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Daily News - 27 October 1998

Finally, cleaning up Las Americas Highway
The government sent a brigade of 800 members of the Armed Forces and the National Police and 60 trucks and equipment to clean up the Las Americas International Highway. Hoteliers had complained that the delays in the clean up of the downed coconut trees gave a bad impression to those visiting the DR. The authorities have advanced on the clean up of areas all around the city, but the efforts had not reached the thoroughfare that leads from Las Americas International Airport to Santo Domingo city. The highway was a depressing reminder of the effects of Hurricane Georges. A front page story in the Listín Diario, the leading newspaper, motivated authorities to immediately set to the job.

How much is Molinos worth?
The director of the Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Estatales (Corde), architect Eduardo Selman does not agree with the assessment made to Molinos Dominicanos, the state flour mill by the Comisión de Reforma y Capitalizacion de la Empresa Pública, the government body in charge of privatizing state enterprises. The Comisión announced recently it has assessed the assets of the flour mill for a minimum RD$218 million and seeks a 50% private sector partner.

Sea-bordering boulevard to be city's newest recreational area
The daily press has reported that the Autopista 30 de Mayo, the western extension of the George Washington Avenue will become a series of parks and gardens lit at night by a special lighting system that has a RD$20 million price tag. A lane has been added to both the southern and northern sides of the avenue, bringing it to be a six lane avenue. Miguel Logroño, director of Projects and Planning of the Ministry of Public Works, said the avenue will have seven or eight recreational areas and parks when completed. The government also took advantage of the renovations to install a rain drainage system to avoid the flooding that occurred in the past. He said the government hopes to complete the highway in time for Christmas. 75% of the eight kilometer thoroughfare, from Abraham Lincoln Avenue to Km. 12, has been completed. In the mid 70s, then President Balaguer had turned the area into lovely parks overlooking the Caribbean Sea. But Hurricane David in 1979 destroyed the walks and it had not been rebuilt until now. Fortunately, Hurricane Georges did not cause major damages to the construction now underway.

Monumental clock for 27 de Febrero Expressway
El Siglo reports that the clock that will be installed on the 27 de Febrero Boulevard will be 22 meters tall, which is the height of a nine floor building. Iron works artist, José Ignacio Morales, of El Artístico shop in La Romana, is in charge of the manufacturing of the monumental clock that on the hour will play the tunes of the Compadre Pedro Juan classic merengue. The music box for the clock is being manufactured in France. The clock has a price tag of RD$2 million. It is 10 meters wide and is made of bronze, copper, stainless steel and iron. Morales has promised it will be ready by 15 December. The clock is part of the boulevard, the new recreational area on top of the 27 de Febrero Expressway, between Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln avenues.

Nationwide measles vaccination blitz
The Ministry of Public Health announced it will be vaccinating against measles all children under five years from 6 to 21 November. The Ministry will be combing neighborhoods, taking the vaccine to the homes of impoverished Dominicans. Crews contracted by the Ministry will vaccinate from 6-7 November in the North of the country, from 13-14 November in the frontier areas, and from the 20-21 in the South and Southeast. The Ministry announced that this is a preventive effort that seeks to vaccinate an estimated 180,000 children five years or less that either were not vaccinated before or do not have the necessary coverage, as the vaccine is considered 90% effective.
Preventive efforts have permitted the nation to practically eliminate polio, tetanus in newborns, and measles in children. Some 830,517 measles vaccinates will be distributed to children 9 months to five years, and 372,075 polio vaccinations will be applied to children two months to two years old.

Medics agree DR is epidemics-free
The president of the Dominican Society of Pediatrics, Virgen Gómez told the Listín Diario that she agrees with the Minister of Public Health, Altagracia Guzmán that there are no epidemic diseases affecting the DR at the moment. "The DR is free of epidemics at this time, but there are risks," she said. She urged the population to wash their hands frequently, boil water or add chlorine, not pile up garbage, not consumed food from cans that have been left standing, and keep water covered.
Likewise, the president of the Dominican Medical Association, Eusebio Garrido agrees. "I believe there have been no epidemics because all sectors of the health area have been working and orienteering the population about prevention measures.

Ban on locally-made fireworks
The government commission that regulates the sale of fireworks prohibited the sale or manufacturing of locally-made fireworks. Luis Rafael Díaz (Lilín), a former chief of the Firemen in Santo Domingo, and now head of the Comisión Reguladora y Supervisora de Fuegos Artificiales, said that only imported fireworks that fulfill established norms may be sold.

Cardinal says political negotiations are slow and difficult
Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, Archbishop of Santo Domingo and head of the Roman Catholic Church in the DR, described as "slow and difficult" the negotiations towards an end to the differences among political parties and the Executive Branch. Cardinal López Rodríguez is serving as arbiter to get the political forces talking to each other. A first round of negotiations and conversations recently took place. The differences revolve primarily over the constitution of the Junta Central Electoral, the government body in charge of organizing the presidential, municipal and congressional elections. Recently the Senate, where the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano is majority, unilaterally elected the new board of the JCE, without consulting the other political parties.

18 year old Juan Dolio waitress wins lotto
An 18 year old waitress employed at a Juan Dolio small hotel is the winner of the 17 October RD$20 million lotto prize. It wasn't until last week that she found out she had won. She resides in the rural community of La Malena, in Boca Chica. Because power service has still not been restored in this area, she did not know she had won the prize. The person who sold her the ticket, Carlos Pascual Caró Gómez (he goes home to home selling the tickets in the rural areas of the southeast), sought her out when the Lotto company detected where the ticket had been sold. Carlos Pascual Caro Gómez was alerted that one of the 18 people in the rural area had purchased the ticket. The winner, Lucrecia Guzmán Pérez, made RD$2,000 a month as a waitress at the Hotel Europa in Juan Dolio, one of the areas most affected by the Hurricane. She told Hoy newspaper that she would buy a jeep for her father, a house for her mother and she would give him something to Caró Gómez, who sold her the ticket. The rest she would put in the bank. She went to the Lotto company, Leidsa to claim her millions with her parents Daniel Guzman and Deyanira Pérez, her brother Tulio Pérez, a mechanic, and boyfriend, José Hidalgo. Her father is a construction overseer, and her mother works as a housekeeper. Her boyfriend is a cook at the same hotel where she worked as waitress. He had already given his girl friend RD$3,500 so she could look for a place for them to live together.

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