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Looking Back, a review of March news from the last 50 years

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


Garbage overflows

Editor Bob Thurston writes about statistics, specifically the metro area’s garbage.

Reporter readers will recall that it was only about three years ago that we wrote with pride about Guadalajara’s new garbage conversion plant which ground the stuff into soil conditioner. It was a fine way to use up the garbage then and still is, but almost from the beginning the immense plant on the Zapopan side of town was too small to handle the mountains of refuse that arrived hour after hour in trucks. Garbage began to stack up in the surrounding areas. It grew into mountains. Subsequently the city started to started putting some of it into sanitary landfills, dumping it into nearby barrancas and leveling them off.

But now for our statistic: Mayor Juan Delgado Navarro reported that the city must collect 1,000 tons of garbage daily. That amount represents a volume as great as that of the Cathedral.


City water shortageproblem solved?

While water shortages have hit every section of the metro area from February 24-March 15, government officials report this week that the problem may soon be solved. A huge pump that put water in the municipal system broke down, said SIAPA chief Arnulfo Villaseñor Saavedra. He said that first one of the two pumps at pumping station two broke down. A back up pump put into service then stopped working after only a few hours. Thus the city’s water supply was reduced from six to four cubic meters per second. Thus the rotation plan for distribution was activated. Replacement parts had to be ordered, and that takes time, said Villaseñor. But he expected the pumps to be back online as of this weekend, March 17. But he reminded the citizenry that the recent prolonged drought continues to cause a water shortage and that consumers should conserve water, notwithstanding. (2024: Sound familiar?)


El Toro back in GDL

Mexican pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, whose heft and power caused him to be nicknamed “El Toro,” will report for duty with the Charros de Jalisco on March 15. This will be Valenzuela’s second tour of duty with the Jalisco club. In 1992, after being cut by the California Angels, he returned to his native Mexico and posted a 10-9 win-lost record with the Charros.


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Gringo stats for San

Miguel cause laughter

One of Mexico’s best-known and visited cities, San Miguel de Allende, has anywhere from 2,000, 2,500, 3,500, 4,000, 5,000, 8,500, 10,000 or 11,000 U.S. citizens, gringos or foreigners, depending on the newspaper, magazine or other source you’re quoting.

A recent article in the AARP magazine published by the American Association of Retired Persons made the population debate a lively cocktail party topic for the second time this year with its claim that there were about 2,500 Americans living in San Miguel.

Earlier, the Washington Post put the number of gringos (their word) at 10,000, or four times the AARP number, causing the first flurry of chatter at social gatherings. A phone call or visit to the U.S. State Department’s cultural agent, Philip J. Maher, would have produced his estimate that there are about 4.000 U.S. citizens in San Miguel, based on the 3,500 registered at his office and an estimated 500 who haven’t, some because an ex-spouse, the IRS or a credit card company is on the trail, others for political or personal reasons. Increase the estimate of unregistered Americans and add several hundred residents from Canada, Spain, Holland and other countries and Maher figures there are a maximum of 5,000 foreigners.

Adding to the guessing, the city’s foreign affairs director, Christopher Finkelstein, estimates there are 11,000 foreigners living in the city. He doubled Maher’s 5,000 and threw in another thousand for good measure. Neither the federal government nor the state of Guanajuato know for sure how many Americans or foreigners live in San Miguel or any place else in Mexico, he said. The federal government knows how many non-Mexican citizens are in the country legally, but doesn’t keep track of people moving around.


Chacala holds first music festival

Organizers are inviting one and all to enjoy “six days of music, singing, art, dancing and creativity” at the first Chacala Village Music Festival from March 24-30.

Located on the Pacific Coast eight kilometers from Las Varas, Nayarit, Chacala is a popular get-away for sun and sand seekers who want to chill out in a friendly beach town without the commercial excesses of a large resort. The population consists of approximately 300 full-time residents, but can swell to over 1,000 during popular vacation periods such as Semana Santa and Christmas.

Organizers say the idea for a festival developed after a Friday night roof-top reception, when a group of attendees began to break out in song, regaling the crowd spontaneously with music from Broadway musicals.

Thanks to its enviable location, Chacala is destined to grow. Many locals feel that Chacala ought to position itself as a traditional Mexican village with high-quality artistic values, where people can develop in body, mind and spirit. Organizers say the inaugural music festival can help the village move in this direction.

(Editor’s Note: The 11th anniversary of this festival takes place this weekend, March 16 and 17. See the full entertainment lineup at Facebook/Chacala.festival.de.musica.)

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