NPP Mayors Favor Rossello For Senate President… Senate OKs Status Measure… Cardinal Prefers 1 House… Mercado Honored… PA Wants 3 Extradited On Murder Charges… The Coquito… Lime OKd To Kill Coquis… $57M More For Public Housing Possible… Gomez Picks MSU… Ricky Martin Makes Tsunami Relief Contribution

NPP Mayors Sign Resolution Favoring Rossello For Senate President

April 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005
EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The majority of New Progressive Party (NPP) mayors who are members of the Mayors Federation agreed Wednesday to support party leader Sen. Pedro Rossello in his intention of becoming the new president of the Senate, which NPP Sen. Kenneth McClintock currently presides.

At least 30 of the 42 mayors of the federation signed a resolution to express their support for Rossello.

A copy of that document would be sent to McClintock, who was said to be in Washington attending matters related to the political status of the island, among other things.

NPP Secretary General Thomas Rivera Schatz announced the mayors’ decision during a press conference, which was held at the party headquarters Wednesday.

"Our party doesn’t want to dismiss anyone," Rivera Schatz said.

He added that it would now be up to the NPP caucus to make a decision and he predicted that the senators would vote in favor of Rossello.

Senate Approves Measure On Status

April 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005
EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The Senate approved a resolution asking Congress and the president of the United States to provide an electoral method that will allow Puerto Rico to resolve its political status.

The resolution was approved with 14 votes in favor and nine against.

Voting against the measure were Eudaldo Baez Galib, Jose Luis Dalmau, Antonio Fas Alzamora, Sila Marie Gonzalez, Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral, Sixto Hernandez, Bruno Ramos, María de Lourdes Santiago and Cirilo Tirado.

Tirado threw a copy of the approved resolution in the trash can.

Cardinal Says He Favors Unicameral System

April 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005
EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez said Thursday, on his return from the Vatican, that he favors a legislative system with only one House.

"With the two (House and Senate) we are doing so bad, maybe we would do better with one," he said.

Aponte Martinez said on the island "we want to change the status, but what there is, is a 'status quo.' "

The Cardinal said the Legislature is not moving forward with the Cabinet nominations of Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila, and it is "paralyzed." He said the governor "has the excuse of the nominations (that are not confirmed)" to continue the immobility.

"There must be insistence that they act, this is wasting a lot of money," Aponte Martinez said.

Lancers' Mercado Honored


April 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005
The Bradenton Herald. All rights reserved. 

Manatee Community College left fielder Angel Mercado was chosen as Suncoast Conference Player of the Year in voting by the conference's baseball coaches.

Mercado, a sophomore from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, is batting .441 for the Lancers (40-10), who wrap up the regular season at 6 p.m. on Friday at Robert C. Wynn Field against Florida College. Mercado has 20 doubles, seven home runs, 51 runs batted in and 19 stolen bases and has struck out only 12 times in 177 at bats.

Pennsylvania Wants Three Puerto Ricans Extradited On Murder Charges

April 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005
EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The state of Pennsylvania has asked Puerto Rico to extradite three Puerto Ricans for crimes of murder, but their defense opposes transferring them without a guarantee that Pennsylvania will not ask for the death penalty.

The controversy will mean that the Puerto Rico Supreme Court must consider which has more weight — the Puerto Rican Constitution which prohibits the death penalty, or the federal statutes that regulate the extradition process between the United States and territories.

Between 2003 and 2005, Pennsylvania asked Puerto Rico to extradite Juan Martinez, Thomas Rivera and Rolando Caquias, all of Puerto Rican origin, to face the judicial process there for crimes of murder.

Martinez, born in Puerto Rico and raised in Pennsylvania, is accused of killing Luis Galan, in August 2002, during a bar fight.

Rivera is accused of killing Joseph Banks, whose body was found March 14, 2002, in an apartment in Philadelphia.

Caquias is accused in the death of Joel Rivera, during a brawl in York, Penn., in August 2000.

Island authorities say they are obligated to extradite them due to federal laws and because Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, but the lawyer defending the three, Luis Russi, opposes their transfer without a promise that they won’t face the death penalty.

The Coquito


April 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005
MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved. 

Talk about rough gigs -- not.

For Cocktails 2005, Food & Wine's first book devoted to adult beverages, the editors dutifully searched out close to 200 of the country's coolest places to buy a drink.

Herewith, [one] of their faves -- with recipes! -- from our neck of the beach:


• Where: Carmen the Restaurant, David Williams Hotel, 700 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables, 305-913-1944. Chef Carmen Gonzalez rolled out this glass of pure decadence -- her native Puerto Rico's answer to eggnog -- at the holidays. After numerous requests, she brought it back year-round.

• How: Simmer 2 1Ú4 cups water, the zest of 2 limes and 1 cinnamon stick for 15 minutes. Strain into a large bowl and chill. Whisk in 2 1Ú2 cups sugar, 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk, 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk, 16 ounces light rum, 1Ú4 cup of vanilla extract and 3 eggs; chill. Serve in chilled cordial glasses, garnished with cinnamon sticks. Makes about 24 servings.

EPA Approves Use Of Hydrated Lime To Kill Coqui Frogs In Hawaii

April 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005
The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

HONOLULU (AP) - The state Agriculture Department has received federal approval to use calcium hydroxide to control the coqui frog infestations in Hawaii, the department said Wednesday.

The three-year exemption by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows nurseries, property owners and government agencies to use the chemical commonly known as hydrated lime to exterminate the tiny, noisy frogs.

Citric acid was already on a list of exempted chemicals that could be used for pest control. However, citric acid is much more expensive to use than hydrated lime.

Sandra Lee Kunimoto, chairwoman of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, said obtaining the EPA exemption is a "major development" in the fight against coqui infestations, which are most prevalent on the Big Island and on Maui.

"This product is as effective as citric acid, but much cheaper and readily available as it is commonly used by farmers and home gardeners to enrich the soil," Kunimoto said.

The EPA told the state that this was the first time that any agency has sought the use of hydrated lime for such purpose under the emergency program of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

Anyone wishing to use hydrated lime for coqui control will be required to submit to the dealer selling the product an "Applicator Authorization Form," which may be obtained from the dealer or the Agriculture Department's Web site.

Coqui frogs are beloved in Puerto Rico as a symbol of the island, and likely ended up in Hawaii in shipments of tropical plants. Since about 1990, they have been interrupting Hawaii's previously quiet nights with their "ko-KEE" mating call.

Some Puerto Rican officials have urged Hawaii to spare the frogs, but biologists largely agree coquis have upset Hawaii's natural balance, preying on native insects and boosting the populations of predators like rats and mongooses.


On the Net:

Hawaii Department of Agriculture:

PR Could Get Millions More For Public Housing

April 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005
EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila on Wednesday announced that the federal Housing Department proposed new rules that would increase by 57 percent the federal funds for public housing in Puerto Rico.

Acevedo Vila said the U.S. Housing Department published the new rule in the federal registry, which is open for comments for a period of two months, during which the governor will make statements in its favor.

The governor said in a statement sent from Washington, through the La Fortaleza press office, that the rule comes as a result of a study done by Harvard University.

The study, promoted by the Puerto Rican government and Acevedo Vila when he was resident commissioner, was done to determine if the public housing subsidies on the island and in other jurisdictions are adequate.

Acevedo Vila said the proposed increases the federal funds subsidies from $100 million to $157 million, for the thousands of Puerto Rican families in public housing.

Gomez Picks Michigan State


April 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005
St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved. 

BRANDON - Several Division I colleges have tried to persuade Brandon 119-pounder Franklin Gomez to wrestle for their team, but Michigan State got his signature this week. The Spartans offered the Eagles state champion a full scholarship.

Winning the High School Coaches Association Senior Nationals earlier this month helped raise his value. So did Gomez's victory at the Beast of the East Tournament last year and Iron Man Tournament this season.

In two seasons with the Eagles, Gomez, 18, posted a record of 94-1. His only loss was in the state championship match in his junior season.

"When I first came to Brandon, I was not aware of the Brandon wrestling program," Gomez said. "I had been in New Jersey a short time and didn't like it there, but I feel at home here. I am a Pentecostal Christian and I found a great Spanish-speaking church. I am at home with the Joyce family (host family) and my Brandon teammates have become another family."

Gomez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where his parents and two brothers still reside.

He hopes to earn a degree in something related to sports, and two areas of interest are sports medicine and sports management.

"One of the main reasons, I finally selected Michigan State is the church atmosphere around the campus," Gomez said. "My church life is important to me and there are 11 Pentecostal churches near the campus. Plus Rocky (Cozart) also signed to go there and he is a very close friend."

Cozart, a three-time state champion, signed last month with the Spartans.

Singer Ricky Martin Makes Contribution For Tsunami Relief

April 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005
The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

AMERICUS, Ga. (AP) - Latin pop singer Ricky Martin has donated an undisclosed amount to help Habitat for Humanity International provide homes for tsunami victims in Thailand, a Habitat spokesman said Wednesday.

Martin, who visited the disaster area following the December tidal wave, has partnered with Habitat to build and restore 224 homes, which will enable more than 1,000 disaster victims to move out of temporary shelters or overcrowded camps, Habitat said.

The donation will come from the Ricky Martin Foundation, which combats the abuse and exploitation of children, human trafficking and related issues.

Habitat spokesman Joedy Isert said the foundation asked that the amount not be disclosed, but he added, "It's a significant contribution.".

Habitat has built more than 470 homes in Thailand since it began working there in 1998.

"Solidarity transcends borders, race and cultures," said Angel Saltos, executive director of the foundation, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. "This case is an excellent model of how governments and the private sector can successfully unite for the well-being of humanity."

Paul Leonard, chief executive of the global nonprofit homebuilding charity, said Martin's gift mirrors Habitat's mission "to demonstrate love through action."

"His gift will help rebuild not only homes, but families who lost more than possessions in the tidal surge," Leonard said.


On the Net:

Habitat for Humanity:

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