Flashback – June 2006-June 2008

June 20, 2006

Fund board retains lawyer
Pushed to make a legal move, the NMI Retirement Fund board has decided to retain the services of private lawyer Joseph Camacho. Fund board chair Joseph Reyes said Camacho is now assisting the board with its legal actions relating to the government’s enactment of a law that suspends its employer contribution of $1.3 million per pay period up to the end of fiscal year 2007. Fund administrator Karl T. Reyes said the Fund would have a total of three lawyers, including its in-house attorney, James Hollman, and Camacho’s associate in his law firm Camacho and Alepuyo.

KHS, PSS termite treatment get chunk of Compact Impact funds
Kagman High School and the treatment and control of termites in all public schools will get the largest share of the finalized Compact Impact Fund given to the CNMI Public School System. According to PSS Federal Programs adviser Tim Thornburgh, the Central Office would proceed with the revised Compact Assistance budget for 2006 that was sent to Gov. Benigno R. Fitial in April this year. Kagman High School will get the sum of $480,000 for its pending additional classrooms and collaterals needed by the school. It will also receive an additional $100,000 for the repair of its science and technology classroom that was burned down in May 2005.

June 20, 2007

June 30 deadline for amnesty
Residential customers who have illegal electric connections have until the end of the month to come clean and avail of the attorney general’s amnesty program to avoid prosecution. Commonwealth Utilities Corp. spokesperson Pamela A. Mathis told Saipan Tribune yesterday that Attorney General Matthew Gregory is offering the amnesty to residential customers only up to June 30, 2007. “The amnesty is for residential customers who are illegally connected. The amnesty means that they [Attorney General’s Office] will not put you in jail. It’s not offered by CUC, it’s an AG amnesty,” Mathis said.

New CNMI magazine sets July launch
The maiden issue of the newest magazine to hit these islands will be unveiled on July 5, with the aim of becoming the first high-end glossy magazine truly made on Saipan. Marianas Pride—or simply MP Magazine—will be the very first magazine that will feature people who have made a remarkable impact on CNMI politics, sports, community and even the lifestyles of people on the islands. In a presentation held yesterday for the Rotary Club of Saipan in the Sui Lan Room of the Hyatt Regency, Titan Media Group president Ed Propst said the new magazine would highlight the pride of the CNMI, spanning all the races and nationalities that now constitute the Commonwealth.

June 20, 2008

Islands’ rental prices dropping
Saipan’s ongoing economic downturn is prompting scores of local landlords to drop prices in a bid to stand out among the hundreds of starkly vacant rental properties available on the island. The decline in rental prices is visible every day in housing advertisements and appears to have even prompted one commercial property on Middle Road to advertise “Free Rent”—at least free for the first two months of a one-year lease—in a banner across the front of the building. Price cuts appear confined for now to the low end of the rental market—where prices in many cases have dropped $200 to $400—while rents on the island’s pricier apartments are holding steady, some real estate agents report. However, others note the trend has also emerged in the high-rent residential and commercial sectors.

House gives retirement bill a second pass
The House of Representatives has passed a new version of a vetoed bill on disability retirement. The House members approved on Wednesday a bill streamlining the application process for claiming disability retirement. Under the bill, a member of the NMI Retirement Fund will need certification from two physicians, including one specialist, that he or she is totally and permanently disabled due to physical or mental incapacitation. Currently, certification is required from two physicians and a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Proponents of the bill have said these requirements are too difficult to meet.

Jun Dayao Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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