AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS

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November 19, 1999
Samoa News

NOAA TRUMPETS LOCAL REEF RESTORATION EFFORT

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has launched implementation of a $6.4 million emergency restoration plan to restore the reef flats in Pago Pago Harbor, American Samoa, injured by nine grounded fishing vessels.

Working with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Government of American Samoa and other natural resource trustees, NOAA will repair gouges in the reef substrate, conduct coral transplants, complete vessel removal to allow for natural recovery, validate a source of long-term monitoring data on Pacific coral systems, and monitor restoration efforts.

"NOAA has placed a high priority on restoring the injured coral reefs in Pago Pago Harbor and we believe that this precedent-setting effort will provide important insights into subsequent coral restoration activities in the Pacific," said NOAA Administrator, Dr. D. James Baker, in a press statement.

"I would like to thank Governor Sunia for his efforts to protect coral reefs and for bringing this situation to the attention of the Coral Reef Task Force, and the U.S. Coast Guard for their ongoing effort to respond to this incident as well as for their response to NOAA’s request for funds to restore the coral reefs," he said.

Nine longline fishing vessels came aground on the coral reef flats in Pago Pago Harbor during a 1991 typhoon.

At the Coral Reef Task Force meeting in March 1999, NOAA pledged to support Governor Sunia’s request to develop and implement a comprehensive response and restoration plan.

In August of this year, the U.S. Coast Guard initiated its second response action to remove oil and other hazardous materials remaining on the vessels, with the objective of reducing or eliminating the threat of a pollutant release.

Complementary to the USCG activities, NOAA assessed the harm to the coral ecosystem from the grounding and subsequent response actions. An emergency restoration plan was developed under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and submitted to the USCG Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF). In late September, NOAA received authority to expend up to $6.6 million for the OSLTF to restore the injured reef flats of Pago Pago Harbor.

"This effort marks the shortest time frame for development of a restoration plan. It is the first payment of a natural resource damages claim to NOAA from the OSLTF; and it involves extremely close coordination between a natural resources restoration action and a USCG response activity," added Baker. "Coral reef restoration is a young science, and we will continue to work with Governor Sunia and our partners to take steps to promote reef restoration and response capabilities in American Samoa and worldwide."

The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force recently convened in the U.S. Virgin Islands to further collaborate on the coral reef crisis where restoration of damaged reefs and emergency response systems were discussed.

Governor Tauese attended the meeting.

 

"MIRACLE LEAF" IS A MIRROR TO THE SOUL OF THE BEHOLDER

By Bill Mahn

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---The saga of the "Miracle Leaf" of Leone has grown by leaps and bounds since the story broke last Tuesday in the local media. There are two sides, the skeptics and the believers. Each is quite sure of their opinion.

A growing throng of the faithful has been setting up vigils at the site of the fallen leaf, and reports are streaming in about charismatic occurrences, including unexplainable solar phenomena.

The response of the skeptics has been swift, with the Internet serving as the main resource. A visit to [http://galaxymall.com/commerce/everest/index.html] will bring you to Everest Enterprises, a company that sells "exquisite hand paintings on real leaf."

On their web page you will find nine religious designs, each hand painted on a ‘Pipal leaf’. For $9.99 you can have your own.

Students at a local high school have seen similar leaf paintings for more than six years on the wall of one of their classrooms.

The leaves come from the ‘Pipal’ tree, which is a tree quite common here and with an ancient history heavy with religious significance in the Far East.

In India, the Pipal leaves have been used for centuries as a medium for religious art. It is said that Siddharta Gautama (the Bhudda) received his enlightenment when, as a hermit, he sat under a Pipal tree in meditation for several years. It is thought to be a good omen to plant Pipal trees, and it is quite common to find them planted in shrines and other areas of worship.

There is a mountain of material about the tree, painting of the leaves, and their religious significance on the Internet.

In the meantime, the Leone site is drawing hundreds of curious, and skeptical, people and the scene is a bit overwhelming, according to eyewitness accounts. (SEE: "Miracle Leaf" Claimed in Leone, American Samoa at http://pidp.ewc.hawaii.edu/PIReport/1999/November/11-19-up3.htm)

 

CCJS TO PAY $100 PER GAME FOR USE OF TAOA CENTER

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---A written license agreement, executed yesterday, paves the way for the Development Committee of the Congregational Christian Church of Jesus in Samoa (CCJS) to begin bingo operations at the Territorial Administration on Aging (TAOA) Center in Pago Pago.

The agreement was signed by Faau Maeataanoa Seumanutafa, Chairman of the CCJS Development Committee, and Governor Tauese Sunia.

Bingo operations by CCJS Atinae started last night.

 

SHRINERS STILL HELPING CHILDREN WITH MEDICAL NEEDS

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Shrine Club of American Samoa has sent 21 youth to the Shiners Hospital in Honolulu so far this year.

The Shriners Hospital does not charge for its services, but the local Shriners have to raise the money to send the young patients.

Their task got a little easier last week when the local Rotary Club offered to underwrite the cost of four round-trip tickets for youngsters referred by the Shriners.

The charity organization has sent more than 200 sick children to a Shriners Hospital since they started working in American Samoa eleven years ago. "We’ve financed the transportation through individual donations from members and the various club fundraisings, like golf tournaments and Halloween Carnivals," said Bob Coulter, a local Shriner.

 

STADIUM TO GET NEW PLANTINGS TO CLOSE OUT ARBOR WEEK

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---Arbor Week activities will wind up this morning with a tree planting, poetry and solo reciting affair at the Veterans Sports Stadium in Tafuna.

Hundreds of trees will be planted by students around the stadium, in and outside of the iron fence, to beautify the grounds, according to ASCC Land Grant Division spokesman Colling Steele.

Steele said the poetry and solo compositions by students from ten schools will be recited by the young composers after the tree planting.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS November 18, 1999 Samoa News

BINGO TO BE HELD UNDER THE TENTS AT SENIOR CENTER

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 18, 1999 – Samoa News)--- Calls of Bingo! will soon ring out from the A.P. Lutali Senior Citizen’s Center in Pago Pago, according to Tafua Faau Seumanutafa of the CCJS Atinae.

Tafua said the games will commence this evening, as Governor Tauese Sunia has agreed to allow the group to hold bingo games there four evenings a week (each weekday but Tuesday).

The CCJS group was about to start six-day-a-week bingo games at the Lutali Center last month when Governor Tauese stopped them. Prior to that, the CCJS had held bingo, for themselves and other churches, at the Tautua Hall for many years.

 

THREE-LANE ROAD NEXT TO CONTAINERS PUSHED BACK TO 2000

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 18, 1999 – Samoa News)---The road from the Governor’s driveway to the port entrance will not be widened to three lanes at the present time.

There had been negotiations between Public Works and McConnell Dowell to revise their contract on the Fagaalu-Utulei road project to include this short, but major improvement.

However, the parties decided to bump the project into the next phase of the multi-year road construction project.

 

HELP PROVIDED FOR LOCALS SEEKING POSTAL OFFICE CAREERS

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 18, 1999 – Samoa News)---Postmaster Smitty McMoore wants to increase the number of Samoans working for the U.S. Post Office, locally and overseas.

To find work in the USPS, candidates must score at least 90% on the postal entry exam, which McMoore describes as complicated and tough.

When McMoore (a American Samoan) assumed the post of local Postmaster last year, he promised to offer a training workshop to help the locals prepare to excel in the exam.

The first such workshop was held last night at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, "so when the next examination comes around, more of our own people will be able to pass the exam."

"My goal is to have locals staff the American Samoa Post Office and this is part of working towards that goal. It's all part of our community service, giving back to the community," he said in a telephone interview.

Those who take the postal exam here and pass can also apply for other postal positions throughout the U.S. and the region.

McMoore said community colleges on the mainland offer vocational courses to help students prepare for the postal exam. He used to teach such a course, and students paid $350 to attend. The local workshop is free, however.

McMoore told the Samoa News that there are a lot of veterans here and he encourages them to take the postal exam. He said veterans receive a hiring preference, while wounded veterans receive an even stronger hiring preference.

 

LEPUAPUA SHOOTER PLEADS GUILTY ON ILLEGAL GUN CHARGE

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 18, 1999 – Samoa News)--- Lepuapua shooter Aaron Talili changed his plea to "guilty" in High Court yesterday morning as part of a plea agreement with the Attorney General’s Office.

Talili had pleaded "not guilty" last week to the charges of unlawful use and wrongful discharge of a weapon, resisting arrest, and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The plea agreement calls for Talili to plead guilty to unlawful use of a weapon and, in return, the government agreed to drop the other charges against him.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS November 17, 1999 Samoa News

VIRGIN ISLANDS A REAL BASKET CASE, TAUESE SAYS

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 17, 1999 – Samoa News)---The government of the U.S. Virgin Islands is in much worse shape than ours, according to Governor Tauese Sunia.

Tauese was recently in the Virgin Islands to attend a Coral Reef Task Force meeting. He reported that the government there has amassed a deficit of $1 billion. By contrast, American Samoa’s deficit is probably around $30 million. (It depends on how you define a deficit!)

"The Virgin Islands is trying to raise $300 million through a bond sale," Tauese said, "and if they fail, they will run out of money to run the government."

The economies of other U.S. insular areas, such as Guam and Saipan, are also in bad shape.

 

GOVERNOR HAS NOT YET APPROVED $172,000 OF DPS OVERTIME

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 17, 1999 – Samoa News)---Youth are still allowed into Tafuna Correctional Facility during weekend visiting hours, Governor Tauese Sunia confirmed Monday.

The Governor also said that he has advised Commissioner of Public Safety Te‘o Fuavai to protect inmates who have indicated a willingness to bear witness against other inmates who may have participated in the October 9 riot/fire/escape.

The potential witnesses are being confined in a separate location, and Tauese explicitly mentioned to Te‘o that he did want their security compromised in any way.

 

TOOTH DECAY RISING; ASPA LOOKING INTO FLUORIDATION

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 17, 1999 – Samoa News)---ASPA intends to introduce fluoride into its water as part of a public health effort to reduce the high levels of tooth decay in American Samoa.

Fluoridation should reduce the cost of running a dental clinic in American Samoa, according to ASPA consultant Mike Dworsky, because fewer dentists would be needed to treat the lower incidence of tooth problems.

 

KANANAFOU SEMINARY WILL START CONFERRING DEGREES

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 17, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Kananafou Seminary will soon confer its first set of Bachelor of Divinity degrees.

Reverend Dr. Elia Taase, who is President of the CCCAS Theological Seminary, said Kananafou is fully accredited by the South Pacific Association of Theological Colleges (SPATS), the governing accrediting society for theological colleges and seminaries in the Pacific.

The degree will be accepted across the Pacific, as well as in the United States and England, he said. "We made sure that every requirement was complied with."

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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