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The San Pedro International Costa Maya Festival Committee has announced the dates for Costa Maya Festival 2009 to be from August 6 to August 9. The committee members met this past weekend to start deliberations and get the ball rolling with preparations for this year’s festival.

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In observance of World Wetlands Day, the San Pedro Business Association, Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development (ACCSD) under theme "Upstream-Downstream: Wetlands connect us all" held a boat parade early Monday morning, February 2, to show support and awareness of the wetlands in San Pedro and around the country of Belize.

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It has become a yearly event now – Kelly McGuire coming over to San Pedro to celebrate his birthday. And when Kelly celebrates he does not make it a one night event. The award winning songwriter of ‘Boat in Belize” is back on the island to celebrate his birthday, but to do so he needs to rock out at several venues on the island.

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After noticing that the stretch of beach where they regularly walk their ‘dog clients’ was getting a little dirty with litter, the staff of Pampered Paws decided to hold a beach cleanup day to help make a section of the island a bit more cheerful and clean. Professional dog groomer and trainer Kathy Marin, proprietor of Pampered Paws on Pescador Drive, took to a stretch of beach just south of Royal Palm Villas on a Sunday and made the best of a Bar-B-Que picnic by cleaning up the beach of garbage that had been piling up for some time now.

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San Pedro High School continues its winning streak in sports and academics in competitions around the country under their new principal, Mr. Emil Vasquez. Not satisfied enough with their wins in Math Olympiad, Science Food and Nutrition Competition, Volleyball, and basketball, this time they went with two first place trophies, Males and Females in the Northern Regional Football competition.

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While Guatemala is disputing a portion of Belizean land that they claim belongs to them, Mexico, on the other hand, is thinking and planning of returning a part of territory which they have discovered belongs to Belize. The Department of External Affairs has officially informed that Mexico is in talks with Belize, which is just south of their border, in order to properly define the boundaries of the two countries.

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Sunset Grill was the big winner at this year's Savor San Pedro Food Festival, taking home the Best Dish and Best Appetizer awards. The organizing committee called the festival a success, even though a sudden downpour scattered the crowds in look for shelter. But by the time the rain came, most of the booths had run out of food. Sunset Grill was the only booth that kept on serving their tasty dishes late into the night, proving that they were the favorite of the night.

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“We are Ready and We will Make Things Happen” was the unified voice of the People’s United Party (PUP) as they launched their Contract with the People (manifesto) for the next three years for San Pedro.

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Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the new Mrs. Barrow, Kim Simplis got married on Saturday, February 7, at the Episcopal Church of St Paul the Apostle, in Savannah Georgia. About one hundred persons attended – most of them from Belize.

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On January 9, the Public Utilities Commission had ordered a decrease in electricity rates that worked out to about a 12% reduction in the average light bill. Well, since then they had to delay implementation of that decision because BEL successfully showed that they hadn’t complied with the procedural requirement of inviting public comments. And now the revised decision is even more favorable to consumers, it lowers the average rate by about 15%!

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Every individual’s position on this depends on what side of the table you are eating from, if you have employment or investments you are eating on South Beach side of the table but if you care about the environment and sustainable tourism development for the island you are eating on the other side of the table.

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On Friday, February 13, 2009, Chief Elections Officer Mrs. Marilyn Ordonez, of the Elections and Boundaries Department of Belize, met with both political parties with the objective to ensure that the candidates and their representatives are aware of the rules, policies and procedures governing the election process and that all of them are in agreement with them.

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- Press Release, Belize City, Belize - February 12, 2009 - It's official, on January 19, 2009 Belize lawmakers unanimously passed one of the most comprehensive catch and release fishing legislations in the world. The legislation states that bonefish, permit and tarpon may not be possessed by any person or establishment in Belize, except in the act of catch and release.

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The view of Ambergris Caye at 13,000 feet is probably one of the most spectacular sights one can experience, but plummeting down at 30 feet per second is not on the To-Do list of any of us at Ambergris Today. It was only when Melody worked with us that she braved through the adventure of what has become an annual event in San Pedro – The Tsunami Skydivers “Boogie in Belize”. We recommend the skydiving to those who love extreme sports and feeling that adrenaline; there are plenty of locals who we know have a will to join in the fun.

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The official inauguration ceremony of the Southern Rehabilitation Project took place on Friday, February 13 on Coconut Drive between Island Academy and the San Pedro Distributors where Mr. Omar Mitchell had the privilege of being the master of ceremony for the event. The welcome address was delivered by Mayor Elsa Paz who stressed on how much improvement has been done under the UDP term and that much more can be achieved if re-elected, as the progress will be kept alive.

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Valentine’s day is a time when most people look at restaurants and resorts in search for that perfect Valentine’s dinner, a romantic meal to share with that special someone or those special people in your life including parents, grandparents and children. With this in mind Sueño del Mar, located north of Ambergris Caye, invited Ambergris Today to be part of a very elegant and romantic buffet; my wife and I attended. While many couples are in search for that perfect meal, Sueño del Mar prepared the most delectable set of dishes.

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Click HERE for Carnival 2009 Gallery

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With the political race coming to the finish line on Wednesday, March 4, both political parties have been arduously conducting house-to-house campaigns; the United Democratic Party under their slogan “Keep Progress Alive” while the People’s United Party has been campaigning under their slogan “We make things Happen – Ready, Willing and Able”. This week Ambergris Today Newspaper met with both mayoral candidates to get their last feelings and messages to the electorate. *PUP Mayoral Candidate – Mr. Baldemar Graniel

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Belize to adopt the use of CARICOM passports - The Immigration Department and Nationality Offices countrywide will not be accepting passport applications this week as they are modifying, upgrading and testing an issuance system to accommodate the new CARICOM passport.

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You may remember Mrs. Aretha Mitchell when Ambergris Today visited her in the September/October 2008 issue. She was very pleased with Isla Bonita Elementary School, the teachers and the education her twin boys (Jesse and James) received at the I.B.E.S.

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