April 2, 2007 update of Las Lejas

I just received an update of the Las Lajas situation. The last post I did related to Las Lajas was last October and can be seen here.

I understand that this current update was sent out to property owners in that area.

You may have heard the rumors that have been circulating that MOP and or the Municipio of San Felix had moved in and were constructing a newer, larger seawall intended to stabilize the area near the Rio San Felix and halt the progress of erosion on Playa Las Lajas.

Well, part of the rumor is true: a new, expanded seawall located at the site of the original wall has been completed. This expansion curves to the west and has two small jetties extending a short distance to the east. And while MOP did grant the permit and provided design criteria for the seawall and ANAM did grant permission, neither they or the Municipio have participated in the construction nor have they contributed financially. This expansion has been privately financed. The decision to move ahead without government assistance was made in early January and speed was necessary as the window of opportunity for the work to be completed was small – the dry months between January and March. With our private contractor, a meeting was held with Ing. Luis Lombardo of MOP to re-open the lines of communication. Several more meetings took place over the course of 5 weeks: with the senior MOP hydrologist from Panama City (flying in at our expense), with ANAM (the environmental agency) and the Governor of Chiriqui. At the end of February, we were advised that the permit had been issued.

Work began on Monday, March 5th and started on a sad note with the demolition of what remained of the Palmquist home. Between the continued erosion damage and damage caused by salvagers & vandals, the structure had become extremely dangerous. The wreckage now forms part of the new seawall. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Palmquists for allowing access through their property and their prayers & good wishes for a successful outcome.

Ultimately, 175 loads of boulders were trucked in and placed. Additionally, 25-30 loads of gravel were brought in to stabilize the road. The total cost of this venture was $32,000. In the short time since completion of the expansion, there have been some changes noted but its still early days yet – we’ll continue to monitor the site and send out updates.

As always, thanks Don Ray for your interest and continued support.

Thanks for the update Linda. I have had several emails from people that have asked what was happening there. Now they will have a better idea.

New ACS Communication

Date: 2 April 2007Subject: Online Voting Survey

The U.S. Embassy is sending this message to registered American citizens to inform them that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), through the Overseas Vote Foundation, is conducting a survey on absentee voting. EAC has asked for the State Department’s help in disseminating the survey to Americans worldwide.

The survey asks voters about their experiences and preferences with respect to electronic (fax, email, online) submission of voting materials and seeks to improve the ability of overseas citizens to vote. The results and EAC’s recommendations will be reported to Congress.

Below you will find an invitation letter and a link to the online survey, which should take 8 – 10 minutes to complete. Your personal information will remain confidential. Participation is voluntary.

Dear Voter:

We are conducting a survey of overseas and military absentee voters and are inviting you to tell us about your experience with voting or trying to vote in the November 2006 election. Please take 8-10 minutes to fill out this survey. Your responses are confidential and will be used to improve overseas voting programs.

This survey is sponsored by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and being conducted by the Overseas Vote Foundation and our project partner, Q2 Data & Research, LLC. Your feedback will help to influence developments which will make it easier for us to participate!

Please help by sharing your experiences and opinions with us. Only with your feedback can we make good recommendations. Thank you in advance for your time.

From your friends at Overseas Vote Foundation

Please use this internet address to begin the survey:

http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?p=WEB2267HAA8QWY

ACS Visits David


Today, Mr. J. Michael Hammett (right) and Mr. Raul Merino (left), from the ACS offices in Panama City, met with US citizens in the Gran Nacional Hotel in David. My previous posted notification for today’s meeting is located here.

Incase you were unable to make either the David meeting or the one in Boquete, here is some contact information you may want to record.

American Citizens Services Unit: Panama-ACS@state.gov

Visas Unit: Panama-Visas@state.gov

Federal Benefits Unit: Panama-FBU@state.gov

U.S. Embassy Panama: http://usembassy.state.gov/panama

Thanks For Dropping In

March hit a new high. Chiriquí Chatter had 7333 unique visitors. That was a 36% increase over February, which, even though it was a short month, was larger than January. This is also a 199% increase over March of 2006. The number of visits per visitor is averaging 3.00 per month.

Actually, while I do enjoy seeing the numbers go up, I am more pleased that this readership is pretty active in providing comments. Through this blog, I feel that I have gained many friends all around the world. I truly appreciate your dropping in.