English 101 – Puerto Vallarta Police Advance Their English Skills

While the majority of ANA members were beginning their annual migration back North, the Amapas Neighborhood Association (ANA) began an English as Second Language (ESL) Program for the PoliceDepartment. Based on the conversations between the police and ANA, while we were discussing the new VEA (Vecinos En Alerta) program, the police identified their need to improve their English language skills. The VEA program is Neighborhood Watch on steroids. It allows a trained ANA member, using WhatsApp, to communicate directly with local police officers. Since most Amapas members speak English, helping the local police improve their knowledge of English seemed a way to bridge the gap.

ANA to the rescue!! Viviana Testón, our administrator who previously had experience teaching English and Spanish to second language learners, developed the program. Steve Ross, an ANA member and a retired high school teacher, joined in the effort as a way to improve his Spanish skills and to give back to the community he loves. Wanting the police to be successful, they assessed each officer’s current English language skills. They were expecting to have 15 students. They were surprised to find the first week of classes filled to the brim. Thirty officers attended each of the three-day classes. Was it a success? YES!

As of the writing of this article, there have been five weeks of classes, three days a week with over 90 students. That’s a lot of people! Classes are held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons between 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Each night a different group of police officers attend before working the night shift.

We are happy to share that they are excited, motivated, and open to learning These first weeks have focused on the basics of grammar and vocabulary. Adult learners quickly tire of rote memorization so we’ve included phrases they can use as soon as they leave the classroom. The classes are quick-paced but in a friendly and casual atmosphere. The positive feedback not only reflects upon the instructors, Viviana and Steve, but also upon the entire Amapas community. Why? ANA is making this class happen. This class reflects the desires of ANA’s members to give back to and improve the community in which we live. We benefit from having a police force who can speak and understand us.

Recently, Carol Moore, another ANA member, has joined the class to help in whatever way she can. An extra set of hands goes a long way! We know that as more of our members return from their summer vacations we’ll have more volunteers.

It is a joy to work with such motivated students! We are excited about creating this partnership between the police department and ANA and to improve the community we share.

As many of us know, learning another language is a long-term commitment. We want to continue offering these classes. iI you would like to be part of this project or contribute to its success, please email Viviana at admin@amapaspv.com.

LOS PINOS PROGRESS REPORT Thursday, July 6, 2017

dictamen meIn our May Update, we reported on our meeting with Mayor Davalos, our top priority being City action on the undermining of Los Pinos pavement.

In June, we interviewed Civil Engineer Antonio Mercurio, of Construcciones Mercurio, and hired him to perform an independent assessment of the Los Pinos slide and pavement.

Among Ing. Mercurio’s observations, conclusions and recommendations:

  • The unsupported pavement is subject to catastrophic failure.


  • The rocky material in the hillside is a glassy sand and clay material that rain water can essentially reduce to mud.


  • There is high risk of hillside failure, resulting in loss of access to more than 100 homes, including Horizon, La Cima III and Terrazas Del Mar.


  • There is high risk of damage to adjacent buildings.


  • Without preventative intervention, further failure of the hillside (and the road) is imminent, though it’s hard to predict exactly when.


  • Ing. Mercurio recommends prohibiting vehicles driving (or parking) over the undermined pavement; immediate closure of Los Pinos to trucks and other heavy vehicles; and reducing traffic to a single lane near the undermined pavement.


  • He further recommends the construction of a large reinforced concrete retention wall to prevent further erosion and to stabilize the street.

An English language version of Ing. Mercurio’s report is included below, and we’ll be posting his report in its original Spanish on the ANA website.

ANA is forwarding Ing. Mercurio’s report to Mayor Davalos, with copies to Obras Publicas, Proteccion Civil, Planning and Transito.  We will be following up with them and urgently requesting that the recommended actions be taken immediately.  We’ll further update you when we have more news.


The undersigned Specialist Engineer in Structural Calculation, Antonio Mercurio, born in Naples (Italy) on May 29, 1968, as owner of COSTRUCCIONES MERCURIO, has carried out projects in Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara  with a 25 year experience, and who, together with Engineer Egidio Mercurio, on behalf of the Association of Neighbors of Colonia Amapas AC carried out a review and diagnosis of the land located in Paseo de Los Verdes Pinos, next to condominium Los Pinos, in relation to a landslide, of which the following observations are made:


Regarding our visit to the site in the middle of June 2017, and observing an unstable condition of the underlying front of the sidewalk, with partial slip off the shoulder of the street, we observed a section of the street referred to as Los Pinos without support approximately 5 meters by 3meters, the result of an erosion in the supporting hillside.

This condition, which continues to be generated progressively due to the adjacent properties of the street, the constant passage of heavy vehicles and the total absence of functional containment and the lack of a rain gutter, has caused visible damage and failure on the slope.

The rocky material existing in the hillside, which is exposed and identified as glassy sand and clay, when in contact with rainfall is transformed into mud, which has as characteristics clay earth, glassy with total absence of rocks.


These conditions have created a situation of high risk of structural failure of the street, and possible damage in the adjacent residential buildings.

The road in the current state with the lack of support due to the marked defect in the hillside, can collapse, this being possibly catastrophic, by the weight and the vibration resulting from vehicular traffic, in addition to other factors like rain that accelerate the process of sliding of earth.

Without preventive action, the collapse of the slope is imminent. However, it cannot be determined precisely when that collapse could occur, considering that there are other factors that affect the possible damage such as an earthquake, a storm or even a vein of groundwater.


High risk for the building adjacent to the affected area, in which its structural support can be compromised, in addition to the existence of pools in the area, damage can trigger hundreds of liters of water, on the ground and affected, causing major damage.

– High risk of losing the only vehicular access route, unique access to more than 100 houses and condominiums among which we can mention Horizon, La Cima III and Terrazas del Mar, to name a few.

– The safety coefficients are very low, and stability depends on existing vegetation, which is not strong, due to the absence of big trees, allowing movement of the surface of the slope;

– In case of a seismic movement, the safety coefficients would be reduced even more.


Reasons why consolidation operations are suggested:

– Immediately prohibiting vehicular traffic on the affected (undermined) area. Creating a single line of traffic on that segment of the road.

– Prohibiting the passage of heavy vehicles on the street, including all trucks, especially restricting the passage of more than 3 tons.

-Construction of a retaining wall with reinforced concrete to prevent future erosion, and provide stability and support for the slope that is at risk. Reinforced concrete wall of approx. 40 cm of 60 meters of length with pilasters of maximum height of 12 meters with footings of 2×2. The wall would surround the lot, and from wall to wall are connected through load, all filled and compacted with bench ground. All the size of the reinforcements and the dimensions of the pilasters and walls would be determined with precision after having performed a study of mechanics of soil and resulting structural calculations.

– In my experience, other retention structures such as terraced stone, or stone wall, do not provide the necessary lateral support in this situation, so are not recommended in this case.

– In the case of street collapse caused by slipping of the material in the hillside, the cost of repair and intervention is estimated to be 3 to 4 times greater than the cost of the recommended works for supporting the street and containing the slide, in addition to the great inconvenience of the impossibility of access to the homes served by this street.




– Execution of the work in reinforced concrete, as a preventive as explained, allowing access to homes served by road.



This year’s fourth annual Pulpito Drag Derby, a major event in Vallarta Pride, was, by all accounts, a big success.  Attendance nearly doubled at our ‘neighborhood block party’ from 2016, filling Calle Pulpito from Olas Altas to Calle Amapas with so many spectators that they became an extra obstacle  for our competitors during the Drag Race.

New Challenges this year included ‘Lip Sync 4 Your Life’ and a 40-foot Climbing Wall, but popular Challenges from last year – The Donald Trump Pinata Bash, and Live-Action Squirt Gun Gallery – returned, delighting (and sometimes soaking) the crowd.

A fund-raising event for the Amapas Nieghborhood Association and Amapas Junta Vecinal, with all proceeds going to Beach & Business Area improvements, the Derby generated over $62,000 Pesos for our streets.

The Derby again awarded $8,000 pesos in cash prizes (thank you, Pinnacle Resorts) to the top three winners, and introduced the coveted ‘Ruby Tacon’ Trophy – a glittering high-heeled ‘ruby slipper’ on a column base – awarded to First Place Winner, Diva Divine.  The Ruby Tacon Trophy will be awarded annually, with the names of the winner and her sponsor inscribed on its base, and displayed in the ANA office.

Another ‘first’ for the Derby this year was participation in the Pride Parade.  This year’s entry featured veteran Derby contestant Karla Fifi, sporting a billowing 10-meter cape, ala ‘Pricilla, Queen of the Desert,’ as she rode atop an open jeep with two other fabulous Drag Queens.  Derby Producer  Sinuhe Abinadab, led the way aboard his mortorcycle as Classic Disco poured from speakers and an escort of six Wet Dreams dancers in Drag Derby tank-tops kept time to the music, snapping outsize Ron Morgan Properties fans to the beat and passing out over a hundred souvenir fans to the overheated crowd.

Every year, the adding more elaborate and exciting Challenges, like this year’s Climbing Wall, Pride Parade entry and ‘Ruby Tacon’ Trophy, Derby gets more expensive to produce.

Our sources of income are the sales of beer, bets and t-shirts.  But it’s thanks to our many Sponsors, including Overall Sponsors Richard Michael and Michael Williams, our Contestant Sponsors, Challenge Sponsors, and Pulpito Peso participants,  that we can turn a profit.

This year’s expenses, totaled $112,818 pesos, with income of $175,425 pesos, leaving proceeds of $62,606 pesos, which will be spent entirely on local area street improvements.

Previous Derby proceeds have built the planters at the Pulpito/Olas Altas intersection and provided landscape lighting for ‘Coco’s Tree,’ farther down the block.