Community News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff

FIALUPE LUTU OFFICIAL WINNER OF SPECIAL ELECTION —

Chief election officer, Uiagalelei Dr. Lealofi Uiagalelei has declared candidate, Fialupe Felila Fiaui Lutu as the “official winner” of the Oct. 24th Special Election for  House of Representatives District #5, Sua #1 — comprising Fagaitua, Amaua, Auto, Avaio, Alega, Aumi and Laulii.

Declaring of the official winner followed a 7-day waiting period for electors or candidates  to contest — by filing a complaint with the Clerk of the High Court — the results of the special election, under local election laws.

Uiagalelei made the announcement yesterday after nobody contested the election results.

“The election was a successful one for the district,” Uiagalelei said yesterday, adding that a total of 357 votes were cast.

He provided the vote tally for each of the six candidates:  Fialupe Felila Fiaui Lutu, 94 votes; Ketesemane Meaole, 20 votes;  Laloniu P. Maloa, 57 votes; Tuialofi Faalae Lauatuaa Tunupopo, 64 votes; Tuifagalilo P. Vele, 72 votes and Uele, Fale S. Uele, 50 votes

“Thus, Fialupe Felila Fiaui Lutu is the official winner and will represent District #5 until the 3rd day of January 2019,” said Uiagalelei.

The Fono is currently in recess and won’t reconvene until the second Monday in January 2018 for the 3rd regular session of the 35th Legislature. It was unclear at press time if Lutu will take the oath of office before the end of this year or when the Fono returns in January.

Once sworn in, Lutu will become the third female lawmaker in the Fono, and the second female faipule in the House, joining Rep. Vui Florence Saulo.

The lone female in the senate is Fonoti Tafaifa Aufata.

Lutu, who has served as Chief Clerk of the House for more than a decade, will fill the seat left vacant after Pulele’iite Li’a Tufele, Jr. stepped down to take  on his new post as CEO of the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA).

(Reporter: Fili Sagapolutele)

DEAD FISHERMAN WILL BE TAKEN HOME

The man who died on board a US flagged purse seiner vessel last week will be transported home once all the proper paperwork and arrangements are finalized. The deceased has been identified as a 44-year-old Portugese fisherman who died as a result of an accident caused by a rope.

The fisherman died at sea and when the vessel arrived in the territory, the local marine safety detachment unit of the US Coast Guard and the Dept. of Public Safety had already been informed of the situation.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel were at the dock to await the arrival of the vessel - which is home ported here.

DISASTER RELIEF DRIVE COLLECTS $107,366 AND COUNTING

During a fundraising event this past Saturday at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium in Utulei, to provide assistance for victims of natural disasters in the United States and its territories, the outpouring of generosity was evident, with the collection of $107,336.

But pledges and donations are still coming in.

Part of the money that is raised will remain in the territory, and presented to the local Red Cross to aid victims of local disasters.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, chairman of the local chapter of the American Red Cross, Vaito'a Hans Langkilde, said yesterday that they have not gotten to that point yet, adding that financial assistance from the American Red Cross disaster funds off island is what keeps the local Red Cross up and running, as far as providing emergency relief for local disaster victims.

When asked about the significance of a monetary donation from Saturday's Disaster Relief Drive, Vaito'a said, "It'll definitely help, as every time there is a disaster, the local Red Cross is in place to care for the victims."

How exactly the funds will be used, according to Vaito'a, is based on a formula already set up in the system, which indicates exactly what kind of assistance a family needs, when disaster strikes.

"Once everything is in the system, we work things out with the victims, based on what they need, during times of emergency recovery," he continued.

According to Vaito'a, there is a 24-hour period for immediate response, once disaster strikes.

Saturday's event saw an overwhelming response from the community, villages, various religious denominations, businesses, and government departments and agencies.

BELOW-NORMAL TROPICAL CYCLONE SEASON PREDICTED FOR AS

TAFUNA, AS - Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 - The International Research Institute and the National Weather Service (NWS) Climate Prediction Center predicts a weak La Nina to start off the season before gradually rising to ENSO Neutral in February through April. With this scenario, the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) typically develops near and just to the southwest of the Samoan Islands before drifting southwest in February. Tropical Cyclones will have a higher chance of developing within 300 nautical miles of the Samoan Islands from late December through January this season.

This outlook is a general guide to the overall Tropical Cyclone season activity near the American Samoa basin (extends to 300 nautical miles from Tutuila) and does not predict whether, or how many, of these systems will directly affect American Samoa. Tropical cyclone season begins November 1 and runs until April 30.

Although La Nina conditions favor below normal tropical cyclone activity near American Samoa, we continue to urge residents and mariners to be fully prepared before the onset of our tropical cyclone season.

“I encourage the general public to be prepared for the upcoming tropical cyclone season. Looking at what has happened in the U.S. with recent hurricanes, the threat of any tropical cyclone can devastate our islands,” said Vinnie Atofau, Manager of American Samoa Territorial Emergency Management Coordinating Office (TEMCO).

NWS Weather Service Office (WSO) Pago Pago, in collaboration with Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) Nadi, Fiji; Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) continuously monitor weather conditions near the territory by using an array of observations and output

American Samoa will likely see below normal activity (30% chance below tropical cyclone climatology) consistent with neutral to possibly weak La Niña conditions.

With the outlook looking to be in La Niña conditions by austral summer (Dec-Jan- Feb), the outlook looks to be for 0 to 2 tropical cyclones affecting the Samoan Islands this season.

(Source: NOAA)

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