Jack is Back! This Thursday Night at Lands End!

Jack Lewis Returns to Rock Roatan

BY JEFF STRATTON

Remember this dude? Jack, who apparently owned no shirts? The guy who played cover songs and entertained crowds all over West End about 3.5 years ago?

Sure you do. How could you forget?

Jack Lewis, the raconteur who recklessly rocked Roatan all those summers ago, is back on the rock. He’s performing at at open mic at Lands End, his old haunt, tomorrow night (Thursday, May 12) at sunset. He’s only here for a week, so don’t miss your chance. I’m heading down there with a melodica and a drum machine. Don’t miss it, kids.

Jack and Harmony at Lands End

I’d recommend that anyone and everyone with a sense of fun and humor attend. Lands End, a wonderful if under-utilized spot, is trailblazing a Roatan renaissance. The place is jamming again. Lionfish is on the menu, there’s a cool dive-master/ bartender (Joe) with great music and stories, a ring and a string and a hook, and a spectacular view at sunset.

SOL International Foundation held a big fundraiser there last Sunday, Mark Flanagan is starting up a Tuesday Quiz Night, and the place just generally contains a solidly fun and entertaining vibe that shouldn’t stay a secret.

Part of that essence is found in Lands End’s incredible staff, including the adorably silly Eva and her uncle, the immensely talented Adi. Adi plays bass for Brion James and at least one other project, and has single-handedly led the fledgling Roatan New Times to a level of visual professionalism and sophistication that was previously unimaginable.

Oh yeah. The first edition of our new Roatan magazine, The Best of Roatan 2011, hits the street in about 10 days. We’ll be folding up this little blog and tucking it inside our new project, Roatan New Times, and we’ll be unveiling our second issue sometime in June. That will contain a feature story you may have heard about before…I’m sure I’ll take some shit for it in West End, but oh well. It’ll also have a full-color restaurant section, a ton of satire, a profile of Brion James himself, and it won’t be just me writing for it.

We’ve sent the pages to San Pedro Sula, where La Prensa is printing our first edition this week. Very soon, the Bay Islands Voice will no longer be the only game in town. Excited? So are we. Stay tuned, folks. This is happening.

West End Robbery Suspect: Photo

As usual, it’s not easy to get many “facts” about these West End silver-pistol robberies. But a concerned citizen e-mailed me a shot taken of a suspect’s ID card which was held at the tourist police station in West End.

More from this anonymous citizen:

“Here’s the photo. I took this picture at the west end tourist police station. They had this guy’s picture ID and presented it to me asking if he was the robber. They probably still have it. I don’t know if they have followed up and tried to find or arrest him though, maybe you can find out. I spoke with Officer Perez at the station but most of the guys there heard from me about the robbery at the roatan bed and breakfast near brick oven pizza. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if they were always telling me the truth. I suspect not, because once they told me they had 3 suspects and treated them badly but they gave no information. Another officer said it was two suspects. I think they were just blowing smoke. Also, the owner of the B&B said about a week after we left, the police had two thieves in cuffs so I don’t know what that was all about.

Some of the items they stole besides US Dollars and Lempiras:

-Apple macbook pro 15″ silver, 2.4ghz dual core, 200gb hard drive, 7200 rpm

   Serial # W88132NMYJZ

-Apple iphone 3GS 32gb serial # 84945CT43NR  imei# 012026001106211

-Olymus Stylus 770SW 7.1 Megapixel waterproof camera silver w/ black gasket Serial #D06642415

-2 silver rings (one with skull & crossbones, one with rotating keltic band)

-Black O’Neil Psycho Surfer Backpack (recovered by local on side of road at west bay turnoff corner)

-U.S. Passport (recovered with backpack)

-Black Stingray skin wallet with white stripe (w/ various credit cards and IDs)

-USB Headset and various power cords and cables to hook up to computer, camera and iphone

-A 1st generation itouch 8gb

-Fossil Watch FS4613 Chronograph

Undersea Roatan Featured in Time, National Geographic This Month

Lionfish, sharks, Marine Park, local sub captain showcased

BY JEFF STRATTON

Antonio Busiello

On April 4, National Geographic published a photo essay featuring incredible pictures shot in the waters of the Roatan Marine Park. Though the magazine doesn’t make much  distinction between Honduras and Roatan, it’s got some pretty awesome shots of sharks making meals out of lionfish. Quoted in the article is West End resident Ian Drysdale.

Ten days later, Time ran a short piece about Karl Stanley’s sub.

Kelly Tyler

Time only used one quote from Karl, but it’s a beauty: “Any time I can get my hands on a large dead animal, I take it.”

Update/Correction

Two readers confirmed that the figures originally quoted to West End landowners do, in fact, include 9 percent amortized over a 10-year period. Thanks for the information.

Lowie Crisp
Lowie Crisp 8:00am Apr 20
In the end we were informed that the estimated monthly “tab” per lot does include the interest……

Jim Dunn 9:07am Apr 20
Confirmed. I just ran a spreadsheet that amortizes loans. My monthly payment includes interest at 9% over 10 years.

Roatan Mayor Pushes West End Road

Julio Galindo Answers West End Questions

BY JEFF STRATTON

Unable to stay for the whole thing but here’s what I saw:

As the sun went down, the wind kicked up, and two assistants were called in to keep the screen (above) from being blown over.

Family  scions from West End’s past sat in folding chairs with business- and land-owners who live in West End.

The last meeting, Mayor Galindo began, “seemed like a confrontation. Let’s not have that tonight.” Scattered applause. He explained that last time, the municipal wasn’t properly prepared to answer every question but that tonight, each question would get an answer.

To prove that, he used a PowerPoint presentation to show and zoom in on the cadastral surveys for West End.

The individual lots on the cadastrals displayed could be selected to show exactly what each property owner would owe, whether if paid off in a lump sum or spread out over a 10-year span.

“Thirty-three dollars a month,” said Mayor Galindo, telling one resident what his payment would be. “Insignificant, really.” Large property owners would take a bigger hit but most small homeowners with one lot were presented with numbers that weren’t intimidating at all, usually well under $50 a month.

If anything, the mayor used the meeting not to debate the merits of the road, but to make it as palatable as possible for the people paying for it. Straight off the bat, he was clear about his position:

“My father and my wife were born down here,” he said of West End. “I’ve made my mind up. I would like to pave this road. If I don’t do it, it ain’t gonna get done. And if we don’t do it now, in the future it would be practically impossible.”

The mayor addressed critics who’ve alleged that the road paving is politically motivated. “There’s no politics at all. I love my island,” he told the crowd. Explaining that he draws no salary as mayor, he added, “I’ve never gone to the U.S. or to Tegucigalpa as mayor, and I’ve never charged the municipal for a meal or a hotel room.”

There was a moment of humor when someone asked the mayor if the road would be stamped and if it could be colored.

“Yes,” he answered, “we can make it any color you want.”

“No,” said a man in the audience, “you can’t make it blue.”

“We want it gold!” someone joked, but a guy in front of me grumbled, “For those prices, it should be gold.”

It was then, about a half hour or so in, that a main backer of the petition against the West End road (Caroline Power) left in what appeared to be disgust. The paved road did seem like a foregone conclusion at that point — it was like the meal was over, coffee’d been served, and all there was to do was figure out what everyone’s share of the check would be.

Even that became cloudier when it was revealed that the lempira/dollar amounts told to the landowners didn’t include the interest rates charged by the banks loaning money for the project.

Those rates, according to mayor Galindo: 9 percent if paid off in 10 years, 12 percent if paid off in 15. “You can’t get money for free,” he said. “I wish it could be three percent.”

“So, if we finance it, that [the original figures quoted] won’t be our monthly payment,” someone pointed out, adding that people opting to finance would end up paying almost double the initial estimate.

That prompted another resident to ask what would happen if he sold his property, or a portion of his property — and someone else asked if the outstanding debt could mean a lien could be placed on his property.

“I’m not going to put a lien against you,” the mayor said, “but I don’t know what the bank is going to ask you for.”

With that, it was time to bail and pop in on Quiz Night next door. If anyone has additional anecdotes from the tail-end of the meeting, please share them.

This is clear: wake up today to find the Roatan Reality chat group flaming like a cross-dresser at a pride festival. Some of the smoke lingering around the hills today must be from all the name-calling.

Maybe Caroline can take some solace in this comment from the Facebook page called No West End Road :

Mike Dewar 7:33am Apr 20
“like-minded anti-progress simpletons” When you start to get labels like this from a poster on RoatanReality, you can be pretty sure you’ve won the argument!

UPDATE: New West End Road Closed, likely for the week

Traffic through the Barrinche increases

BY JEFF STRATTON

Taxi traveling from the road near Woodys gas station through the Barrinche, 12 April 2011

A week ago, a huge mound of dirt stopped vehicles from using the new West End road to connect the main drag to the Barrinche, which spills out over by the tourist police station and Woody’s Grocery. On Monday, only a telephone pole stood in the way. Yesterday it was gone and cars were freely exploring the new access road.

The rickety bridge isn’t the only shortcut anymore:

Mangrove Bight, 12 April 2011

Now, getting to the north end of West End is going to be quicker and easier.

And that means you have no excuse not to get down to Land’s End for Trivia Night next week!

Here are the deets, courtesy of SOL Foundation dude/former Oasis manager and all-around badass Mark Flanagan:

“Back by popular demand! Quiz Nite, brought to you by Oasis Entertainment, will be making a comeback starting next Tuesday, April 19th at Land’s End Green Flash Bar in West End at 7 pm.  The first Quiz Nite will be a SOL International fundraiser as part of the ongoing 5th Annual Golden Buoy Competition.  L50/person entry fee, maximum 4 people per team; all buy-in money goes to SOL International (first week only), special prize for winning team.  Geography, history, international sports, current events, pop culture.  Full bar and kitchen.  For more information, contact Mark Flanagan @ 9602-2400.”

More Punta Gorda News on Roatan Radio, 101.1 FM

Bay Islands Time Show Examines Garifuna Plight

BY JEFF STRATTON

Tune in today at 11 a.m. Mountain Time to www.roatanradio.com for the Bay Islands Time show. Miss Daine has quite a bit to say about the bulldozing of homes in Punta Gorda. A land dispute is forcing families from homes, despite valiant attempts by the community to stop the evictions. Don’t miss it.

La Migra, La Migra

The crackdown cometh?

Not long before Semana Santa starts up, a few things start happening.

For starters, look for cops clearing West End of parked cars.

Next, watch immigration officials crack down on gringo-run businesses. Owners and employees working without residencies should expect hassles.

A Date With Destiny

Indictments of West End gringos showing a pattern?

BY JEFF STRATTON

It’s probably nothing more than a coincidence. But it’s a weird one:

Well-known West End couple Scott and Kristin Haynes were indicted in federal court on March 24, 2010.

West End bar owner David Dangler’s federal indictment came on March 25, 2011.

What this obviously means is that someone’s going down on March 26, 2012.

Guesses?

Anyone?

Bueller?