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Community Briefs



Education Department director Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau has implemented the department’s annual summer school programs for students, teachers and leaders to begin this year.


For students, based on a survey to be administered to all high school juniors and seniors in February, the director says ASDOE will be preparing summer school for students who wish to prepare for the ASCC placement exam; take the ASVAB for a military career; seek employment after high school; and prepare for off-island sports scholarship.


For teachers — based on PRAXIS I data, and other certification documents — classroom  teachers will be offered professional development training over 2 six-week periods of summer training.


Based on their training needs, ASDOE will offer Praxis tutorial sessions; professional development courses for bachelor degree holders in Math, Science, English, Social Studies & Samoan Language; pre-requisite courses through the ASCC TED program; and Reading, Writing and Math training.


For Middle Management and School Leaders: a Leaders Academy II of two week duration will be planned for all leaders. For all school Counselors — training and certification courses will be offered as part of the professional development requirement.




The Office of Public Information has already started test runs for its locally produced game show, “Ta’u Mai”, the Samoan version of the popular U.S. television network game show, “Password”, with the original version hosted by Allen Ludden in 1961. (Ta'u Mai means "Tell me").


Last year, OPI director Fagafaga Daniel Langkilde told Samoa News he was looking into reviving “Ta’u Mai”, which was popular on KVZK-TV years ago. Asked during last Friday's news conference for a status on the game show, Fagafaga first pointed out that many in the community remember this popular show back in the 70s and 80s on KVZK.


“We are looking at reviving this game show, and have done some test runs of the show itself, just to get everyone familiar again with the flow of the game,” Fagafaga told reporters, adding they are looking at hopefully relaunching the popular show sometime this month.


KVZK will make an official announcement before the debut of this game show, which will also include prizes.




Two scholars of constitutional law have requested the federal appeals court in Washington D.C. that they be allowed to participate as “amici curiae” (friend of the court) in the citizenship lawsuit appeal by five American Samoans and one Samoan organization based in California.


The request was made last Wednesday by attorney Paul R.Q Wolfson on behalf of his clients, Prof. Christina Duffy Ponsa and Prof. Gary S. Lawson, according to the motion, which states that Ponsa is a Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, with expertise in constitutional law and American legal history.


Lawson is the Philip S. Beck Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law, with expertise in constitutional law and American legal history. The pair “have a significant interest in the outcome of this case,” Wolfson said.


He further states the professors’ research focuses on the constitutional implications of American territorial expansion and the legal history of American empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


In particular, the professors “have written extensively on the Supreme Court’s decisions in the Insular Cases, their historical context, and their implications for other questions of constitutional law pertaining to the territories,” he said, adding the pair have a strong interest in aiding the court in its examination of the history and constitutional jurisprudence relevant to the question presented in this case: ‘Whether the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees birthright citizenship to people born in American Samoa’.


The motion also states that any brief filed in this case may be joined by other professors and scholars of constitutional law and legal history. Further, briefs will not duplicate arguments made by the parties in this case.


Early in January, the appeals court allowed Samuel Erman, an Assistant Professor of Law at University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law, to participate as “amici curiae”.




The Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center’s visitor count has totaled more than 12,000 and counting. This does not include those who stop by the center for the twice weekly wellness program (Tae Bo) and those who participated in the different outreach programs the Center provides.


According to stats from the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS), who oversee the facility, the Ocean Center has attracted thousands of people, both local and off island.


The majority of the visitors (43%) include schools who frequent the Center for field trips. Tours account for 18% of the visitors while walk-ins have brought in 13%. Meetings that are held at the Center make up 12% of the visitor count and cruise ship tourists account for 14%.


(The numbers are not exact, as they do not include those who stop by the Center without signing the log-in sheet).


According to the NMSAS, “The Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about the natural and cultural resources of American Samoa. The state-of-the-art facility features educational exhibits and interactive learning tools that promote ocean awareness and encourage marine stewardship.”


The two main exhibit spaces at the Center include the Rotunda Room and the Sanctuary Room, both of which are multi-purpose areas that can also be used as conference and workshop spaces.




Just over $28,000 in monetary assistance has been received and processed by the American Red Cross American Samoa (ARCAS) unit for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines late last year.


In a news release ARCAS says the Filipino Community of American Samoa (FCAS) presented $17,000 that was raised through a well-organized fund raising effort in the community.


Additionally, $10,000 came from ASG employees “through a compassionate effort” led by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga; while $1,180 was received directly by ARCAS from four residents, and the CCCAS-Aoloau, which donated $1,000. Total donations came to $28,180.


“...I am humbled and privileged to acknowledge receipt of this generous and substantial financial assistance,” ARCAS board chairman Vaitoa Hans Langkilde said in a media statement.


“The selfless and charitable response demonstrated by the local community coming together as caring individuals and groups in partnership will warmly touch the lives of all those impacted and help make a difference in their continued journey toward recovery…Thank You, Fa’afetai Tele Lava, Salamat Po! ” he concluded.