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Looking Back: A review of February news from the last 50 years

In this monthly series, we republish a few of the headlines from our February editions 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago.


Sister city saves Ajijic

Ajijic has received a US$600 check from Studio City, California – its sister city in the United States – to help finish the desperately needed well to supply water to the town. Ajijic residents have suffered a shortage of water over the past year.

According to Dan Elam, one of the members of the Ajijic Water Committee, Mrs. Jess Gaines, president of the Women’s Division of Studio City Chamber of Commerce, received the money from concerned citizens who had been told of Ajijic’s water troubles. In a letter to Mr. Elam, Mrs. Gaines said, “I hope this money will help our friends in Ajijic and let them know we love them.”

A new well has been drilled and is awaiting testing and the purchase of a pump.


Water meters hit GDL

Water meters have already been installed in some parts of Providencia, La Calma, Miravalle, Arboledas and other Guadalajara colonias where the water supply is regular. Although the meters were said to not be obligatory, that was news to some foreign residents whose first indication that they were to be the proud owner of a meter was the sound of a sledge hammer smashing cement in their cochera in the cold, gray dawn. Another surprise is that the meter requires payment of a 500-peso deposit, to be returned to the owner if the house is sold. Some meters have been in place for more than two weeks and so far no bill for the 500 pesos, nor even the suggestion that a bill is forthcoming has arrived.


Foreign plated cars

Foreigners owning non-Mexican-plated vehicles who need to leave the country in an emergency will no longer need to surrender their cars to transit authorities, Customs Department officials announced last week. Previously, if a tourist possessing a foreign-plated vehicle in Mexico needed to fly out of the Republic, he was required by law to hand over his car to the Registro Federal de Vehiculos during his absence.

The Registro Federal de Vehiculos was abolished January 1, and all its functions were transferred to the Departmento de Aduana (Customs).

Now tourists leaving Guadalajara’s Miguel Hidalgo International airport and who have foreign-plated vehicles in Mexico must have a return flight ticket, Customs Office Desk Chief Filemon Fonseca Ponce, told the REPORTER. He explained that the automobile may be parked at the owner’s residence while he/she is out of the country, but no one except the registered owner may drive it. Upon re-entry to Mexico all car owners must take their new tourist cards to the Customs Office, where new papers will be issued for the vehicle.


PV mourns Alaska Airlines victims

All 88 passengers and crew members perished when Alaska Airlines Flight 261 from Puerto Vallarta to San Francisco crashed into the Pacific Ocean in 700 feet of water off Southern California January 31. The cause of the crash was the stabilizer control, a small wing mounted on the tail of the MD-83 jet.

Expressions of shock and sadness were heard throughout the normally festive community of Puerto Vallarta following news of the crash. The airline suffered a great loss, as 12 employees and 23 relatives of airline employees were passengers on the plane. Many foreign and Mexican residents of Puerto Vallarta, as well as vacationing tourists, were victims of the crash.

The accident caused at least some tourists to reconsider flying on Alaska Airlines. Enrique Tovar of Viajes Tucan said that six of his clients had changed airlines because of the crash, but he emphasized, “Alaska Airlines has a very clean safety record.”

Alaska Airlines later was found to be lax in maintenance of the crucial part that stabilized the jet.



Ajijic casino raided

Federal agents swooped on the Crown Casino Ajijic to carry out a surprise, court-ordered raid that lasted more than six hours. Investigators of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) confiscated a large haul of equipment and material from the clandestine betting parlor, and rounded up 16 employees and nine clients who were taken to PGR headquarters in Guadalajara for questioning in regard to probable violations of the General Law on Games and Raffles. The business was allegedly operating without proper permits issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The detainees were held about 17 hours before being released on bonds posted by the casino’s operators. A number of foreign clients were allowed to leave the establishment during the raid.

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