Aug. 8, 2000
Test Tanapag groundwater for PCB
Division of Environmental Quality Director Ignacio Cabrera has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to test the groundwater in Tanapag village's Cemetery No. 2 to determine if it has been contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), a highly toxic chemical. “If it's contaminated, then they would have to carry out the treatment of the groundwater too,” Mr. Cabrera said. DEQ raised a number of concerns which must be addressed by the Army Corps and the Environmental Chemical Corp., the contractor in the scheduled cleanup. Tests will be conducted in Cemetery No. 2 before and after the remediation process.
BOE moves to restore WGIs
The State Board of Education has moved to restore within grade increases for Public School System employees, saying the yearly five percent increase in personnel's salary is long overdue. With or without the passage of the CNMI Fiscal Year 2001 budget, BOE Vice Chair Roman Benavente said the board has opted to push through with the WGI rollback to assist hardworking PSS employees who have survived the past two years without receiving such incentive. Mr. Benavente added the funds will be sourced out of PSS' $32.8 million personnel allotment. The board has given Education Commissioner Rita H. Inos the flexibility to oversee the implementation of the increase based on the amount of resources available within the system, according to the vice chair.
Aug. 8, 2001
Delay in project angers Rota exec
Rota Mayor Benjamin T. Manglona said yesterday that he may exercise his emergency powers to fast-track the construction of a road which had been delayed due to the alleged “inaction” of a local and federal agency. Manglona lambasted officials of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and their local counterparts for their alleged failure to issue a permit to a construction application that is needed to start the “back road” project, stretching from the Rota airport to Songsong Village. “About a year ago, a construction application was submitted to the Fish and Wildlife agency for approval. To date, despite our vigorous efforts to move this project and comply with wildlife concerns, Fish and Wildlife officials have withheld the application's approval,” Manglona said.
Fitial: Repeal anti-business laws
House Speaker Benigno Fitial sees an urgent need to charge certain business laws to provide the government a strong foundation for success in its goal of opening the local market to foreign investors. In particular, Fitial wants to see a total repeal of the present moratorium on the hiring of nonresident workers and the $100,000-dollar security deposit requirement, which, he said, have become major stumbling blocks for investors who have long wanted to put their money into the local economy. The Speaker said he will soon introduce a bill that will seek to repeal remaining anti-business laws in a special House Session this week.
Aug. 8, 2002
DPW begins use of PCB soil as dump cover
The Department of Public Works started getting treated soil from the PCB treatment site in Tanapag in May, even before the Division of Environmental Quality gave its conditional approval early last month to allow their use for daily cover at the Puerto Rico dumpsite. Frank Ono, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' on-island representative, revealed this saying that the department has been getting soil intermittently since May. When asked, however, as to how much volume of soil has been taken by the DPW so far, Ono said he is doesn't know exactly.
NMI urged to develop more rehab programs
Over 40 participants from across the CNMI converged yesterday for the kick-off session of the three-day Rehabilitation Capacity Building Project workshop facilitated by visiting experts from the Southern University of Baton, Louisiana. The workshop, organized by the Northern Marianas College, Southern University, SDSU Interwork Institute and Rocky Mountain Technical Assistance and Consulting Center, is designed to provide basic information required in grant applications available to minority entities such as the CNMI. RCPB national coordinator Daniel Hopkins said the workshop's goal is to improve the quality services to people with disabilities from culturally diverse populations, particularly by increasing the involvement of these people in the rehabilitation field.