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Playas de Tijuana and Rosarito Declare Beaches Fit for Fun!

Good news, beach lovers! Both Playas de Tijuana and Rosarito have rolled out the blue carpets, inviting everyone to enjoy their sparkling sands and clear waters. After months of efforts and environmental vigilance, these popular coastal spots are ready to make your beach day dreams come true.

Playas de Tijuana: From No-Go to Go-Go!

It wasn’t looking good for a while there. With high levels of enterococcus bacteria—yes, that’s the yucky stuff from sewage spills—Tijuana’s beaches were a no-go zone for months. But thanks to the tireless efforts of the ‘Proyecto Ambiental Fronterizo’ and various local campaigns, the tides have turned. As of late May 2024, after relentless monitoring and cleaning, the Federal Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks (COEPRIS) has given Playas de Tijuana the green light. They’re not just open; they’re officially safe for all your beachside frolicking. Let’s just hope they stay that way for a while.

Rosarito’s Center Beach: The Place to Be!

Moving down the coast to Rosarito, things are looking equally sunny. Center Beach has passed recent water quality tests with flying colors, showing levels of enterococcus well below the threshold of concern. Thanks to continuous improvements in beach surveillance and the commitment of local lifeguards—who train rigorously three times a week to keep their rescue chops up—beachgoers can rest easy. And to top it off, vehicle access to the beaches has been restricted to keep the sands safe and serene.

Both cities have seen remarkable community and governmental collaboration, demonstrating a stellar commitment to environmental health and public safety. From closed beaches marred by pollution to thriving recreational hotspots, Playas de Tijuana and Rosarito are clean, clear, and utterly inviting.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab that beach towel, slap on some sunscreen, and head to these beaches. Whether you’re building sandcastles, catching waves, or just soaking up some rays, these clean coastal gems are the place to be. Remember, though, the battle for clean beaches continues, and it’s up to all of us to keep them beautiful. Pack your trash, use those bins, and let’s keep our sands as clean as our fun is wild!

Gasoline Shortage Hits Tijuana, Tecate, and Rosarito!

Buckle up, folks! The gasoline shortage has hit Tijuana, Tecate, and Rosarito, and it’s not pretty. Carlos Roberto Rubio Arreola, the head honcho of the Onexpo Baja Gas Station Association in Tijuana, spilled the beans: some gas stations are already dry. Why? Because Pemex-Rosarito has hit the brakes on fuel distribution, thanks to a never-ending blockade by the residents of Maclovio Rojas, who are fed up with the lack of solutions to their property title issues.

Carlos Roberto mentioned that they’ve been chatting with Pemex to fix the mess, but as of this Tuesday, some Tijuana stations have already hung up the “No Gas” signs. Since last Sunday night, the residents of Maclovio Rojas set up camp and blocked the fuel trucks at the Pemex plant in Playas de Rosarito. Their gripe? Authorities aren’t paying attention to their property title problems.

Onexpo Baja confirmed in an official statement that their members are worried. Not only is Pemex unable to deliver fuel, but the authorized distributors are also stuck in the same boat.

Rubio Arreola warned that the problem is getting worse by the day, causing more and more gas stations to run dry. Onexpo promises to keep us in the loop about the efforts to restore fuel supplies and hopes for a quick and lasting solution to the Pemex Distribution Plant conflict. They’re as clueless about the root of the problem as we are, dear citizens.

If you can still find a gas station with fuel, fill up while you can. Some stations have already shut down, and who knows when they’ll be back in action. Good luck, and may the gas gods be with you!

Get Ready for the Sassy Fine Art Festival 2024!

Rosarito is about to get a whole lot sassier! On Saturday, June 8th, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Hacienda Km 43 will host the Sassy Fine Art Festival. This all-day event promises a feast for the senses, featuring 23 of northern Baja’s finest artists, live music, delicious food from Chef Santos, and three fully stocked bars. It’s set to be a day of pure enjoyment.

The festival, inspired by the talents of Marlen Caster and Polo Valencia, will showcase a range of artistic brilliance. Marlen Caster’s glowing-in-the-dark artwork highlights the tragedy of discarded fishing nets in the sea. Her pieces are nothing short of mesmerizing. Polo Valencia, a seasoned artist with a gallery in Popotla since 1988, has helped curate the festival’s lineup. Polo’s gallery has attracted celebrities like Mel Gibson and James Cameron, and he has a knack for discovering incredible talent.

Adding to the excitement, Canadian author Marnie Ross, now residing in San Felipe, will be present to share her Baja-set murder mystery series. Young talents Maky Garcia Romero, and brothers Tonatiuh and Emiliano Ramírez, are also set to impress with their work.

The entertainment lineup is equally stellar. World-class violinist Jose Enrique Tovar, formerly of the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra, will perform. Jose, now living in Mexico, is renowned for his versatility, seamlessly switching from classical violin to fiddle.

Following Jose is Storyteller, a band of seasoned rockers guaranteed to get the crowd moving. Known for their infectious energy, drummer Todd and lead guitarist Dante, along with the rest of the band, promise to deliver a performance that will have everyone dancing.

The Sassy Fine Art Festival’s first year is shaping up to be an unforgettable celebration of art, music, and community. From stunning visual art to live performances and culinary delights, this event is all about enjoying the finer things in life.

Don’t miss out on what promises to be an unforgettable day at the Sassy Fine Art Festival!

Arena Valle de Guadalupe Opens Its Doors with a Bang!

Get ready, music lovers! The brand-new Arena Valle de Guadalupe is set to become Baja California’s premier entertainment hub, boasting a capacity of 10,000 and promising top-tier events. Although the arena is still a work in progress, the venue opened its doors to the press for an exclusive tour on May 16th, revealing its impressive architecture and design, all set against the stunning backdrop of the wine valley.

The grand opening concert will be headlined by none other than Christian Nodal on May 26th, marking the first of many spectacular events. Following Nodal, a star-studded lineup awaits: Carín León on June 8th, Ricky Martin on June 21st, Banda MS on June 22nd, and Los Aguilar on July 27th. And that’s just the beginning!

Nelly Sanoja, the arena’s representative, highlighted the venue’s modern yet regionally respectful design. Equipped with nearly 300 restrooms, 3,000 parking spaces, and advanced security systems, Arena Valle de Guadalupe is ready to welcome both national and international visitors. The venue also prides itself on its eco-friendly construction, featuring its own power substation and septic systems, and ensuring accessibility for all guests.

Photo courtesy of Alejandro Zepeda

Ricky Martin’s concert on June 21st is particularly anticipated, as he will be the first international artist to grace the new arena’s stage. Fans can expect a phenomenal show with Ricky’s greatest hits, including “Livin’ la Vida Loca” and “She Bangs” enhanced by a full symphony orchestra. Tickets range from 2,000 to 10,000 pesos, promising a high-quality visual and auditory experience.

Marco Santalices from InHouse, the production company behind the arena, assured that while a few final touches are still being made, the venue will be fully ready for Nodal’s concert. The arena’s long-term strategy already includes bookings up to 2025, big names like J.Lo, Michael Bublé, Andrea Bocelli, Raw Alejandro, and Maluma are already being mentioned while Luis Miguel is said to be already confirmed to perform, with the date to be announced soon.

Mark your calendars, grab your tickets, and get ready to experience world-class performances in the heart of Valle de Guadalupe!

15 Marine Mammals Found Dead on Ensenada Beaches

In recent weeks, Ensenada has witnessed an alarming phenomenon: the deaths of 15 marine mammals along its shores. These incidents have stirred local authorities and organizations into action, trying to pinpoint the cause of these tragic losses.

The deceased animals, ranging from seals to larger species, have been reported by concerned citizens and are currently under investigation by several environmental and marine biology experts from the Zona Federal Marítimo Terrestre (Zofemat), Profepa, and the civil association Investigación y Conservación de Mamíferos Marinos de Ensenada (Icmme). Alfredo Benjamín Figueroa Rodríguez, operational coordinator at Zofemat, highlighted that despite their efforts, the specific causes of death remain undetermined pending scientific analysis.

The situation poses significant concerns about the marine ecosystem’s health and prompts questions about possible environmental or human factors contributing to these incidents. The community is urged to report any unusual sightings of marine life, whether dead or alive, to ensure a rapid response and minimize potential health risks from handling these animals.

This spike in marine mammal deaths has put a spotlight on the broader implications for biodiversity and environmental stewardship in the region.

Red Cross Day and Local Efforts in Rosarito

Every May 8th, we celebrate World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. It’s a special time to acknowledge the local and global humanitarian efforts spearheaded by the Red Cross and founded over 160 years ago by volunteer Henry Dunant. This day is not just about remembering our roots but also about paying tribute to the millions of volunteers and staff who dedicate their lives to helping those in dire need of protection, medical care, social aid, and solidarity.

Across the globe, the Red Cross steps up in scenarios most of us can barely imagine—armed conflicts, natural disasters, climate crises, epidemics, and more. Their emblem, recognized worldwide, is a beacon of hope and safety. It’s crucial for ensuring the safety of Red Cross personnel everywhere, allowing them to deliver life-saving assistance while maintaining the neutrality essential for reaching isolated and endangered communities.

Despite numerous challenges vying for attention and resources, the Red Cross remains committed to highlighting forgotten crises and upholding humanity, especially in contexts of extreme polarization and dehumanization. Upholding international humanitarian law is not only a commitment to the dignity of those affected by crises but also to our shared humanity.

In Rosarito, the local Red Cross chapter mirrors this global mission with profound dedication. They recently kicked off the 2024 School Collection with an event at El Rosario Primary School, aiming to surpass last year’s impressive fundraising total of two hundred thousand pesos. The demonstration by Red Cross paramedics showed students the critical work performed in emergencies, inspiring the next generation to support and contribute.

Sergio Conrado Hernández, the local Red Cross President, shared a touching personal story about how Red Cross paramedics saved his hand, motivating him to support the organization. He encouraged students from all educational levels to contribute, with the funds aimed at supporting the over 500 monthly emergency calls responded to by the Rosarito Red Cross.

Today, as we honor the bravery and sacrifice of Red Cross volunteers worldwide, let’s also celebrate the significant impact of our local chapter in Rosarito, whose tireless efforts keep the spirit of humanity alive every day.

Netflix’s “Gringo Hunters” Filming in Baja California

Roll out the red carpet, Baja California! Netflix is making waves in our coastal paradise with their latest series, “Gringo Hunters,” slated to hit screens next year. This gripping crime series is inspired by a real elite Mexican police unit known for nabbing American fugitives across Mexico, promising to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. 

This Monday morning, the bustling area around the Palacio Municipal in Tijuana turned into a film set, complete with extras holding protest signs and actors in police uniforms, creating a vibrant scene of staged chaos that’s sure to translate into thrilling television. 

But the action isn’t just confined to Tijuana. From the iconic Avenida Revolución to the Chevron Stadium in Zona Río and the sunny shores of Playas de Tijuana, the production has been hopping across our state. Not to be outdone, the scenic city of Ensenada has also caught the director’s eye, featuring picturesque locations like the Ventana al Mar pier, the bustling boardwalk, and the panoramic El Vigía hill. 

“Gringo Hunters” draws its inspiration from a Washington Post article by Kevin Sieff, which detailed the daring exploits of this police squad and where the Gringo Gazette North was proudly mentioned.

With a stellar cast including Harold Torres, Mayra Hermosillo, Manuel Masalva, Andrew Leland Rogers, and Héctor Kotsifakis, this series is poised to be a highlight of Netflix’s offerings next year. 

Netflix announced that alongside Baja California, some scenes will also be shot in Mexico City, adding an urban flair to the series’ diverse Mexican landscapes. 

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, keep your eyes open: you might witness some movie magic—or even find yourself in the middle of it! “Gringo Hunters” isn’t just filming in our backyard; it’s shining a spotlight on the unique charm and drama of Baja California. Get ready to binge-watch this action-packed series that celebrates our local culture and scenery while unraveling high-stakes crime stories. 

Stay tuned, and let’s watch our beloved Baja become a star on the small screen! 

From lefto to right: Álvaro Álvaréz and Rocío Hoffmann plastic artists. Benito del Águila, Artwalk Rosarito director, Adaí Villarreal public relations Artwalk Rosarito.

Baja California Artists Shine at Mexico City’s Cultural Hub

This Wednesday, April 24, a vibrant delegation from Baja California will make its way to the Centro Cultural Los Pinos in Mexico City. The group, composed of artists, cultural promoters, and government officials, aims to showcase the rich tapestry of plastic arts thriving in their region at the upcoming Artwalk Rosarito event.

“Baja California is known for having the highest number of artists per capita in the Northwest, featuring artists who have made significant marks across various countries. This visit is all about boosting the visibility of our talented artists and promoting our Artwalk Rosarito on the national arts scene,” says Benito del Águila, director of Artwalk Rosarito.

From lefto to right: Álvaro Álvaréz  and Rocío Hoffmann plastic artists. Benito del Águila, Artwalk Rosarito director,  Adaí Villarreal public relations Artwalk Rosarito.
From lefto to right: Álvaro Álvaréz and Rocío Hoffmann plastic artists. Benito del Águila, Artwalk Rosarito director, Adaí Villarreal public relations Artwalk Rosarito.

The team is led by notable figures including Benito del Águila and Adaí Villarreal from Artwalk Rosarito’s PR and Communications, alongside acclaimed artists Rocío Hoffmann and Álvaro Álvarez. They are joined by Alma Delia Ábrego, Baja California’s Secretary of Culture, and César Rivera, President of COTUCO Rosarito, who advocate for Rosarito as a prime destination for cultural tourism and art collecting.

Artwalk Rosarito is scheduled for May 25-26 at the State Center of Arts in Playas de Rosarito, featuring works from 60 artists and an exhibition at the International Gallery. Admission is free, promising an accessible celebration of art.

For more information, check out the Artwalk Rosarito social media pages.

Carlos Hussong’s Nautical Vision Brings Us the Isla de Guadalupe Regatta

BY LUISA ROSAS

Carlos Hussong is not just a former tuna fisherman turned maritime law expert; he is also a visionary in the nautical sports community. With his deep understanding of the sea and its regulations, Hussong has transformed his passion for sailing into a significant force in the maritime sector, particularly through the establishment of the Ensenada – Guadalupe Island off-shore regatta. 

Carlos Hussong’s journey from fishing to founding regattas is as vast as the ocean itself. After a succesful career in the commercial fishing business  and as the national president of the fishing chamber, Hussong decided to pursue his passion for sailing by acquiring his yacht, the Foggy Valentina, four years ago. It wasn’t long before he ventured into the thrilling world of regattas, beginning just three years ago on Foggy Valentina. 

Hussong explained that there are generally three types of regattas: 

1. Protected Area Regattas: These are typically the simplest and occur in bays and lakes. 

2. Coastal Regattas: Limited to 30 miles from the shore. 

3. Offshore Regattas: Extending beyond 30 miles, these are considered the most challenging and exciting. Among these is the unique Regatta Isla Guadalupe in Mexico, a 550 nautical miles journey that passes around Isla Elefante and lasts about 5-6 days. 

Drawing on his experience, Hussong highlighted Ensenada, Baja California, as an ideal location for these demanding offshore events, given its natural maritime conditions and climate. He founded the Todos Santos Oceanic Regatta Club to develop and promote these yearly regattas, particularly focusing on the complex offshore type. 

Launched in 2022 by himself, the REGATTA ISLA GUADALUPE is proof  of Hussong’s commitment to the sport. It’s a 100% Mexican event that embarks from the Hotel Coral and Marina in Ensenada, organized under his leadership. Up until this edition, that will begin on May 18, the only participant on the regatta has been the Foggy Valentina, in which  a crew of six navigate approximately 550 nautical miles, demonstrating the challenging nature and allure of offshore sailing, but he hopes more and more participants could join him in the coming years. 

With Italy hosting the world’s largest regatta featuring 4,000 boats, Hussong aims to put Mexican regattas on the global map. By creating events like the REGATA ISLA GUADALUPE and enhancing international participation, he hopes to elevate the profile of local sailing events to that of world-renowned regattas. 

For those interested in the sport or looking to gain more knowledge about sailing, Hussong tells us that sailing workshops are available in Ensenada. Potential future participants in the REGATA ISLA GUADALUPE can contact him directly at +1 (858) 353 3320 or via email at hussongc@pescabrava.com for more information. 

Carlos Hussong’s story is a powerful reminder of how passion, when combined with expertise and vision, can significantly impact a community and a sport, stay tuned as we bring you some of his fantastic sea-bound stories in coming editions!

The Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race turned 70 this year. Read more on this edition's Que Pasa in Baja column.

Que Pasa in Baja?

Finally! Santa Anita Territorial Dispute Resolved. The governments of Ensenada and Playas de Rosarito have begun the process to officially transfer the administration of the town of Santa Anita to Rosarito by the end of 2024. This area, which has been at the center of legal and administrative disputes between the two municipalities since 1995, is moving towards resolution. The official page of Playas de Rosarito reported ongoing meetings aimed at transferring community accounts and ensuring Santa Anita residents will soon be able to handle their civic duties and taxation within Rosarito’s jurisdiction. The transition involves the exchange of information on commercial permits, land use, and cadastral data among other administrative details, led by Rosarito’s Syndicate. A public ceremony will soon announce the official transfer, marking a significant step in resolving this longstanding territorial conflict.

Economic Boom from the 76th Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race. The 76th edition of the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race was not only a thrilling sporting event but also a financial windfall for the region, with over 100 sailboats participating and generating more than 1 million pesos in local economic impact. This race, held from April 26 to 28, saw competitors from the U.S., Mexico, Spain, the UK, Germany, France, and several South American countries, underscoring its international allure. The local hospitality sector, including hotels and restaurants, greatly benefited from the influx of visitors, adding substantial revenue to Ensenada’s economy. The race also marks the beginning of Ensenada’s peak tourist season, which includes off-road races, the Vendimia wine harvest festival, concerts, and destination weddings. This year’s race saw 126 sign-ups with 108 actual participants, and the weekend was supported by over 120 volunteers who helped make the event a success.

Baja California Faces Severe Colorado River Water Cuts. The Permanent Forum on Binational Waters has issued a stark warning: the upcoming cut in Colorado River water allocations to Mexico in 2024 will exceed the annual water usage of all Baja Californian cities reliant on this source. According to research by professors from the University of California and Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), the cut will amount to 263 million cubic meters. This figure surpasses the combined annual water consumption of Ensenada, Mexicali, Tecate, Rosarito, and Tijuana, which is about 235 million cubic meters. Furthermore, 2025 promises even sharper reductions, with an additional 346 million cubic meters withheld. This sequence of cuts, which started in 2021, will reduce Mexico’s Colorado River water by 33% compared to the allocations established in the 1944 treaty. The cuts are linked to the water level at Hoover Dam; lower levels mean more severe cuts. While some of the withheld water is recoverable by 2026, only 37% will actually return to Mexico, with the rest utilized by the U.S.

Baby Owls Found in Rosarito Office. In a surprising turn of events, the staff at a factory in Rosarito discovered six baby owls in the human resources office, prompting an unusual rescue operation by local firefighters.

On a typical Tuesday morning around 10:00 AM, the call for help came from Manufacturing, a local factory nestled in the Lucio Blanco neighborhood on Balbino Obeso Street. The human resources manager stumbled upon the little owls and quickly reached out to the firefighters for assistance in safely handling the feathered foundlings.

The owlets were promptly taken to a veterinary clinic managed by Francisco Ayala, a well-respected figure in the community and former president of Rosarito’s Veterinarian Association. According to Ayala, the owlets were barely over a week old and needed immediate care.

To provide the best environment for their recovery, the decision was made to house the baby owls in a residential setting temporarily. Here, they could be closely monitored and fed until they were ready to grow their full plumage. Once mature enough, the plan is to move them to a wildlife refuge located in Ensenada.

Ayala explained that owls are primarily nocturnal feeders, and currently, the rescuers are feeding them meat. However, he noted a concerning detail; two of the baby owls showed little interest in food, a potential indicator of health issues that will require close observation.

New Rules for Tinted Windows and Public Drinking in Rosarito. The local government just rolled out a new set of rules that are about to make life a bit easier for those of you sporting tinted windows. Starting now, you can cruise around with your windows tinted without sweating over fines or being pulled over, as long as your tints aren’t too dark. Think California-style rules, and you’re on the right track.

But that’s not all—Rosarito is also introducing a more laid-back vibe in its tourist zone. You can now sip your favorite drink openly in designated streets and even on public transport within this area, no hassle. This move aims to keep the festive spirit alive and kicking, without the nagging interruptions for enjoying a drink.

The move aims to avoid unnecessary fines by the local police, which only amount to extra opportunities for extorting our precious tourists.

Ensenada Gears Up for Bluefin Tuna Tournament. This May, Ensenada will host the exciting “Baja Bluefin Tuna Tournament,” boasting a prize pool over $45,000. The event, set for May 10-12, aims to position Ensenada as Mexico’s tuna fishing capital, with more than 50 teams from around the globe expected to compete. The tournament promises significant economic benefits, with an estimated $6 million impact on the local economy. Organizers and Baja California’s Fishing Secretary highlighted the event’s potential to showcase the region’s prime bluefin tuna migration season, making it a unique and strategic fishing contest. With stringent catch limits to ensure sustainability, the competition aligns with conservation efforts while offering impressive prizes for the winners.

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