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By Gemma Q. Casas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 9) - With Anatahan still
showing signs of volcanic activities, Northern Islands Mayor Valentin I.
Taisacan has asked the Board of Education to consider Pagan as an alternative
site to build the school intended for Anatahan.

"I am respectfully requesting that the capital improvement
project funds appropriated for the Anatahan school be transferred to
Pagan," Taisacan told BOE Chairman Herman I. Guerrero in a letter dated
Sept. 4.

Taisacan said they are going to charter a vessel to take a group
to Pagan this month or early next month to conduct a site assessment on the

"Efforts are currently underway to charter a vessel to take
us to Pagan either later this month or early Oct. 2003. I anticipate the entire
travel period from date of departure from Saipan to return to Saipan to last
about 9-10 days," he said.

He asked Guerrero to authorize PSS project manager Don Dolenec
to accompany them and help in the Pagan site assessment and determination of
boundaries that will be needed for the project.

"At this time, I am respectfully requesting that you
designate a staff who you anticipate to be assigned to lead this project so that
we can begin consultation and other preparatory work. For your information, (the
Northern Islands Mayor Office) has been working very closely in the past with
Mr. Don Dolenec, from your PSS-CIP section, on this project," Taisacan

"(Dolenec) will be needed to provide specific site
identification and related assistance that will be necessary to accommodate the
school classrooms, playground areas and related-school infrastructure,"
Taisacan added.

The mayor said they are also expecting a group from the Division
of Land Registration and Survey to accompany them in the trip.

In an interview, Guerrero said he might ask for a scientific
study guaranteeing safety on Pagan.

"We’re not too sure how safe it is. Unless we could get a
guarantee that it wouldn’t have an eruption. We don’t want to proceed with
(the school project) then down the line, (we would have problems)," he

Pagan erupted in 1981 and hundreds of its residents were
relocated to the three major islands of the CNMI.

September 9, 2003

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