker, acting chief of the imaging program. "And because these faults are considered hazardous and, potentially may have an earthquake that breaks along their length, this brings the whole picture of activity closer to the Los Angeles area."

The Elsinore fault might be capable of a magnitude 7 earthquake if its entire length were to rupture in a single event, "which would be bad news for Los Angeles," said Eric Fielding, a geophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Scientists also made another discovery: the identification of a new fault system in California's Yuha desert north of the Mexican border. Previously, Fielding said, there seemed to be a gap in a network of earthquake faults that ended with the Laguna Salada Fault on the border and the Elsinore fault farther north.

"It explains part of the mystery of how the faults in Mexico relate to the faults in California," Fielding said. "This connection certainly increases the likelihood of future earthquakes on the Elsinore fault. We just don't know exactly what the timing is going to be."
Scientists have said that the pattern of the northward advance of seismic tension may have triggered the 5.4 earthquake on July 7 south of Palm Springs, which was felt all the way in Los Angeles.

None of the observations would have been made possible had it not been for the development of the new radar technology. Scientists hope the technology will be added to a satellite in the future, giving geophysicists and geologists this kind of data worldwide.
The last time such a large quake occurred in Southern California was in the 1990s, and scientists were still using photos on film and transferring observations to paper maps, said Kenneth Hudnut, geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey.
Hudnut said the imagery gave scientists a number of revelations. Among them:
Proof that earthquakes zipping along a fault can jump over gaps as long as 7 miles. Previously, only jumps of 3 miles had been observed.

Proof that earthquake faults are punctuated by sections of high and low tectonic stress, a mix that is responsible for the destructive shaking energy that can collapse buildings.
Proof that earthquakes can reverse directions, an observation that had never been seen before.
Hudnut said the April 4 earthquake showed that at one point, the quake was moving northwest, and then somehow swung backward, in what is called a "back rupture."
The observation was verified by an eyewitness who described the movement of the quake like a racecar revving through the desert, trailed by a cloud of dust.

"That's going to change, in a significant way, the way we do forecast modeling," Hudnut said.
The mapping effort was led by John Fletcher, a professor at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education in Ensenada, Mexico, along with the U.S. and California geological surveys.
The results were presented Thursday in San Francisco at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

FISHING - Killing of the reef fish in the Sea of Cortez

Happy Holidays and thanks for your support in 2010

2010 was a year devoted to the vigilance program Sea Watch helped start and fund in 2009. It is called Observatorio Ciudadano (OC, Citizen Observers). In its first year of operation it has been successful beyond what many imagined and you can see more fish on every reef around the Bay of La Paz.

For 12 years, hookah divers have been killing the reef fish in the Sea of Cortez. By 2007 there were few fish left. In 2007 Sea Watch attorneys sponsored a federal regulation “prohibiting hookah use for fish extraction in all Mexican waters.” It was enacted in May of 2009. Now, no compressed air (hookah or tanks) can be used to extract any fin fish in any Mexican waters. Watch Video of the destruction.

2010 was a year Sea Watch devoted to involvement with the vigilance program that it helped start and fund in 2009. It is called Observatorio Ciudadano (OC, Citizen Observers). In its first year of operation it has been successful beyond what many imagined and you can see more fish on every reef around the Bay of La Paz.
Read more…

In the last year, in the La Paz area where OC patrols work, conservative estimates put the decrease in illegal activity at 80% .
That translates into the minimum tonnage of reef fish saved from being illegally shot at night (pistoleros) or netted using hookah during the day (encerradores) at 500 plus tons. See some of the latest short videos showing the dramatic return of fish. Fish returning to Islotes, Fish returning to San Diego Island

OC patrols, advanced communication and reporting techniques, follow up, and publicity has been a catalyst for new governmental and civil society involvement. OC’s operational success is now a model for addressing similar problems in other areas of Mexico.

OC has triggered a unique government-society collaboration effort that had never taken place before, by doing the work for the authorities it has initiated a new and different relationship in which the authorities feel more obligated to participate.

The OC program, with former pistoleros running the patrol boat has facilitated a relationship with illegal fisherman that has enabled Plataforma to understand motives and offer economic alternatives, a major part of the programs success.

Read the executive summary of the
(Prepared for SeaWatch)

PEOPLE & VOICES - Generation Ñ, The New General Market

The U.S. Latino market has reached a tipping point. Current trends suggest expanding influence will blur the lines and Hispanic and general markets will collide. The resulting merger will reveal a new, younger consumer market with a heightened element of Latino flair.
Approximately one in six Americans is of Hispanic descent or origin. More than half are under the age of 26 and by 2020, the number of Hispanic teens is expected to increase by 62% as compared to 10% growth in the number of teens overall. Hispanic youth are a powerful consumer force underlining the Latino presence in general consumer market culture. Typically English speaking, or English preferred, socially connected and heavy technology users, Latino teens, "Generation Ñ" are leading the way in general market infiltration.
However, one of the most startling facts is that for the first time, Hispanic births have surpassed the total number of Anglo births in many counties across the nation. The future of the general market may be upon us.

To keep up with the Hispanic baby boom, more businesses are courting young, tech-savvy Hispanic consumers and incorporating online communities and social networks within their corporate marketing strategy. As these domains increasingly become a fundamental component for professional success, local companies are looking to experts on the forefront of this industry to understand the extent of the benefits Web 2.0 tactics have to offer.

Technology and innovation have been driving forces for increased interconnectivity. Many young, socially connected Hispanics are on the forefront of this new society. Their affinity for Internet technologies will advance Latinos as business strategies are increasingly built within online models.

The growing impact of the Hispanic community online is an area requiring enhanced corporate attention. U.S. Hispanic purchasing power is projected to reach as much as $1.3 trillion by 2015. During the past decade, the rate of growth was more than two times the overall national rate. That is a rate worth targeting. The considerably young, up-and-coming Hispanic population has been dubbed media mavens for their avid technology and Internet usage and thus can be successfully reached through online strategies.

Some entrepreneurs and consumer brands have been aware of the vitality of communicating with Latinos through technology for years. In June, Sprint rolled out EVO, the First 4G phone in the U.S. To lead this consumer technology race, Sprint has coupled the power of crowd-sourcing and social media with Hispanic kids. Sprint is co-opting Latino youth to help propel EVO's brand message. Sprint's EVO efforts began with young Hispanic consumers by initiating interaction with its product. Since EVO's HD video allows consumers to capture and share live video via the Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, social media maven took to the product immediately as ambassadors to other Generation Ñ influencers. By sourcing and leveraging young Latino consumers Sprint receives better insight into the culturally relevant nuances of Generation Ñ and the overall Hispanic consumer segment.

Entrepreneur Eddie Batiz has built his career on empowering young people through media, technology, and information, particularly among Hispanics. Through Batiz is tapping into the online retail market among Hispanic consumers by using an "Amazon meets Mercado Central" model. The Compralatino model is transparent and empowering for many of its users. Batiz has been at the forefront of online communities and social networks by not manipulating or degrading his customer's conversation. His users receive positive word-of-mouth around their brand through a viral loop model: turning selected consumers into spontaneous carriers of the message.

Hispanics will continue to be a critical part of the U.S. economic system. This segment's affinity for technologies that ease communicating across geographic boundaries, allow interaction, build communities for like-minded individuals and provide entertainment will affect the way companies approach business.

Marketers with established working models for communicating with Hispanics through technologies can guide the corporate world over the threshold into the new age of technological advancements.

Those who have a stake in understanding the U.S. market should pay enhanced attention to the nuances and complexities of the Latino population. U.S. Hispanics assimilate while maintaining strong ties to cultural traditions and value systems. The resulting assimilated segment is permeating boundaries and forever changing the American consumer market.

5th Annual International Blues & Arts Fiesta Musician Spotlight ~ Libre

Musician Spotlight ~ Libre

5th Annual International Blues & Arts Fiesta is proud to announce that the spectacularly talented "Libre" joins our stage for the first time.  For more than 15 years the musicians of "Libre" have been discharging a fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms, Latin Soul with a dash of Jazz, and topped off with Blues and Rock.  The magical music mixture is a fusion of flavors which energizes every audience, and at the risk of overstatement, regularly astonishes concert goers .  The Libre sound and performance chemistry is a trademark of this band, who must be heard to be believed.  And the personalities of the band members just shines in one of the best collaborative efforts going around these days.  Libre's powerful sound, haunting rhythms, and sophisticated delivery really must be experienced "live" to be understood.  Watch these postings for more information about "Libre".  

Save this date: Saturday, March 26, 2011.  On this weekend the 5th Annual International San Felipe Blues & Arts Fiesta will take the concert and visual arts experience to the next level.  The band line up and the visual artists will make for an unforgettable experience here in safe, friendly, and affordable San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.  Located right on the Sea of Cortez, at the base of the color saturated mountains, the concert venue is near perfect.  The line up of bands is  guaranteed to be memorable.  And the convergence of visual artists is unprecedented in the Baja.    The San Felipe Blues & Arts Fiesta is sponsored by the local San Felipe Lions Club.  This premier fundraising event of the season directly supports our orphanage, vision services for children, and medical donations.  And we want you at the party.  Stay tuned for more...

CANTAMAR - Happy Holidays from Poco Cielos

Happy Holidays to you and yours! We will be having a Christmas buffet and New Years Eve Party with Holiday Specials in both Poco Cielo #1 and Our NEW Poco Cielo Restaurant, right next door. We hope to see you over the Holidays and please have a safe and wonderful Season!

Poco Cielo Staff and Management
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at
Carla Jesme

LA PAZ - UPDATE The Festival D'Arte La Paz 2010

The Festival D'Arte La Paz 2010 organized by the artist's group "The La Paz 6" was a great success and the feedback we've received has been very positive.
We hosted 68 artist booths with everything from jewelry and clothing to photography, sculpture and paintings. Three restaurants offered their culinary arts. Eight musical groups performed for the Festival attendees from noon until 6 pm. We had no way to count attendance, but we estimate well over 500 people came out to the Festival. We had a wonderful group of volunteers who worked very hard to make the event a success as well.
We will be donating a total of $20,420 pesos to two local charities:
FANLAP, AC (Fundación Ayuda Niños La Paz, AC) (20%): $4084 = A scholarship for one student for a year.
Baja Dogs La Paz, A.C. (80%): $16,336

SAN FELIPE - Clothing Drive for the Ejido

Clothing Drive Ejido-San Felipe-THE ROAD RUNNER CAFE -Parking Lot (on the SIDE in front of San Felipe Storage) Wednesday, December 22rd NOON :Donations Needed New or Used Clean: Blankets, Jackets/Coats, Baby Clothes, Children’s & Young Adult, Women’s & Men's Clothes.

The Restaurant will be open until 2PM with Coffee, Soup, Sandwiches. They are very generous to offer up their Property for this Event.

These items will go to anyone who needs them at No Charge. Let’s help keep people warm this Holiday Season.
Thank you - Linie Sherrod .

NEWS & POLITICS- Tourists are safe in Mexico

Tourists are safe in Mexico, Napolitano assures.
OTAY MESA, California (PH)

Due to the large media coverage of the violence acts and the war against drug trafficking in Mexico, the United States Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, assures that American visitors are safe in Mexico.

"Visiting Mexico now, by Americans who are reasonably prudent, they will be safe, we don't have information that indicates that American tourists are targets", Napolitano said during a press conference in the Otay Mesa cargo border gate.

"The only fear I have is someone getting caught, without warning, in the middle of a violence incident in Tijuana, but, I repeat, all indications are that people remain in the tourist zone and be careful, they don't have anything to fear", the Secretary added.

According to statistics given by the San Diego Police Chief, "we've only had two homicides and two kidnappings directly related to drug trafficking in the city in the last two years", William Lansdowne said to FRONTERA.

The same Police Chief Lansdowne is thankful that under the economic stimulus plan from President Obama, which destines an aid of 269 Million dollars for gate entrances to the nation, 20 million of that amount are specifically for the Otay Mesa border gate, he said, "they will be of great help even to our own elements".

Courtesy of Hotel Rosarito Beach

SAN FELIPE - Lions Club Makes Local Arrests at the Jail House Fundraiser

written by Robin Kissee, edited MLA

Crime does pay in San Felipe!  Just ask those jailbirds who paid fines at the Fat Boy's jail after the San Felipe B.C. Lions Club Deputies cleaned up the streets in downtown.  Lions Club deputies roamed the streets looking for "perps" and citizen arrests were also made to break up the crime rings.  After an arrest was made, a lawbreaker was given a time to appear before one of the judges:  "Run 'Em Outta town" Rosemary Morris, "Flippin"  George Popini, and "Reach for Your  Wallet" Robin Waters.

At 10:30am the judges were waiting in front of Fat Boy's jail for the guilty parties to arrive.  Some of the charges made against the bad guys included:  running red lights, hitting pot holes, kicking the cat, or being perky or nice.  Some seemed a little personal too, like Jeanne Pepler being charged with "starting Rumors".

Other reprobates included Steve Foreman, charged with being "pup-ular".  And Nan Davis was caught for being a "karaoke junkie".  Darryl Silva showed up in a red cape and was immediately charged with "impersonating a super hero".  The shame of it all.

After the charges were read, the guilty took the adult libation of their choice (ahem) and were thrown into the cell for their 15 minute sentence.  Prisoners were issued striped garb and given a tin can to collect their fines.  No strip searches were deemed necessary since no TSA agents were arrested is the sweep.

John and Rachel Pack had the audacity to bring their dog, who entered and exited the cell at will.  Some prisoners labored in their cells, while others complained about the injustice of being incarcerated.  A few rattled the tin cups against the bars and waited for their friends to put a few pesos in the cup.  Passersby also tossed coins to the incarcerated hoping to shut them up.

Then Wayne Chiavacci thought he was above the law and bribed the judge "Reach for Your Wallet" Waters.  She took the bait and the judge landed in the hoosegow with the other criminals.  The chaos continued with the Most Wanted Man in Town… Tom Edwards being arrested by multiple citizens and three different deputies.  In the end, the law of the Lions Club prevailed and everyone was able to pay their fines and get out of jail. 

All and all, the day in front of Fat Boy's was great fun and a successful fundraising event.  People joined in the meting out of Lion Club justice by waiting their turn before the judge, taking pictures of the incarcerated, and lots of belly laughing at the shenanigans.  The Lions Club event raised critically needed funding for local vision clinics and children's eyeglasses.  Justice was served and no one got out of jail free.  Citizens of San Felipe can sleep well tonight.

ENSENADA - Large Charity Effort

Large Charity Effort for Children’s Orphanage

For the orphaned children and staff members of Rancho El Milagro ( in Ensenada, Baja, Mexico, the “Thanksgiving” holiday came early last week thanks to the advent of the Wahoo’s Baja Support Run IV, a unique charity event held in conjunction with the 43rd Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. Now in its fourth year, the 2010 effort set new records for corporate and private contributions, with more than $17,000 in aid being donated for much-needed food, supplies and building construction projects.
On Tuesday, November 16th, a local police escort led the 40 foot Magnaflow tractor trailer filled with supplies, four Baja 1000 race trucks and a long line of race support trucks and crews from downtown Ensenada through city streets and up the highway to the children’s home.

Once there, nearly 80 crew members and volunteers from event sponsor teams including the #13 General Tire/Wahoo’s Trophy-Truck entry of Ed Stout, the #71 General Tire Trophy-Truck team of Rick Johnson, the Azunia Tequila/Wahoo’s TrophyLite team of Jim Riley/Rick D. Johnson and the #601 Torchmate/Magnaflow/BFGoodrich team of Bill Kunz/JT Taylor set up a human chain to unload the tractor trailer of several tons of food, cleaning supplies and toiletries.

The enthusiastic group of volunteers was divided into individual work crews to spent four hours painting dorm rooms and several fences, attending to badly needed landscaping work and assembling two special surprises for the children’s recreation room – a new “foosball” table and new flat screen television/DVD player donated by Baja Support Run supporter OnAirr and Marcus Valdas. Racing For Christ (RFC) chaplain Steven Hansen then led the group in prayer before lunch was served by Wahoo’s Fish Taco co-founder Wing Lam.

Afterward, the children each received specially made backpacks from Hostyle Racing that included several AOK sweatshirts and custom yo-yos, General Tire t-shirts, and toothbrushes, toothpaste and school supplies donated by Agave Motorsports. The race teams also signed special posters made by Blue C Advertising.

In conjunction with last week’s Support Run, the generous support of Nick Baldwin’s Acts of Kindness (AOK) organization ( that included grounds maintenance and kitchen tools. Mark and C’Ann McMillin, Erik Harp, Doug Booth and Scott Drummond made it possible for local contractors to oversee badly needed repairs including re-roofing several buildings, bathroom remodeling and the construction of the water dam on the Rancho El Milagro grounds itself.

AOK and Baldwin also worked with San Juan Capistrano, California’s Buy My Bikes company on the donation of several bicycles and Jeff Goulding in donating 60 pairs of Gee Wa Wa shoes to the orphanage to be delivered in time for Christmas.

For 2010, Magnaflow Performance Exhaust, 4Wheel Parts and Hostile Racing added their resources to the Baja Support Run IV, which enjoys primary support from Wahoo’s Fish Taco, Monster Energy, Azunia Tequila, Blue C Advertising and Alpine Star. In addition, the fourth annual event received additional financial support from the #1313 Herzog Electric Protruck team and also the #3 Riveria Racing team of Mark Post/Ryan Arciero.

Coverage of the Wahoo’s Baja Support Run IV will include several new online video productions produced in association with Jim Cook of Air, Land and Sea Films and specially created in-store promotions via Wahoo’s Fish Taco throughout Southern California. The unique event will also be featured in the NBC television coverage of the 2010 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 being produced by Aura 360 as well as several feature print articles including OC Metro magazine, OC and Dirt Sports magazine.

The Wahoo’s Baja Support Run began in 2006 and was created by event founder Marty Fiolka and Blue C’s Eric Morley. Originally designed with three race teams helping three charities, the program has now evolved into a single focused effort that supports a larger annual effort at the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. Monster Energy’s Robert “Scotty” Scott and Wahoo’s Lam have supported the program from the beginning.

“Wahoo’s takes great pride in being part of many charitable events throughout the year,” explained Lam. “However, this annual event represents something special because of our proud role as its title sponsor and especially because of the hard work and giving spirit that Marty Fiolka, Eric Morley and all the corporate and team supporters pour into it every November. Without question, the massive effort put forth in 2010 not only raises the bar to new levels, but, most importantly, will positively influence the daily lives of these children for a long time to come.”


NEWS - Meteor Shower on Dec 13th

December 13, 14 - Geminids Meteor Shower. Considered by many to be the best meteor shower in the heavens, the Geminids are known for producing up to 60 multicolored meteors per hour at their peak. The peak of the shower this year should occur on the night of December 13 and morning of the 14th, although some meteors should be visible from December 6 - 19. Some estimates say there could be as many as 120 meteors an hour visible from dark-sky locations. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Gemini. The Moon will set early in the evening setting the sky up for a spectacular show. Best viewing is usually to the east after midnight.

NEWS - 2nd Total Lunar Eclipse in 2010

December 2010 - 2nd Total Lunar Eclipse in 2010
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A total lunar eclipse will take place on December 20/21, 2010. It will be visible about 9:30pm Pacific Standard Time on December 21 in North and South America. The beginning of the total eclipse will be visible from northern Europe just before sunrise. The end of the total eclipse will be visible rising at sunset for Japan and northeastern Asia.
It is the second of two lunar eclipses in 2010. The first was a partial lunar eclipse on June 26, 2010
Times of over North America
(-8 UTC)
(-7 UTC)
(-6 UTC)
(-5 UTC)
Start penumbral (P1)9:27 pm (*)10:27 pm (*)11:27 pm (*)12:27 am
Start umbral (U1)10:32 pm (*)11:32 pm (*)12:32 am1:32 am
Start total (U2)11:40 pm (*)12:40 am1:40 am2:40 am
Greatest eclipse12:17 am1:17 am2:17 am3:17 am
End total (U3)12:53 am1:53 am2:53 am3:53 am
End umbra (U4)2:02 am3:02 am4:02 am5:02 am
End penumbral (P4)3:06 am4:06 am5:06 am6:06 am
(*) before midnight on December 20