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Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014
Suspects sought in Odessa horse theft

Hillsborough County deputies are searching for the suspects in the theft of “Six of Diamonds,” a $15,000 quarter horse, from an Odessa stable.

Ferg’s plans to open a new location across from the Forum at the former site of The Luxury Box. TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO
Ferg’s in Tampa sets pre-opening Lightning tailgate parties
Otto: Jail can be best cure for stupidity
The driver died and a passenger was critically injured Wednesday when this car rolled over on the I-275 southbound exit for 118th Avenue. LUKE JOHNSON/STAFF
One dead, one hurt in rollover on I-275 in St. Petersburg


Otto: Jail can be best cure for stupidity

Steve Otto From the ex-Ku Klux Klan member charged in the Jewish center slayings to the man who shot a 4-year-old in Tampa with a stray bullet, Steve Otto says knuckleheads come in all sizes.

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Letters to the editor: Distorted view
Economy Must Be Going Great

We spent the day going into downtown Cancun.

Stores like Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart were filled with people buying stuff.  The Mexican economy must be going great.

All is normal in town.

There’s not much for us to buy since we are leaving Saturday and didn’t want to carry too much stuff back to the villa.

It’s very hot. We stopped at Club Internacional, the first resort in our timeshare chain that opened here in Cancun back in 1972.  The beach was not so nice but the ocean was calm. We had lunch and left.

Being that it’s our 43rd wedding anniversary today, we need to go out and celebrate.

We’re heading for Playa del Carmen tomorrow.

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Relief And Celebration

Since people couldn’t go anywhere last night, all the bars at the resort were full. We had a full house. We didn’t finish karaoke until 12 o’clock. We closed the place down.

We had people from New York, New Jersey and Wisconsin there last night. We couldn’t even sing all the songs we wanted to.  Hilda sang “Crazy,” and I sang a song by Ray Charles.

Yesterday, we ran into a bartender we met Saturday from one of the beach bars. He was really worried about the storm then. He has a wife and two children. We told him not to worry.

He said, “You guys were right.  Next time there’s a storm, you guys need to be here to chase it away.”

Everything was back to normal last night; the wind has finally calmed down. The pools were open and full.

But the beach is still closed. The water is still very high and very rough.

We’ll probably go downtown today. We might go to Wal-Mart and see what it looks like. I overheard a lady saying people are coming in and buying water and food and taking everything off the shelves.

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It Looks Beautiful But Dangerous

All is pretty calm, except the wind is still strong. The pools are open, and so are the restaurants and stores.

The beach is still closed. We are having high waves - up to 8 feet. The ocean looks beautiful in the sun but dangerous.

Things are pretty back to normal already.

No one was hurt here, and nothing was damaged.

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The Ocean Is Really Up High

I went to take pictures of the sun coming, and a burst of sunshine is coming through. It’s calming down, and the sky is breaking. The ocean is really up high. It came already up to the grass of the wall surrounding the resort.

They’re patrolling. I was just taking some photos, I told them. They’re taking turns watching where the pool section is.

We filled the tub, and we didn’t have to use the water. Luis was worried. You never know—it’s better to be cautious.

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Nobody Seemed To Be Panicking

We turned on the TV this morning and are watching to see what’s going on in the world.

It got a little rough last night, and the winds were howling. The ocean is a little high but not that bad. There’s no damage we can see. We slept well and woke up once, at 3 a.m. The winds were still rough.  Hopefully it’ll calm down because it’s kind of misting, and the palm trees are swaying.

People were outside last night until the wind started howling and the rain started coming down.

It was a little scary at the beginning.

This morning, security is out, and you can’t go near the pool yet. The wind is still gusting.

We didn’t lose power or anything. There’s probably not going to be much open today, so we’ll eat some sandwiches here and drink some coffee.

The staff really handled it well. They’re concerned but were not afraid. Nobody seemed to be panicking. People were optimistic, and that really helped. Some guests were complaining about the curfew but that’s the only thing we heard.

We’ll see if the workers come back today. We’ll have to see if there’s flooding on the lagoon side. Maybe we’ll get some sun and go to the beach tomorrow.

The ocean was coming over the wall. It was coming up to the stairs last night, and I’m sure it’s higher than that now. Whenever they let us leave the resort, I’m sure we’ll venture out to Captain’s Cove. Now it’s a matter of how fast things will come back to normal.

Hilda’s already snuck out to take a closer look. I bet the security people will bring her back. She wants to see the ocean. I think they’re going to chase her.

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Waiting For The Storm

We’re getting a lot of rain and some strong winds, they decided it was going to hit far enough south to stay here.

They put a 9 o’clock curfew in place.

The ocean is pretty rough out there.

The staff and security are chasing people back into the rooms. There are silly people wanting to get near the ocean.

We sat outside and watched the storm come in until it started to rain. Then we went inside.

We might lose power. We have one big candle for the whole place. We couldn’t find any flashlights at the store – but we didn’t go to Wal-Mart downtown.

We’re watching the TV and the news here.

The mayor didn’t push evacuation because the storm is supposed to hit is so far south. The locals say Chetumal is a small and very poor town. It will hit them very hard. 

Some of the staff people are staying here tonight.

A woman who works here told us that after Wilma the (Nichupte) Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea joined together and flooded the area, coming in through the hotel.

I want to see a hurricane but I have enough sense not to wish for it.

I think everything’s going to be fine, but if I see trees flying and broken glass…

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In For The Night?

We’re watching the weather, watching the trees and how they move.  Right now they’re predicting it will go through the middle of the (Yucatan) Peninsula, through Tulum and Chetumal.

They took all the furniture from our balcony so it doesn’t come flying through the windows and told us to close the curtains to stay between the bathroom wall and the tub if we do stay through the storm.

There’s a little bit of wind. We think they’ll wait until early evening to tell us if we’re evacuating. They’re not sure what they’re doing with the hotel zone.

The resort is updating us regularly by phone and online.

There’s not a lot to do –they don’t want you going out to the city. It’s too chaotic. We were doing karaoke at the resort until 11 o’clock last night.

Tonight the restaurants are going to be closed by 8 o’clock.

Yesterday the place was empty, it was just Luis and I and another couple. He sang “Cuarenta y Viente” by Jose Jose, a song about a romance between a 40-year-old a 20 year-old, but he was singing it 60-20. He also sang something by Conway Twitty and another by Brook Benton.

Being that there was nobody there, the other couple kept clapping when we went and we did when they went. Then the waitress sang and the bus boy sang. But tonight we’ll probably stay here in the room and watch TV.

Last night I made a Hildarita, we’ll probably make some Hildaritas again.

How to make a “Hildarita”:

For a plain Hildarita:
Take one lime and muddle it with two tablespoons of baker’s sugar by using a pestle.
Add three shots of tequila and one shot of triple sec liqueur.  Mix with ice in a shaker and pour in a salt-rimmed glass.

For a blue Hildarita:
Follow the same steps as above but add a shot of Blue Curacao liqueur and a shot of vodka.

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Beaches Closed

They have closed the beaches, although it is still beautiful and sunny.

The hotel is moving everyone staying on the sixth floor and up to lower floors. We are on the second floor.

People are very optimistic the eye of the storm will pass south, therefore requiring no evacuation, but the government may still force evacuation. 

The hotel is moving all of the furniture inside.

We met people from Florida staying here for four weeks, and they aren’t going home. One of them went to my high school (Alexander Hamilton) in Brooklyn in 1953. I graduated in 1962.

The maid told us a story about an old couple who hid from the evacuation during Wilma – they stayed in the resorts all by themselves for three days.

No word yet on an official evacuation.

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Food, Water Prepared

The staff reassured us that they already had evacuations plans in place. We would evacuate if the storm was greater than a Category 3 and would have a direct impact. They were negotiating with the government about the people in the resort if the storm was no greater than a Category 3.

The plan was to evacuate this afternoon to a university and two schools.  Food and water is already prepared; all we need to take is a blanket, a pillow and personal stuff.

We will know after 1 p.m. today.

If we stay at the resort, we will need to make sure we fill the tub with water and have candles since the power grid will be shut off.  They have plenty of groceries, water and food at the resort.

All the windows are taped up in all the rooms and towels are at the bottom of sliding doors.

As of last night people were having a hard time getting out, only one person from New York was able to get a flight today.

We all have resorted to staying put.  We’ve never been through this, so we’re not too concerned yet.

The natives are more concerned since they had been through it with Wilma and their houses are not totally prepared yet.  Also all lumber places were closed yesterday so they have today to get necessary materials. They think they will jack up the prices.

So for now, we just wait and see.

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First Sign: Empty Terminal

We left St. Louis, Mo., on Saturday morning at 7.  Good flight, the plane had 24 empty seats which the flight attendants attributed to people canceling at the last minute.  There was no information concerning this storm or cancellation of flights.

Arrived in Cancun around 10 a.m., terminal was empty only one additional flight arrived at the same time.  It felt awkward, but we attributed it to August (vacations over) and the earliest time we had ever arrived.

The Thomas Moore people, who were waiting to pick us up, were surprised that people were arriving since they had heard all flights to Cancun had been canceled. 

We arrived at the resort and noticed right away they were boarding up all the lower windows with plywood including the office spaces.  The desk people had no information on anything going on except that they were concerned with storm.

During lunch at the restaurant the waiter told us they were all hoping they would be missed by the storm, they did not want another Wilma.

Later that afternoon we went to dinner at Captains Cove Restaurant which had just reopened last December after being closed since Wilma.  Restaurant was empty, but people were very optimistic about the impending storm.  A wedding was about to start.

The resort staff person assigned to us finally got in touch with us and asked us attend an orientation on Sunday morning.

The entire resort staff were at the orientation and were pleased and surprised that that many guest had flown in.  They called us brave for coming down but they said they also understood that we would be well taken care off.

We had people in the group from New Orleans and their experience there and were a little concerned.

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Meet Hilda & Luis

Hilda and Luis Velázquez of St. Louis, Mo., parents of producer Daniela Velázquez, delayed their annual visit to Cancun – from June until this week. Now, as Hurricane Dean approaches Mexico, they’re keeping track for TBO.

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