Looking back at 2017

compiled by Samoa News staff

In 2017 the Twitter handle #MeToo went viral and ASG prosecuted more and more sex abuse cases, but unlike the U.S. — the economic outlook in the territories, and most especially American Samoa — is not rosy.

Starkist — the largest private employer in the territory is still suffering from fish shortages and unable to strike a bargain with the government on a site for additional freezer space. And that is having a “trickle-down” effect on the rest of the local economy. Couple this with the admin focusing on raising revenue — some, even in the Fono — have called for more responsible spending — not to mention another year passing with no relief for the territory’s inadequate banking situation.

Most significant is the sound of gunfire in American Samoa, after a portion of the police force was armed.  Time will tell if this move makes us safer.  Watch this space.

Now it’s on with the show and re-tell, with this look back.

JANUARY

American Samoa’s only New Year’s baby, Ms. Beloved Natayna Umaga

New admin, legislature sworn-in

Public invited to ceremony today for new MV Manu’atele

More evidence to justify extradition of Fletcher to Tonga

Man accused of biting during Hawaii flight gets probation

GONG SHOW: I am hopeful we will survive the coming storm

Office of Manu’a Operations established through executive order

State of the Territory: Gov. says local economy on “shaky ground”

Territorial Bank still working on getting routing number

Long time prosecutor Mitzie Jessop-Ta’ase resigns from AG’s office

Le Aute Bar owner “Mama” to serve 90 days in jail

Electrocution accident kills three, injures three others

Average ASG payroll every two weeks is about $4Mil

Report says territory’s population lives paycheck to paycheck

Starkist Samoa negotiations for more land space at a standstill

FEBRUARY

American Samoa now has a sex offender registry website

StarKist maintains it’s still committed to Am Samoa despite the challenges

ASCC holds Political Status Forum, one of many to be held this year

Illegal drugs received in the mail hard to prosecute

Taeaoafua addresses alleged discrimination incident

Major changes at DPS after new Commish confirmed

Federal court okays Fletcher’s extradition to Tonga

AG responds to claims of wrongful Immigration detention

DHSS director apologizes in ‘private’ to Simeonica Tuiteleapaga

Confirmation process for Lolo Admin’s cabinet appointees done

Avril Regis of St. Theresa Elementary wins 2017 Territorial Spelling Bee

Airport land-use change agreement signed with FAA

MARCH

A Tribute to The Honorable Faleomavaega Eni Faua’a Hunkin

Lolo: Territories cannot afford any reduction in Medicaid funding

Amata asks Trump to remove marine monument fishing prohibitions

UN Decolonization Committee strongly urges US to not exploit Am Samoa

Samoan film “One Thousand Ropes” to open in Samoa this month

Heat Index: Feel like 112˚ outside — That’s our summer

First of the tax refunds available today

Pres. Trump’s proposed budget would adversely affect Am Samoa

US Senate passes measure to name VA Clinic after Faleomavaega

Late stage cancer increasingly found in children of A.S.

Feds invalidate NMFS rule reducing LVPA from 50 to 12 miles

TBAS routing number still in process, says the bank’s CEO

Scanner fees to go in effect Apr. 3

Amata appeals to Commerce Secretary to lift fishing ban

APRIL

4 Juvenile Center public safety officers charged

Fautasi Fever sweeps the territory — Flag Day race set

Leone High School overall winner of Secondary Speech Festival

Territory’s VA clinic now officially named after Faleomavaega

Samoa considers taxing salaries of Church ministers — and Head of State

Lolo announces reduction in hours, beginning next week

Court dismisses lawsuit challenging selection of Nuanuaolefeagaiga

DPS- Juvenile Detention Center officers charged

Wentworth Academy and College to close

Tax amnesty offered — outstanding late penalties and interest will be waived

2017 Flag Day ceremony kicks off today at 9 a.m.

Special session called for unfinished biz of the Legislature

TBAS further explains why it is not FDIC insured, yet…

Vice President Pence to visit American Samoa

At this time, there are no new plans to reopen STP

ASG Employees Retirement Fund lends $4Mill to ASTCA

MAY

Man sentenced for “messing around” with 12-year old girl

“Career drug dealer” sentenced to 20 years for transporting ‘meth’

ASCC hosts Sexual Assault Awareness Forum

Victims Advocate calling for House hearing on DPS Commish

Ofu and Olesega islands now powered 80% by solar energy

Selection of Nuanuaolefeagaiga  to hold senate seat still being challenged

Fuamatu J.V. Fuamatu sworn in as Western District Governor

Bluesky files suit against former CEO

Local high school graduations featured this month and next

Northwest Tatau Festival presents heavy hitters in the tattoo industry

New Satala power plant dedicated

JUNE

AmSamoa’s relationship with U.S. has “serious democratic deficiencies”

DPS Vice & Narcotics Tactical Unit to be expanded and strengthened

Maintaining the “status quo” of political status an economic necessity

All ASG budgets cut by 10% for 2018

MAward winning Samoan film director finalist in prestigious grant program

U.N. hears about “Samoan Way of Life”

Definition of AS cultural fishing practices still being debated

Satala Shipyard land will not be leased to Starkist

Minimum wage hike will be final nail in coffin for local economy

Retire or resign - that is the question for certain ASTCA employees

Tela-Shoulders named 2017 U.S Territories History Teacher of the Year

High Court rules in favor of CCCAS vs former General Secretary

THE CONVERSATION: OMV has been double charging...

 McConnell Dowell has again drained “Mormon Lake”

JULY

Speaker and Chief of Staff cases moving forward says AG

Samoa has a new Head of State

Talofa Airways launches inaugural direct-flight from Pago to Tonga

Work hours reduction rolled back for those earning up to $30K

Governor paints a bleak picture of ASG finances to Fono

Another Am Samoan busted for filing fraudulent tax returns in US

DMWR argues marine monument expansion not based on science

American Tunaboat Assoc. voices opposition to fishing restrictions

CDC Report: Samoans just aren’t as healthy as other Pac Islanders

American Samoa Legal Aid now accessible in Manu’a

Lolo points to fishery woes as impacting ASG/ LBJ financially

As Gov promised — repealing taxes, reforming taxes, more taxes

Serving in military my privilege, my right: transgender Samoan calls for help

Man sentenced to 28 months for sex relations with 12-year-old

Poke craze hits mainland

AUGUST

How far does American Samoa have to go to get a bank?

Federal court denies NMFS motion for reconsideration

NPAS crew heads to Northern California to fight wildlands fires

David Vargas confirms his appointment as Independent Prosecutor

“Matching Funds” part of the local Medicaid program hiccup

“Fa’i paka” gluten free flour now being manufactured locally

Social Wellness Hub proposed for east side

Over-stayer sentenced to 5 years for sexual contact with five-year-old

Shortage of fish supply shutting down cannery production

2016 GDP for territory decreased by $17Mil

Lolo blames fed policies for ASG’s debt status

Lolo calls for all ASG tele­communication needs to be handled by ASTCA

Former janitor sentenced to 20 months for sex relations with minor

No plan to reimburse for years of overcharging at OMV

Still no decision on a freezer storage facility site for StarKist

Andra Samoa is one of 70 “Inspiring Pacific Women”

ASG workforce up by 150+ — largest employer in territory

SEPTEMBER

Puleleiite’s move to ASTCA leaves vacant seat in the House

It’s confirmed: StarKist will shut down for 5 weeks

StarKist shutdown will cost the government millions

Matau’aina Gwendolyn Toomalatai is Miss American Samoa

Medicaid now covers all facility fees for DOH health centers

Latest drug case questions motives of police officers

Local company execs voice opposition to proposed business tax

Judge Sunia dismisses drug case, cites violation of constitutional rights

Commish: Mandatory minimum 5-year jailtime for drugs not enough

Port seeks hike in fees and charges after 33 years

CID investigation leads to the arrest of a cop

Six candidates vying in special election for House seat

National Park Fire Crew heads to California for second time this year

Training to arm local police officers kicks off

Senator asks if Territory getting share of StarKist settlement with feds

HAL says seat assignments are about weight distribution and safety

FY 2018 budget on its way to Governor

8th anniversary of the deadly 2009 tsunami

OCTOBER

‘Fathers of the Territory’ have spoken: Only 3 Senate seats for Manu’a

Tauese Vaaomala Sunia is new TCF Warden

ASTCA wants to borrow more to fund projects

GAO report warns of ASG’s ability to repay debt

One year later, TBAS still doesn’t have a routing number

ASG tugboats and barges sold to Samoa for $13K

Lolo rescinds memo that appointed Tauese as Police Chief

Le’i says it’s his duty — under the law — to carry out weapons training

Male teacher charged for alleged sexual misconduct with a male student

Love Thy neighbor — donate to the food drive and help feed a family

American Samoa joins U.S. Climate Change alliance

Big Palolo catch this year in Ofu

Certain cops — and the Commish — are now carrying guns

ASTCA audit raises doubt about its ability as a ‘going concern’

Fish deliveries remain a challenge to StarKist Samoa

41 cops, including Commissioner now certified to carry weapons

Am Samoa’s biggest artistic export —Tisa’s Tattoo Festival

Another drug case gets thrown out after illegal traffic stop

Nothing on status of investigation in allegations against gov’s chief of staff

NOVEMBER

Fialupe Lutu named official winner of the special election

New Zealand now approved for off island referrals funded by Medicaid

US denies Tonga’s request for Fletcher’s extradition

Increase of Port fees and wharfage charges signed into law

Good news for beer importers: Governor vetoes beer tax amendment

Babies mistakenly switched, mothers take wrong babies home

Jury finds former schoolteacher not guilty in case of paddling student

Researchers launch unique lab in Samoa to study obesity epidemic

Drugs, weapons, and lots of $$$ confiscated during police raids

Former cop who is drug suspect alleged to have flown the coop

Overstayer from Samoa pleads guilty to sex with a 15-yr-old girl

Routing number for TBAS depends on Fono approval of amendments

Latest drug bust nets meth allegedly bought from Le Aute

Lolo: Businesses complaining about unpaid gov’t bills, show proof!

Two words in the TBAS statute blamed for stalling routing number

Building supplies for proposed multi-food processing plant are on island

Just Asking: Is ASEDA telling the truth or just stretching the facts?

DECEMBER

LIFE THREATENING: CT scanner at LBJ down now for two weeks

StarKist CEO: Tax credit extension “very critical” for Am Samoa plant

Court issues decision in CCCAS vs. Rev. Amaama case

Rosalee Tela Shoulders of Nuuuli VocTech is Territorial Teacher of Year

Miss American Samoa wins 2017 Miss Pacific Islands Pageant

American Samoan Film Director receives funding from ArtPlace America

Former Customs agent arrested and charged with drug possession

Tax fraudster pleads guilty to 28 counts of making false claims

CCCAS wants its house in Kanana Fou back, now

DOE employee faces three felony drug charges involving meth

Police vehicle shot at while police officers not inside

Lolo tells the 103 ASCC grads grads: “Be a Samoan first…”

Jury hears grueling testimony by alleged victim in sex assault case

Paramount loses airport construction project due to bond issues

Mukesh ‘Bob’ Chand found not guilty on all charges of sexual assault

American Samoa joins United States settlement with Starkist

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