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Published Monday, April 3, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 66
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Guardacostas rescue a U.S. sailboat near Panamá

Rescued boat
Guardacostas de Costa Rica photo

Officers of the Guardacostas based at the station in Golfito were out on patrol Friday when they received a call that a U.S. vessel was suffering some mechanical problems on the Panamanian side of the southern border. The ship, called Mirage, had two U.S. citizens and a Panamanian on board, according to the coast guard.
Officials said that the ship was escorted to Golfito where the passengers could repair the ship and continue on its journey to México.


$2 million goes to workers helping terminally ill
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

About $2 million was paid by the Costa Rican social security fund in 2016 to salaried workers who took care of sick people facing terminal illnesses.

In total, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social granted 7,927 subsidies in that whole year, averaging 660 licenses per month. The average monthly cost of these subsidies is about $170,000.

The benefit is granted to any salaried worker who wishes to take care of a terminally ill person, relative or not. This license should be requested by the patient or a caregiver in case the patient is unable to.

After the issuance of a medical certification, the patient or the caregiver should approach a medical branch of the Caja and request the benefit. This license should be renewed every 30 days by the examining doctor.

The worker who will take care of the patient should have paid their social security dues during the last three consecutive months to obtain the benefit.

“This benefit has made a difference in a lot of peoples lives. It’s a humane approach to deal with patients who are suffering and those who care for them,” said Arnoldo León, director of the monetary benefits unit at the Caja.

The subsidy is calculated according to the last pay stub of the worker.

If the worker’s earnings do not exceed more than two minimum salaries, he will receive 100 percent of his or her check.

If the salary exceeds two minimum ones but less than three, the worker will be paid 80 percent.

Those above three minimum salaries will get a 60 percent subsidy.

“Employers are already fully aware of this license and they are able to make an online track of the worker’s status and if the patient he or she is taking care of passes away or recovers,” said León.

In most cases, the patient is taken care of by relatives he explained.

The money for these subsidies comes from Fondo de Desarrollo Social y Asignaciones Familiares, a social program which is funded by automatically deducted contributions from employers and employees.

These subsidies were established by law in 1993, however, there is still a large population that is not aware of its existence, according to León.

“We do information campaigns to let people know about this right. We have a similar benefit for the parents or caregivers of seriously ill children, It’s all part of a coordinated effort to assist the most vulnerable populations,” said Léon.


Álvarez Desanti appears to be Liberación nominee
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Updated at 4:20 p.m.

José María Figueres has conceded in the election for the  Partido Liberación Nacional presidential nomination.

The former president held a press conference this morning as the latest totals show him with slightly less than 40 percent of the votes by party members. His opponent who is now the
nominee is Antonio Álvarez Desanti.  He had about 45 percent of the vote today, a figure that eliminates the need for a runoff.
Figueres is the former president who has been tarnished by the Acatel scandal.  Álvarez is the former campaign manager for Johnny Araya in the 2014 elections.

He has been trying to win th enlimination for more than a decade.

Liberación Nacional hopes to wrest the presidency from the Partido Accion Ciudadana. Other parties will hold their internal nomination convention soon.

Álvarez has the support of the Arias brothers.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 3, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 66
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.
Legal Services

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TAX FRAUD DEFENSE /  PANAMA PAPERS

I.R.S. Criminal and Civil Issues

Consult with a U.S. licensed Tax Attorney in Costa Rica concerning your I.R.S. Issues

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I.R.S. Criminal Investigations, including non-filing of tax returns, tax evasion, filing false income tax returns, money laundering, currency reporting requirements, offshore banking reporting requirements, false statements, and false offer in compromise submissions.

Confidential and Privileged Communication
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Dentistry

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starved horse
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo      
Horses like these are often found in horrid, physical conditions.
Border police have seized 47 horses

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Border police announced that they had seized over 47 horses since the beginning of the year. The number represents more than double the amount seized for 2016 and it is only three months in.

Most of these horses are confiscated due to their obvious malnourishment, ulcers and presence of ticks on their bodies, officials said. These animals are not for riding, however. They are meant to be eaten.

The Policía de Fronteras were conducting a routine patrol along the Nicaraguan border when they spotted a group of nine horses corralled together and being led by several unidentified individuals. Those individuals escaped when they heard commands from the police, according to a report.

Officials said that the horses were in a deplorable condition. Some were blind, some were limping and others had wounds on their bodies, according to police. Many also showed infections by ticks and other parasites, police said. The animals were handed over to the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal of the agricultural ministry.

Border police said that the increase in horse seizures along the Nicaraguan border are due to increased patrols particularly in the Los Chiles sector.


Woman found dead in hotel on Saturday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A woman was discovered dead in a hotel room in San José Centro Saturday morning as the result of an apparent strangulation.

Agents of the Judicial Investigating Organization report that the woman entered the hotel with an unidentified adult male around 2:30 in the morning Saturday.  According to a preliminary report, the man apparently left the premises of the hotel around a half hour after arriving. Witnesses told investigators that the man said the victim was bathing and that he would return to the room shortly.

When he did not return, people within the hotel went looking for the woman and heard no response from the room, according to investigators. That was when they discovered her dead in the room. Officers were alerted and a preliminary investigation discovered marks on the neck of the victim.

The woman has not been identified and is believed to be between 30 and 35 years old, according to officials.


Security guard arrested on rape charge

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Judicial Investigating Organization announced the arrest of a 54-year old man Sunday on suspicion of rape.

The man arrested works as a private security guard in downtown San José, according to officials. A preliminary report indicates that man offered a 23-year old woman a job at a clinic. Agents said that the woman gathered together the different requirements necessary for the job.

One of those was apparently a medical examination. Investigators then said that the victim’s rapist took her to a place that he claimed would charge a very cheap price for that examination. The place was really a hotel in San José, according to officials, where the rape occurred.

The 54 year old was arrested and charged with the rape and is currently in custody for two months while awaiting for the trial to begin, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization.


Man found dead and burnt in Heredia

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Judicial Investigating Organization is investigating the circumstances leading to the cause of death of a man whose body was found burnt Saturday at San Rafael in Heredia.

According to the initial report from agents, the body was found by cyclists passing by on their route. Preliminary investigations discovered that the body was burnt and missing parts apparently as a result of animal bites, agents said.

Agents believe the man is somewhere between 20 and 30 years old. There was no mention as to motive and the body was taken to the Morgue Judicial to determine if there were any gunshot wounds on the body.


Embassy gives millions toward openness

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Embassy provided more than 50 million colons, or around $90,000, towards initiatives in Costa Rica fostering open government and transparency within the public record.

The project had two components, according to embassy officials. The first consisted of what the embassy defined as capacity building in civil servants and the civil society organizations. These were conducted through workshops, conferences and exchanges with so-called experts on open government, according to officials.

Additionally, around $60,000 was invested into 12 donations to organizations with initiatives promoting public access to information and more openness in government data. The embassy desired the end goals to be greater civil participation in government as much as accountability.

Among the different initiatives that received donated grants, were smartphone apps, websites, digital guides, data journalism and self-proclaimed citizen empowerment programs, according to a statement from the embassy. Each project was grouped into three areas: open data, access to information and citizen participation.

Media organizations such as the Voz de Guanacaste benefited from this along with the Asociación Abriendo Datos Costa Rica, Universidad de Costa Rica and the ombudsman’s office among others.

  
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Costa Rica

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Costa Rican ballplayer wins training contract with Houston Astros
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Last Thursday, Bryan Solano lived a life changing moment at Antonio Escarré baseball park in Barrio San Cayetano, San José.

That day, he sign up his training contract with the Houston Astros, an absolute milestone for any Central American baseball player seeking to play in the big leagues. 

His two trainers, Carlos Leyva and Álvaro Montalván had long prepared the 19-year old ballplayer for this moment. In fact they took him to Nicaragua for the last year and a half in order to improve his pitching skills.

Under their guidance, Solano was able to throw a ball from 87 miles per hour to at least 92. An achievement that was possible thanks to his hard work in the Major League Baseball Developing Academy based in Nicaragua.

As of now, Solano will move to the Dominican Republic. He should start his training there on April 15 and then continue his practice with the local summer team. He has to pass three different training stages before playing under the lights at Minute Maid Park, the Astros official stadium. 

"Contracts do not have a specific expiration date. It will depend on the player if he stays or not, his training could be terminated for poor performance, bad behavior or other reasons." said Montálvan. 

Solano was born and raised in Cieneguita, one of the most violent cities in Limón. Growing up, he lost his father at the age of 14.

After witnessing the struggles of his single mother to raise him and his three brothers, he realized that success was not an option but a requirement.

He started in the world of baseball at the age of 11, coached by a man named Ricky Lacwood. Lacwood allowed the kid to play in several positions until Solano figured out that he wanted to be a pitcher.

"It's not easy, but if you want to go far in life, you have to sacrifice yourself and work hard," he said in an interview to the Federación Costarricense de Baseball.

"The signing of Bryan Solano, a young player who started from a very young age in this exciting sport, is the prize he deserves for his efforts while playing for the national baseball selection in the national games,”said Vladimir Murillo, president of the Federación Costarricense de Baseball.

Bryan Solano
Federación Costarricense de Béisbol photo
Bryan Solano and his mother celebrate the agreement.

“We feel proud and the whole country too. This will make more organizations pay attention to our country because there is so much talent here," Murillo added.

The Astros did not make the decision overnight, they followed Solano’s performance for several months, when he finally convinced the scouts.


"Bryan is a right-handed pitcher who throws many strikes and keeps low balls. He has good speed, keeps a line that oscillates between 90 and 92 miles. His slider moves between the 79 and 80 miles with good rotation," said Locadio Guevara, the baseball scout that promoted the hiring of Solano.

"The key to success is to persevere and excel in what I do. This is a job and you have to take it seriously and responsibly,” Solano said during an interview with the baseball federation.


According to records from the Federación, a total of 14 Costa Ricans have played in major league baseball in the past 57 years.

The first one was Danny Hayling, who made it into the L.A. Dodgers back in the 50s, then Huey Howden, who was signed by the Cleveland Indians in the 60s helped clear the path for younger generations.


Those players included: Antonio Paddyfoot and Alex Torres for the Cleveland Indians, Manuel Zúñiga for the Boston Red Sox, Juan Villalobos for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Alejandro Hueda and Alexander Flores for the Toronto Blue Jays, Harry Fernández who played for Toronto and Seattle, Jeffrey Spencer for the Atlanta Braves, Berny Granados for the Colorado Rockies, Antony Fage for the New York Mets, and Erick Zamora and Sebastián Martínez for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Casa Presidencial seeks to pass its two new open government bills
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Casa Presidencial is calling for the public to review its bill proposals on public information and transparency until Apr. 18.

These efforts are part of a wider wave in attempted reform that the executive branch claims to want to introduce in terms of access to public information from the state and open data. The proposal on access to public information merely establishes that the state must be proactive in fulfilling its duties to inform and that all public entities must have a website with information that is easily accessible.

Additionally, the bill seeks to speed up the request process for the public to receive, as quickly as possible, the information that someone or a group may request. One of the ways Casa Presidencial wants to achieve this is by designating someone as an Oficialía de Acceso a la Información. The position is similar to public information officers in many government agencies. This would more than likely be the comptroller in each government office.

The proposal is good in theory but the application, if passed through the legislature and signed as a law, could prove difficult. Frequently it can be difficult for someone to access what is the public record. The bureaucratic nets to jump through can sometimes be so extensive that it is near impossible to cut through the tape.

Many reporters and journalists often complain as to the difficulty in getting information through any medium. The other proposal that the administration wants to see become law is one that seeks to provide greater freedom of expression.

Some expats are fully aware that defamation is a criminal offense in Costa Rica and accusing someone or attacking their reputation may not always be safeguarded by the defense of truth.
This bill seeks to drop the penalization of defamatory statements if it is in response to something of the public interest.

In other words, this is very similar to U.S. libel laws regarding public officials or persons considered to be in the public spotlight.

Accordingly, a public figure or public official needs to prove that, not only was the statement false, but there must also be a high degree of fault to the publisher of the alleged defamatory statement.

Casa Presidencial’s bill also reduces the sentence from two years to one for the period of prescribing the alleged libel crime and extends the response time for a complaint by the people accused of such cases.

To emphasize the point, the executive branch posted both proposals on its website for all to examine.


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Research shows infants can become bilingual through simple hearing
By Naja Ferjan Ramirez*
Research scientist at University of Washington

Any adult who has attempted to learn a foreign language can attest to how difficult and confusing it can be. So when a 3 year old growing up in a bilingual household inserts Spanish words into his English sentences, conventional wisdom assumes that he is confusing the two languages.

Research shows that this is not the case.

In fact, early childhood is the best possible time to learn a second language. Children who experience two languages from birth typically become native speakers of both, while adults often struggle with second language learning and rarely attain native-like fluency.

But the question remains: Is it confusing for babies to learn two languages simultaneously?

Research shows babies begin to learn language sounds before they are even born. In the womb, a mother’s voice is one of the most prominent sounds an unborn baby hears. By the time they’re born, newborns cannot only tell the difference between their mother’s language and another language, but also show a capability of distinguishing between languages.

Language learning depends on the processing of sounds. All the world’s languages put together comprise about 800 or so sounds. Each language uses only about 40 language sounds, or phonemes, which distinguish one language from another.

At birth, the baby brain has an unusual gift: it can tell the difference between all 800 sounds. This means that at this stage infants can learn any language that they’re exposed to. Gradually babies figure out which sounds they are hearing the most. Babies learn to recognize their mother’s voice even before they are born.

Between 6 and 12 months, infants who grow up in monolingual households become more specialized in the subset of sounds in their native language. In other words, they become native language specialists. And, by their first birthdays, monolingual infants begin to lose their ability to hear the differences between foreign language sounds.

What about those babies who hear two languages from birth? Can a baby brain specialize in two languages? If so, how is this process different then specializing in a single language?

Knowing how the baby brain learns one versus two languages is important for understanding the developmental milestones in learning to speak. For example, parents of bilingual children often wonder what is and isn’t typical or expected, or how their child will differ from those children who are learning a single language.

My collaborators and I recently studied the brain processing of language sounds in 11-month-old babies from monolingual (English only) and bilingual (Spanish-English) homes. We used a completely noninvasive technology called magnetoencephalography, which precisely pinpointed the timing and the location of activity in the brain as the babies listened to Spanish and English syllables.

We found some key differences between infants raised in monolingual versus bilingual homes.

At 11 months of age, just before most babies begin to say their first words, the brain recordings revealed that:

* Babies from monolingual English households are specialized to process the sounds of English, and not the sounds of Spanish, an unfamiliar language.

* Babies from bilingual Spanish-English households are specialized to process the sounds of both languages, Spanish and English.

Our findings show that babies’ brains become tuned to whatever language or languages they hear from their caregivers. A monolingual brain becomes tuned to the sounds of one language, and a bilingual brain becomes tuned to the sounds of two languages. By 11 months of age, the activity in the baby brain reflects the language or languages that they have been exposed to.

Parents of monolingual and bilingual children alike are eager for their little ones to utter the first words. It’s an exciting time to learn more about what the baby is thinking. However, a common concern, especially for bilingual parents, is that their child is not learning fast enough.


We found that the bilingual babies showed an equally strong
Bilingual baby
Institute for Learning & Brain Science photo
Babies can learn any language they're exposed to.

brain response to English sounds as the monolingual babies.

This suggests that bilingual babies were learning English at the same rate as the monolingual babies.

Parents of bilingual children also worry that their children will not know as many words as children who are raised with one language.

To some extent, this concern is valid. Bilingual infants split their time between two languages, and thus, on average, hear fewer words in each. However, studies consistently show that bilingual children do not lag behind when both languages are considered.

Vocabulary sizes of bilingual children, when combined across both languages, have been found to be equal to or greater than those of monolingual children.


Another common concern is that bilingualism causes confusion. Part of this concern arises due to code switching, a speaking behavior in which bilinguals combine both languages.

For example, my 4-year-old son, who speaks English, Spanish, and Slovene, goes as far as using the Slovene endings on Spanish and English words. Research shows bilingual children code-switch because bilingual adults around them do too. Code-switching in bilingual adults and children is rule-governed, not haphazard.

Unlike monolingual children, bilingual children have another language from which they can easily borrow if they can’t quickly retrieve the appropriate word in one language. Even 2 year olds modulate their language to match the language used by their interlocutor.

Researchers have shown code switching to be part of a bilingual child’s normal language development. And it could even be the beginning of what gives them the extra cognitive prowess known as the bilingual advantage.

The good news is young children all around the world can and do acquire two languages simultaneously. In fact, in many parts of the world, being bilingual is the norm rather than an exception.

It is now understood that the constant need to shift attention between languages leads to several cognitive advantages. Research has found that bilingual adults and children show an improved executive functioning of the brain, that is, they are able to shift attention, switch between tasks and solve problems more easily.

Bilinguals have also been found to have increased metalinguistic skills (the ability to think about language per se, and understand how it works). There is evidence that being bilingual makes the learning of a third language easier. Further, the accumulating effect of dual language experience is thought to translate into protective effects against cognitive decline with aging and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

So, if you want your child to know more than one language, it’s best to start at an early age, before she even starts speaking her first language. It won’t confuse your child, and it could even give her a boost in other forms of cognition.

* Dr.  Ferjan Ramirez is with the university’s Institute for Learning & Brain Study. The article is used with permission by https://theconversation.com/.

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HIdden Garden
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

Visit our Web site at:  www.HiddenGardenArt.com
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9140-5/1/17

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Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com

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Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom



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Real estate rentals (paid category)

rental home
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San Isidro Del General, Perez Zeledon. The beautiful southern zone. By week or month.  Only 10 minutes to town. Fabulous, artistic, one Bedroom, elegantly furnished home, overlooking river,  and near to attractions at the beach or mountain. Comes completely furnished with custom queen bed, orthopaedic mattress, all linens, large kitchen, all pans, dishes, silverware, blender new refrigerator, stove with oven, washing machine, glove leather couches, breakfast nook, patio with hammock.  Has also large bodega, with extra full sized bed, can sleep 4. Comes with satellite TV & WIFI. Located next to small river, with access to river pools, and over 60 varieties of rare, tropical birds. Only 45 minutes to beach, Playa Dominical and 40 minutes to National Park Chirripo. Perfect weather. Not hot like the beach. No car needed, bus take 15 minutes to town, costs 30 cents. Gated private and secure, near bus, mini markets. This is a complete home, artistic, beautiful surroundings, with convenience and privacy, yet near to it all. Nice folks.  For more photos and information: james43michael@gmail.com  Costa Rica phone: (506) 2771-4339
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9163-3/10/17


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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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9049-7/31/17





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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 3, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 66
Calendar
Opinion
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Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
Venezuela’s court abandons
control of legislative power


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela's supreme court said Saturday that it would abandon measures to strengthen President Nicolas Maduro's grip on power after it was widely and harshly criticized.

In a ruling posted on its website, the supreme court said it was overturning its decision to diminish the legislative powers of the general assembly, which opponents called a coup d'etat.

Luisa Ortega, the powerful attorney general for the country, denounced two rulings announced late Wednesday, which effectively dissolved the opposition-majority legislature and revoked lawmakers' immunity from prosecution.

"It constitutes a rupture of the constitutional order," Ortega said in a speech on state television. "It's my obligation to express my great concern to the country."

A defiant Maduro defended the supreme court in an appearance Friday on state television and vowed to resolve the impasse between the attorney general and the court through dialogue and the constitution.

Maduro said he called upon the national security council on Saturday night, to deliberate and draw a resolution that will strengthen the Venezuelan constitution and give peace and tranquility to Venezuela.

He said in a speech to cheering supporters late Friday: "In Venezuela, the constitution, civil, political and human rights and people power are in full force."

Maduro's opponents and international powers, including the United States and governments across Latin America, condemned the Venezuelan Supreme Court rulings.

The United Nations' top human rights official expressed grave concern and called on the high court to reverse its decision.

The head of the Organization of American States compared it to a self-inflicted coup by the leftist Maduro. The organization announced that it would hold an emergency meeting at its Washington headquarters Monday to discuss the situation in Venezuela.


Massive wall of water kills
more than 200 in Colombia


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Rescuers are sorting through mounds of debris and mud Sunday in search of missing people after a massive wall of water from three overflowing rivers in Colombia swept through the region overnight Friday, destroying homes and infrastructure, and killing more than 200 people.

Shortly after the banks of the rivers burst, a landslide devastated the southwestern town of Mocoa.

President Juan Manuel Santos visited the wrecked town of 40,000 near the border with Ecuador on Saturday and declared a state of public calamity. Santos warned that the death toll is likely to rise.

For their part, Red Cross officials said at least 203 people were injured in the deluge and an undetermined number of people were still missing.

Video from the scene showed flattened buildings, and mounds of crumpled cars and uprooted trees, as dazed residents surveyed the scene and rescuers pulled the injured and the dead from the wreckage.

The catastrophe came after days of torrential rains that has left large parts of the region without electrical power or running water. President Santos blamed the avalanche on climate change, saying the amount of rain that drenched the area in one night was nearly half the amount the area receives in the month of March.

In recent months, heavy rains and flooding have struck along the Pacific side of South America, killing scores of people in Peru and Ecuador.


Researchers develop sponge
that soaks up and saves oil


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

If you were a casual observer watching Argonne National Laboratory scientist Seth Darling work, it would be easy to miss the low-tech but groundbreaking invention he's concocted in his brightly lit workspace.

It doesn't have wires or circuitry, it doesn't move, it doesn't do much of anything. It is in fact, at least at first glance, simply a sponge.

"It looks real simple when you demonstrate it, right?" Darling explained as he lowered the small, dark-colored foam sponges into a bowl of water mixed with blue oil. "I mean, you just stick it down there and it works. But behind that is a lot of work."

Darling explains that what we can see with the human eye, these dark-colored pieces of foam, or sponges, isn't the major breakthrough. It's what's in, and on, the sponges that is revolutionary.

"After we do our treatment to it, and we create this Oleo Sponge, you put it on there and it's got a voracious appetite for oil. It just soaks that oil right up," he said.

While the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago is best known for its contributions to nuclear energy development, it is also an incubator for technological innovation and discovery, the very environment where Darling created the Oleo Sponge.

He explains the treatment that gives the Oleo Sponge that voracious appetite is the real innovation developed at Argonne, something Darling and his associates call Sequential Infiltration Synthesis.

The synthesis works at the nano level. When hard metal oxide atoms with complicated nano-structures are infused throughout the fibers of the foam, it gives it the extremely effective quality of allowing the foam to bind with the oil in the water, essentially separating the two liquids.

The breakthrough could dramatically change cleanup of oil spills, particularly the more difficult task of retrieving oil below the surface of the water.

But the Oleo Sponge doesn't just clean up the oil. It saves it.

Oil spilled into water is usually burned off or unusable after cleanup efforts, but the Oleo Sponge can collect, separate and deposit the oil for further use.

The sponge itself can also be re-used and recycled, all qualities that have brought a flood of interest to Argonne's doors.

Hemant Bhimnathwala with Argonne Laboratory's Business Development Group said that the organization has received inquiries from about 100-plus companies in the last few days who want to be partners in a slew of things from manufacturing the foam to distribution.

While oil spill cleanup in bodies of water is the most clearly identifiable use for the Oleo Sponge, the SIS technology behind it could offer breakthroughs in a variety of other ways, yet to be discovered.

This is like an iceberg that Seth Darling and other scientists at Argonne are still delving into, while the Oleo Sponge continues to make its journey into the wider market, and hopefully the world's bodies of water, in the coming years.


Military vets called to duty
again to fight child porn


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The language at a small graduation ceremony inside a federal office building in Washington Friday morning was militaristic: Fighting. Frontlines. Enemies. War.

For a fifth year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rather quietly has trained a small team of injured, wounded or sick military veterans for a different type of deployment. This one supports the agency’s lesser-known investigative arm as analysts on child exploitation cases. These are the ones who will be able to take photos off a hard drive in a child pornography investigation, then help identify the perpetrator and build the case for an arrest.

"It is a battle. It is a war. And it needs to be,” said Daniel Ragsdale, deputy director for immigration and customs.

Since 2013, more than 100 veterans have learned computer forensics through the H.E.R.O. Child-Rescue Corps, an 11-week program in the nation's capital, followed by a nearly year-long internship in immigration field offices around the country.

Chris Wooten, a U.S. Army ranger who was injured in a helicopter crash seven years ago while serving with a special operations regiment in Afghanistan during his fifth tour in Iraq and Afghanistan, felt like the program could return that sense of purpose and pride he felt serving in the military.

It’s unpaid work that first year, working alongside agents to find suspects and build the cases, often looking at graphic, violent content for clues about the perpetrator, the victim, or even the location. But the program regularly leads to job offers from the immigration agency, according to an agency spokesman.

The collaboration between the agency’s Homeland Security Investigations office, U.S. Special Operations Command, and the National Association to Protect Children builds the ranks of child sexual abuse investigators, as law enforcement across the United States scrambles to keep up with networks of elusive online suspects; the ones supplying the images and the ones demanding them.

Non-profit organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that also work on these cases report that the trade in child pornography images is growing exponentially. They report receiving thousands of requests from law enforcement agencies to analyze millions of images and videos in one year.

Ragsdale, the second in command at the government agency, says there aren’t enough analysts to meet the investigative demand. The agency is only one of several federal bureaus trying to dismantle the online exchange of child pornography.

Chosen to speak for the class at the ceremony, Wooten’s voice faltered at the podium; he spoke about friends who died in combat or after returning home. He mentioned the veteran suicide rate in the U.S., which is about 20 a day. He talked of scars, visible and invisible.

More than the adrenaline rush of military work under high stress, Wooten says with the investigatory work you get that sense of pride back.


Trump says U.S.
ready to act alone on North Korea issue

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Donald Trump says if China is not going to solve the problem of North Korea, the United States will.

"China has a great influence over North Korea," Trump told London's Financial Times. "And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't and if they don't, it won't be good for anyone."

Trump hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping at the U.S. leader's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida Thursday.

Their two-day summit will undoubtedly focus on North Korea and its nuclear program. Threats and sanctions, including China's recent cut-off of coal imports from North Korea, have failed to deter Pyongyang's drive to become a nuclear armed power.

U.S. experts warn North Korea is planning its sixth nuclear text. Tokyo called a February North Korean ballistic missile launch over the Sea of Japan intolerable.

Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland told the Financial Times it is conceivable North Korea could have the ability to hit the U.S. with a nuclear-armed missile by the end of the Trump administration in 2021.

Appearing on ABC television's “This Week” broadcast Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said it is time for China to act and stop making excuses that they're concerned, too.

The White House is considering all options in dealing with North Korea, including military action.

Former U.S. Defense secretary Ash Carter, also speaking on “This Week,” said the U.S. had a plan for a preemptive strike on North Korea's Yeonpyeong research facility in 1994 when Bill Clinton was president.

Carter said the military option always has been and always should be on the table.

He said a preemptive strike on a missile launch pad could trigger a North Korean invasion of South Korea and the certain defeat of the North.

But, he warned the consequences of such a move would be a war that would have intensity of violence that has not been seen since the last Korean War. Carter said the North knows the U.S. is emphasizing its deterrent posture and strength on the Korean peninsula.

He also said China knows that the collapse of North Korea would lead to a unified Korea allied with the U.S. right on its border.

Zika vaccine trials enter
next phase, officials say


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. researchers have begun enrolling people in the next phase of testing for a vaccine to protect against zika, the mosquito-borne virus that can cause birth defects in pregnant women.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters Friday that the zika vaccine had cleared preliminary safety hurdles and would now be tested on human volunteers to see whether it is effective.

In the study, funded by the U.S. government, researchers aim to enroll more than 2,400 healthy volunteers from areas where mosquitoes carry the zika virus such as parts of the southern United States, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Perú, Costa Rica, Panamá and México.

Researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health said the trial would begin with a small number of people testing different doses or strengths of vaccine. Once the dosage is decided, the larger part of the study could begin by June, when the volunteers will receive either the vaccine or a placebo.

Participants will be monitored for two years to see whether the vaccine protects against Zika infection.

The vaccine being tested is a new type, called a DNA vaccine. Traditionally, vaccines are made using killed or weakened viruses, which increase the recipients' ability to fight off an active infection.

The DNA vaccine contains no actual virus, but has genes extracted from zika viruses. Once inside the body, the genes form particles resembling zika that cannot cause infection. If all goes well, the gene particles should induce volunteers' immune systems to produce antibodies capable of repelling the full virus.

Researchers at the institute also are studying more traditional zika vaccines, but those are not yet ready for human trials.

The DNA vaccine trial is expected to cost $100 million, but Fauci said the government was in talks with pharmaceutical companies to share the costs of the final stage of testing, in return for rights to manufacture the vaccine in the future.

Zika typically causes no symptoms or only mild ones, such as fever and body aches. If the virus infects a pregnant woman, however, it can result in birth defects in newborns, including microcephaly, which is characterized by an abnormally small head and brain, accompanied by marked developmental disorders.

Zika is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, but it can also be transmitted via sexual contact.

More news of the Americas
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Plantation Acres
PLANTATION ACRES
This exiting new project offers spectacular home sites with breathtaking ocean and forest views stated on 100 acres of tropical forest.

* On-site Welcome Center
* Located between Punta Leona and Playa Agujas
* At just an hour from San José, the capital city.
* 5 minutes from Los Sueños Marina and 18 Hole Ted Robinson Golf Course
* 10 minutes from Jacó Beach, Costa Rica’s lives beach town

Contact:
Johnny Lopez
Phone: (506) 8945-5820 / (506) 2643-3356
Email: johnny@c21jaco.com
9141-3/23/18
9141-3/23/189173-9/1/17

Puriscal home
GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN & OCEAN VIEW HOME
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRES QUICK SALE
This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
 
    Summary of House Features:

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
       * House & perimeter security alarm system
       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
 
Video Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

Contact:
In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:  jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
9056-2/28/17

Etlinger
                                      Farm rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is www.etlingerafarms.com and photo album can be found at www.ticorico.com
9196-4/25/17

horse
                                      ranch rollover
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9183-6/13/17

Kkpit
                                      rollover

FURNISHED  APARTMENT for SALE.
CONDOMINIO SATURNO, LA URUCA, OUTSKIRTS
of SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA
Situated 3 miles west of the capital, 8 miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, 6 restaurants,  next to 2 bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F.  Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors.  Spacious living room-dining area, 2 bedrooms, maid's room, 2 bathrooms, 4 closets  (including walk in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine,small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools). Close covered parking space in guarded area.  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware,silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes.
PRICE $120,000
 Available for viewing:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email: boriskopit@yahoo.com
9143-4/17/17

rollover
Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here  www.whynotcostarica.com. If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email tim@whynotcostarica.com 
9143-2/3/17

Penthouse rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9132-6/1/17

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact: manager@crbusiness.biz.

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Remax
                                        Tamarindo
www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918

ReMax Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property
CONTACT US TODAY with NO OBLIGATION whatsoever.

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456
Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

9174-2/7/18

Real estate-related services (paid category)

A-1
                                        graphic
A1 MASTER BUILDERS COSTA RICA
SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
     Email: hotelescazu@aol.com
     For more info also see our sites:
    www.a1masterbuildercostarica.webs.com
    www.hotelsescazu.com
    www.hotel4salecostarica.com
    www.wind-solar.webs.com 
9142-7/27/17

SellATimeshare.com
Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at SellATimeshare.com. 
9004-4/26/17

COSTA RICA SOLAR
solar one

solar two
NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
Solar collector
BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.

    We aren't Cheap...Neither are our Products. Call to Compare.
    More Flexible, Reliable-and Fully Guaranteed!

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
Solar logo
CALL TODAY!
Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9177-6/19/16



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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 3, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 66
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More soil tips for tropical newcomers

Hello again to the newly arrived who want to garden in Costa Rica. Last week, I talked about sandy, clayey, and black soil, so let’s move on.

Victoria
                                  Torley
First a few words about that black soil which is primarily weathered basalt. Volcanic soils are usually extremely rich in minerals, especially the trace elements that plants need for good growth. As I mentioned before, the problems can  be a lack of organic material and worms, so additions may be needed.
x

Then there is volcanic ash, much lighter in color but also mineral rich. Please don’t think of it in the same vein as wood or cigarette ash. Much volcanic ash is very fine particles of silica, glass, an irritant if breathed in. Here in Costa Rica, our volcanic ash is usually well weathered and suitable for planting. Volcano Turrialba is depositing a nice new layer of ash (although current residents don’t much appreciate it) that can be worked into existing soils to renew their mineral content. If your soil is light in color and you can find clumps that can be split with a hammer, chances are you have soil of volcanic ash. Work in some organics, lime to correct the acidity, provide enough water and things should grow well. Some of the world’s best soils were formed by volcanic ash and weathered basalt.

If you are looking for a soil addition with natural minerals in it, look no further than those %*#&@%* leaf cutter ants. Because they delve so deeply into the earth (up to 7-8 meters) they bring nutrient rich subsoils to the surface in small particles. Grab a shovel and a wheelbarrow and head out to one of their mounds. Then load up with all that subsoil, sprinkle something to kill the ants, and go back to the garden. Distribute the subsoil over the garden and dig it in. A natural boon from a troublesome pest.

Even if you have a small property, you will likely have a mix of soils. To keep your soil rich and productive, keep adding those organics. One of the best spots for organics – other than a cow pasture – is your kitchen. Banana peels, watermelon rind, moldy stuff you forgot in the refrigerator, egg shells, everything except meats (yes that includes leftover chicken and fish), all those throwaway plant materials go to the garden. Dig a hole, dump them in, and cover them with dirt then top them with black plastic to keep things heating up. You only need to do that for a few months and you will be amazed at the quality of your soil.

Your plants are going to love you.

torley
                            pnt
A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

Plant for the Week

The Costa Rican Sweet Chestnut tree, as the name suggests, is the tropical substitute for the temperate chestnut, and nuts are treated the same way. This is a fast growing tree with a full height of 35 meters (about 115 feet) so it is not for the small yard. Dropped nuts readily begin to grow if not gathered, so you can share with neighbors. Sunny location and moist soil will get you astonishing growth and great shade. No problem so far with ants, but watch out for cows!

And here is the picture of my only surviving chestnut tree. Not much of a picture and not yet much of a tree, but we are working on it.


If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit HERE!

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From Page 7:

Sarapiquí region receives aid in development

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The rural territory constituting Sarapiquí is one of the least developed areas of Costa Rica based on data from the country’s human development index. In light of being in the bottom ten of 81 places examined by this index, the institute for rural development is attempting to improve the conditions for the inhabitants living down there through a series of aid programs and projects.

These projects mainly focus on agriculture and infrastructure building and the group is funneling substantial amounts of money to what is considered one of the poorest regions in the country.

The Instituto de Desarrollo Rural contributed to the pepper producers association increasing its total yield to 1,500 kilograms a month of the product along with an investment of at least 40 million colons. The development group has also contributed over 100 million colons for the benefit of some 28 local farmers.

The Cureña district was an area that the institute said was in desperate need of improvement particularly with the local high school. The organization gave 60 million colons to build a new cafeteria, classroom and bathroom for the school. Another 100 million colons went towards improving the sewage system in the Municipalidad de Sarapiquí.

The institute said it plans to help finance the construction of a dairy plant within the area as the nearest one for the milk, cheese and custard producers has to be transferred two hours away on the buses to Puerto Viejo twice a week.

The organization claimed it is expanding towards fostering the investment of multiple agricultural industries with many more millions of colons on the way for projects such as banana collection to the construction of greenhouses as well.