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LEONE LIONS FOCUS ON COMPETITION UNDER NEW HEAD COACH SALAVE'A

tony@samoanews.com

The 'Home of the Lions' – Leone High School's football program is now under the management of Head Coach, Okland Salave'a – the former Tafuna Warriors Head Football Coach, who carried the Warriors program to the top for numerous years in American Samoa High School Athletics Association football.
 
During his reign as head coach for Tafuna, Salave'a made history in their football program as the first head coach to carry the Warriors through their first championship streak — from 2011 to 2013 — a 3-peat feat.
 
But that’s history.
 
Without a doubt, Salave'a made it clear to Samoa News that he's dedicated to the Lions program and he's going to try his best to revive the programs history back to its glory days – Leone Lions still remain at the top of ASHSAA Football Championship Records with the most Championships won (15) in American Samoa.
 
Salave'a told Samoa News that his transition from Tafuna High School to the Home of the Lions, “was a bit hard at first — not knowing the kids and their abilities to play football. As well as adjusting from the different ways they use to have football here at Leone.”
 
The Lions who were under the management of former head coach Arona Samoa throughout the past years, are being introduced to the Salave'a College Prep Football Training System that he had going for Tafuna, but the head coach himself is also being ‘introduced’ to Leone’s football program.
 
Salave'a said, “So even up to now, I'm still trying to feel my way through – especially having a brand new coaching staff, so we're trying to ‘gel’ and we're trying to think of ways to bring the kids and the team together.”
 
According to the head coach, the Lions Football Program started ‘melding’ about a month ago, but he is still trying to make an impact on his players — trying to get them to understand the reality of coming out to practice consistently. “Most of the kids are just now coming to practice — it’s like you go forward one day, then you go backwards the next, due to the fact that the kids don't really come out to practice.”
 
The mighty Lions team in this year is comprised of 36 players for the Varsity division and 28 players for the Junior Varsity (JV) division, according to Salave'a.
 
He spoke of his training process to Samoa News, saying, “One thing that I'm a strong believer in is the weight lifting program — so we got that to start with our kids here at Leone High School. It's just the fact of practicing the habit of showing up for practice everyday.”
 
The head coach said, “We continue to instill in the kids that it's not easy — and that's what makes football different, from all the other sports that they've played. It is time consuming because it is the time that you have to spend — to be a competitor or be a good player.”
 
Salave'a told Samoa News, “Our focus and our goal this year is to be competitive a lot more than usual, and I'm hoping that the kids will respond in a positive way where we can stay with Faga'itua when we play them in our first game.”
 
Leone is set to face the Vikings this Saturday, as ASHSAA's season opener match up.
 
Salave'a acknowledged and sent out his appreciation to those who've supported them throughout their preparations leading up to this year’s season. "I would like to thank all the parents of these kids that are on the team, for supporting our football program and for allowing their kids to come out to practice. I know they are obligated to family activities, and church as well.
 
“My sincerest thank you goes out to all of my coaching staff that has been out here for long hours to try and make sure that our kids are ready for the first game, and then to our principal and his staff for being there every single day to see if we needed anything. Special thank you to my coaches families, especially their wives.
 
“I have to thank them because if your wife is not supportive of what you’re doing, it makes it very hard to be an effective coach.
 
“Lastly I would like to thank Siliga Floyd Scanlan and some of the strong alumni of Leone High School that are there for us," he said.
 
Salave'a concluded, “I would like to wish good luck to all the teams out there, and may the best team win.” 

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ASDOE General Assembly for teachers kicks off 2016-17 school year

“Be Faithful in Small Deeds”
tony@samoanews.com

The American Samoa Department of Education (ASDOE) hosted their General Assembly yesterday morning at the Tafuna High School gymnasium – a standing room only event that welcomed all public school teachers, faculty, and support staff to the new school year.
 
Leading the ceremony was Co-Acting DOE Director Fa'aui Vaitautolu who welcomed all to their general assembly to kick off school year 2016 - 2017. During her welcoming remarks, Vaitautolu said "on behalf of the Department Of Education I would extend a warm welcome to all teachers, returning and new ones to our family of educators — cooks, custodians, librarians and everyone, especially our World Teach teachers program as we begin this new school year 2016 - 2017."
 
Co-Acting Director for the Department Of Educations Philo Jennings who was the keynote speaker for the assembly, reflected on all the accomplishments that DOE has done under the reign of Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, saying, "Our first mission during the first year … under Gov. Lolo was the focus to improve our roads around the island, which have played a huge role in the damaging of numerous school buses that we've had at DOE."
 
Jennings continued, "Secondly one of the most important milestones that we've accomplished – was the raising of pay for our teachers from $17,000.00 to $23,000.00 – for teachers who accomplished or have a Bachelors Degree. I honestly believe that if it wasn't for Gov. Lolo's movement to raise our teachers pays — we would still be struggling with the same pay system."
 
He said, “As years go by for days to come – we will always remember Gov. Lolo for his monumental change within our education system, and how he eased the burden for most teachers within the system who have fought for countless years to achieve the knowledge that they have today, which they now pass onto our future generation within the classrooms."
 
The co-acting director said, "Our focus and goal for this school year, is the same focus that we started out with in the first place. There is no turning back from this point — we'll only look back to make sure that our mistakes of yesterday, will better our education system of today and for days to come."
 
Stressing teamwork, Jennings said during his remarks that some teachers aren't team players. "The reality of what happens is that some of you don't want to work — all you want are the blessings, but you don't think to yourselves where the blessings come from. Lets work and let’s all work together.”
 
Jennings introduced the heads of all the DOE departments at the conclusion of his opening remarks – and noted if anyone has any questions, problems, or advice about certain DOE departments, these head of departments are the ones to contact:
 
Assistant Directors for Elementary Schools: Puna Tanielu; Secondary Assistant Director: Dr. Asaeli Amisone; Assistant Director for ECE: Milineta Tinitali; Assistant Director Curriculum Instruction: Netini Sene; Assistant Director of Divisional Education: Heidi Uele; Testing Office: Sam Uhrle; Librarian: Jesse Manase; Office of Teacher Quality: Diana Ameperosa; Warehouse: Laborday Atinoa; Transportation: Vanu Moe; Athletic Department: Liatama Amisone; J.R.O.T.C.: Mapu Jamias; Special Education: Paulo Salave'a; and, School Lunch Program: Christina Fuala'au
 
“May God bless our teachers and our students for this school year, and may we have a joyous and blessed upcoming school year. Go with God in everything you do in and out of the classroom, and may you all have a blessed school year, thank you,” Jennings concluded.
 
Guest speaker for the assembly was Governor Lolo, who said during his remarks that "like you always hear from all educators, it takes a whole town and a whole village to educate a child, and that's exactly what education requires from all of us. It's nice to hear your director list all the accomplishments that we've accomplished so far – the more he read out the list, the more we realize that education is an everyday challenge."
 
The governor said, “There are so many problems within our education system that we need to address and that's where we call on everybody to please, help our education system move forward… the theme that you've chosen for your assembly today is very important because that is the heart of this profession. ‘Be faithful with small things’ – little details of learning can paint a big picture for everybody…"
 
He said, "Be honest with small things and there will be no question that you'll be honest with big things. That's the teachings of the Bible that you have quoted to be your theme today – a teacher works hard for a full commitment and a total devotion of your time and your life to educate our children – because the future of our country and leaders of tomorrow depends on the work that you are doing.”
 
Lolo pointed out that "your job is to mold and shape the lives of our young people — the face of our people is built with your hands, with the work you do today. Leave the past behind because there's no turning back, but the work you do today will shape and mold the future of our people tomorrow."
 
He thanked the teachers for all the work they do “every year and everyday” they teach the children — our future. “God willing we will have a blessed start to our school year, and may you all have a safe and joyous school year for days to come. Thank you 'ma ia manuia'.”

YouTube 
See video
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ASDOE General Assembly for teachers kicks off 2016-17 school year

“Be Faithful in Small Deeds”
tony@samoanews.com

The American Samoa Department of Education (ASDOE) hosted their General Assembly yesterday morning at the Tafuna High School gymnasium – a standing room only event that welcomed all public school teachers, faculty, and support staff to the new school year.
 
Leading the ceremony was Co-Acting DOE Director Fa'aui Vaitautolu who welcomed all to their general assembly to kick off school year 2016 - 2017. During her welcoming remarks, Vaitautolu said "on behalf of the Department Of Education I would extend a warm welcome to all teachers, returning and new ones to our family of educators — cooks, custodians, librarians and everyone, especially our World Teach teachers program as we begin this new school year 2016 - 2017."
 
Co-Acting Director for the Department Of Educations Philo Jennings who was the keynote speaker for the assembly, reflected on all the accomplishments that DOE has done under the reign of Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, saying, "Our first mission during the first year … under Gov. Lolo was the focus to improve our roads around the island, which have played a huge role in the damaging of numerous school buses that we've had at DOE."
 
Jennings continued, "Secondly one of the most important milestones that we've accomplished – was the raising of pay for our teachers from $17,000.00 to $23,000.00 – for teachers who accomplished or have a Bachelors Degree. I honestly believe that if it wasn't for Gov. Lolo's movement to raise our teachers pays — we would still be struggling with the same pay system."
 
He said, “As years go by for days to come – we will always remember Gov. Lolo for his monumental change within our education system, and how he eased the burden for most teachers within the system who have fought for countless years to achieve the knowledge that they have today, which they now pass onto our future generation within the classrooms."
 
The co-acting director said, "Our focus and goal for this school year, is the same focus that we started out with in the first place. There is no turning back from this point — we'll only look back to make sure that our mistakes of yesterday, will better our education system of today and for days to come."
 
Stressing teamwork, Jennings said during his remarks that some teachers aren't team players. "The reality of what happens is that some of you don't want to work — all you want are the blessings, but you don't think to yourselves where the blessings come from. Lets work and let’s all work together.”
 
Jennings introduced the heads of all the DOE departments at the conclusion of his opening remarks – and noted if anyone has any questions, problems, or advice about certain DOE departments, these head of departments are the ones to contact:
 
Assistant Directors for Elementary Schools: Puna Tanielu; Secondary Assistant Director: Dr. Asaeli Amisone; Assistant Director for ECE: Milineta Tinitali; Assistant Director Curriculum Instruction: Netini Sene; Assistant Director of Divisional Education: Heidi Uele; Testing Office: Sam Uhrle; Librarian: Jesse Manase; Office of Teacher Quality: Diana Ameperosa; Warehouse: Laborday Atinoa; Transportation: Vanu Moe; Athletic Department: Liatama Amisone; J.R.O.T.C.: Mapu Jamias; Special Education: Paulo Salave'a; and, School Lunch Program: Christina Fuala'au
 
“May God bless our teachers and our students for this school year, and may we have a joyous and blessed upcoming school year. Go with God in everything you do in and out of the classroom, and may you all have a blessed school year, thank you,” Jennings concluded.
 
Guest speaker for the assembly was Governor Lolo, who said during his remarks that "like you always hear from all educators, it takes a whole town and a whole village to educate a child, and that's exactly what education requires from all of us. It's nice to hear your director list all the accomplishments that we've accomplished so far – the more he read out the list, the more we realize that education is an everyday challenge."
 
The governor said, “There are so many problems within our education system that we need to address and that's where we call on everybody to please, help our education system move forward… the theme that you've chosen for your assembly today is very important because that is the heart of this profession. ‘Be faithful with small things’ – little details of learning can paint a big picture for everybody…"
 
He said, "Be honest with small things and there will be no question that you'll be honest with big things. That's the teachings of the Bible that you have quoted to be your theme today – a teacher works hard for a full commitment and a total devotion of your time and your life to educate our children – because the future of our country and leaders of tomorrow depends on the work that you are doing.”
 
Lolo pointed out that "your job is to mold and shape the lives of our young people — the face of our people is built with your hands, with the work you do today. Leave the past behind because there's no turning back, but the work you do today will shape and mold the future of our people tomorrow."
 
He thanked the teachers for all the work they do “every year and everyday” they teach the children — our future. “God willing we will have a blessed start to our school year, and may you all have a safe and joyous school year for days to come. Thank you 'ma ia manuia'.”

YouTube 
See video
See video
See video


ASDOE General Assembly for teachers kicks off 2016-17 school year

“Be Faithful in Small Deeds”
tony@samoanews.com

The American Samoa Department of Education (ASDOE) hosted their General Assembly yesterday morning at the Tafuna High School gymnasium – a standing room only event that welcomed all public school teachers, faculty, and support staff to the new school year.
 
Leading the ceremony was Co-Acting DOE Director Fa'aui Vaitautolu who welcomed all to their general assembly to kick off school year 2016 - 2017. During her welcoming remarks, Vaitautolu said "on behalf of the Department Of Education I would extend a warm welcome to all teachers, returning and new ones to our family of educators — cooks, custodians, librarians and everyone, especially our World Teach teachers program as we begin this new school year 2016 - 2017."
 
Co-Acting Director for the Department Of Educations Philo Jennings who was the keynote speaker for the assembly, reflected on all the accomplishments that DOE has done under the reign of Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, saying, "Our first mission during the first year … under Gov. Lolo was the focus to improve our roads around the island, which have played a huge role in the damaging of numerous school buses that we've had at DOE."
 
Jennings continued, "Secondly one of the most important milestones that we've accomplished – was the raising of pay for our teachers from $17,000.00 to $23,000.00 – for teachers who accomplished or have a Bachelors Degree. I honestly believe that if it wasn't for Gov. Lolo's movement to raise our teachers pays — we would still be struggling with the same pay system."
 
He said, “As years go by for days to come – we will always remember Gov. Lolo for his monumental change within our education system, and how he eased the burden for most teachers within the system who have fought for countless years to achieve the knowledge that they have today, which they now pass onto our future generation within the classrooms."
 
The co-acting director said, "Our focus and goal for this school year, is the same focus that we started out with in the first place. There is no turning back from this point — we'll only look back to make sure that our mistakes of yesterday, will better our education system of today and for days to come."
 
Stressing teamwork, Jennings said during his remarks that some teachers aren't team players. "The reality of what happens is that some of you don't want to work — all you want are the blessings, but you don't think to yourselves where the blessings come from. Lets work and let’s all work together.”
 
Jennings introduced the heads of all the DOE departments at the conclusion of his opening remarks – and noted if anyone has any questions, problems, or advice about certain DOE departments, these head of departments are the ones to contact:
 
Assistant Directors for Elementary Schools: Puna Tanielu; Secondary Assistant Director: Dr. Asaeli Amisone; Assistant Director for ECE: Milineta Tinitali; Assistant Director Curriculum Instruction: Netini Sene; Assistant Director of Divisional Education: Heidi Uele; Testing Office: Sam Uhrle; Librarian: Jesse Manase; Office of Teacher Quality: Diana Ameperosa; Warehouse: Laborday Atinoa; Transportation: Vanu Moe; Athletic Department: Liatama Amisone; J.R.O.T.C.: Mapu Jamias; Special Education: Paulo Salave'a; and, School Lunch Program: Christina Fuala'au
 
“May God bless our teachers and our students for this school year, and may we have a joyous and blessed upcoming school year. Go with God in everything you do in and out of the classroom, and may you all have a blessed school year, thank you,” Jennings concluded.
 
Guest speaker for the assembly was Governor Lolo, who said during his remarks that "like you always hear from all educators, it takes a whole town and a whole village to educate a child, and that's exactly what education requires from all of us. It's nice to hear your director list all the accomplishments that we've accomplished so far – the more he read out the list, the more we realize that education is an everyday challenge."
 
The governor said, “There are so many problems within our education system that we need to address and that's where we call on everybody to please, help our education system move forward… the theme that you've chosen for your assembly today is very important because that is the heart of this profession. ‘Be faithful with small things’ – little details of learning can paint a big picture for everybody…"
 
He said, "Be honest with small things and there will be no question that you'll be honest with big things. That's the teachings of the Bible that you have quoted to be your theme today – a teacher works hard for a full commitment and a total devotion of your time and your life to educate our children – because the future of our country and leaders of tomorrow depends on the work that you are doing.”
 
Lolo pointed out that "your job is to mold and shape the lives of our young people — the face of our people is built with your hands, with the work you do today. Leave the past behind because there's no turning back, but the work you do today will shape and mold the future of our people tomorrow."
 
He thanked the teachers for all the work they do “every year and everyday” they teach the children — our future. “God willing we will have a blessed start to our school year, and may you all have a safe and joyous school year for days to come. Thank you 'ma ia manuia'.”

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DOE'S ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT PREPARES TO KICK-OFF 2016-17 HS FOOTBALL SEASON

ASHSAA Director Tumua Matu'u reflects on their focus for this year’s league
tony@samoanews.com

The long awaited arrival of this year’s American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA) Football Season is finally here, with the season opener scheduled for this Saturday August 27, 2016 — the match up between the reigning undefeated champions, Faga'itua Vikings and the Leone Lions in a double header that'll feature both the varsity and junior varsity teams.
 
Samoa News interviewed the head of the Department Of Education (DOE) Athletic Department ASHSAA Director Tumua Matu'u, who reflected on their preparations for this year’s season, as well as elaborating on some of the changes that they have been able to do for the league this year, compared to the previous years.
 
Matu’u said, "There are many things that we can do better each year and we strive to do so – last year we didn't have funding for field security to keep the parents and students who were not coaches or part of the water crew from entering the field.
 
“This posed a problem for coaches and officials — this year, we will be working closely with the schools who will provide volunteers to assist us in this area,” she said.
 
The ASHSAA Board, which consists of full member school principals and DOE members include ASHSAA President Tupa'i Rod Atafua (NVTHS Principal), as well as ASHSAA VP Beauty Tuiasosopo (THS Principal), Executive Secretary Tumua Matu'u (ASHSAA Director) — all under the direction and management of DOE's Liatama Amisone.
 
Matu'u told Samoa News, "College recruiting is a topic that has been discussed in our recent board meetings – the board meets biweekly and if necessary, weekly.”
 
She said, "There is a misconception that high school coaches, especially head coaches of any sport – are responsible for getting an athlete a college scholarship. It is important for parents to know that the responsibility lies with them and their kids (student athlete)."
 
Matu'u continued, "Another misconception is that the recruiting process is difficult — the bottom line is that if an athlete is not being contacted by college coaches, the athlete should be proactive and start contacting colleges his or herself to seek collegiate opportunities.”
 
The ASHSAA director said, “From there, the college coach will be able to provide the parents with the guidance to complete the recruiting process.”
 
According to Matu'u, the third misconception is that “the recruiting process starts during the athletes Junior or Senior year in high school. The recruiting process starts as early as middle school for many – some college coaches are seeking out players as young as the 6th grade. The recruiting process and preparations should not wait until an athlete starts high school."
 
She said, "An athlete’s eligibility to compete at the NCAA Division I & II are required to register with the NCAA Clearing House. The clearing house performs an academic record evaluation to determine if an athlete has met academic requirements to compete within these NCAA Divisions."
 
Reflecting on the teamwork between ASHSAA and their coaches, Matu'u told Samoa News, the "ASHSAA Board recognizes that qualified coaches are key to the success of its program. Nowadays it is very difficult for public schools to find coaches — especially with the minute stipend they receive to coach.”
 
She said, a “counter argument is that in the past, coaches did for free and shouldn't require pay – as true as this may have been in the past, times have changed. Qualified coaches are crucial when it comes to developing athletes — if we do not secure coaches with sound knowledge of the sport, especially fundamentals — our sports program will never reach its potential.”
 
Matu'u told Samoa News that the financial side is a never-ending setback in their curriculum system. She said, "The lack of funding allocated exclusively for ASDOE sports has always been a struggle for our office and the ASHSAA program – grant funding caters to curricular activities.
 
“Sports is an extra curricular activity, so we are very dependent on local funding. The ASHSAA Board in collaboration with PTAs had put together a funding proposal that was submitted for review by ASDOE administration a few months ago, and we are still waiting for their response," she said.
 
In addition, Matu'u told Samoa News that the lack of funding also puts them in a difficult situation with personnel to complete their staff as a whole. "We lack funding to provide for statisticians and on that note, we're looking for volunteers to assist us in this area – if there are any volunteers who want to do the stats for football, please contact our office at 699-687.”
 
She added, "We sat down with the Chief of EMS Fuapopo Avegalio to determine how we can better serve the injured athletes during competition. The EMS Chief has been very supportive of our program.”
 
According to Matu'u, the first responders should always be within a team staff and their program, before it’s referred to EMS. She said, "Through ASHSAA requirements, an ASHSAA coach is to be Concussion and First Aid Responder Certified – an injury protocol has been developed to provide coaches with the guidance and action that must be taken within certain measures."
 
With ASHSAA's Football Season nearby – the action actually started with their 2nd Annual Football Jamboree hosted at the Veterans Memorial Stadium two weeks ago. Matu'u told Samoa News "the annual ASHSAA jamboree is a dress rehearsal for the upcoming season, more like a preseason scrimmage that provides teams an opportunity to test their skills.”
 
She said, “Additionally, our office utilizes the opportunity to train our football officials in preparation for the upcoming season as well – this year the jamboree also served as a fundraiser for individual schools to raise money for their sports programs.”

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Zika Virus update: Focus is on expanding testing system

CDC Team Leader: Priority needs to be on testing of ALL pregnant women
tony@samoanews.com

The Center of Disease Control (CDC) reached out to American Samoa on the issue of our local Zika Virus cases, through CDC Team Leader Dr. Geronicio C. Fajardo, who was present during the 2016 CDC Zika Virus Response Media Round Table held yesterday morning at the Department of Heath satellite office in the ASG Tafuna housing area, across from Lions Park.
 
Dr. Fajardo is a trained physician with a graduate degree in Epidemiology from SUNY-Buffalo, New York and is currently working as an Epidemiologist in the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections- Emergency Preparedness and Response Branch of the US CDC in Atlanta.
 
During the press conference, Dr. Fajardo focused on what he considers is the biggest problem with the American Samoa response to the Zika virus — the lack of resources and tools, resulting in limited testing, especially of pregnant women.
 
He said, “…We only have one DOH Laboratory person doing all the tasks like collection, receiving the specimens to transport the specimens to Hawai'i — there's a strict government guideline on how the specimens are suppose to be transferred. ‘One man’ is a big thing and a challenge, that's why I asked for CDC help to get laboratory personnel to assist us and the laboratory manager at DOH.”
 
Fajardo said there are a lot of people infected – but they're not showing signs of symptoms, "especially the pregnant women — that's why we’re focused on raising the numbers of testing that we do. The more information, the more research of the long-term consequences."
 
He said, "Testing pregnant women is our top priority as well as protecting pregnant women and those who want to become pregnant — my main concern from what I've observed is that not all pregnant women here in American Samoa are being tested, and that's because of limitations and I would really like to sit down with all the key players and address the priorities of pregnant women to be tested."
 
DOH's Epidemiologist Scott Anesi added, “What Dr. Gerry is trying to say is that we need to expand our testing to include those who have not had the symptoms – those that we've tested so far are all the women that come in with signs of symptoms of the virus."
 
Anesi added, “There are several limitations to expanding these tests – for one, the pool right now of pregnant women on the island is a large pool. One of the things that we need to focus at is knowing that this is going to be a long term effort because of the fact — the majority of the people that have the Zika virus don't know they have it, and more importantly, we don't know that they have it, so that's the next step in our services we are trying to expand.”
 
Fajardo also pointed out that it can take about one week to get the results from the screening, and if more testing needs to be done, more samples would be sent to Colorado, and sometimes it can take four to seven weeks to receive results.
 
He said that the challenge American Samoa is facing with the people here on island is that "the baby is at home, the virus has gone home (with the baby) — but we haven't gotten the results yet. That is one of the problems that I will discuss with CDC to see what we can do to help American Samoa.”
 
ZIKA VIRUS NUMBERS
 
Anesi gave the current update of the Zika Virus numbers in American Samoa.
 
"As of now, the suspected case count is 776 and out of that there are 16 of which are pregnant women – we're investigating more into it right now, so the numbers should change on Friday."
 
He said, “One of the most important things everyone should know is that — all the guidelines we have in place are all based on trying to prevent and trying to be more proactive in the event that something might happen.”
 
Anesi added, "The biggest confusion is that there’s so much emphasis on the Zika Virus right now, not just nationally but globally and territorially – I think that the take home message is really about being proactive. With the help from CDC we are trying to make sure that we do as much as we can right now to prevent these things."
 
He told the media that they are trying to see "what we have on the ground, what resources we have and how we can deploy them to do the best possible job in responding to the Zika Virus — there’s so many different variables, but the main thing is that we're focused on Zika solely, but at the same time, we're also watching for everything else."
 
A CURE
 
Samoa News asked Fajardo about a possible cure for the virus, he responded, “That’s the same question that our researchers have been asking – but right now, there's a (possible) vaccine but it'll take a long time. If you read on the Internet right now, our researchers are still working on trying to find a cure, but it'll take a long time.”
 
He said, "What is being done right now is to prevent the neurological disorder for these babies to occur from their mother – what we're doing is taking more supportive measures and hoping that the baby can last and live longer."
 
Tamasoaali’i Dr. John Tufa, the DOH Medical director, said, "You have to watch out for mosquito bites — protect the infected person from getting bitten by mosquitoes, otherwise that mosquito can spread the virus all over the place. Like Dr. Fajardo was saying, there's no specific treatment or cure – no medicine at the moment."
 
He added, "The Zika virus is not an infectious disease, it’s a mild problem. There are other viral problems like dengue fever and Chikungunya – but our focus is on the pregnant women, all pregnant women."
 
When asked about their monitoring system of the babies born from Zika infected mothers, Tamasoaali’i  replied that there are guidelines “on how long and what interval to monitor the babies that are born — [and] one of the first things that all the babies that are born go through is their initial screening at the hospital.”
 
He said, “They will also go through other screenings like the Helping Hands Program, the Early Intervention Program, the follow ups are done at DOH – those babies that are born from Zika infected mothers, the intervals that they come in are just different from those that regularly come in for regular shots and things like that."
 
According to Tamasoaali’i, the biggest challenge they face with investigating the virus is newborn babies. “So right now we're partnering up with the Pediatrics Clinic — our first line of defense are the professionals at some of the programs that I've mentioned before.”
 
FUNDING
 
In terms of funding assistance from the CDC, Anesi said, "The funding sources that have been released right now have been for Vector Control – combating the mosquito population.”
 
He said, "The second avenue that we received money for — was for Prenatal Care as well as Community Health Center Development, the next funding we'll receive is for Registering Information – like Dr. Fajardo said that is one of the most important things that the CDC is looking for — data.
 
“So they send us money to build our local capacity of pregnancy registry to evaluate those that are born with complications and make sure that we have a surveillance system in place so that we can catch it early, and we can also have a comprehensive file — which has been funded by the initial funding we have received,” Anesi said.

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Zika Virus update: Focus is on expanding testing system

CDC Team Leader: Priority needs to be on testing of ALL pregnant women
tony@samoanews.com

The Center of Disease Control (CDC) reached out to American Samoa on the issue of our local Zika Virus cases, through CDC Team Leader Dr. Geronicio C. Fajardo, who was present during the 2016 CDC Zika Virus Response Media Round Table held yesterday morning at the Department of Heath satellite office in the ASG Tafuna housing area, across from Lions Park.
 
Dr. Fajardo is a trained physician with a graduate degree in Epidemiology from SUNY-Buffalo, New York and is currently working as an Epidemiologist in the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections- Emergency Preparedness and Response Branch of the US CDC in Atlanta.
 
During the press conference, Dr. Fajardo focused on what he considers is the biggest problem with the American Samoa response to the Zika virus — the lack of resources and tools, resulting in limited testing, especially of pregnant women.
 
He said, “…We only have one DOH Laboratory person doing all the tasks like collection, receiving the specimens to transport the specimens to Hawai'i — there's a strict government guideline on how the specimens are suppose to be transferred. ‘One man’ is a big thing and a challenge, that's why I asked for CDC help to get laboratory personnel to assist us and the laboratory manager at DOH.”
 
Fajardo said there are a lot of people infected – but they're not showing signs of symptoms, "especially the pregnant women — that's why we’re focused on raising the numbers of testing that we do. The more information, the more research of the long-term consequences."
 
He said, "Testing pregnant women is our top priority as well as protecting pregnant women and those who want to become pregnant — my main concern from what I've observed is that not all pregnant women here in American Samoa are being tested, and that's because of limitations and I would really like to sit down with all the key players and address the priorities of pregnant women to be tested."
 
DOH's Epidemiologist Scott Anesi added, “What Dr. Gerry is trying to say is that we need to expand our testing to include those who have not had the symptoms – those that we've tested so far are all the women that come in with signs of symptoms of the virus."
 
Anesi added, “There are several limitations to expanding these tests – for one, the pool right now of pregnant women on the island is a large pool. One of the things that we need to focus at is knowing that this is going to be a long term effort because of the fact — the majority of the people that have the Zika virus don't know they have it, and more importantly, we don't know that they have it, so that's the next step in our services we are trying to expand.”
 
Fajardo also pointed out that it can take about one week to get the results from the screening, and if more testing needs to be done, more samples would be sent to Colorado, and sometimes it can take four to seven weeks to receive results.
 
He said that the challenge American Samoa is facing with the people here on island is that "the baby is at home, the virus has gone home (with the baby) — but we haven't gotten the results yet. That is one of the problems that I will discuss with CDC to see what we can do to help American Samoa.”
 
ZIKA VIRUS NUMBERS
 
Anesi gave the current update of the Zika Virus numbers in American Samoa.
 
"As of now, the suspected case count is 776 and out of that there are 16 of which are pregnant women – we're investigating more into it right now, so the numbers should change on Friday."
 
He said, “One of the most important things everyone should know is that — all the guidelines we have in place are all based on trying to prevent and trying to be more proactive in the event that something might happen.”
 
Anesi added, "The biggest confusion is that there’s so much emphasis on the Zika Virus right now, not just nationally but globally and territorially – I think that the take home message is really about being proactive. With the help from CDC we are trying to make sure that we do as much as we can right now to prevent these things."
 
He told the media that they are trying to see "what we have on the ground, what resources we have and how we can deploy them to do the best possible job in responding to the Zika Virus — there’s so many different variables, but the main thing is that we're focused on Zika solely, but at the same time, we're also watching for everything else."
 
A CURE
 
Samoa News asked Fajardo about a possible cure for the virus, he responded, “That’s the same question that our researchers have been asking – but right now, there's a (possible) vaccine but it'll take a long time. If you read on the Internet right now, our researchers are still working on trying to find a cure, but it'll take a long time.”
 
He said, "What is being done right now is to prevent the neurological disorder for these babies to occur from their mother – what we're doing is taking more supportive measures and hoping that the baby can last and live longer."
 
Tamasoaali’i Dr. John Tufa, the DOH Medical director, said, "You have to watch out for mosquito bites — protect the infected person from getting bitten by mosquitoes, otherwise that mosquito can spread the virus all over the place. Like Dr. Fajardo was saying, there's no specific treatment or cure – no medicine at the moment."
 
He added, "The Zika virus is not an infectious disease, it’s a mild problem. There are other viral problems like dengue fever and Chikungunya – but our focus is on the pregnant women, all pregnant women."
 
When asked about their monitoring system of the babies born from Zika infected mothers, Tamasoaali’i  replied that there are guidelines “on how long and what interval to monitor the babies that are born — [and] one of the first things that all the babies that are born go through is their initial screening at the hospital.”
 
He said, “They will also go through other screenings like the Helping Hands Program, the Early Intervention Program, the follow ups are done at DOH – those babies that are born from Zika infected mothers, the intervals that they come in are just different from those that regularly come in for regular shots and things like that."
 
According to Tamasoaali’i, the biggest challenge they face with investigating the virus is newborn babies. “So right now we're partnering up with the Pediatrics Clinic — our first line of defense are the professionals at some of the programs that I've mentioned before.”
 
FUNDING
 
In terms of funding assistance from the CDC, Anesi said, "The funding sources that have been released right now have been for Vector Control – combating the mosquito population.”
 
He said, "The second avenue that we received money for — was for Prenatal Care as well as Community Health Center Development, the next funding we'll receive is for Registering Information – like Dr. Fajardo said that is one of the most important things that the CDC is looking for — data.
 
“So they send us money to build our local capacity of pregnancy registry to evaluate those that are born with complications and make sure that we have a surveillance system in place so that we can catch it early, and we can also have a comprehensive file — which has been funded by the initial funding we have received,” Anesi said.

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Zika Virus update: Focus is on expanding testing system

CDC Team Leader: Priority needs to be on testing of ALL pregnant women
tony@samoanews.com

The Center of Disease Control (CDC) reached out to American Samoa on the issue of our local Zika Virus cases, through CDC Team Leader Dr. Geronicio C. Fajardo, who was present during the 2016 CDC Zika Virus Response Media Round Table held yesterday morning at the Department of Heath satellite office in the ASG Tafuna housing area, across from Lions Park.
 
Dr. Fajardo is a trained physician with a graduate degree in Epidemiology from SUNY-Buffalo, New York and is currently working as an Epidemiologist in the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections- Emergency Preparedness and Response Branch of the US CDC in Atlanta.
 
During the press conference, Dr. Fajardo focused on what he considers is the biggest problem with the American Samoa response to the Zika virus — the lack of resources and tools, resulting in limited testing, especially of pregnant women.
 
He said, “…We only have one DOH Laboratory person doing all the tasks like collection, receiving the specimens to transport the specimens to Hawai'i — there's a strict government guideline on how the specimens are suppose to be transferred. ‘One man’ is a big thing and a challenge, that's why I asked for CDC help to get laboratory personnel to assist us and the laboratory manager at DOH.”
 
Fajardo said there are a lot of people infected – but they're not showing signs of symptoms, "especially the pregnant women — that's why we’re focused on raising the numbers of testing that we do. The more information, the more research of the long-term consequences."
 
He said, "Testing pregnant women is our top priority as well as protecting pregnant women and those who want to become pregnant — my main concern from what I've observed is that not all pregnant women here in American Samoa are being tested, and that's because of limitations and I would really like to sit down with all the key players and address the priorities of pregnant women to be tested."
 
DOH's Epidemiologist Scott Anesi added, “What Dr. Gerry is trying to say is that we need to expand our testing to include those who have not had the symptoms – those that we've tested so far are all the women that come in with signs of symptoms of the virus."
 
Anesi added, “There are several limitations to expanding these tests – for one, the pool right now of pregnant women on the island is a large pool. One of the things that we need to focus at is knowing that this is going to be a long term effort because of the fact — the majority of the people that have the Zika virus don't know they have it, and more importantly, we don't know that they have it, so that's the next step in our services we are trying to expand.”
 
Fajardo also pointed out that it can take about one week to get the results from the screening, and if more testing needs to be done, more samples would be sent to Colorado, and sometimes it can take four to seven weeks to receive results.
 
He said that the challenge American Samoa is facing with the people here on island is that "the baby is at home, the virus has gone home (with the baby) — but we haven't gotten the results yet. That is one of the problems that I will discuss with CDC to see what we can do to help American Samoa.”
 
ZIKA VIRUS NUMBERS
 
Anesi gave the current update of the Zika Virus numbers in American Samoa.
 
"As of now, the suspected case count is 776 and out of that there are 16 of which are pregnant women – we're investigating more into it right now, so the numbers should change on Friday."
 
He said, “One of the most important things everyone should know is that — all the guidelines we have in place are all based on trying to prevent and trying to be more proactive in the event that something might happen.”
 
Anesi added, "The biggest confusion is that there’s so much emphasis on the Zika Virus right now, not just nationally but globally and territorially – I think that the take home message is really about being proactive. With the help from CDC we are trying to make sure that we do as much as we can right now to prevent these things."
 
He told the media that they are trying to see "what we have on the ground, what resources we have and how we can deploy them to do the best possible job in responding to the Zika Virus — there’s so many different variables, but the main thing is that we're focused on Zika solely, but at the same time, we're also watching for everything else."
 
A CURE
 
Samoa News asked Fajardo about a possible cure for the virus, he responded, “That’s the same question that our researchers have been asking – but right now, there's a (possible) vaccine but it'll take a long time. If you read on the Internet right now, our researchers are still working on trying to find a cure, but it'll take a long time.”
 
He said, "What is being done right now is to prevent the neurological disorder for these babies to occur from their mother – what we're doing is taking more supportive measures and hoping that the baby can last and live longer."
 
Tamasoaali’i Dr. John Tufa, the DOH Medical director, said, "You have to watch out for mosquito bites — protect the infected person from getting bitten by mosquitoes, otherwise that mosquito can spread the virus all over the place. Like Dr. Fajardo was saying, there's no specific treatment or cure – no medicine at the moment."
 
He added, "The Zika virus is not an infectious disease, it’s a mild problem. There are other viral problems like dengue fever and Chikungunya – but our focus is on the pregnant women, all pregnant women."
 
When asked about their monitoring system of the babies born from Zika infected mothers, Tamasoaali’i  replied that there are guidelines “on how long and what interval to monitor the babies that are born — [and] one of the first things that all the babies that are born go through is their initial screening at the hospital.”
 
He said, “They will also go through other screenings like the Helping Hands Program, the Early Intervention Program, the follow ups are done at DOH – those babies that are born from Zika infected mothers, the intervals that they come in are just different from those that regularly come in for regular shots and things like that."
 
According to Tamasoaali’i, the biggest challenge they face with investigating the virus is newborn babies. “So right now we're partnering up with the Pediatrics Clinic — our first line of defense are the professionals at some of the programs that I've mentioned before.”
 
FUNDING
 
In terms of funding assistance from the CDC, Anesi said, "The funding sources that have been released right now have been for Vector Control – combating the mosquito population.”
 
He said, "The second avenue that we received money for — was for Prenatal Care as well as Community Health Center Development, the next funding we'll receive is for Registering Information – like Dr. Fajardo said that is one of the most important things that the CDC is looking for — data.
 
“So they send us money to build our local capacity of pregnancy registry to evaluate those that are born with complications and make sure that we have a surveillance system in place so that we can catch it early, and we can also have a comprehensive file — which has been funded by the initial funding we have received,” Anesi said.

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ASHSAA Football Season 2016- 17 Season Opener next Sat. Aug 27

Season schedule released – but action started in last Saturday's Jamboree
tony@samoanews.com

The American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA) released their schedule on Monday for the upcoming 2016-17 football season – with the season opener scheduled for next Saturday August 27, 2016 at the Veterans Memorial Stadium.
 
The season opener is a recap of last season’s championship match up between the reigning Undefeated Champions, Faga'itua Vikings and the Leone Lions in both Varsity and Junior Varsity (JV) Divisions.
 
But before the schedule was released, ASHSAA — headed by Director Tumua Matu'u — hosted their 2nd Annual Football Jamboree last Saturday, where Samoa News had a glimpse of what the upcoming season would look like.
 
The only team or school not represented during last Saturday's Jamboree, was the Tafuna High School "Warriors" Football Team, because they are currently off island on a football trip – as part of their preparations leading up to this year’s football season.
 
Samoa News during last Saturday’s Football Jamboree noticed that the most dominant team of the four teams that participated is the reigning undefeated champs, the Faga'itua Vikings- Varsity Division.
 
The Vikings offensive unit is led by returning Quarterback, Raemos Fano – who seemed unstoppable as they frustrated their opposing defenses with their usual bread and butter mix up of Run-N-Gun attack. Not to mention their outstanding pass rush defense that punished most offensive squads during the Jamboree.
 
One team that did give the Vikings a challenge was the Samoana Sharks – their defensive unit was noticed for their beastly short stopping of most offensive drives that came their way. The Sharks, who are under the management and supervision of Head Coach Pati Pati – are predicted to be one of the teams to make it to this year’s championship game. 
 
Noticed as well during the Jamboree were some huge improvements on both sides of the ball by the Nu'uuli Wildcats Football Team – who surely gave Leone a challenging look. Nu'uuli who is under the management of Principal and Head Coach Tupa'i Rod Atafua surprised everyone when they came out with a superb running game.
 
An explosive style of play that caught their opposing defenses off guard – all they need to perfect their way into the season are some minor adjustments to tighten up loose ends, then they'll for sure give our football fans on island something to talk about.
 
Leone High School's Lions Football Program, who are under new staff management – they are led by Head Coach Okland Salave'a (former Tafuna Warriors Head Coach) seemed nervous at first as they had their fair share of mishaps and minor mistakes, which made some of the other defensive units look good. But further into the roundups, Leone really caught the attention of their opposing teams when their defensive unit started to dominate the ground game.
 
Lions defensive squad is led by returning Defensive MVP from last year – middle linebacker Adan Mao along with Junior linebacker Api So'oalo — both will surely give the Lions hope this year, as these two captains will most likely stand out in this year’s season.
 
For the upcoming season, ASHSAA has paired up the championship match up from last season – to be the season opener for this year’s football season. The showdown will be between Head Coach Sua'ese Pooch Ta'ase and his Vikings versus Okland Salave'a and his Leone Lions football program.
 
The Vikings and the Lions are scheduled to face off in a double-header showdown – in an action packed weekend in both the Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions.
 
ASHSAA Football Games and the schedule for the month of August & September and the upcoming match ups are:
 
Saturday, Aug 27: Lions-vs-Vikings (JV & Vars) 8:00am
 
Friday Sept. 2: Wildcats-vs-Lions (Junior Varsity) 4:00pm
 
Saturday, Sept. 3: Wildcats-vs-Lions (Varsity) 8:00am; Warriors-vs-Sharks (JV & Vars) to follow
 
Thursday, Sept. 8: Sharks-vs-Lions (Junior Varsity) 4:00pm
 
Friday, Sept. 9: Warriors-vs-Vikings (Junior Varsity) 4:00pm
 
Saturday, Sept.10: Sharks-vs-Lions (Varsity) 8:00am; Warriors-vs-Vikings (Varsity) to follow
 
Samoa News will continue to update you with the seasonal schedule as the league progresses with the possibility of sudden changes.
 
Look out for Samoa News issues next week where we will feature each individual team promo in our yearly Samoa News 'Pre-Season Huddles' that'll feature interviews with all the team Head Coaches to catch their preparations leading up to this year’s ASHSAA football season.

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FIRST SOFIAS PRIDE FESTIVAL – IT’S ALL ABOUT CELEBRATING LIVES OF FA'AFAFINE'S

The East Side won the competition Friday night
tony@samoanews.com

The Sosaiete O Fa'afafine I Amerika Samoa (S.O.F.I.A.S) hosted their first ever Pride Festival in the territory this past weekend – a two-day event that celebrated all of American Samoa’s communities, while highlighting the fa’afine community. It started last Thursday with the official opening at the Su'igaula Park, which included a Trade Fair, entertainment, and a Kids Zone for the youngsters of the territory.

 

Then this past Friday night, SOFIAS hosted a Pride Festival Competition, between the SOFIAS members from the East and from the West – a night that will continue to be a ‘must see’ for future SOFIAS Pride Festivals.

 

Masters of Ceremony during the Pride Fest last Friday evening at the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium, William “Will” Thompson said, “Everyone thought that this was going to be a pageant, but they didn't know for sure.”

 

She added, "The one thing that we're really known for are pageants – one thing about pageants is that, you always have a certain amount of people that can represent in the front, but there's a whole bunch of them in the back – tonight they will be represented tonight on stage, they will be in the front.”

 

According to Ms. Thompson, the focus and goal of this first ever SOFIAS Pride Festival is “celebrating the lives of Fa'afafines.” She said "out there in the communities, whether in your church or schools or anything – in the background there's always a fa'afafine there, helping out, organizing, and playing behind the scenes most of the time.”

 

She paid tribute to the creator of the SOFIAS Pride Festival — saying, “hats off to our reigning Miss SOFIAS Jayleen Chun, for her platform of this fa'afafine festival.”

 

During her speech to thank the community for their support of this first ever SOFIAS Pride Festival, Ms. Chun said, “What started off as a dream has become a reality – back in April’s pageant, all the contestants including myself had to come up with a platform of what we would do if we ended up being the winner.”

 

She said, “The fa'afafine festival was one of my ideas for my platform, and so thankfully for the support of our organization we were able to complete this project — through the grace of God and prayers, we were able to initiate this and make it happen.”

 

Acknowledging the people and communities of American Samoa, Ms. Chun said in her speech, “tThank you to all of you especially all those individuals out there that put in – we the SOFIAS are so blessed to live on an island where being a fa'afafine is tolerated, and also appreciated, they've recognized us as members of the family, village, government.”

 

She continued, “Thank you so much for your love to lead us to being able to be ourselves – allowing us to express our talents through creativity, through shows like this and our pageants. We would also like to thank our villages, our churches, our communities, our families – your love and support is recognized and it makes us proud to be a fa'afafine, thank you.”

 

Performing to a packed crowd, the results of the competition are as follows:

 

 The first category of the night — Creature Couture — had both the East and West participants in their best-dressed costumes representing fish, bird, and insect. The East Side bird and insect both claimed winning trophies in their categories, but it was the West side Fish that won the competition.

 

The second category – Song Competition — required the competitors to remake or create a rendition of a Samoan Song, with the blend and twist of four types of voices, and this category was won by the West side SOFIAS members.

 

The third category — Contemporary Siva — which required both groups to choreograph a dance routine that mixes modern dance and Samoan siva —was also won by the West side SOFIAS group.

 

The final category of the evening — the Poetic Choral Recital — required both groups to come out with their best choral recital performance of "Phenomenal Women" a poem by Maya Angelou – and this category was awarded to the East side SOFIAS.

 

The overall winner of the event was announced to be just a mere three-point difference to claiming the first Pride Festival title – it was the East side SOFIAS group.

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