Damages due to Hurricane Otto to
be totally repaired in Guanacaste
By AM Costa Rica staff
Through the joint work of the National Emergency Commission, the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation and the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, the damage to Guanacaste from Hurricane Otto is now almost 100 percent repaired.
Some 27 structures in Bagaces and La Cruz have been reconstructed in their totality, officials said. Five other structures will be completed in August.
Bagaces, La Cruz, Corredores, Pococí and Upala were the cantons most affected by Hurricane Otto in November 2016.
"In Bagaces, we are finishing roads, bridges and interventions in rivers, while in La Cruz there are only two groups of roads that are in the final phase, as well as three bridges," said Ignacio Arguedas, of the general project coordination of the electrical institute.
The president of the emergency commission, Alexander Solis, said that the oversight of the electrical institute has guaranteed an effective execution of works that have benefited many communities impacted by the emergency.
Solis added that the supervised work “resisted very well the impact caused last year by the storm Nate.”
The workers of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute managed to rebuild roads, five bridges, and eight problematic river areas in Bagaces.
Junnier Salazar Tobal, mayor of La Cruz said, "This has been a positive example and a lot of responsibility. I am very happy because we have made progress despite the weather, but not only because of the deadlines, but also because of the quality of the works that impact the communities. The town identifies the work of the ICE, the CNE and the municipality." He used the initials of agency names in Spanish.
Based on the institute's latest report, the roads pending completion La Cruz are already at 90 percent while the three remaining bridges are 75 percent complete.
In 2016, authorities calculated at least
$190 million in damages across the country.
María Ramírez, director of bridges at the transport ministry, expressed her satisfaction at the inter-institutional response to the emergency. "It has been a more expeditious work in relation to other works in which people had to wait up to five years."
The intervention has been key for the communities, according to Arguedas, since, "it has become an engine to reactivate local economies, in addition to facilitating access to health centers, schools and colleges."
William Guido Quijano, mayor of Bagaces added, "We have received the works of roads and bridges that have meant quality and efficiency in the use of resources, in a short time. So, we really want the ICE to build beyond these works. We have learned a lot from the relationship between state institutions."
Blue Jay to Bubba: The Story of Costa Rica's
Most Unique Animal Sanctuary
By A.M. Costa Rica staff
A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
Go to IRescue's own website here, if you want more information.
The land, 500 acres, was donated by American philanthropist John Merritt. However, many projects, such as the animal kitchen project, dome project, vet clinic and animal bodega, perico project, jaguar project and numerous other additions and improvements are in need of funds for completion.
There is an onsite veterinarian, a Tica, named Priscilla Ortiz, a stem-cell research specialist, who has done miracles curing blind and handicapped animals as part of her regular pet care. Mike Greaber is the managing director of the sanctuary. He is truly an animal whisperer which allows him to walk into the hawk enclosure with food in his hands and come back out without being harmed. He obviously loves his animals and treats animals and staff alike, with patience and kindness. Juan Luis Torres Vargas is the general manager of the mother farm where IRescue Wildlife Sanctuary operates. He is in charge of all upkeep and maintenance of the entire property. Flavia Fiorillo, an Italian student of animal care, completes the team. She is on site five days a week feeding and caring for the animals and keeping the sanctuary running smoothly. In order for the sanctuary to increase its animal population, provide care and a safe environment, funds are urgently needed.
I have designed a crowd-funding campaign to help IRescue Wildlife Sanctuary. Here is the link to it. Where you will find video and photos of some of the animals, and views of the sanctuary, as well as IRescue's own website if you want more information.
If at all possible, could you find it in your heart to donate to IRescue?
A minimum of $25 is respectfully requested. If you can, share the link with your friends and family abroad or on your Facebook page, Twitter or other social networks.
Please help us with a small donation and share the link. Thank you from our animals for any help you can provide.
International Rafting Federation
names first honorary president
By A.M. Costa Rica
The new position, that of honorary president, was proposed by the current International Rafting Federation President Joe Willis Jones, and was approved by the Board of Directors as an annex to the bylaws.
A well-known Costa Rican will fill the post.
The annex states that “The (IRF) congress may bestow the title of ‘honorary president’, or ‘honorary member’, respectively, upon any former president or member of the Executive Committee for meritorious service to rafting and the IRF … Honorary presidents shall primarily serve as an IRF ambassador.” The nomination of Rafael Gallo will be considered for ratification at the IRF Congress in March 2019 in Australia during the next World Rafting Championships.
IRF President Jones said he is pleased to have the honor of nominating Gallo in recognition for his years of commitment and service. “Everyone who takes part in the rafting sport today is beholden to the dedication and effort of those that worked to create it. Rafa’s years of service to rafting and to the IRF put us all in his debt. Without Rafa, it is likely that the IRF would not exist,” said Jones.
Gallo is one of the original founders of the IRF. He served as the IRF’s first vice-president, alongside president Peter Micheler, from 1997 to 2006, and then took over the IRF presidency from 2006 to 2013.
Gallo has helped improve rafting safety rules and guide training around the world. He was also one of the first assessors for the IRF, which is the highest level for river guide training certification that allows him to certify instructors, who in turn can certify rafting guides.
“As a founding member of the IRF, Rafa was very integral to waking everyone up to the need for an international governing body for rafting. He has been a strong component of the IRF since it was created and having him as an honorary president will ensure that the IRF can continue to benefit from his years of experience in the international rafting world,” said Sue Liell-Cock, IRF secretary general.
“It feels great to have been part of innovation in the rafting world through my whitewater rafting company, Rios Tropicales, in Costa Rica, and become such a leader. I feel lucky to have been in that historic era at the beginning and had the opportunity to lead such an important organization as the IRF with so many people from around the globe. It was a joining of minds from all over the world,” said Gallo.
“IRF has brought rafting to a more competitive level. You see people striving to be athletes and not just river guides, and they love rafting,” he added.
How the IRF began
Starting with the first Project RAFT event held on the Chuya River in Siberia during the 1989 Chuya Rally, people came from all over the world for the first time to compete together in river rafting.
Called Russians and Americans for Teamwork, the project was initiated by Russian and American rafters to override the political animosity between the two nations at the time and to join together in the sport of rafting.
The Chuya Rally proved to be a catalyst event that changed the world of rafting forever because of the contacts made and the friendships forged.
Jones recalls first meeting Gallo at the Chuya Rally where they both participated as rafting athletes representing their respective countries: “Rafa and I became fast friends and he invited me to Costa Rica to work as a river guide and guide trainer for his newly-formed rafting company. The Pura Vida lifestyle of Costa Rica and the Project Raft ethos was fully merged at Rios Tropicales, and it attracted some of the best river guides in the world to work a season or two with Rafa’s company.”
This first World Rafting Championship was replicated in 1990 on the Nantahala River in North Carolina, then in 1991 on the Reventazón and Pacuare rivers in Costa Rica, and on the Coruh River in Turkey in 1993. After that, it evolved into the Camel Whitewater Challenge from 1995 to 2001.
As international rafting competitions grew, drawing up to 50 teams to compete in slalom and down river events, there became a need for an official body that could represent and unite the various international rafting interests.
It was at the 1994 World Championship, hosted on the Dora Baltea River in Italy, that Gallo and Micheler saw the necessity to form an international rafting organization that could represent all competitors, guides, and aspects of rafting.
A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
Starting with the first Project RAFT event held on
the Chuya River in Siberia during the 1989.
“People were having a lot of fun competing against one another but it needed to be organized much better,” said Gallo. “Everyone showed up to this World Rafting Championship and discovered there were no set rules. It was very chaotic. The rafts were different sizes, the rules kept changing along the way, and the organizers had no clear idea as to how to run an event. We knew that if international rafting competitions were going to survive, we needed to change the model and implement an organizational structure and rules for raft racing.”
The founding group, Lee Porter, Micheler, Gallo, Tony Hansen, Sue Liell-Cock, Neil Baxter, Glenn Lewman, Zeljko Kelemen and Thomas Karas, met in 1997 at the Augsburg Eiskanal in Augsburg, Germany, Micheler’s home base and site of the 1972 Summer Olympics’ canoe slalom event. There, they drafted the first raft race rules and organization statutes, and in October of that year, the IRF was officially launched at the 1997 Camel White Water Challenge event.
The first official IRF World Championship, run jointly with the Camel White Water Challenge, was held in Costa Rica in 1998 on the Class 5 section of the Reventazón River, hosted by Gallo and Rios Tropicales. This is where the rules to govern raft racing were finalized. Later, in 2001, the IRF World Championships separated from the Camel White Water Challenge.
20 Years of Success with the IRF
As the IRF competitions developed, so did the need to create a universal training system for raft guiding.
In 1999, at the IRF World Championship on the Orange River in South Africa, where Gallo acted as the first chief judge of an IRF event, he was involved in creating a guide training and education system that would be compatible for river rafting anywhere in the world.
“We wanted to create a method of assessing and certifying the basic skills and knowledge that a rafting guide should have,” Gallo said. “We adopted it right away in 1999 with our guides in Costa Rica.”
Gallo again was chief judge for the IRF World Championships in 2005 in Ecuador and in 2007 in South Korea. He hosted a second IRF World Championship in Costa Rica in 2011.
“By this time, IRF competitions were not festivals. They were full of pro athletes. People were training, getting sponsors and taking it very seriously,” said Gallo. “It was great. We were accomplishing our objective to create a world-class competition. We were already positioning ourselves to get rafting into the Olympics”.
In 2009, Gallo was inducted into the International Whitewater Hall of Fame for being an advocate for conservation and a leader in river rafting in the world.
The Future of the IRF
“Having ambassadors around the world is very valuable to promote the IRF and put it forward in the right places. The IRF Committees can turn to Rafael for advice and assistance in areas where his knowledge or expertise can assist,” said Liell-Cock.
“For me, becoming an honorary president is a great way to continue participating in the future of the IRF,” noted Gallo. “With 20-plus years of experience, I can be a mentor who has ‘been there and done that’ to help the new leaders who are guiding the rafting world as it is growing and growing.”
DHL opens expanded customer support facility
By A.M. Costa Rica staff
DHL, a leading
international logistics provider,
has recently opened an expanded
facility in Heredia that will
bring together many key support
functions previously separately
located under one roof and will
serve much of the company’s
Americas region and beyond.
A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
The new DHL Customer Support facility, a 6,610-square-meter building in Heredia, Costa Rica, is a 13.5 million USD investment and provides services support to 33 countries in the Americas, in addition to Europe and Asia.
customer support facility is multicultural and
multilingual, with employees who speak
Spanish, English, French and Portuguese. Women
are well represented among the workforce,
comprising nearly 70 percent of employees, and
more than 40 percent hold leadership
|Government signs contract for
extension of Cañas-Limonal highway
By A.M. Costa Rica staff
A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
The highway between Cañas and Limonal for an investment
of $89.9 million.
The work will also have dividing barriers, pedestrian bridges, bays for buses, sidewalks, and land and aerial wildlife passes.
In addition, the transport ministry said staffers are in the final phase of giving the concession to the building of two highways, one for San Gerardo-Limonal (23.8 km) and the other for San Gerardo-Barranca (25.2 km).
Both highways will have four lanes, and the number of bridges will be doubled.
This additional construction will have dividing barriers, pedestrian bridges, bays for buses, sidewalks, and land and air fauna passages, among other components.
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Speeding is apparent cause of multiple fatalities
A.M. Costa Rica staff
people died in the
early hours of
Wednesday morning in a
crash of three
vehicles and one
motorcycle on Route
A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
Parts of vehicles were scattered on the road and one of the vehicles was practically split in half.
It was not possible to identify immediately the man who was the third victim, agents said.
In addition, the Red Cross reported that another man was taken to the San Juan de Dios Hospital for a possible fracture and an additional victim was evaluated and released at the scene.
Route 27 was closed after the accident and reopened at 6 a.m. Wednesday.