Many friends have written with questions about the death of Homero Gómez González, and now a second Monarch Butterfly environmentalist, Raúl Hernández Romero, has also been found murdered. The deaths have been widely reported by the BBC, NYTimes, Washington Post, and many other news media. These are tragic events taking place in the desperately poor state of Michoacán, where the people who commit these crimes have nothing much to lose. The problems in these districts are many-layered and complex.

Homero Gómez González

I can only speak to our own experience traveling to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserves in Michoacán and the State of Mexico. On our trip last March, Tom and I stayed at the beautiful inn, JM Monarch Butterfly Bed and Breakfast, located in sleepy Macheros. JM Butterfly is owned and operated by husband and wife team Joel Rojas Moreno and Ellen Sharp. Macheros is a rural hamlet, called a ‘ranchita,’ with a population of more horses to people. Macheros is sited at the base of an old volcanic mountain, Cerro Pelon, which is located in the State of Mexico.

Cerro Pelon is the mountain where the butterflies were first located by outsiders. The villagers knew of the Monarchs annual return, but it was a mystery to the rest of the world where the Monarchs wintered over.

We felt safe every moment of our time at Cerro Pelon and JM Butterfly B and B. So safe that I went for long walks through the town filming and taking photos, on my own, and often left my handbag unattended  when socializing with fellow guests at dinner and in the common areas of the Inn .

Later this month I am posting a video interview with Ellen and Joel where we discuss safety issues, but it is well worth noting the following at this point in time when so much attention has been drawn to the region. Some states, cities, and towns in Mexico are more  prone to violence than other areas, just as we find in different regions of the US. Basing a decision to travel to Cerro Pelon on what happens in Michoacán is like saying I am not going to travel to Beverly Hills because of the gang violence that takes place in Emeryville.

I absolutely love Cerro Pelon and JM Butterfly B and B and hope to return very soon. We also can’t wait until our granddaughter is just a wee bit older so we can take a family trip there. I write older only for the reason that she will remember how memorable an experience.

Conversely, the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve at El Rosario is located in the state of Michoacán, where gang violence poses a greater threat. Homero Gómez González was a manager at El Rosario,  a former logger himself, and champion of the Monarchs and Reserve. Raúl Hernández Romero was also an environmentalist and tour guide. It is tragic that the defense of the exquisite and productive forest habitats of the Monarch Biosphere Reserves turns activists into victims of threats and persecution and that Monarch protectors González and Romero have paid the ultimate price for their bravery.

I traveled to El Rosario, in 2014, and again in March of 2019. This last trip we were with a small group sponsored by JM Butterfly and both trips, the one taken in 2014 and the one in 2019, we were perfectly safe and well looked after by our guides. The majority of the visitors to El Rosario are international tourists and Mexican families, respectively, making first time visits and annual pilgrimages. You will see the very youngest babies being strolled along the paths to the very oldest grannies hobbling along with walking sticks, and everyone in between.

El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Biosphere

Rural communities throughout Mexico are developing, some more rapidly than others.  We can do a great deal to help the local economy by continuing to visit these beautiful but impoverished areas and the wonderful people you will meet there, to treasure the unspoiled habitats and wildlife you will find there, and to spend our tourist dollars generously.  We live in a time with growing environmental awareness, but also a time with increasing anti-environment animus, largely generated by the current US federal government’s devastating anti-environment policies.

González was missing for two weeks before his body was recovered at the bottom of a holding pond in an agricultural area. Prosecutors in Michoacán say an autopsy found that the cause of death was “mechanical asphyxiation by drowning of a person with head trauma.”

Raúl Hernández Romero, who had worked as a tour guide in the preserve went missing last Monday. His body was found bruised, his head showing trauma from a sharp object.

Mourners lower the coffin of community activist Homero Gómez González into a grave at a hillside cemetery in Ocampo, Mexico, on Friday. PHOTO: Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Cape Ann Museum

Love this free admission on the 2nd Saturday of the month through 2020.

Museum Hours

Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Museum is closed on Mondays and on these major holidays: New Years Day, Easter Sunday,  Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

On December 24 and December 31 the Museum closes at 1:00 p.m.

Find Library & Archives hours here.


Adults: $12.00
Cape Ann residents, seniors and students: $10.00
Museum members and youth (18 and under): FREE

Cape Ann residents are free on the second Saturday of the month in 2020!

The Museum offers reciprocal free admission programs for:

MTA members | Active duty military & family | ENHA Volunteers | NEMA, NARM &
EBT / SNAP cardholders

It Won’t Be Long Now! Mom’s Kitchen Opening Soon!

Mom’s Kitchen
February 1 at 12:47 PM ·
It’s been a long tedious but definitely a great journey of LOVE transforming a former fish market into our new home of Mom’s Kitchen. FOLKS there is light at the End Of Tunnel. Barring there is nothing else coming unexpected MOM’S KITCHEN WILL OPEN MONDAY FEBRUARY 10th At 5am Sorry for taking sooo sooo looong Big Thank You for your continued love and support Wish us Luck and nothing but Good Karma Love Dave El and Staff PLEASE share the Hell out of this Post ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Special Valentines

Each year the 1st -3rd grade students at the school where I work, Harborlight Montessori, spend the beginning of February of creating beautiful maps of their hearts to show all of the things that fill their hearts with happiness.  They first Heart Map shown is one that Finn made when he was in 3rd grade. They also make granola and scones and cut up lots of fresh fruit.  They practice pouring tea and lessons in grace and courtesy so that they are ready to welcome loved ones to their very special Valentine’s Breakfast.  They also rehearse beautiful songs to be sung at the event.  While my boys are older now, I have such happy memories of being their guest.  I hope all guests and children have a lovely time at this morning’s event!



Valentines Day ~

Cape Ann Wellness

Show the ones you love some love with a Gift Certificate from Ayurveda Wellness Healing, LLC and save 10% until Feb. 11. 💖

Services include: Massage, Ayurveda Wellness Consults, Reiki, Marma Point Balancing, Cranial Sacral work, Reflexology, Numerology, Seasonal Cleanses and Retreats.

Text: 978-395-1234

View original post

O’Maley Middle School Presents Frozen Jr

Cape Ann Community

O’Maley Middle School Presents Frozen Jr

O’Maley Academy’s Middle School students ‘let it go’ on stage in their performance of Disney’s Frozen Jr. Based on the hit animated film and Broadway musical, this show brings to life Anna, Elsa, and the classic story of sisterhood that you know and love.

It’s fun for the whole family and audiences of all ages, so join us this weekend at O’Maley Middle School to see a performance full of laughter, magic, and the power of true love, Cast Y on Friday 2/7 at 7:00 and Saturday 2/8 at 1:00 and Cast X on Sunday 2/9 at 1:00.

Shows take place in the auditorium at O’Maley Innovation Middle School, 32 Cherry St. in Gloucester. Tickets, $5 for youth and 7$ for adults, may be purchased at the door or online at

alexis elsa

On behalf of the entire cast and crew of Frozen Jr. thank…

View original post 10 more words