Last updateFri, 13 May 2016 3pm

Letters to the Editor - July 11, 2015

Dear Sir,

Sitting at the bus stop directly in front of Walmart near Ajijic, I have seen a woman and a man wearing white uniforms walking briskly through traffic waiting for the light to change on the Carretera. Each person holds a large white can with a red cross on it. As they approach idling motorists, they engage the drivers presumably asking for donations.

Letters to the Editor – July 4, 2015

Dear Sir,

This is in response to the featured article “The somber side of Mexico’s celebrated ‘Hippy Trail.’”

After reading the article several times I was mystified at some of the conclusions the writer came up with. He starts the story about some yoga student (a red-haired man named Hari Simran Singh Khlsa no less) in Tepotzlan who falls off a cliff while hiking and concludes the man died searching for the “center of spirituality.” Well maybe. I guess we will never know.  

Letters to the Editor – June 27, 2015

Dear Sir,

On behalf of the Centro Regional de Estudios Musicales (CREM), I would like to thank Christopher Wilshere and the Organizers of the Scotiabank Northern Lights Festival for the support offered to our institution during the Festival in February as well as in previous years.  We truly appreciate the repair and maintenance of our students’ musical instruments, the master classes and the access to the festival’s concerts, all free of charge, in addition to the donation of 41,021 pesos granted by Lake Chapala Music Productions.  

Letters to the Editor – June 20, 2015

Dear Sir,

Congratulations to Sheryl Malin for her article in the June 13 edition. I signed her petition and hope many readers will. I, too, elected to reject the usual cut and burn recommendation of a U.S.-trained doctor.

Letters to the editor - May 22, 2015

Dear Sir,

We recently heard how poorly paid our local police are although I have failed to find anything written about it. The police need to be well trained and well paid when they have completed training. If we expect professionalism and integrity from them, they need to have pride in their work and be adequately rewarded. What can be done about ensuring training and increasing their pay? The current situation just encourages  mordidas (bribes).

Bob Owen, Riviera Alta, Ajijic

FYI: According to Chapala City Hall’s personnel department, the take home pay for average line police officer is 3,024.40 pesos per quincena (two weeks), or 6,048.80 pesos per month (net figure, after taxes and deductions).  At current exchange rates, that corresponds to a take home pay of around US$400 a month.  Officers also get a  625-peso monthly tax free stipend to buy food/meals while on duty. Police officers work 24x24 shifts (24 hours on duty/24 hours off).  Like other city employees, they and family members are entitled to basic health care services provided at the municipal clinic. We understand they do not have life insurance coverage.


Dear Sir, 

In response to the letter from Marsha McCarthy that appeared in last week’s edition, we would like to clarify these points,

1. The market is called “Lake Chapala Farmer’s Market.”

2. The produce is organic. The prepared food is natural, meaning no pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, no GMOs and non-fluoridated salt.

3. The beef and lamb are pastured-grass fed – no pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and no GMOs. The chickens are free range, vegetarian fed.


Dear Sir,

The letter from Marsha McCarthy in your edition of May 16-24 was welcome and thought-provoking. Eating well is more and more a matter of concern to many people, and eating natural and (one hopes) organic food is at the top of the list. Marsha raised some good points.

Yes, the produce we buy at the Tuesday Lake Chapala Farmer’s Market, is, at some vendors’ booths, placed in plastic bags, if that is, you have not remembered to bring your own more natural, reusable shopping bag. Many of us make a point of doing that.

And regarding ingredient lists, well, there’s a story. In the 70’s I owned and operated a natural food store for seven years. In those days, we were considered to be among the lunatic fringe if we did so. Nevertheless, it went well, and I had a large and loyal clientele. They trusted me to procure the best, to tell them what it was they were buying, and to sell at a fair price. I did, and we were both pleased with the arrangement. There was neither time nor funds to produce printed ingredient lists. It was a small community (somewhat like lakeside), and we trusted each other.

I have spoken with the Farmer’s Market management team, I know these wonderful people quite well, and they run a tight ship with the vendors. I questioned why it was no longer called “the Organic Market.” Apparently it has not been for some time. The name change came because it is not always possible to secure organic ingredients. This is, I think, a very honest and forthright move. I also learned that the produce sold there is, indeed, organically grown.

As to what organic chickens and organic beef or organic lambs do, well, they do what they always did: roam free! That’s good enough for me. I wouldn’t necessarily trust a commercial “organic animal food,” anyway.

It’s a process, not an event. The reason the Farmer’s Market thrives and is such an exciting place to patronize is that the customers are truly interested in searching out what is healthy for them, and they talk to and trust the vendors. We can bet we won’t anytime soon see expensive ingredient labels along with what we buy. I know how much time and expense it takes, and I’m not sure we would be better served. Big-name North American food companies fooled us over many years; we trusted the label because we thought government was looking after the niceties. 

If you want to learn more about what you are putting into your body, go to www.foodbabe.com. What you read there is guaranteed to be a wake-up call. In the meantime, let’s keep on talking, we all have something meaningful to say, and it’s important to us all to maximize our lives in Paradise! 

Amy Friend

Louraisha Shaw, on behalf of the Management Committee of the Lake Chapala Farmer’s Market, held at La Huerta Eventos, Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Letters to the editor - May 15, 2015

Dear Sir,

In my quest to remain as healthy as possible, I decided to go “organic.” Off I went to the store to look for organic ingredients to make my new food. Much to my dismay, I found that the few organic ingredients available were so expensive that just to make a loaf of bread would break the bank. 

Not to be defeated, I decided to seek out already prepared food and local produce at an “organic market.” What goodies my eyes beheld. The prices were pretty good considering what it would have cost me to prepare the breads, cakes, stuffed grape leaves, tamales and  other foods. 

So I filled up my bags. 

When I got home a few things started to bother me. A lot of the products were packaged in plastic with nary a PET logo in sight. I also noticed there were no labels listing ingredients. I started to research what “organic” means here at Lakeside and in Mexico.  Unfortunately, there seem to be no regulations, government or otherwise. Anything, it appears, can be called organic. 

Organic livestock feed is not available in Mexico. There are a few organic pet foods, imported at astronomical cost. So, what do these organic chickens eat to lay their organic eggs? 

The next week I return to the market with lots of questions for the vendors, in a bid to be reassured that what I had purchased the week before was actually organic. 

Bread? “We use regular flour, organic flour is too expensive and hard to find.” 

Organic eggs? “The chickens are loose.” What does that mean and what do they eat? 

Tomatoes, lettuce? “Grown without pesticides.” Ok, I’ll buy that. Guess I’m eating salads from now on. 

Where in Mexico can you get an organic grape leaf? Potatoes? Cheese? 

What was I thinking? Oh, I wasn’t. Just kept filling up my bags, giddy with the idea of becoming svelte and healthy. 

I also talked to the organizers of the market and was told that to qualify to sell there the products had to be organic.  I’d like to find those “qualified vendors,” wherever they are. I’d also like to see a label. 

This buyer has become aware that the extra cost of so-called organic products is akin to  throwing money into the lake. I’m not going back to Wonder Bread but I’m also not going to be fooled into thinking that just because it’s called a duck, it is a duck.

Marsha McCarthy, Chapala