Community Briefs


Mexico is the world’s fattest developed nation, according to a new report from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. Based on the organization’s 2013 State of Food and Agriculture Report, the United States ranks #2 on the list. Vanuatu claimed the seventh spot, New Zealand is listed at #14 and Australia ranks #21.
The world’s fattest nation overall is the South Pacific Island of Nauru where, according to Yahoo News, a staggering 71.1 percent of the island’s 10,000 inhabitants are obese.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the World Health Organization, define “obese” as an individual with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. BMI is a calculation based on a person’s height and weight.
About 12 percent of the world's total population is obese, according to the U.N. report.
The U.N. report does not include data for American Samoa, which has been tagged in the past as the world's fattest country. According to a 2010 World Health Organization report, nearly all of American Samoa’s inhabitants (95 percent) are considered overweight.
Just last month, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity a disease during its annual meeting in Chicago.
Over 400 paychecks were issued last weekend for the participants of the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). It was the first paycheck for the youth employees since the American Samoa Government kick started this year’s summer program, that not only aims to provide youngsters with on-the-job skills training and knowledge, but also give them a taste of what it’s like to work and earn your keep.
This year’s checks were issued swiftly, compared to previous years when checks for the summer program participants were usually delayed for weeks — sometimes even up to a month — at a time.
The SYEP is made possible through funding from the US Department of Labor’s Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Program, the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Program under the  Department of Commerce (DOC) and of course, money already allocated in the budgets of the participating departments and agencies.
Individuals who will be working until August 30 will be paid using additional funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Altogether, the total number of local youth being employed under this year’s Summer Youth Employment Program is 500, the highest number of participants to ever be employed in this program.
Residents on the east side of the territory are breathing a sigh of relief, as McConnell Dowell workers have been busy prepping the road from Laulii Fou heading east towards the Visa stream culvert to carry out much needed repairs under the 3R (restoration, rehabilitation, and resurfacing) project administered by the Department of Public Works.
The project is being funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) to the tune of US$7,185,907.24 under a contract awarded to McConnell Dowell. The Notice to Proceed (NTP) was issued on April 9 and the project is scheduled to be completed in 240 calendar days, on December 4, 2013.
The project consists of 12 sites which include the Futiga Village Road, Route 16 - Industrial Road, the Hospital Road in Fagaalu, Canco Hill to Lupelele Elementary School, Vaitogi Village Road, the Ottoville intersection to the Kokoland intersection, Pava’ia’i to Aoloau Village Road, sectional pavement repairs at various locations on Route 014 from Ili’ili Road (Lupelele Elementary School) to 018 Junction, Laulii Fou to the Visa stream culvert, Faga’itua to Alofau, and sectional pavement repairs on the Fagaima Road.
In an initial interview with Samoa News, Reuben Siatu'u, P.E. of DPW's Civil Highway Division said they are looking to secure more funding to carry out much needed repairs in other areas of the territory besides the twelve project sites already identified.
"We would like to thank the public for their patience with the delay that these works may cause and ask that they be mindful when approaching the project sites at various locations," Siatu’u said.
The 12 sites already identified under the 3-R program are the only ones that can be carried out with the funds that are available.
"Other road projects and sites will be identified once there is more money available to carry out the work," said a Samoa News source close to the project who wished to remain anonymous.


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