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Stories picked from the Headlines
This years election as most people would agree was one of the tensest ever! Tempers flared, insults tossed between political party members, allegations were made and in general a cloud of speculation and mistrust surrounded the entire electoral process on the island.
A few months previous to election, Shelby McNab, reporter for local TV station HQ TV, traveled to La Ceiba and and interviewed several residents of the San Judas area who claimed that activists from the National Party visited them in an effort to â€œbuy their votesâ€, in other words they were being offered a round trip passage to Utila plus a few extra lempiras as payment for them going to to vote for the National partyâ€™s candidate. These allegations stirred up unrest among Utilians who readily made on air calls to express their dislike and disgust regarding the video footage being presented.
A few days later National party mayoral candidate, Richard del Olmo made an appearance on HQ TV in an effort to clarify and put an end to the rumors by providing video interviews with individuals (also from the San Judas area) claiming that the people shown in HQ TVâ€™s previous news program were paid to make negative declarations against the National party. This put an interesting spin on the original story of â€œbuying votes & importing Spaniards â€ and at the same time it created a certain degree of confusion for some people.
Confusion however changed to outrage in the days preceding the elections when it became obvious that in fact people WERE being brought from the mainland to vote .
Reporters from La Ceiba exposed on a national level the story of the Â¨ importation of mainlandersÂ¨ not only to Utila but also to the Bay Islands area in general. The media sensationalized the story and it became a heated topic of discussion on TeleceibaÂ´s Linea Directa program. Viewers called in to express their opinions and concern. Rodolfo Miralda and Isidro Amaya were later taken to court to clear up threats they allegedly made on air.
In an effort to maintain order and ensure a peaceful election, additional members of the police force arrived causing even more skepticism among the islands residents many of whom considered military presence a threat instead of security. Comments such as Â¨The police ainÂ´t here to protect us, theyÂ´re here to protect the SpaniardsÂ¨ were quite commonly heard.
Finally after weeks of tensions running high, the day had come, Sunday, November 27, Election Day 2005!
Outside the public school which was designated as the voting center, early morning voters gathered and waited patiently for the gates to open. Due to various problems the official opening time of 6:30 AM was delayed by more than an hour. Despite the irregularities surrounding the elections, the day transpired with no major drama (local cameramanÂ´s arrest being an exception).
As dusk fell crowds once again gathered outside the public school awaiting the official announcement. Needless to say, anxiety levels were high. At approximately 10:30 PM the winner was declared, Liberal party candidate and current mayor, Alton Cooper had won! The relief was obvious on the faces of his supporters and ear piercing shouts could be heard as the winner was carried downhill. Hundreds of people joined in the celebration parade which lasted until early morning hours.
One of my earliest memories of life as a boy here on Utila was the first time I successfully hopped Daddies little car. If my memory serves me right we called his car the Cucaracha. We would have to first practice hopping the cucaracha before graduating on to my grandfatherâ€™s trucks because daddy always drove so slowly and carefully. But even more importantly we had no worries of daddy scolding us, roughing us up and running us away.
Daddy like my father taught his children to work hard and to be responsible from a very young age. I had to work behind a truck while Lisa and Martha worked in the shop and alongside Mrs. Laura at their restaurant.
It was under the Mango tree next to the ice plant that he and my father had a brief conversation in my presence about the importance of teaching such principles to our kids. Principles that I will hand down to my children.
I was 16 years old attending school at the UMCC when I looked over at his daughter Lisa and felt great fondness for her. After almost four years of courtship we were married in 1989 and I officially became a part of the Morgan Family.
A very short time after our marriage tragedy struck with the death of mam Linda Gabourel. It was a severe blow to the family and daddy was devastated.
Though in my opinion he never fully recovered from the death of his wife Linda. Love between his children, grandchildren and in-laws sustained Him.
In time our relationship grew stronger and often times I was tempted to ask daddy lets do something with those old buildings in the middle of town. However I respected him tremendously and would never want to say anything that may hurt or offend him.
It was a humid August morning of 1997 when daddies shop went into flames. He was extremely upset. In an attempt to console him I said. Daddy be strong. It is but an old building and furthermore it can be easily replaced.
He looked over at me with his fingers on his chin and said Alton - "Son for me that building could never be replaced because it was a product of my fatherâ€™s era".
Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. I then realized that those buildings stood there for sentimental reasons.
Those buildings to Daddy represented the physical aspect of his past. Something he could touch that was once touched by his father and perhaps grandfather.
Since that day as I walk up the old rocky road to the hill I cannot help but think of the old Gabrels and Boddens. Long gone generations who once used that road.
As I walk along Lumis road I think of the old Coburns, Ramonâ€™s, Roses, Jacksons, Williams, Coopers, James, Morganâ€™s, Warrens, Hills, our forefathers people of our past who frequented the same path. Honorable, God fearing people, who are no longer with us but left this earth loving their little island.
It is important we work to keep our graveyard clean.
It is important we do the very best tot our ability to continue to help on another It is important we continue to work to improve our island the land of our forefathers. It is the best way it is the only way to honor those of our past.
Daddies death for me today represents n end to an era. Today we will lay him to rest next to his wife Linda. He has now joined the ranks of our honorable forefathers who lived their entire life here on Utila and proudly called themselves Utilians.
He will be dearly missed.
In the summer of 2005 the Iguana Research and Breeding Station caught 31 females of the endemic spiny tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri), also known as Swamper or Wishiwilly.
They were caught at their traditional breeding sites. The females were kept in cages with a nesting box where they bury their eggs in sand. After laying their eggs the females were released in the same spot they were caught.
This year 304 eggs of the caught females plus 147 eggs of 12 females of our three breeding groups were incubated. Between June and August 311 juveniles were hatched out of a total of 451 eggs with an average incubation time of 74 days.
All hatchlings were measured, weighed and marked by clipping one toe for later identification. Approximately 50 % were released. The other 50% will stay at the station for one year to improve chance of survival.
This yearâ€™s carnival was spiced up by the Utila Thrillasâ€™ first single â€œCarnival de Utilaâ€. The single was very successful making it to number one in Honduras. The local trio Harry Williams, Dereck Zelaya and Marvin Escobar performed live on TV and had interviews with Channel 4 and Tele Ceiba.
Now the guys are back with their third single â€œHey Shortyâ€, which came out about a week ago, recorded by AC Records in La Ceiba. The boys are hoping that this one will be just as successful. â€œWe want to go up to the top and travel around the world,â€ said Dereck Zelaya aka Thrilla D.
Utilas first Reggeaton group is working on an album and want to record one song a month. They write all the songs and lyrics themselves. â€œWe make a ritmo and then we just go with the flow,â€ said Zelaya. They will probably not release the singles but save them for their album which they are hoping to have ready for this time next year.
The â€œHey Shortyâ€ video was shot by Funky Fat Fish Productions at Deep Blue Resort, the new house on the point and on the water tower at Stuarts Hill. Hey Shorty will be sold as a video at Ritaâ€™s Boutique, Funky Fat Fish Productions (see Dan Cain) and at Zelayaâ€™s house. In case you missed the Carnival de Utila video you can also buy a DVD with both videos.
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