POLYNESIAN AIRLINES EXPANDS AMERICAN SAMOA OPERATIONS

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By Fili Sagapolutele Special to the Pacific Islands Report

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 14, 2000)---Samoa's national airline has expanded its American Samoa-based operations by opening a cargo division, as the demand for cargo and small parcel service continues to increase.

In the past, Polynesian Airlines combined its cargo and flight service operations in one small office at Pago Pago International Airport.

But the airline's American Samoa station manager, Hans Langkilde, said the continued increase in cargo and small parcel services left them no choice but to expand facilities in order to provide more convenient service for the general public and business people.

While the biggest increase in cargo is between the two Samoas, Langkilde said the new computerized cargo division is set up to serve a worldwide market.

In the meantime, the airline is upgrading its international facilities at Faleolo International Airport in Samoa in preparation for the arrival of its new Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which is due to be delivered in November.

The work includes expanding the hanger, as well as improving the cargo, operations and catering divisions, to meet standards required by the new aircraft.

The Boeing 737-800 is planned to be used on the Apia to Honolulu and Apia to Australia routes.

 

SAMOAN WOMAN ORDER DEPORTED IN BIRTH CERTIFICATE SCANDAL

By Fili Sagapolutele

Special to the Pacific Islands Report

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 16, 2000)--American Samoa Chief Justice Michael Kruse has ordered a Samoa woman who pleaded guilty to forgery charges in a birth certificate scandal to be immediately deported from the territory.

Kruse's decision last week came after he ordered the government to find out the immigration status of Ms. Mahana Litia Tautu.

Ms. Tautu pleaded guilty two weeks ago of using a friend's birth certificate to obtain travel documents to enter Hawai‘i. She was caught by Immigration officials at Pago Pago International Airport last year before boarding a flight to Honolulu.

Ms. Tautu, a mother of a five-month-old infant, has been ordered not to return to the territory until she has complied with local immigration requirements regarding an extended stay.

She was also sentenced to three years probation. If she returns to the territory during this period, she is to immediately report to her probation officer and undertake 100 hours of community service.

This provision of the sentence would allow her to return legally to nurse her infant, who was born in the territory.

 

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT RECRUITS 88 NEW TEACHERS TO MEET ITS 21ST CENTURY GOAL

By Fili Sagapolutele

Special to the Pacific Islands Report

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 14, 2000)---The American Samoa Government's Department of Education (DOE) moved a step closer to achieving the same teacher/student ratio as schools in the U.S. with the recent addition of 88 new teachers.

This new group of teachers and others to be recruited before the start of the 2000-2001 school year in September is part of DOE's efforts to eliminate overcrowding in classrooms.

Another move now under way to reduce overcrowding in public schools is the construction of new classrooms at six elementary schools -- those with the highest enrollments, of upwards of 1,000 students.

DOE Director Dr. Sili Sataua said in a recent interview that the goal for the new school year is to lower the teacher-student ratio.

"If we are going to succeed in reforming our educational system, we need to change the students' environment, making it easier for them to learn and achieve academically in the 21st Century," Dr. Sataua explained. "The goal is for one teacher to 25 students, similar to schools on the mainland".

Dr. Sataua repeated this goal during the induction of the new teachers in a ceremony at the Executive Office Building in Utulei. The DOE Director urged the new teachers and veterans to focus attention on the core content areas: English, math, science and social studies, in the new school year.

DOE Coordinator Mikaele Etuale said 68 teachers were issued certificates of completion and 20 were presented certificates of participation in an eight-week training course.

President of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), Dr. Salu Hunkin, one of the guest speakers at the induction ceremony, reminded the teachers that they played a pivotal role in the development of a child. "Your role as a teacher in the classroom will impact students in the future," she remarked.

Dr. Hunkin believes education is the key to achieving American Samoa's economic goals. However, she said, education has long been neglected and has suffered at the expense of other priorities. Hunkin called for a territory-wide education plan that addresses literacy and equips the labor force with the appropriate tools to succeed in the workplace.

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