Ads by Google Ads by Google

Community Briefs



The recently completed $4.1 million-dollar green two-story building that now houses the main office of the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency in Utulei will be the center of attention later this week during the bi-annual meeting of EPA’s Region 9 being held in Guam.


The structure was funded by the USEPA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Territorial Energy Office (TEO), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED Platinum Award will be the highlight of the meeting and according to sources, this is the first time the award will be handed out for a building in the South Pacific.


ASEPA Director Ameko Pato departed the territory last week for Guam and some of his division managers will be joining him to accept the award. The ASEPA’s new office building is the first ever green building in the Pacific region that utilizes internationally recognized standards for sustainable design known as LEED.


About 85% of the building’s foundation was constructed using materials salvaged from ASEPA's old office, including the concrete, wood, and nails. The green building features state of the art lighting control sensors that automatically adjust the level of artificial light to balance out with natural solar light.


In it’s first 100-day report, prepared by the AS-EPA Director, Pato said that “their total liability to ASPA for power since moving into the building is approximately $567 and this… is a significant reduction of more than 1200% on average, resulting in a substantial cost savings of nearly $7000 over the past six months.”


He noted in the report that “our ultimate goal is to achieve NET ZERO, which is the ultimate designation for any green building. NET ZERO means that the building produces more energy through renewable power generation resulting in zero dependency on fossil fuel, and generates zero carbon emission annually.”





Samoa Air, the first and only airline in the world to charge passengers by weight instead of seats, is modifying some of its aircraft seats and making them extra large to accommodate passengers weighing over 130 kilograms. (One kilo is equivalent to 2.2 pounds).


Samoa Air’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chris Langton, through an email correspondence with Samoa News yesterday, explained that the airline has established a row of seats with an extra 12-14 inches of space, and manufactured an entry and exit stand “which is of benefit to all passengers, but especially those with limited movement for whatever reason.”


Langton explained that their new seats have been dubbed the “XL seats” and is a first step in providing everyone with a comfortable seat to occupy.





July is Youth Month in American Samoa and the staff members of the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA) are busy trying to get all their planned activities etched in stone. From singing competitions to Kids Day, numerous programs are in the works for outreach purposes and also the well deserved enjoyment of local youngsters.


DYWA Deputy Director Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr. told Samoa News in a telephone interview last week that on July 4, their office intends to host a special “Kids Day” that will feature bouncing castles, jumpers, food booths, and entertainment for all local children. (The venue is yet to be determined).


Youth Month will culminate with a special “Le Leo o Amerika Samoa” showcase for children who were too young to qualify and compete in the inaugural run of the popular singing competition that took place earlier this year.


“Young children who want to show off their singing talent can get their parents to sign them up for the showcase which will be a one-day event (due to budget constraints) and will not be a competition but strictly a platform for the young ones to sing their hearts out,” Tapumanaia said.


Sponsors will be solicited to provide gifts for the participants.


According to Tapumanaia, Le Leo for kids will not be a competition, as the children are too young to understand how to accept the bad news if they are told that they did not win. “It will be a total blow to their self-esteem and we don’t want to do that to them,” he explained.


The DYWA Deputy Director will be meeting with local religious leaders and other officials, as well as Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga to discuss the plans for Youth Month and Kids Day.


In the meantime, DYWA is also planning on hosting a “Le Leo” program in the Manu’a Islands, for both teens and children. He said they are still awaiting confirmation from their contacts in Manu’a about how many people have expressed interest in the program. Tapumanaia said that carrying out the music competition in Manu’a depends on the number of people who sign up.





Director of the Department of Port Administration Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Tuia Poumele has been appointed to serve on the Western Pacific Fisheries Council and she will begin her three-year term on August 11.


Taimalelagi is among 20 new and returning members named by the US Secretary of Commerce to serve on the eight regional fishery management councils that manage ocean fish stocks in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries.


Members are selected from a pool of nominations submitted by the governors of fishing states, territories, and tribal governments.


Also reappointed to the Council is Taulapapa William Sword who has been an active member for several years.


Taimalelagi’s selection fills an obligatory seat for American Samoa that has been vacant since last year while Taulapapa will take up one of two at-large seats on the Council.


The Western Pacific Council includes members from American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). One of the major tasks of the Council in recent years is the review of the American Samoa sanctuary areas, which greatly expands the size of what was once known as the Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary.


Acting NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Sam Rauch said they look forward to working with new and returning Council members. "With annual catch limits in place for all federally managed species and 32 stocks rebuilt since 2000, collaboration between NOAA and the councils is more important than ever in order to continue this positive momentum."