Community Briefs



Hawaiian Airlines' Thursday night flight from Honolulu didn’t arrive in Pago Pago until around 3:30am yesterday consequently departing the territory at around 5:10am.

Its' local office issued a memo early Thursday evening saying the flight - which departed Honolulu on time at around 5:20pm “has returned to Honolulu due to mechanical reasons” causing a delay of about six hours.

The memo didn’t explain the “mechanical reasons” but the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported the aircraft turned around 45 minutes after departure when the aircraft flight system computer indicated a system warning that required the plane be turned around. The plane, with some 200 passengers, landed without incident at Honolulu Airport.

Hawaiian spokesman Keoni Wagner is quoted by the Star Advertiser saying that maintenance crews went over the plane and found nothing wrong and it appears to be a faulty indication.

The flight left Honolulu again at around 11pm, Thursday night for Pago Pago. Hawaiian rebooked connecting passengers from Pago Pago on the first available flights out of Honolulu.

“We will do everything possible to accommodate our passengers and mitigate the inconvenience experiences and appreciate your understanding,” according to a memo issued by the local office.

Hawaiian Airlines is the major sponsor of the annual Territorial Spelling Bee Competition.


In an e-mail message Friday to its members, the Chamber of Commerce confirmed LBJ Medical Center chief executive officer Michael Gerstenberger will talk about the new hospital facility fee hikes at the Chamber's general membership meeting on May 23. The new hospital facility fee hikes are set to take effect May 21.

“Despite years of debate about the loss of vital services and personnel and what to do about it in our increasingly fragile economy, little long term action has been taken” for the hospital, the message says.

“Our territory is currently wrestling with problems such as what services should be provided at reduced cost, who is eligible for those services, and how we will pay for them,” it says. “The Chamber feels very strongly that reliable health care is one of the foundations of the local economy and many big changes are in the pipeline for LBJ, and they are experiencing several major challenges as well right now.”

According to the message,  Gerstenberger “will discusses the current situation here on island, and efforts to address the various issues.  He has implemented many reforms, including sweeping personnel and policy changes in the financial offices.”

Topics will include a description of the existing facility and personnel status, the problems being faced, the issue of long term funding and associated legislation, future plans, and proposed rate increases.

Chamber chairman David Robinson told Samoa News earlier this week that he invited Gerstenberger to explain the new fee structure, the rationale behind it and  future plans by the hospital to prevent any further increases.


Congressman Faleomavaega Eni announced Thursday that the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded $299,200 in federal funding to the American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture & Humanities (Arts Council) through a Partnership Agreement grant.

American Samoa’s Partnership Agreement award will extend the NEA’s reach and impact by providing support to the Arts Council in developing long-range strategic plans that help to position the arts as an integral part of cultural tourism, community revitalization, economic development, education, and health and human services, Faleomavaega said in a news release.

He thanked the NEA “for their consistent efforts in making sure that the arts remain a vital aspect of our communities nationwide.”

“Specifically for American Samoa, the arts are an integral aspect of our unique cultural contribution to the American family and to our Pacific neighbors,” he said. “I am thankful that this important federal funding is being dedicated to supporting projects with this critical goal in mind.”

“I look forward to the projects and activities that the Arts Council will continue to implement for the benefit of our Territory, preserving our cultural arts for future generations to come,” he said.


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