Local News

Lolo shares strategies for dealing with minimum wage with Congresswoman Amata


Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has shared with Congresswoman Aumua Amata his preference on dealing with minimum wage, in which the federal government would provide a subsidy to help pay for the federally mandated wage hikes.
However, if it's not feasible, the governor prefers the previous method, wherein  local wages were determined by a special industry committee under the purview of the U.S. Labor Department (USDOL).
The minimum wage of the territory is set to rise on September 30, this year.

Court Report


“The government has recently learned new information that prevents it from meeting its burden at trial,” says Assistant Attorney General Jessica Bargmann in her motion to dismiss their case against Yamasaki Bernard who is charged with rape, deviate sexual assault, sexual abuse first degree and burglary first degree, which are all felonies. The motion was filed earlier this month prior to the jury trial for this case.

"High Risk" status removed from two DHSS grants


The high risk status for the Department of Human and Social Service’s two grants from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention has been removed.

Police officer charged with assaulting pregnant wife


A police officer made his initial appearance on Monday in the District Court on charges of third degree assault and public peace disturbance on allegations that he assaulted his pregnant wife. He was summoned on misdemeanor charges, each one punishable with up to one year on jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both fine and jail time.
In the interest of protecting the victim’s identity Samoa News will not name the defendant in this case.

Kruses’ attorneys object to transferring case to Hawai’i

Say transfer “would be far from ideal” for their clients

Defense attorneys for John Emil Kruse and his wife Elaine have objected to having the jurisdiction of their cases, currently under the federal court in Washington D.C., transferred to the Honolulu federal court, arguing that it's not in accordance with federal law, and “would be far from ideal” for their clients, as they have put considerable effort in “developing a relationship of trust and understanding with them.”

New head of US Transportation Security Admin served in American Samoa


The newly confirmed leader of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS), served in American Samoa several years ago as the Coast Guard liaison to the local government, and he helped develop the local USCG enforcement unit here.
In a vote of 81-1, the U.S. Senate early last week confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger as the new TSA Administrator, after serving many years in the Coast Guard.

Court Report


A man who signed a plea agreement and admitted in open court his actions in connection with the robbery of the Gold Conda store last year May — Falefatu Asi — has withdrawn his guilty plea.
Falefatu and his co-defendants Alatuna Simi and Samuelu Wright, have each been held on bail of $100,000 and each defendant has been charged with first-degree robbery and stealing.

Community Briefs


The federal court in Washington D.C. has ordered the U.S. Marshal Service to arrange for travel for defendant Fa’amaoni ‘John’ Utu to return to American Samoa after a court hearing next month at the D.C. federal court.

Am. Samoa not affected by Niagara spring water recall


Department of Health’s Chief Compliance Officer Papali’i Marion Fitisemanu confirmed during a press conference last Friday that Niagara brand water supplies now on island are not affected by the recall that was issued last week by the Niagara Bottling company due to concerns that one of its spring water sources had been contaminated with E. coli.

DOH tells nurse to stay home until paperwork is done

DHR official: “Shouldn’t have told the nurse to come to work in the first place”

The Filipino nurse who has been working for the Department of Health for almost six months without getting paid was told by DOH Director of Nursing Margaret Sesepasara not to come to work, effective last Wednesday, June 24, 2015.
Prior to her being told to stay home, the nurse had already reached out to the Department of Labor’s local office for assistance, after she was told by DOH Personnel officials to come to work in February — yet to date she has not been paid.

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