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Manu'a may see some air transportation relief

Poly Air applies for temp exemption

Based on a request from the American Samoa government, Polynesian Airlines has filed for a temporary exemption with the U.S. Department of Transportation, in order to be able to operate commercial flights between Tutuila and the Manu’a island group.
The exemption is required due to federal cabotage law, which forbids any foreign carrier from operating between U.S. ports. The Samoa government owned airline has in the past applied for, and been granted, an emergency exemption when no other U.S. carrier operated  domestic flights.

LBJ Board responds to CMS by establishing new division

Random, unannounced surveys of hospital promised

The Board of Directors of the local LBJ Medical Center has established a new division with a central focus to conduct random, unannounced surveys similar to those conducted by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), and report their findings to the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors.

Eleven sporting groups seek to sack ASNOC head


Eleven sports association under the umbrella of the American Samoa National Olympic Committee (ASNOC) are seeking to — among other things — remove from their posts the ASNOC president J. Victor Langkilde and the secretary general, Billy Young.
The move, which is cited in an Aug. 19 petition, calls for an “Extraordinary General Assembly” of the ASNOC and Langkilde has since scheduled the assembly for Sept. 5.

CIP & Special Programs coordinator jobs reassigned


It’s unclear where Tuimavave Taupa’i Laupola stands after a memorandum came out last week showing that Chief of Staff Fiu Johnny Saelua appointed Jerome Ierome to oversee Capital Improvement Projects and Special Programs, effective immediately.
The letter leaked to Samoa News is dated August 12, 2014 and is addressed to Budget Director Catherine Saelua and Treasurer Ueligatone Tonumaipe’a.

DOE Director fields questions on start of school

Says an increase in Chik virus could delay classes

Department of Education Director, Vaitinasa Salu Hunkin said they are concerned with the chikungunya virus after a report from Department of Health Director Motusa Tuileama Nua stated that of the 500+ people affected, 20% are students. She said if there’s an increase, the start of the school year will be postponed. Aside from that — the school year should start on time, and this was revealed during DOE’s budget hearing before lawmakers Wednesday late afternoon.

Former board member calls ASVB budget a joke


While the American Samoa Visitors Bureau Director, David Vaeafe announced before the lawmakers last week that Virginia Samuelu was among the board member for the ASVB, Samuelu told Samoa News that’s not true, calling the ASVB’s $900,000 budget a “joke”.
Samuelu in an email to Samoa News over the weekend stated that she resigned as a member of ASVB last year and she has not attended any board meetings since her resignation.

Marine Monument threatens territory's fishing role

Potentially catastrophic consequences for U.S fishing industry

Top leaders of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council board of directors say continuity of American Samoa as a major fishery port and fishing hub continues to be uncertain while China's domination of Papua New Guinea’s canning industry is in direct competition with American Samoa.

Manu'a not immune to the chik virus says scientist


Although Chikungunya, or chik virus, has not yet spread to Manu’a, Dr. Mark Shmaedick says that does not mean the island group “is immune” to the virus, because the same mosquito species that spread the virus on Tutuila is also found in Manu’a.
Shmaedick, an entomologist with the ASCC Land Grant program, along with several Health Department officials were before the Senate Health Committee last week to talk about what DoH and LBJ Medical Center are doing to address the rising number of people affected by Chikungunya,

Senate mourns passing of Sen. Faumuina Tausiaali’i


To honor and remember the late Sen. Faumuina Tagisiaali’i, the Senate yesterday observed a moment of silence during its session and postponed committee hearings for the fiscal year 2015 budget review.
Word of Faumuina’s sudden passing in Ohio quickly reached senators and Senate staff yesterday morning before the session got underway.

Gaoteote calls local Visitors Bureau budget — “le alofa”


Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie has called the American Samoa Visitor’s Bureau $900,000 budget “heartless” and posed a question about the director’s salary — asking Vaeafe “What does American Samoa get out of this $80,000?”
His concerns were made known during the budget hearing for the ASVB office, where a majority of the lawmakers raised concerns that there are only seven employees in this office, with an $900,000 budget, and the very high salary of the ASVB Director.

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