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(506) 2223-1327        Published Friday, Dec. 5, 2008,  in Vol. 8, No. 242       E-mail us
Jo Stuart
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Osa protesters
Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo photos
Protesters in front of the Hotel Cristal Ballena where officials held their meeting.

Residents vent their gripes in Osa demonstration
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Groups of unhappy individuals greeted mayors and officials at a meeting in Uvita de Osa Thursday.

Workers in the construction industry wanted quick resolutions to the cases that have resulted in frozen projects. Others protested expansion of the Parque Marino Ballena. Even others, fishermen, wanted confiscated boats returned and a loosening of rules.

The protesters blocked the Costanera Sur for about four hours until about 1:45 p.m.

That was just in time for local mayors and others to get to the afternoon meeting in a hotel to discuss the environmental future of the area.

The most significant announcement was by the mayor of Osa, Alberto Cole, who said that the plan regulador of the canton would be ready next year. It is being done by experts at the Universidad de Costa Rica, and the plan is a road map to further development.

Cole and others from his municipal council supported local decision making. The session, at which about 90 persons attended, was sponsored by the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones and its Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo.

The protesters outside were estimated at about 300.

The tribunal has made several sweeps in the area and has closed down projects for supposed environmental violations. Hearings are just now
anit park sign
Sign from a Dominical resident opposes expansion of a national park.

 being held on projects frozen further up the Pacific coast in July. So some wanted a quicker resolution to the cases.

Jorge Rodríguez Quirós, an environmental vice minister, received three petitions, including one from the Asociación de Desarrolladores Inmobiliarios de Osa seeking resumption of construction, and one from the Asociación de Desarrollo de Dominicalito, which opposes expansion of the Parque Marino Ballena.

A public meeting today was scheduled to hear citizen views also.

A reader reported that the human blockade of the highway backed up hundreds of vehicles in both the north and south directions.

Those in Limón and northern zone hope for better weather today
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The weather is supposed to improve today as a mass of unstable air moves southeast away from the northern zone and the Caribbean, according to the national weather service.

The service, the Instituto Meteorológical Nacional, said that precipitation after noon would be isolated and mostly over the mountains of the central and south Pacific.

This good news to Caribbean and northern zone residents who have endured two weeks of heavy downpours, flooded rivers, damaged crops and destroyed roads and bridges.

The latest problems were in Guácimo and Sarapiquí where the second cold front in two weeks had a strong impact, according to the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias. The commission's highest alert level still was in force there as well as the entire Provincia de Limón on the Caribbean.

Officials had to open seven more shelters
 Wednesday night in Sarapiquí to house 378 persons displaced in Puerto Viejo, Tigre, Tresrosales and Rojomaca. In Río Jiménez de Guácimo five new shelters were opened up to house 332 persons.

Five shelters continue to operate in Matina, Provincia de Limón with about 160 persons, the emergency commission said. The commission even had to open two new shelters in a church in Villa del Mar and the other in Pueblo Nuevo, both Limón centro.

But hope grows that today will be a day of receding waters, cleanup and assessment of the damages. Commission evaluators have been hampered in their work because the waters have hidden damage.

The Caribbean rail line that is vital for banana shipments has been washed away in places.

That probably is not critical because most of the bananas have been damaged, too. The agricultural losses will be in the millions of dollars. And many fields still are under water.

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cédula upgrade
Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones photo
Max Alberto Esquivel Faerron, a tribunal magistrate, sits before a screen showing a wish list of security measures.

Cédula security upgrade
sought by election tribunal

 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones is on the road to modernizing the cédula or identification card that most Costa Ricans carry. Within its organization structure is the Registro civil that issues these cards. They even issue cédula-like plastic cards to minors.

These national identification cards are used for nearly every official transaction, and the tribunal is planning a $20 million program to make the cédulas more secure and to assure Costa Ricans that they can issue one in a single day in the central and 21 regional offices.

The cédula also is important in voting and when a computer user wants to obtain a digital signature for use in business.

The magistrates of the tribunal met Thursday to explain their goals.

Rodolfo Delgado of the tribunal's Oficina de Proyectos Tecnológicos said that a new cédula would carry a computer chip so that information on the bearer would be available physically from the writing on the identity card and also virtually from the chip.

The new cédulas also will include fingerprints of the bearer and a host of modern security features, he said. Now there are 11 firms that are analyzing the technical requirements for a possible big offering, he added.

To set up such a system, the tribunal will have to start from scratch and contract for a new server, software and various emission devices.

Delgado also noted that 80 percent of the cédulas that are issued are replacements for citizens who have lost an earlier identity card.

A.M. Costa Rica/José Pablo Ramírez Vindas
Luis Morales and Pablo Calderón. of the Policía Municipal try out the devices.

Officers testing wheelies

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Municipal police in San José are trying out two Segway transport devices to see if the department wants to purchase up to 11 of the $10,000 machines.

Officers were using the devices along the pedestrian boulevards in the city. The battery-powered Segway can go up to 30 mph.

The machine is more than a big lawnmower. It has gyros to keep it upright and also carries a GPS locater system, siren, lights and a disconnect system in case someone tries to steal one.

Police will be using them during the Festival de la Luz a week from Saturday. Officers like them because they stand higher than the crowd and get good visibility.

This is a full weekend

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There's lots to do this weekend.

In Jacó a three-day surf competition begins today and runs through Sunday on the beach at the Best Western Hotel.

Nandayure on the Nicoya Peninsula is hosting its ninth Festival Navideño through Sunday.

A holiday bazaar is planned for 10 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Tamarino Heights Automercado for the benefit of Los Amigos de la Educación.

Also Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. the Fiesta del Tamal Tico takes place on the pedestrian mall from the Mercado Central to Banco Central with free eats.

Sunday the Museo Nacional in San José is inaugurating its portal or nativity scene with lots of color and tradition,

Also Sunday the Museos del Banco Central will open a new exhibition on 20th century landscape art with workshops from 10:30 a.m.

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Another U.S. mom will seek status as refugee here
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A U.S. woman facing a federal charge of international child abduction said Thursday she is seeking refugee status in Costa Rica. If granted, Costa Rica would decline to extradite her to face the U.S. charge.

The woman is Mary Anginette McBeth, 37, who was living in Montezuma on the Nicoya Peninsula. She now is confined to the immigration detention center in Hatillo.

The woman is accused in the United States of abducting her son, Amedeo Gabriel Cuomo, who was 17 months old when he was listed as missing May 1, 2007. The boy will turn 3 Jan. 5. He was featured on a number of missing children Web sites, including one in Germany where his mother initially took him.

Ms. McBeth said that Costa Rican authorities are holding her for investigation of overstaying her tourism visa and of using a false name and passport. The son is now believed to be with the father, Luigi Cuomo, 50, an Italian citizen. Ms. McBeth lived in Surfside, Florida.

“I did tell people to call me and my son by another name,” she said by telephone from the detention center Thursday. “I did whatever I could that we would not be recognized or found.”

Ms McBeth is treading the same legal grounds that was pioneered by Cher Lynn Tomayko, the Heredia fugitive whose case convinced Janina del Vecchio, the security minister, to award her refugee status July 23. Since then Costa Rica has become a beacon for foreign women who are unhappy with unfavorable court decisions involving custody of minor children. At least one other mother also seeks refugee status.

Ms. McBeth said Thursday that she simply was taking a trip with her infant son to Heidelberg, Germany, in April 2007 to visit 17-year-old Noah, her son from a previous marriage. She said that her husband was aware that she had bought a round-trip ticket. Ms. McBeth, originally from Columbia, South Carolina, married Cuomo in Miami Beach, Florida, in August 2005.

She said that her husband blindsided her by filing a child abduction charge that she learned about only when she was in Germany. “I didn't take my flight home to the States,” she added. “I didn't have a home to go home to, and I was now a fugitive. I didn't have any options.”

The couple was in the middle of divorce proceedings at the time, she said. Whatever the circumstances, Ms. McBeth is listed as a non-custodial parent on wanted
Ms. McBeth and child
Ms. McBeth and her child, Amedeo

posters. An international child abduction warrant was issued April 16.

Ms. McBeth said she moved to Nicoya on Nov. 1, 2007. Her son attended kindergarten there while she opened a meditation center.

Some in the judicial system and in the Insituto Nacional de Mujeres, the women's institute, seek to make Costa Rica  a paragon of human rights by setting up a review system for child custody cases decided elsewhere.

However, the country subscribes to international treaties that generally say judicial jurisdiction remains with the court in the county from which the parent fled. No men have been given refugee status in these situations.

The Tomayko case was a heart-grabber because the woman spent 10 years living illegally in Costa Rica with the full knowledge of U.S. Embassy personnel. She also gave birth to twins and married her Costa Rican boyfriend shortly before her extradition deadline. The family embarked on a successful public relations effort that involved an evening press conference at the Corte Suprema de Justicia building and favorable opinion articles in La Nación.

However, Costa Rican officials never checked with officials in Texas where the case originated to verify Ms. Tomayko's account. The judge who handled the case there subsequently took issue with her facts.

Like the Tomayko case, Ms. McBeth will get an initial review in the Direccion General de Migración y Extranjería. Usually the decision is made there. In the Tomayko case, however, the security minister reversed the finding of the immigration director. Ms. Del Vecchio said the matter was one of human rights and that she thought that Ms. Tomayko was a victim of domestic violence. She admitted that she had made no inquires of Texas officials.

Environment ministry auditor says cash controls are lacking
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The auditor from the environmental ministry told lawmakers Thursday that control of outside funding to the agency was lacking and that The Leatherback Trust was paying salaries of agency workers.

The Leatherback Trust is a non-profit organization that works to protect turtles in Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas.

The auditor, Rodrigo Bonilla, has a list of irregularities that caused members of the legislative Comisión de Control del
Ingreso y el Gasto Público to say that there should be investigations. Bonilla also produced documents that he said showed he had expressed his concerns in the past to the Contraloría General de la República, the nation's budget watchdog.

The auditor said that part of the problem are agreements between the ministry and non-profit groups that lead to
money being given to public officials outside of budgetary channels. He said that in some cases, these agreements were signed by persons other than the minister, which he said he thought made them illegal.

The management situation is significant, he said, because the ministry now has jurisdiction over telecommunications. It is now called the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones.

Bonilla said that with the agreements with the non-government organizations, the ministry has created a parallel organization with little oversight. He called some units islands that make their own decisions. The auditor also said that any reparations for damage to the environment goes to the parks and the Fundación de Parques Nacionales which does not respond to questions and handles its money loosely.

The committee invited him back next week for more testimony.

Consider an attitude of war to fight the stalled economy
December has begun and with it all of the scheduled holiday activities.  It is also the month that the world is in a serious recession, and when, 67 years ago the United States was attacked by Japan and became actively involved in World War II.
Lately there has been a lot of talk about both the Great Depression and World War II.  A number of historians and non historians have said that it was not the New Deal, that was first initiated in 1933, but rather World War II that was responsible for the United States’ emergence from the Great Depression somewhat later.

Car companies were told to start making tanks and war vehicles, and other companies that could, retooled and made weapons and supplies for war.  Ship builders hired people. Roads and railways were repaired and made ready to ship goods and personnel across and out of the country. Ever since then conventional wisdom seems to be that wars are good for a country’s economy.

There were three outstanding features of the Depression:  People, especially able-bodied men, were out of work and homeless; there were food lines and soup kitchens.  There was serious deflation.  (I also remember the movies about wealthy New Yorkers who wore evening gowns and tails to dance to big bands. As a kid, I thought everybody in New York had a butler.)

I have heard time and again that the government cannot make jobs, even though it seems to be the biggest employer in most countries.  After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government hired thousands of young men who were out of work – it drafted them, trained them and sent them to war.  It also clothed and fed and paid them. Women went to work in factories, replacing men who were drafted. 

Gasoline was rationed, and people grew victory gardens. Everybody tightened their belts.

Is a war necessary for these things to happen? True, war mobilizes people fast. War also destroys, both things and people, and so they must be replaced, which means there was an ongoing market for the material and more military. 

But is it possible to replicate preparation for war without going to war, without killing civilians and destroying cities?  The country could put young men to work by drafting them to repair everything from highways, railways and bridges and roads. This has already been discussed and many states are ready to restart the work they had begun.  Rationing can be instigated, and certainly people can grow victory gardens. 

Auto makers have already been told that they should start making energy saving cars that people can afford. 

The Seabees were an important part of the war effort. 
Living in Costa Rica

. . .Where the living is good

By Jo Stuart

 They were the construction battalion, the civil engineering corps that trained young men (and today, women) to build airfields and harbor facilities  — anything the Navy needed. Mass transit is needed now.

There are plenty of construction companies ready to go to work again building and repairing schools, redesigning mansions into affordable multiple family housing or repairing the work of vandals on the foreclosed homes, not to mention rebuilding New Orleans.
And next to personnel to fight, the military needed energy to move. That meant gasoline and food.  Today there is the new frontier of renewable energy to exploit.  There are new ways to grow food, too.  Wars need medical facilities and specialists.  Wounded war veterans and sick civilians are in need of both. 

And finally, two great outcomes of World War II helped to keep the world from entering another Depression: The Marshall Plan in Europe and the GI Bill in the United States.  Perhaps both could be paid forward (as the movie goes).  Provide affordable education for future doctors, nurses, teachers, people in the trades, all desperately needed.   They can pay it back by working where they are most needed. 

A new Marshall Plan could help some of the devastated countries in Africa, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Where will the money come from, you ask?  Nobody ever asks that when it comes to war — not even elective wars like Iraq (or even the drug war). Wars are considered vital to survival, so you don’t ask the price tag. 

Having no military, Costa Rica does not have mobilization for war as a model to follow.  Every time I mention this fact, I get at least two e-mails that Costa Rica doesn’t need a military because if it were invaded, the U.S. would come to its rescue.  Actually, not just the U.S., but probably Norway, China, Spain and half the countries that have embassies here would come to the rescue.  But I can’t imagine who would invade us.  Panamá, our neighbor on the south, has no military either.  Nicaragua would be killing its own people if it invaded. Costa Rica threatens no one and is not trying to forcibly take its values elsewhere.  As the Ticos say, would they invade us for our volcanoes or our potholes?

However, Costa Rica is also facing recession problems and would do well to consider some of these suggestions.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 242

What can you do about mold and mildew? Some advice
EDITOR'S NOTE:  A reader asked Wednesday about controlling mold in her San Isidro de Heredia home. We got a lot of response:

A technological solution

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In response to the reader asking how to rid their home of mildew:

You may be interested in a relatively new technology called Atmospheric Water Generation. The machines, known as AWGs, are basically a combination of a dehumidifier, air cleaner and water purifier, but on steriods. A unit the size of an office cooler can pull up as much as 15 gallons of water per day out of your indoor air.

I've been a fan of AWGs for several years now because they solve a number of problems that we face in today's world. They alleviate the strain on groundwater resources, do away with the waste created by bottled water, provide safe drinking water to communities that don't otherwise have access and help protect sensitive equipment from humidity. The water they produce is delicious.

Many AWG distributors would be happy to deliver machines to Costa Rica. I've created a Web page that provides further information, including a company directory. I'm not involved in the industry and make no money from the information that I provide:

Good luck beating your mildew problem!

Heidi Allen

Seal home in construction

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I'm not sure about white mildew, but there many types of molds that can grow on just about any surface. If your house is closed up and sealed off before the construction materials are dry, mildew gets started before you move in and can be difficult to get rid of. 

I see lots of drywall being used in Costa Rica nowadays, which is a mistake unless you are going to air condition your house. Mildew gets on the back side due to condensation, or gets started in the taping and finishing process if the mud doesn't dry quickly enough. 

Fans set up inside your house to dry problem areas out only spread the spores to places not yet contaminated.  3M makes a spray-on product called  MARINE MILDEW INHIBITOR, which works pretty well on fabrics and other hard to clean surfaces. Acadamy Sporting Goods Stores carry it in the states. 
Mike Jackson  

Seal that concrete slab

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
The mold problem is usually a result of water leaching into the slab and masonry walls from a lack of moisture barriers. Slabs should be poured upon at least a thick layer of plastic over a couple of inches of raked sand (sand will not pool water as easily and helps to prevent wicking). Any other kind of moisture block applied to exterior masonry surfaces is highly recommended. People tend to forget that construction here is block and therefore porous. It wicks moisture from the ground. I bet your reader’s Florida house was framed in wood with sheet rock walls (also called dry-wall. Get it?). Moisture can easily damage expensive cabinetry work. Plumbing leaks may also contribute to the problem.
Ticos have not mastered moisture prevention, so the water works its way up through the slab and then into the tile and evaporates out of the grout lines. It’s a battle to prevent it after the house has been built. To combat it requires open flame (no not burning the house down), light, bleach, air circulation, air purifier (make sure the air purifier is at least 50 percent higher in coverage than the area you wish to remove the mold), dehumidifier and a fire in the fireplace. Add some small fireplaces or even a modern freestanding wood burning stove.
A fireplace attached to the slab is best as the dryness caused by the fire helps eliminate the moisture from the slab (the source of the problems). Therefore prevents some of it from reaching the air inside the house. A wood burner dries the air only, so the fireplace gets to the cause before it results in damp air. Also regardless of the air temperature, have a fire every afternoon when it starts to get colder. Cold air does not hold water well so the water drops. That increases the humidity, so keep your doors closed at sunset and in the early evening and have a fire (ever notice that Ticos have fires around this time?). Use a nightly fire to maintain a low humidity level.
First prevent the problem by waterproofing anything that contacts soil. If it’s too late to do that, then it's combat time. Stay ahead of the game by first drying out the house with a fire in the fireplace all night long so the embers remain in the morning (have a bottle of saline solution spray for your nose as it going to get dry). Then use nightly fires along with the other gadgets. You can thank the architect who probably did not specify moisture barriers in the building plans for your new lifestyle.
Phil Baker

An expert's advice

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

This letter is in response to your reader concerning mildew in his home. Without visually inspecting the area in question, it's hard for me to give your reader a specific answer. However, I can give them a generalized answer. First of all, what your reader is describing sounds like a variety of mold growth on the wood surfaces which I assume are finished. secondly, mold can grow on any finished surface if 1.) there is a food source and 2.) there is an available moisture source - high humidity levels or constant high dewpoints can also qualify as moisture sources.

I am assuming the house is open due to it's location and, therefore, if any sort of dirt (dust) or carbon particles flow into the house and attach themselves to any surface — either statically or topically — and there is enough moisture then mold will grow. (I personally have this problem at my home in Delaware during the summertime when the house is left open for long period of time without running the A/C.).

Closing the home and running a dehumidifier will help but only to a point if it is a concrete shell. The problem there lies in the fact that as the dehumidifier pulls moisture from the walls. It will be replaced by any moisture from the outside if the level is higher or the walls are wet and the concrete has not properly sealed. This is particularly acute during the rainy season of which this past one has been extremely bad.

The way to stop this is by reducing the vapor transmission thru the concrete. By doing this you can reduce or eliminate the available moisture in an enclosed area such as your home. I have noticed homes that have that moldy smell in the Jacó area due to this very reason - even with an A/C. Hopefully this will help your readers as I have seen that mold is becoming quite a problem in Costa Rica.

Note: There is a company in Costa Rica that can help with moisture problems in this area by the name of Sella-Tek S.A. They have been sealing and preventing moisture intrusion in buildings (mainly government and commercial) for over 12 years. I have personally seen their handiwork in Puerto Viejo de Limón on a house that was done about 10 years ago. It's still dry, and that's hard to near impossible to do on the Caribbean side. 
J.W. Neff
Delaware/Puerto Viejo
and owner of Total Moisture Control
mold and mildew
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Use oil-based paints on walls

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I designed and built my house and I also have had mold problems.  Without looking at your house, it is hard to determine what is causing the moisture inside your home, but this is not supposed to happen and all new homes, by law, are guaranteed for five years against such defects in building.  So your builder is responsible for fixing these problems.  Moisture can be caused by roof leaks or the exterior walls not being properly sealed.

The best way to keep moisture out of your walls and house is to paint the exterior of the house with anti-fungus, oil-based paint.  Many builders use cheap water-based paint which does not keep the moisture out.  Also the roof needs to be checked for leaks during the rainy season.  It is common to have small leaks in the roof from many different causes.  If the edges of the roof are not properly sealed, you can also have water get into the exterior walls and seep down and start growing fungus inside the walls and pass moisture to the inside of the walls.

It is a good idea to paint all of the interior walls with anti-fungus, oil-based paint.  Oil paint lasts longer, is easier to clean and helps to keep moisture out of the house.  They also sell a liquid that kills fungus, which you can apply to the walls before you paint with the oil paint.

It is common for builders to use water-based paint on interior walls because it is cheaper and easier to work with, which keeps the builder’s cost down.  If you did not specify oil paint in the contract, you probably won’t have much luck getting the builder to pay for repainting your house.  But still, the cost of repainting your house is well worth investing in to make your house fungus free.

Fungus is a serious problem inside of a house and can cause serious health problems and can give you lung fungus which can kill you.  So get professionals to fix your house as soon as possible, at any cost, it is worth investing in to protect your health.
Edward Bridges

Install vapor barrier

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The first and best thing to do is create a vapor barrier during initial construction.  A plastic vapor barrier will help with the moisture and also prevent the interior and exterior paint from scaling.   Additionally, a recirculating hot water system consisting of tubes under the cabinets and closets is a great solution.  A small two-gallon hot water tank with a small pump to circulate the water about four hours a day will solve the problem.  Also gun cabinet heaters work extremely well and can be purchased at EPA.  See these links as they are about $85 at EPA.   Dehumidifier           heater
Tim Montz-Graham
San José

11-step program for mold

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

No one ever mentioned the problems that Costa Ricans have with mold and mildew when we moved here.  It took me awhile, but over the last two years I have gleaned knowledge from various people and resources to deter it. 

The following are the best solutions that I have come up with in combating mold and mildew on the south Pacific coast:

1. NEVER use bleach or any water-based products to clean an item unless you thoroughly dry it in a humidity controlled environment.  If an item is not completely dried, the chlorine eventually evaporates, but the water is left and that accelerates the mildew, starting the process all over again (one of my first mistakes).

2. Mildew and mold does not grow on petroleum products.  To clean and preserve wood items use orange oil or any oil based cleaners.  Unfortunately they are hard to find in Costa Rica, and I have had to bring various cleaners from the U.S.  HyperMas does carry orange oil.  I use mine in a spray bottle and mist the furniture, usually once a month will keep mold under control in the summer months.

3. Antimicrobial cleaners are great and the results last for a long time, but are expensive and need to be brought in from the U.S. or Canada, but I highly recommend them if you can obtain them.

4. I put 3 coats of polyurethane on all of my wood and bamboo furniture.  That completely stopped any and all of my mold issues on wood.  It is a lot of work, but it was worth it to me.  Note:  if you choose that route, clean all of the furniture first with aguaras (available at all ferreterias) and dry it out thoroughly.  If you do not, the mold will grow underneath the polyurethane and cause it to blister (experience is a great teacher!).

5. Run ceiling fans 24x7.  Get as much air circulation in your house as you can.

6. If your closet is enclosed, buy closet heaters (2” cylinder tubes about 18” long – I think EPA now carries them) or low wattage closet lights (I have only seen them in the U.S.) to keep the heat up and the area dry. Also keep air spaces in between your clothing.  Do not cram clothing tight in your closets.

7. DampRid® (available at EPA) is also great for enclosed areas such as closets and cabinets, but the area needs to be enclosed for effectiveness.

8. Put things that you do not use frequently in airless bags.  The very best I have discovered are the AirSpace® bags where you extract the air out with your vacuum cleaner.  As long as air is in items, they will continue to have a mildew smell especially if they are sealed for a period of time.

9. If an item can be waxed – do it!  Ceramic tile and grout, especially in the shower or anywhere that comes in contact with water, is a great candidate.  It cuts down on cleaning the shower as well as deterring mold and mildew in the grout.

10. Of course dehumidifiers are one of the very best things you can do on a whole house basis, but only if your house is “seal-able.”  If not, choose one or two rooms and use them to put all of the high risk mold items in there (paper products, wood items, clothing, etc.).

11. If you have paint on a wall that has uncontrollable mold, clean it with aguaras, let it dry, varnish over it and then repaint it, using a paint that has an anti-mold additive.

Mold and mildew is unavoidable when you live in Paradise.  As my husband says, “live with it or get rid of the items that cause you grief.”
Dawn Roberts
Playa Uvita

Use anti-mold solution

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Tell the people in San Isidro to check in the U.S. for an enzyme-based anti-mold solution.  Used in flour mills, for example, it will keep mold at bay for years.  The enzyme activates benign (to people) bacteria which eats
the mold.  As long as there is food (mold), the bacteria thrives.  When the mold is gone, the bacteria largely dies off.  It's pretty effective.
George Freidkin
in Monteverde

News from the BBC up to the minute
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Costa Rica
fifth news page

Real estate
About us
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 242

A.M. Costa Rica

users guide

This is a brief users guide to A.M. Costa Rica.

Old pages

Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each week day.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the  server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.


The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.


A typical edition will consist of a front page and four other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.


Five classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

Advertising information

A summary of advertising rates and sizes are available for display and classifieds.


A.M. Costa Rica makes its monthly statistics available to advertisers and readers. It is HERE! 

Contacting us

Both the main telephone number and the editor's e-mail address are listed on the front page near the date.

Visiting us

Directions to our office and other data, like bank account numbers are on the about us page.

Correa visiting Iran today
despite blacklist by U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa is making his first official visit to Iran this week in a bid to expand trade.

Officials say Correa will arrive in Tehran to discuss new markets for some of his country's goods, including shrimp, bananas and flowers. Both countries are members of the oil cartel Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries but have had little contact diplomatically.

In his weekly radio address, the leftist president defended his trip, saying he would not avoid diplomatic ties with Iran just because the United States has blacklisted it. He added that nobody would prevent Ecuador from looking out for its own interests.

Iran and the West have had a contentious relationship over the country's nuclear program and other issues. Iran says its nuclear program is aimed at producing energy. The United States and Europe fear Iran is secretly trying to build a nuclear bomb.

Harper shuts Parliament
to avoid vote to oust him

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has shut down parliament, sparing himself from a no-confidence vote that he was likely to lose.

The move comes after Harper met for two hours Thursday with Governor General Michaelle Jean, who agreed to Harper's request to suspend parliament until he can present a budget late next month. The unprecedented step comes less than two months after Harper's re-election.

The governor general, in a mostly ceremonial post, is the representative of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, who is Canada's head of state. Jean had to decide whether to suspend parliament or allow Harper to face the no-confidence vote on Monday. Opposition members decried the decision.

Liberal leader Stephane Dion, who the opposition wants to replace Harper with, warned that only monumental change would keep his coalition from toppling the minority Conservative government, adding that Harper was running away from parliament.

The leader of the New Democrats, Jack Layton, described Harper's action as putting locks on the door of parliament.

The Liberals, New Democrats and the separatist Bloc Quebecois announced their coalition on Monday. They have accused Harper and the Conservatives of not doing enough to help Canadians cope with the global financial crisis. Canada's ruling Conservative Party won the most seats in an Oct. 14 election but failed to win a majority of the 308 seats in parliament.

Jo Stuart
Real Estate
About us
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