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Murder Rate Drops Slightly… Parade Steps Off In Grand Style… Tito Makes A Smashing Comeback, He Takes Care Of New York Heroes… Clean-Up Begins At Former Petrochemical Site… $59m Released For Urban Train, Lack Of Spare Parts Contribute To Delay… Students Under Perform In Spanish, English, Math Test Students… Puerto Rican Culture Curriculum Developed

Murder Rate Drops Slightly

October 4, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The number of murders in Puerto Rico fell after the mobilization of the National Guard to reinforce the police patrols 10 weeks ago, with a slight decrease in the total number of homicides as of September, when compared to a year ago.

Up until the end of September, police recorded 574 murders, and during the last week of September there were days without any murders at all, according to local newspapers.

In previous months, the frequency or murders held a pattern of less than two per day, but the last week was atypical.

As of Sunday, the unofficial number of murders rose to 577, which represents a decline of 27 cases, as compared to 604, the number of murders reported by the same date last year, according to the Superintendencia Auxiliar en Investigaciones Criminales.

Parade Steps Off In Grand Style; Event Marks 23rd Year In Celebrating Puerto Rico And The City.

October 3, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved. 

Lancaster New Era/Intelligencer Journal/Sunday News

Beautiful weather shone upon the 23rd Puerto Rican Parade of Lancaster held last Saturday on downtown streets.

"Our Children: The Leaders of the Future" was the theme for the event, organized by the Puerto Rican Committee of Lancaster, a nonprofit organization formed in 1977 to promote the culture of Puerto Rico.

Incorporated in 1980, the committee has put together parades, festivals and beauty pageants that support educational scholarships and promote Latino history and traditions. It also operates a clothing bank out of 548 E. Chestnut St. and offers interpretive and other personal services for individuals.

Forty-five units participated in the Sept. 25 parade, which traditionally seeks to recognize the city's different cultures.

It is also designed to bring the community together and share the music and dance of Puerto Rico, according to a previous newspaper report.

"The City of Lancaster is where many of our fathers and mothers settled, worked, lived and raised families," said parade coordinator Pedro Sanchez in that article.

"We have adopted this city as our own, and it is important for us to celebrate our art, culture, music and food with everyone."

Trinidad Stops Mayorga In Eighth Round

October 3, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 


NEW YORK (AP) -- Felix ``Tito'' Trinidad's return to the ring was a knockout success.

Trinidad pummeled Ricardo Mayorga in the eighth round, knocking him down three times before the fight was stopped with 21 seconds to go in the round Saturday night.

In his first fight in more than two years, Trinidad simply overwhelmed the game Mayorga with a barrage of punches, including a left hook that finished the middleweight fight in front of a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd of 17,406.

``I've been in tough wars before, but I dominated this fight,'' Trinidad said. ``He can take a good punch and he took a lot, which was bad for him.''

Trinidad, 42-1 with 35 knockouts, lost the middleweight championship three years ago to Bernard Hopkins. After one more fight, he retired, unable to get a rematch with Hopkins.

Instead, Trinidad spent ``the good life'' in Puerto Rico, he said. But at 31, he is back and he showed against Mayorga that he is in his prime -- and probably worthy of that rematch with Hopkins.

Mayorga never had been knocked down, but he was cut under the left eye in the fifth round, and he had to stop from a low blow to the right thigh in the sixth. Referee Steve Smoger allowed him nearly two minutes to recover with 40 seconds to go in the sixth, but Mayorga never was the same the rest of the way.

Mayorga, of Nicaragua, fell to 26-5-1. He knocked down Trinidad in the third and fought particularly well in the third and fourth rounds.

``I felt good about my performance, but my eye swelled up and I couldn't see some shots,'' said Mayorga, who was taken to a hospital for observation.

Trinidad was well ahead on all three cards: 68-64, 68-64 and 67-64.

``I knew I could keep the pace up thanks to my discipline,'' Trinidad said. ``I did. That was our game plan, to be cool and calm, and it worked perfectly.''

Well, not perfectly. In the third round, Trinidad appeared to slip as Mayorga hit him with a right. Smoger ruled it a knockdown, and Trinidad was up quickly.

In the sixth came the low blow at a time when Trinidad was in command. And in the seventh, Mayorga again turned his back when hit with a left hook that appeared low and on the hip. Smoger, however, told him to continue.

By then, Trinidad was smoking. Although Mayorga started well in the eighth, by mid-round Trinidad was landing all his punches. Mayorga went down for the first time in his career with about 1:15 left in the round. Mayorga was on the canvas again 25 seconds later. And then came the series of blows that ended it.

El Matador was on the canvas for a third time and Smoger was waving his arms, stopping the fight.

``I'm a complete fighter,'' Trinidad concluded.

The crowd began chanting ``Tito, Tito'' and waving Puerto Rican flags about two hours before Trinidad entered the ring. When middleweight champion Hopkins came into the building, he was roundly booed.

And when Trinidad emerged from his dressing room, the noise in the Garden was nearly as deafening as when the New York Rangers won the 1994 Stanley Cup.

Dressed in a red robe and red bandanna, both with Trinidad written in bold letters, Tito stood at the edge of the ring and led the fans in cheers before stepping between the ropes.

Mayorga, his hair dyed orange, received a good ovation, but nothing like what greeted Trinidad.

But he made most of the fans happy by making Trinidad's comeback something special.

Trinidad Takes Care Of New York Heroes

October 1, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Kansas City Star. All rights reserved. 

Felix Trinidad has one enemy in New York City but plenty of fans.

Trinidad bought $300,000 in tickets for his comeback fight against Ricardo Mayorga on Saturday night and will distribute them to firefighters, policemen and rescue workers in New York City.

Trinidad and his father, also named Felix, live in Puerto Rico, but they were in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001. Trinidad was training to face Bernard Hopkins for the undisputed world middleweight championship at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 15, a bout that was rescheduled for Sept. 29 -- one of the first major sporting events in New York after the terrorist attacks.

The Trinidads made several trips to firehouses, served food to rescue workers and bought a truck for a firehouse in Harlem.

Clean-Up Begins At Former Petrochemical Site

October 1, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

PEÑUELAS (AP) - The process of cleaning approximately 3,000 acres of land of the former Peñuelas-Guayanilla petrochemical complex began Thursday, and was announced by a coalition of several Popular legislators, the mayors of both towns and the president of the Environmental Quality Board, Esteban Mujica.

Jorge Colberg, author of the bill that created the clean-up plan, said the process is divided into six phases, during which the structures once used by the Commonwealth Oil Refining Co., Union Carbide and Pittsburgh Plate Gas, will be dismantled and the abandoned land will be cleaned.

He said the work of dismantling the buildings and the decontamination of the land could take ten years, even though he did not calculate the entire amount of work.

"This initiative we began several months took shape in an official manner recently, and it has the objective of changing in a dramatic way the reality that has existed for decades in this area. Today, we begin the work to clean up the contamination," he said.

$59 Million Released For Urban Train

October 1, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – At the same time that she announced the release of $59 million for the Urban Train, the director of the Federal Transportation Administration, Jennifer Dorne, announced that until some technical problems has been corrected, free rides for the public would not be allowed.

Dorne said in a letter to Puerto Rico Transportation and Public Works Secretary Fernando Fagundo that the train continued being a high-risk project, but she acknowledged the recent steps by the Highway Authority to correct problems with the system.

"As we have discussed, the FTA will not allow the Urban Train to transport passengers until the security issues are satisfactorily corrected and the certification processes have been completed," Dorne said in a letter reviewed by the press.

She also gave the Highway Authority a period of 90 days to correct the problems, some related to security, or future grants could be withheld.

For the 2005 federal fiscal year, which begins Friday, the train has another grant pending of $54 million.

Another $50.03 million had been approved at the beginning of the 2004 federal fiscal year, which ended Thursday, but it was withheld because the FTA doubted if it was justifiable to use previous disbursements to cover questionable increases in the cost of the Urban Train, due to order changes.

Lack Of Replacement Parts Contribute To Urban Train Delay

October 1, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The Urban Train will not operate at maximum capacity this year because sufficient replacement pieces are still not available, the executive director of the Highway and Transport Authority, Jack Allison, said on Friday.

Allison said that currently there were only 40 percent of the replacement pieces, so at the end of this year it will begin service only during weekends, free of charge.

"Our position has always been to make the system available at the earliest possible date … but we want to give quality service and without the replacement pieces we run a risk," he said at a press conference at La Fortaleza.

For Allison, it is important to being service on weekends so that citizens can become familiar with the train and the employees have a real work scenario.

Public School Students Suffer In Spanish, English, Math

October 1, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Despite public school students starting to catch up with the levels of academic achievement required by the "No Child Left Behind" federal law, less than 50 percent of students do not have a command of the materials in Spanish, English and math.

These results emerged from the Academic Achievement Tests administered in March to 309,000 students in third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth grades, the results of which were released Thursday by the Education Department.

"Although in general terms the Education Department met the standards, we note that there are areas we should reinforce and make a priority. For example, in seventh and eighth grade it is important that we strengthen Spanish, and in ninth grade, we have to focus more support on math," said interim Education Secretary Brunilda Martinez, according to press reports.

Another newspaper said that only 50 percent of the students have a good grasp of the material in English class, in Spanish, 42 percent and in math, 46 percent.

Puerto Rican Culture Curriculum Developed

September 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004 THE HARTFORD COURANT. All rights reserved. 

Sixteen Hartford educators took part in field work in Puerto Rico this summer as part of a K-8 curriculum development project sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Connecticut and funded by The Travelers Foundation.

The project aimed to increase the educators' understanding of Puerto Rican culture and to develop curriculum to share with other teachers in the city schools.

Participants prepared for the field study by attending seminars in Hartford on Puerto Rican culture and the challenges faced by Puerto Rican families living in Hartford.

While on the island, the educators attended briefings at the Puerto Rico Department of Education in San Juan and met administrators, teachers and students at a grade school in Comerio.

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