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Community Briefs


The local non-profit Pualele Foundation, which provides stress management and crisis counseling, has moved into their new offices at the Savali Print Shop in Nu’uuli.

According to the group, their new landlord is providing the office space and utilities free of charge and other supporters donated tables and chairs, which enabled the start of their in-house training.

A. B. L. E. , a non government organization (NGO), donated $200 in December to pay the fee for Pualele Foundation using the Fagatogo Pavilion during the open forum rally following LBJ’s plan to hike fees. “However,  the government decided to waive the fee,” the group said in a message to its supporters.

Pualele also announced that three participants under the American Samoa National Emergency Grant grogram are working with Pualele to continue the organization’s “community service in ‘stress management and crisis counseling’ without a fee to our non profit organization.”


Congratulations to Dr. Fa’anofo Lisa Claire Uperesa who recently joined the faculty of the University of Hawaii at Manoa as Assistant Professor of Sociology and Ethnic Studies were offered this week by Congressman Faleomavaega Eni.

“Dr. Uperesa’s success exemplifies a new generation of Samoan and Pacific scholars whose achievements at the highest level of education speak volumes of the possibilities that await our high school and college students who wish to pursue careers in academia,” said Faleomavaega in a news release.

Uperesa recently earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. Her dissertation, “Fabled Futures: Development, Gridiron Football, and Transnational Movements in American Samoa,” explored the Samoan transnational movement through American football. 

After years of living on the East Coast, Uperesa returns to the Pacific to teach courses on Immigration to Hawaii and the US, Introduction to Race and Ethnic Relations, Racism and Ethnicity in Hawaii, as well as a new course under development, Sociology of Sport.

Born in Canada to Mr. Tu’ufuli K. “Duke” Uperesa of Fagatogo and Mrs. Kristin Nybo Uperesa of Billings, Montana, Dr. Uperesa later grew up in Fagatogo where she was raised by her father and stepmother, Mrs. Talosia Uperesa. 

She attended Matafao Elementary and Samoana High School before heading to the University of California, Berkeley where she received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Ethnic Studies.  She later received her Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy in Anthropology at the University of Columbia before completing her Ph.D. studies.  Dr. Uperesa is married to David A. Raygoza and they have two daughters, Tagi’ilima Santana Reese Uperesa Raygoza and Lelaleleiolepasifika Avienda Skye Uperesa Raygoza.

“Dr. Uperesa is a shining example to our Samoan community and I know that Samoans everywhere join me in congratulating Dr. Uperesa for her distinguished success.  I wish her and her family the very best,” said Faleomavaega.


The federal bankruptcy court in south Florida last week, granted MYD Samoa Inc.’s bankruptcy trustee's request to approve an additional insurance claim of more than $36,000 by MYD filed with National Pacific Insurance (NPI).

Deborah C. Menotte said a tropical cyclone in January 2011 in American Samoa caused damage to MYD Samoa’s facility in the territory — referring to the Ronald Reagan Marine Railway shipyard — which was operated at the time, by the Florida-based company, and since been returned to ASG.

A month after the cyclone, NPI “made a progress payment” of $10,000 to MYD for the cyclone claim. As a result of ongoing negotiations between the parties, Menotte and NPI have agreed to resolve the cyclone claim for an additional payment of $36,273, according to the trustee’s motion, adding that this payment will satisfy the cyclone claim.

The cyclone payment, however, shall not resolve, waive or impair the trustee’s rights in respect of a separate claim with NPI over damages caused to the company’s operations due the September 2009 tsunami. The motion notes but does not mention the total amount of the tsunami claim.