Facts and Information from the Editor
This section offers articles by our Editor Don Davis (and webmaster Diane Cooner where noted) on various aspects of living in Costa Rica. These articles are the result of their research and experiences.
A Survival Guide to Driving in Costa Rica
New 'Intelligent Post' In Grecia - Just What IS This All About?
The posts will provide energy solutions and infocommunications to citizens as of September 2018.
North Side of Church, across from ICE
South Side of Church, Bank of Costa Rica behind
In addition to efficient lighting with LED technology, they include Wi-Fi and surveillance and information screen.
They have a "panic button" to manage immediate help in case of emergencies.
The Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) and Costa Rican Radiographic Institute (RACSA) installed in Grecia and Tibás the first smart poles in the country, an advanced technology that, in addition to efficient lighting with LED technology, will offer citizens various security and communication services.
Among its innovations is a video surveillance camera with 360-degree mobility, as well as a "panic button", through which residents can get immediate help from the police in case of emergencies.
Additionally, they provide the Wi-Fi internet service and have a screen to show useful information, such as the weather report and the temperature.
The physical installation of the poles was carried out by the ICE, while the community solutions are provided by RACSA.
These facilities are executed through an alliance between ICE, RACSA and the municipalities of Grecia and Tibás, as part of a pilot plan with poles provided by the Huawei company.
RACSA led the project from the conceptualization to the start-up. In addition, it provides the fiber optic network connection.
Suzeth Rodríguez, Head of Sales of Radiográfica, indicated that "our role as a front to local governments is to orchestrate all the capacities of the companies of the Group within their strategy, to respond in an orderly manner and elaborate differentiated offers to the needs of the municipalities". He added that the service is part of the smart cities and safe cities projects, which is also led by RACSA and are carried out in synergy with the other companies of Grupo ICE.
"The execution of this technological solution responds to the strategic vision of Grupo ICE, to take advantage of the knowledge and capabilities of its companies, and the convergence of energy and information services to facilitate management and improve the quality of life of the communities," according to Rayner García, manager of Intelligent Electrical Networks and Innovation of the Corporate Electricity Department.
As part of this pilot plan, two other smart poles will be installed, in Grecia (lower photo above) and in Tibás, also in coordination with the municipalities, within the framework of the smart cities development project.
How does the "panic button" work?
In case of a robbery, for example, the citizen presses the "panic button" installed in the smart post, and the warning immediately arrives at the Public Force or the Municipal Police. Thanks to the live transmission, the security personnel identifies the person making the report and from the monitoring center initiates a tracking of the event or the suspect.
PLEASE EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE
by Angie Vacchio
If you are eligible to vote in the US, you are eligible to vote from Costa Rica. You must, however, register to receive your absentee ballot and the law states that you must make this request every election year.
If you voted absentee in the last presidential election, you will not automatically receive an absentee ballot to vote in the midterms this year. You must register again. It’s an easy process.
I suggest going to votefromabroad.org to register, or you can go through your local election office.
There may be other sites as well, but the reason I suggest votefromabroad.org is that they have simplified the absentee voting process by using a standard registration form (FPCA) applicable across all states.
Please register to get your ballot—the sooner the better. Midterm elections are almost upon us.
For additional information, what follows is from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Absentee voting is a simple two-step process:
Each year, submit a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to your local election officials.
- Confirm your eligibility to vote and put your name on a list to receive absentee ballots for any elections held that calendar year.
- Send you a blank absentee ballot electronically or by mail.
Complete and return the ballot so it arrives before your state's ballot return deadline. OR
If you have not received your blank ballot 30 days before an election, use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to vote.
IMPORTANT: U.S. citizens abroad must submit a new FPCA each year to vote in U.S. elections. Submit your FPCA at the beginning of the calendar year, or at least 45 days before an election, to allow ample time to process your request and resolve any problems. Once approved, your name will be put on a list of voters to receive absentee ballots.
There are many options for voting (detailed above. Whether you go through your local election officials or votefromabroad.org, just exercise your right and VOTE!
[Note: The votefromabroad site does NOT automatically change a person's current party affiliation. In the process they DO ask if you want to join their group, DemocratsAbroad, because this is the group that runs the votefromabroad voter registration site. This is separate from your actual voter registration. For the record, if there was a RepublicansAbroad group, we would post their voter registration information as well.
New Parking Program in Grecia - August 2018
by Diane Cooner
The dust has somewhat settled from the startup of the new online parking program ("parquímetros"). We didn't post anything until now because the conditions for the start of the program kept on changing. But now it seems that there is a method to the madness. Here is a brief outline of how to use this program:
1) Depending on your type of cellphone, either go to Apple App store or Google Play store. Search for 'El Parking'. The program was developed in Spain and you have options to park in 7 major cities there. There is also an option to park in Grecia.
- Download this app to your phone.
- Ask for the English language option, follow the directions to set up an account.
- They will ask for a credit card. You are given a choice of amounts to load into the app. I started with 2000 colones.
- The cost is 600 colones per hour. You can also purchase by the 1/2 hour.
2) Once you have your account set up, simply get into town, find an empty space that is numbered, and park. You will need wifi for the app to work. I imagine that the Inteligente Poste (see article above) can now provide that wifi. The day I was in town I hooked into Ekono's free client wifi....
- Consult the app, it will prompt you to point to where you are parked (or where you want to park).
- Follow the prompts and bingo, you will have your space reserved, and your account will be debited. Your monitored time will start immediately. Note: I tried this app the other day in Grecia for the first time. In my preparation at home, I discovered that the metered time starts immediately, so I lost 15 minutes that I paid for (the time it took to get to town). While in town, I was able to secure the space again for 1 hour. The takeaway is, use this app when you are already in town, either from your chosen parking space or from your current location (e.g. you're at the Mall, consult the app - see if there are open spots where you are headed - open are in green, used are in red - reserve your space and go).
3) What I really liked about this app is that it gives a 5 minute notice that your time is almost up, and then another notice when your time has expired. It also automatically sends a printable copy of your transaction via email.
Here are some photos of the informational flyer that the Municipality of Grecia distributed - another opportunity to practice your Spanish!
Corporate Tax 2017 Info
These forms are in .pdf format.
|Form D-140||English version||Spanish version|
|Instructions for filling out Form D-140|
Urgent News "Relief" - June/July 2016
The ongoing road resurfacing between Tacares and Naranjo is just that -- a badly needed road resurfacing project. I have it on good authority via a high-ranking government official that there will be no detour of Pan Am Highway traffic through our area. Such an attempt according to the Ministry of Transportation would be "impossible". We can all rest easy that once the resurfacing is complete, there should be no further delays or inconvenience. The new Puente de Rio Colorado will be contructed beside the existing one that will remain open during the construction. "WHEW."
Ambulances, Medical Services, and Health Insurance
(also on our medical page)