U.S. citizen services workshop January 20
A community outreach workshop to be conducted by U.S. Embassy staff for U.S. citizens will focus on services such as voter registration, passport renewal and notary services. Recent changes to the Embassy appointment system, new passport usage and other updates will be covered as will a new American citizen services newsletter. There will be some time for questions relating to these services. Scheduled for Friday, Jan. 20 at the José Figueres Cultural Center from 10 – 11 a.m., the free, English event is organized by Community Action Alliance, a non-partisan, civic group in San Ramón.
San Ramón celebrates city founding
January 19 marks the annual celebration of San Ramón’s incorporation as a city. Local authorities are planning a variety of cultural and recreational activities for this year’s 168th anniversary including a handicraft and painting exhibition, an organic market, and the sale of locally made textiles.
It was on a Friday in 1844, that the head of state, José María Alfaro Zamora, signed a decree authorizing the creation of San Ramón. For two years prior to this date, residents had been pressuring congress to recognize their property rights in the region.
San Ramón was referred to in those days as the Valley of Palms, due to an abundance of the tree.
The 40 families in the region produced tobacco for the state-run tobacco company in addition to basic grains and sugar cane that served as a means of subsistence for their families.
These pioneers, the Alvarado Arrieta, Alvarado Rodríguez, Vargas Alfaro, Villalobos and Solórzano families, among others, hailed from Alajuela, Heredia and San Antonio de Belén.
This anniversary is an opportunity to reflect upon the hardships faced by the courageous families who came in search of better opportunities for their families and who form the foundation of our present-day city.
Farmers seek property tax reform
Farmers feel they have been hurt by the way property taxes are calculated, and are proposing a change to the municipal law. This proposed reform will be considered along with a counter proposal drafted by the country’s 81 municipal governments.
The proposed reform, developed by growers throughout the country, seeks to minimize the impact on farmers, while not affecting municipal revenue collection. The text will be presented Jan. 12 at the IFAM (Institute for Municipal Support) main office.
Over the years, the controversial property tax has increasingly upset growers, many of whom have had to request moratoriums on payments from the local government claiming they cannot afford the taxes.
Grecia’s farms monitored for bovine rabies
The National Animal Health Service (SENASA) continues to monitor cattle farms in the Río Cuarto de Grecia region to detect potential cases of paralytic bovine rabies.
This past September, the animal control officials set up quarantine measures as a farm where five cows died of the disease. The officials informed that vampire bats are the primary culprits of transmitting the disease to cattle. Recently, four other bovine rabies cases were detected at a farm in Caño Negro, Alajuela.
Rabies is a virus that attacks the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals, including humans. It usually provokes faulty coordination, difficulty in walking, excessive salivation, and eventually paralysis that extends into the neck and causes death.
Grecia’s new flag to express local identity
Grecia’s Municipality together with the town council has created a new flag that expresses the canton’s identity, and symbolizes its history and roots. For many years, the flag has had the same colors as a local soccer team, and a change was definitely in order.
Local historian, Carlos Alberto Maroto Barquero, was selected to develop the new flag’s design based on the results of his research on local identity.
Comprised of blue, white and green horizontal bands, the white band forms a “Y” shape to represent the raised arms of a person who feels triumph, liberty, hope, faith and hard work. The blue and green triangular sections symbolize the three main values of the region’s settlers: liberty, progress and solidarity. Along the white band are eight 5-pointed, golden stars to represent the canton’s eight districts.
Two new technical high schools to open in February
The towns of Zamora de San Ramón and El Rosario de Naranjo will each receive 130 high school students in February.
The new technical high schools designated by the regional public education office in San Ramón will strive to educate and train students in professions and trades that local businesses have recommended are needed to strengthen the local economy.
The new San Ramón high school should help ease crowding at the Julio Acosta García Institute, whose 2,000 students make running this school a challenge.
Arts school to inaugurate new facility
By the end of this school year, the new building Magallanes Visual Arts High School students and teachers have been awaiting for the past two years will be ready.
The handicap accessible facility cost over half a million dollars to build, and houses 20 classrooms, four restroom areas and administrative offices.
This is the only visual arts high school in the western region, and students graduate with a degree in visual arts and design. The first class to graduate will be in 2015.
San Ramón accepts carbon neutral challenge
Diverse players have assumed the challenge and commitment of advancing San Ramón’s carbon neutrality pledge. The project will contribute to the country’s 2021 goal of having an economy based on low carbon outputs and methods of compensating for greenhouse gas emissions.
The local initiative is spearheaded by the San Ramón Carbon Neutral Foundation that was formed out of discussions in the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism in this dynamic region. The process began in 2010, and has been growing to incorporate representatives of the community’s private and public sectors.
Palmares uses Mer-link for online contracting
The Palmares Municipality is one of the first of six local governments in the country to use a new online service for its public bidding and contracting procedures.
As part of an effort to modernize local governments in Costa Rica, the Efficient and Transparent Municipal program (MuNet) created Mer-link with support from the Organization for American States (OAS) and the Technical Secretary for Digital Government.
Vendors wishing to sell their products or services to municipalities must register their business in the Mer-link system, whether it be to sell chairs, trash bags, computers, printer cartridges, or offer services like printing.
Among the benefits of utilizing the Mer-link system are greater administrative transparency, an increased number and quality of bids, a streamlined vendor registration process, and a more agile contracting process.
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