City pays millions to disconnect radars; Cuenca’s ice cream history; Noise ordinance to be updated; Park repairs and upgrades continue; Pet hospital opens

Aug 29, 2023 | 0 comments

Lunes, 28/8/2023

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

De El Mercurio del viernes, 25/8 (2 articles):
Eventos en la Casa del la Cultura Núcleo del Azuay – Two performances of ‘Trumbo: Red, white, and blacklisted’ were publicized for viernes y sábado. <Was it in Spanish, too? I sure hope so because El Mercurio readers would probably assume so, but maybe not since the title is in English.>

Agenda cultural –
28 de agosto – Exhibit – Romance de principiante – Casa Márquez – 9:00.
29 de agosto – Exhibit – Del caos a las resiliencia – Casa de las Posadas – 8:00.

Cuenca will pay more than $3 million to terminate the photo radar contract signed by the previous city government last year. (El Mercurio)

De El Mercurio del sábado, 25/8 (2 articles):
El Festival LOFI se tomará las casas Aurora y de la Lira (The LOFI Festival will take over the Aurora and de la Lira houses) – The 1st edition of the Festival LOFI with music, literature, and visual arts will be in the Casa Aurora (calles Los Cisnes y Golondrinas) and the Casa de la Lira on the 7 & 8/9. The first event will be in the Casa Aurora el 7/9 with 3 workshops. A las 15:00, Alejandro Mendoza will teach how to produce a song. A las 16:30, the banda 1982 will teach on the same subject. The last workshop will be by poet Camila Peña will talk about how time is in poetry <Of course, I don’t understand what that could mean, but talking to me about time in poetry would be casting pearls before swine.>

Also in the Casa Aurora a las 18:00, there will be an opening of a photo and collage exhibit by Fernanda García Freire and Christian López. The festival will end el 8/9. There will be a presentation a las 18:00 with local bands Ivenno y 1982 as well as de La Torre who will play for the first time in Cuenca. <I’m not sure why the Casa de la Lira is in the headline and not in the article. Maybe the music will be in the casa de la Lira.> Free.

Exposición de pintura (Painting exhibition) – Artist Gonzalo Arce will have an exhibit of paintings in the Casa de la Cultura’s Salón del Pueblo ‘Efraín Jara Idrovo’ (at the corner of Mariscal Sucre y Benigno Malo) ‘Memoria, un relato de momentos y quimeras’ will close el 9/9. Free.

Titular –

USD 3,2 millones tocará pagar por liquidar radares (USD 3.2 million to be paid to liquidate radars) – <I bet you could liquidate those radars faster by giving some gringos guns to shoot them to pieces. They’d probably even do it for free.> Starting ayer, the radars on the vía rápida Cuenca-Azugues and the vía Medio Ejido-Sayausí stopped sanctioning speeders. This will cost the city $3.2 million. EMOV will pay the Móvil Technology consortium $2.8 million for the 1st year of investment by the consortium and $400,000 for the start of the 2nd phase.

Mayor Zamora clarified that the radars will be kept on and register ‘multas secas? (dry fines) which won’t be billed. He said that in 5 months with only the 10 active radars on those two vías, the investors registered $10 million in fines. Around 20,000 infractions are registered each month on the vía Cuenca-Azogues. Zamora said there is a new campaign, ‘Ahora te toca a ti,’ (‘Now it’s your turn.’) to motivate drivers not to speed, and that the radars are an educational tool. Starting Saturday night, he announced a massive installation of signage on the vía rápida. <Does anyone seriously think that signage but no fines will decrease speeding? The only thing someone going 120 kmp will learn is “This is what 120 kph feels like.” They won’t stop until they hit something – hopefully a tree and not another vehicle.>

The mayor commented that the city will look for another partner in the administration of the radars. He said that EMOV has sufficient capacity to operate the project. <Oh, so the whole plan was to put the city in a position where it doesn’t have to share the fines generated?> The last fotoradars were installed in mayo along av. De Las Américas, but never activated. The plan is for these to sanction other infractions such as illegal turns, blocking intersections, and stopping on top of pedestrian crossings (‘pasos cebra’ – zebra crossings).

Cuenca –

Canción del gas dejará de sonar (Gas song will stop playing) – At sunrise, Cuenca is transformed <and not in a good way>. The silence is broken by car horns and speakers blasting music. The last research by the UDA (Universidad de Azuay) through the Instituto de Estudios de Régimen Seccional del Ecuador (IERSE) which was published in 4/2023, showed that noise increased by 79.5% at 39 of the 50 sound monitoring stations in Cuenca. This data has been collected since 2009, and has obligated the Comisión de Gestión Ambiental (CGA – Environental Management Commission) to propose a new noise control ordinance. <Notice how the noise level has gone up since the mass arrival of gringos? Maybe if we could just lower our voices in public it would reduce the decibel levels.>

An ordinance written in 2017 to control environmental pollution hasn’t served since it should have been subject to another regulation that was never approved. But because of complaints and data on noise, the CGA promoted a new regulation to sanction those who exceed permitted decibel levels (60 in commercial zones. This is the volume of a normal conversation.). This ordinance which will supercede the 2017 one was approved during the first debate. Now to get total approval, it will be publicized, and consider the points of view of those who generate the noise such as bars, discos, karaokes, gyms, and all sorts of businesses.

The ordinance calls to insonorizar (soundproof – your useless word for the day unless you’re in a band that needs to insonorizar a practice or recording room) bars and discos, eliminate the gas truck songs, and establish hours for bailoterapia, gyms, sports courts and more. With this ordinance, the soundproofing would need to precede the approval to operate the business instead of the reverse. There is no consensus among gas distributors about eliminating the gas song, but there is thought about an app which customers can use to change gas tanks. <Or you just call the person who brings your gas when you need more. Easy peasy.> The most complaints are made about gyms, bailoterapia and noise from sports courts.

Reparación de parques (Park repairs) – Because of the bad condition of park furnishings such as in San Blas, San Sebastián, El Paraíso, De La Madre and others, EMAC is planning on interventions until the end of the year. There is a $500,000 budget to give attention to 30 parks with work starting at El Paraíso. It has severe infrastructure damage, especially to the children’s play structures.

De El Mercurio del domingo, 27/8 (1 article):
La ‘ruta de los helados’ (The ‘ice cream route’) – <Dear reader, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to complete the route and eat an ice cream at each of the stops on the route, all within 1 hour. Buen provecho.> Within the tradition of making ice cream in Cuenca, there are 3 locations with more than a half century of history: Coco Rico, San Francisco ice creamery, and pink ice cream, all in the Centro Histórico.

‘Coco Rico’ (Hermano Miguel 7-68 entre Córdova y Sucre) is where the Zárate sisters, Mercy y Laura, inherited the business and recipes from their mother. A step into ‘Coco Rico’ is a step back in time with the atmosphere of an old ice cream parlor with its typical metal glasses <the molds for the ice cream on a stick>. The sisters make the original flavors of coconut, chocolate, naranjilla and lemon; and to that they add at least 7 new flavors. Mercy remembers cars full of families would crowd the street to buy ice cream which tastes the same as it did 50 years ago. Hours are from 10-18:00.

Helado rosado (on calle Mariscal La Mar y Manuel Vega) is made by 83 year old Laura Maldonado who is the only person who knows the recipe for the ice cream <As closely kept a secret as the recipe for Coke, but not as secure.>, and she will decide the exact moment to pass the recipe on. Patricia Feicán and Rosario Ortiz aim to become the ‘keepers’ since they are the closest to Sra. Maldonado. Their clients have no idea what goes into creating the flavor. Some say it’s based in tapioca, others in watermelon. Feicán said that they can guarantee that is is natural without preservatives – pure milk. There is also disagreement as to the name of the business. Some call it los helados del freno (brake ice cream), others call it de las Farfánes, helados de rosas, and more.

The heladería San Francisco (on General Torres across from the plaza San Francisco) has won the heart of Cuenca and has been in business since 1960. It was the first to use machines to make ice cream. The 4 Armijos sisters, Susana, ‘Rosi’, ‘Moni’, y Silvia inherited the business from their parents. The most traditional flavor is vanilla-chocolate along with others including merengón which is a fusion of the sweetness of ice cream with cream, nuts, and the sweet taste of suspiro. All of it is made in house.

De El Mercurio del viernes, 25/8 (1 article):
Cuenca abre un hospital para las mascotas (Cuenca opens a hospital for pets) – Carlos Orellana, director of the Comisión de Gestión Ambiental (CGA), said that currently, the exact number of street dogs is unknown. This data is important to generate public policies about how to reduce the population <I guess catching the dogs and turning them into food for the lions at the Amaru Zoo isn’t an option with good optics.>. He is waiting for the results of the National Census to take new actions. For now, since he took the position, 1,750 pets have been sterilized in the rural zones of Cuenca. An initiative of the mayor to reduce street animals was inaugurated last jueves. The new Hospital Municipal de la Mascota will provide free treatment and sterilizations to pets.

The hospital is located on the grounds of the Coliseo Jeferson Pérez, with hours from 8-16:00, lunes a viernes. The sterilizations will be performed on los miércoles. To get an appointment, you need to go to the hospital to schedule one. Treatments and sterilizations will be free until the end of the year. In 2024, fees will be based on the social-economic level of the clients. Those with limited means can still be treated for free while those who are able to, have the option of paying with supplies which represent a large expense.

The hospital will also have an office of the CGA where you can leave reports about animal mistreatment. The city business, Farmasol, will have a pharmacy with a line for pets. In the next few months, it will set up Farmapet, which will be a pharmacy with medicines for pets. <I bet this will be followed by a cafetería where you and your pet can go have a snack before shopping for a new outfit for your pooch – one water, one espresso, an order of Milkbones, and a chocolate croissant.>
Cuenca also wants to have a mobile vet clinic which would have the capacity of sterilizing from 30-40 animals a day. The city is working with animal protection foundations and the project is in the public purchasing portal. Orellana, along with Mayor Zamora, recommends adopting and not buying a pet as a responsible way of helping to reduce the street dog population. <This mayor (Zamora, in case you’ve forgotten already) seems to have been more active in his 1st 100 days than Palacios was during his whole term.>

Empresarial –

De El Mercurio del viernes, 25/8 (1 article):
Hasta USD 1.350 puede llevar al exterior sin pagar ISD (Up to USD 1,350 can be taken abroad without paying ISD) – Adult Ecuadorians can take up to $1,350 in cash, on each trip, and be exempt from paying the Impuesto a la Salida de Divisas (exit tax). Minors can take up to $450. Citizens are also exempt from paying the ISD when using a credit or debit card for overseas purchases up to $5,109.79 per year. If you buy more than the exempted amount, you need to declare and pay the tax to the SRI online using the multiple payment form 106. <I’m guessing this only applies to cards issued by Ecuadorian banks and you could spend as much of your B of A stash as you want. But then you’d have to declare your purchases when you return to Ecuador for payment of any duties.>

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –

Jeanne

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