"Grandma, I won the Oscar," was the first thing Angelita Espinoza of Azoguez heard when her granddaughter, Fatima Ptacek, called her Sunday night following presentation of the U.S. Academy Awards.
Ptacek, who is 12-years-old and best known as the voice of Dora the Explorer in the animated Nichelodean television series, won for her acting role in the short fiction film “Curfew.”
Ptacek was born in the U.S. to Espinoza’s daughter Lucia Espinoza. Lucia, who grew up in Azoguez and worked in Cuenca, entered the U.S. illigally 20 years ago looking for better employment options and raised Fatima with her Norweigian husband in the Los Angeles area.
Ptacek told her grandmother that she planned a trip to Ecuador in the summer.
Foreign ‘hippies’ told to douse the joints
Following complaints by residents and business owners on Paseo tres de Noviembre, police are warning pot smokers along the banks of the Rio Tomebamba that they could be arrested if they continue to smoke.
The police say most of the smokers are “foreign hippies,” mostly from Argentina but some from Europe and U.S.
Although residents said pot smoking was a factor in petty crime in the Rio Tomebamba Barranco area, police say they are more likely to vicitims than perpetrators. “Of course, by being targets for thieves, this endangers other people in the neighborhood too,” said a spokesman for the police.
Large technical education center to begin construction
Cuenca will get a state-of-the-art technical education center as part of the country’s higher education goal of providing the best technical training in Latin America. According to officials, construction will begin later this year.
The facility, which will provide university level training, according to the Secretaría Nacional de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación of the National Secretary of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, will be one of 40 to be built in Ecuador at a cost of more than $300 million.
The institute planned for Cuenca will offer high-tech training as well support for such local industries as tourism, textiles, furniture, ceramics and mining.
According to authorities, the center will be built on land owned by the University of Cuenca in the Rio Amarillo area.
ETAPA and Claro to enter cable tv market
Cuenca public utilities company ETAPA and cell phone service provider Claro will begin offering cable television services in April or May. The rights were granted last week by Ecuador’s Superintendency of Telecommunications (Supertel).
ETAPA said that it would offer 64-channel package for $20.99. Clara, Ecuador’s largest cell phone service provider, said it will announce its packages at a later date.
Currently, TVCable and DirecTV are the largest providers of cable services in the area.
Photo caption: Fatima at the Oscars on Sunday.