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By Jayvee Vallejera Staff Reporter

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (August 30, 2002 – Saipan Tribune)---Gov. Juan N. Babauta’s request to the Office of Insular Affairs for technical assistance in tapping federal grants is now being processed and an answer is expected by the second week of September.

In an e-mail to Rep. William S. Torres, a copy of which was provided to the Saipan Tribune, Fiscal Planning Services administrator Stuart Rabinowitz said he was told that Babauta’s request is now working its way through the system.

"I have been in touch with James Johnson at OIA. He is the person who is handling this project. I spoke with him and he said he just received a letter from [the Governor] asking for our services. He told me to hold on, it’s working its way through the system and we should have an answer by the second week of September," said Rabinowitz.

In a letter to OIA Deputy Assistant Secretary David B. Cohen, Babauta had asked the OIA to provide technical assistance so that insular areas can have ready knowledge of the grants available in the federal government, the process of accessing these grants and the most effective way of tapping into these monies.

In that same letter, Babauta had expressed support for the OIA’s continued assistance to the CNMI and other U.S. insular territories in providing FEDFACTS and the Federal Grants Review publications.

"These publications contain specific information about grant programs that the insular areas can avail of and contain additional information about the grants currently being received," the Governor said.

The matter arose after the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 13-70 asking U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Gale Norton to continue funding OIA’s survey of Federal Grants Review by FEDFACTS for insular territories.

The resolution, as authored by Torres, was adopted unanimously last August 16.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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