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Alto Al Crimen Big News For The New Year!


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IT'S FRANC!

56810c6b190b7_FRANCLUGO.jpg.91d64111c183

 

Since the announcement by Rodny Moreno back in August that he intends to terminate the contract between his business and Alto al Crimen when it expires in 2016, there have been many questions about who would be the operator to continue the operation of the Alto al Crimen Hotline.  We are pleased to announce that commencing in the first week of January, Franc (for Francisco) Lugo, a member of our expat community, will take on the operator duties.  The AAC Hotline number, 6477-6662, will remain the same.

Franc is thoroughly bilingual, having had Puerto Rican parents and having been raised speaking both Spanish and English.  Franc grew up in New York City.  As an adult he has been an aviation mechanic in the Navy and has worked in the transportation and construction industries.  He has been in Boquete since 2009 and is well-known to a lot of us for his participation in many and varied expat activities.  He is a member of San Juan Bautista Catholic church and is active in many volunteer groups throughout Boquete.

Frank has a can-do attitude and a friendly word for all. You can bet that those traits will transfer to the AAC Hotline service.

Alto al Crimen is modernizing its operations in a number of ways.   Some of those you can't see because they relate to the scope, maintenance and security of the database which holds information about the 500+ people/families who are registered.   We'll also be using a new two-SIM telephone that will allow callers with emergencies to remain on hold while police, fire or medical assistance is called. Then Franc will be able to return to the caller and report about his notification to the appropriate agencies and when they are being dispatched. The second line (with a different cellular service) will also serve as an alternate AAC Hotline number for cases when someone may be calling from an accident or other incident on the road and the cellular service for the main number is weak or unavailable.  Another new approach is a powerful tablet computer small enough to be kept with the operator all the time so that full database information can be always available.   Moreover, we will have the capability of updating the database by WI-FI via the internet so that it is kept regularly updated.

The Board of Alto al Crimen thanks the many loyal supporters of our non-profit foundation and its programs of providing crime prevention and bilingual emergency telephone services to one and all in the community.  AAC only works with your donations and support.   Our goal is to have every person or family registered for AAC Hotline service to donate a minimum of $20 per year (plus a one-time $10 donation when you receive your resident ID plaque).  If you can donate more, you will be helping support our various crime prevention programs and our work with the local police and fire departments.  If you are not registered, you can sign up at altoalcrimen.info   Click on the bright red rectangle on the right side of the page not far from the top.

When you see Franc Lugo at BCP or at local restaurants or other places around town, say hello and tell him about your support for AAC. But if he needs to answer a phone call, please excuse him because he has a good reason.   If you need help, he will always be as close as your phone and working for you and the whole community 24 hours per day.

Watch for more Alto al Crimen news over the next few days.

 

Edited by Admin_01
corrected the posting of the picture
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This is interesting news. I know Franc, like him, and assume he has a work permit. However, I have to question the wisdom of AdA hiring an expat to compete with a handicapped Panamanian, especially one who  has worked so hard to establish a business and build a better life for himself and his family.

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I don't think Franc needs a work permit if he has a contract with AAC as an independent contractor.

I also think Franc is a good choice. He's got relationships with lots of the government and police workers in Boquete.

And he runs a tight parking lot for the Tuesday Market at BCP

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In response to Judy's post about the money issue, I would suggest that one look beyond the cost. I don't choose to gamble with my safety. I'll stick with Rodny because of his skill, experience, and contacts. In an emergency, this can be a matter of life and death.

Also note that, while it is not entirely clear from the post, AAC does not appear to offer non-emergency help or translation services as Rodny Direct does. I think it is important to carefully compare the two programs before choosing.

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1 hour ago, Penny said:

I don't think Franc needs a work permit if he has a contract with AAC as an independent contractor.

I also think Franc is a good choice. He's got relationships with lots of the government and police workers in Boquete.

And he runs a tight parking lot for the Tuesday Market at BCP

I think Penny may be wrong about the work permit issue, but I have raised this in the Employees category as it has wider implications. See Link.

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4 hours ago, Penny said:

I don't think Franc needs a work permit if he has a contract with AAC as an independent contractor.

I also think Franc is a good choice. He's got relationships with lots of the government and police workers in Boquete.

And he runs a tight parking lot for the Tuesday Market at BCP

Will Franc still act as the parking lot attendant for the Tuesday Market at BCP?  He does a good job and we certainly need his help in locating a parking spot plus entrance and exit of this area.

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23 hours ago, Bonnie said:

 

This is interesting news. I know Franc, like him, and assume he has a work permit. However, I have to question the wisdom of AdA hiring an expat to compete with a handicapped Panamanian, especially one who  has worked so hard to establish a business and build a better life for himself and his family.

Bonnie,

   I almost never disagree with what I have seen you post, but this time I must.  Surely you're not suggesting that AAC has a moral obligation to hire a handicapped bilingual Panamanian to replace Rodny?  I am not taking sides in this debate and I haven't yet decided which way I go, but the fact of the matter is that Rodny left AAC to compete with it; AAC didn't choose to compete with Rodny.  From what I hear behind the scenes, AAC had a bilingual Panamanian (albeit not handicapped) lined up to replace Rodny, but had to forgo that choice because she couldn't be truly available 24/7. 

   I agree with you that it would make sense for AAC and/or Rodny Direct to offer an honest side by side comparison so that people might make an informed decision as to where they want to go - or even sign up for both as extra security - but at least for me, that the comparison isn't inextricably tied to the personal characteristics of the operator, as long as she or he can communicate appropriately with the necessary parties. 

Edited by Deborah
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In fact, Deborah, I do believe that AAC has a moral obligation to do its best to hire a bilingual Panamanian. Good jobs for Panamanians in Boquete are few and far between. I find it hard to believe that there isn't a qualified Panamanian who would love to have this job, although I'm gratified to hear that AAC at least made an effort in this direction. As to Rodny's choice to leave AAC, there are, as you know, two sides to the story. I tend to think that Rodny's is the more credible. In any case, it is Rodny who has made the emergency hotline a reality and a success, and I believe he deserves the community's continued support rather than the support of a competing, less qualified expat (however much we all like Franc). Just my opinion.

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On 12/29/2015 at 8:10 AM, Keith Woolford said:

The announcement provides the information I need to make a choice of service. Thanks.

Someone asked me to clarify my statement.

What it means is that we'll be signing up with Rodny.

He's answered and handled promptly and efficiently at least four or maybe five emergency distress calls that I've made on behalf of others these last few years.

Before making that choice we thought it fair to wait for AAC to get re-organized and assess the service the organization would be offering.

In hindsight, anything short of a reconciliation or amalgamation with Rodny would have no doubt prompted the same decision for us.

Edited by Keith Woolford
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We think that people are following Rodny because he has a proven track record handling emergency situations.  He has long established relationships with the necessary key people. He knows the landscape. 

In times of an emergency, we don't want someone on a learning curve handling our call.

People are following Rodny for his services, wherever he goes. 

We wish AAC all the best, but we followed Rodny to Rodny Direct, and so have many of our friends. 

We are very proud of Rodny's accomplishments, and support him in his efforts to rise above his physical limitations.  He is a role model and we are proud to support him. 

 

Edited by Pat and Susan
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21 hours ago, Marcelyn said:

Yeah....we hope Franc will/can continue his BCP parking lot duties.

If Franc gets an emergency call right when the market is getting going, you all are going to have to figure out how to park your cars yourselves.

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4 hours ago, Pat and Susan said:

We think that people are following Rodny because he has a proven track record handling emergency situations.  He has long established relationships with the necessary key people. He knows the landscape. 

In times of an emergency, we don't want someone on a learning curve handling our call.

People are following Rodny for his services, wherever he goes. 

We wish AAC all the best, but we followed Rodny to Rodny Direct, and so have many of our friends. 

We are very proud of Rodny's accomplishments, and support him in his efforts to rise above his physical limitations.  He is a role model and we are proud to support him. 

 

Rodny Direct has a database for clients that is much broader....we like that.  We want to know a guy like Rodny can take all the information we supplied him and find a place for our dog, locate our relatives, contact our attorney who has POA, and send the emergency squad to our home with 100% information on what our health status is.  For my husband and I, $80/yr is a value for service.   That said...we love Rodny and what he's accomplished.  He is an example not only for the handicapped but as well for you and me to achieve beyond our wildest imagination and succeed...and then do more.  Go Rodny.  Yes we're biased.

There is no other service that can equal Rodny Direct in Panama...period

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1 hour ago, Brundageba said:

Rodny Direct has a database for clients that is much broader....we like that.  We want to know a guy like Rodny can take all the information we supplied him and find a place for our dog, locate our relatives, contact our attorney who has POA, and send the emergency squad to our home with 100% information on what our health status is.  For my husband and I, $80/yr is a value for service.   That said...we love Rodny and what he's accomplished.  He is an example not only for the handicapped but as well for you and me to achieve beyond our wildest imagination and succeed...and then do more.  Go Rodny.  Yes we're biased.

There is no other service that can equal Rodny Direct in Panama...period

There are times when I feel like I must speak, even when I don't want to.  This is one of those times.

For all of the reasons cited by others, we feel very fortunate to have membership in RD.  Rodny's track record is comforting.  

AAC is giving their best effort to reestablish a service at a price compatible with the budgets of many expats in the community.  I want to see them succeed because this type of service has proven that it can save lives and resolve problems, and I believe that AAC can do a good job if they are given a chance.  The next time I go to TMM, I intend to leave $20 with DVH in the hopes that the seed planted will blossom.

For me, the absolute greatest thing about living in Boquete is that I know someone will always be there if I need them.  Most of us put our trust in Rodny when the Hotline was first formed, and we didn't know then, what we know now, about how well he would perform.  I'm hoping y'all will give Franc his chance too.

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I must be missing something...   or maybe it is just my way of looking at it.   Is there a reason that you can not use both services?  

When I first came to Panama I quickly learned that everything needed a backup plan.   Right now I have multiple ways to get the Internet if one way is down.   I have multiple cell phones with different carriers in case one service is not working.   I have both Union Fenosa and a generator.   I have two sources of water to the house.   I have two tanks of gas.   So why not have both of these services in case one fails?   Either service could fail for reasons that are outside of their control.  I believe both are attempting to provide excellent service despite the changes both are going through..

I can have RD for $80 ($6.66/month) or I could have BOTH for $100 ($8.33/month) - the extra $1.66 a month seems like a small price for extra security given it is Panama and there always seems to be a glitch in every service.

Just my own personal thoughts on the subject

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I agree with Twin Wolf. $100 is a small price to pay for a back-up plan. I have already signed up for Rodny Direct but I plan on giving my $20 to David Van Harn at next Tuesday's BCP market.

I guess the question I want to pose to Bob Gregory and Fran is this: "If I don't make a donation to AAC, will Franc still handle my emergency call?"

Bob, can you give us an answer to this question, please?

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Woody, Dan, your points are well taken.

If we feel their programs are beneficial to the community we too will continue to support AAC. Efforts being made are appreciated.

However, we were all put in a position where we were forced to make a choice about Emergency Hotline service and ours was made using the same criteria that I would use to contract any other professional. ie: ability, experience, and value for services offered.

From the outset I have been hesitant to get involved in discussions concerning AAC because of the controversial manner in which the RD startup was handled.

Edited by Keith Woolford
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1 hour ago, Penny said:

I agree with Twin Wolf. $100 is a small price to pay for a back-up plan. I have already signed up for Rodny Direct but I plan on giving my $20 to David Van Harn at next Tuesday's BCP market.

I guess the question I want to pose to Bob Gregory and Fran is this: "If I don't make a donation to AAC, will Franc still handle my emergency call?"

Bob, can you give us an answer to this question, please?

I have one more question of Bob. Does Franc have a work permit? (I ask because, if he does not, he runs the risk of being shut down by the government, leaving his clients in the lurch.)

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