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Monday, April 21, 2014

Flashback — Oct. 2004-Oct. 2008

Oct. 5, 2004

‘Get your US passports now’

Gov. Juan N. Babauta is urging the so-called “stateless” persons in the CNMI to apply and get their U.S. passports now following the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling re-affirming that they are U.S. citizens. “The governor strongly encourages those persons born in the CNMI from that period [Jan. 9, 1978] to apply now and get their U.S. passports [from the U.S. Passport Office],” said assistant attorney general James Livingstone yesterday. He said the governor will be releasing an order to the Passport Office to expedite the processing of the applications as well as to other government agencies, including the CNMI Scholarship Office, to recognize the “stateless” persons as U.S. citizens from now on.

CUC rates at the lowest end of Pacific’s power tariff spectrum

A comparison of utility rates in 21 major Pacific areas showed that the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. charges one of the lowest amounts for electricity. CUC’s fixed electric rate for residential customers and certified non-profit corporation is 11 cents per kwh. The rate for commercial customers and the government is 16 cents per kwh. This represents a decrease in the government rate, which for all of the 1990s, was 20 cents. CUC revenues from the power division subsidize operation of the water and sewer divisions.

Oct. 5, 2006

Indon haze spreads to NMI

A haze that is probably from Indonesia has reached the Mariana Islands and will likely persist for several days, according to the Emergency Management Office yesterday. EMO said that, based on the information they gathered from the National Weather Service in Guam, monsoon winds have brought a plume of haze to the Mariana Islands. EMO said the haze is not associated with Anatahan or Pagan volcanoes and its most probable source is the widespread land-clearing fires in Indonesia. “The wind flow pattern that has been in place the last several days is favorable for bringing smoke from those fires across the southern Philippines and into the Marianas,” the agency said.

Senate OKs CTC abolition

The Senate passed yesterday a bill creating the Public Utilities Commission, to replace the Commonwealth Telecommunication Commission in regulating all utilities in the CNMI. The Senate leadership managed to quickly move for the passage of the Senate draft for House Bill 15-55 with five “yes” votes, three “no” votes, and one abstention by Tinian Sen. Henry San Nicolas. Those who opposed were the minority bloc of senators Paul Manglona and Jude U. Hofschneider, as well as Sen. Luis P. Crisostimo, who spoke strongly against the approval of the draft, which was authored by Senate Vice President Pete P. Reyes. Favoring the draft bill were Reyes, Senate President Joseph Mendiola, and senators Frica Pangelinan, Felix Mendiola, and Paterno Hocog.

Oct. 5, 2008

Most PSS principals not certified

A new report by the Pacific Regional Educational Laboratory under the U.S. Department of Education states that only 20 percent of principals in the CNMI’s Public School System met certification requirements during the 2007-2008 school year. The release of the report comes as members of the Board of Education raised concerns about the number of acting principals and vice principals in the school system. For the CNMI, principals must hold a master’s degree with a major in educational administration or related field; a minimum of six years experience; three years teaching and three years of successful experience as a school administrator or related leadership management field; and possess a valid CNMI Administrator’s Certificate. Candidates must also pass Praxis I and Praxis II Content Knowledge tests.

Privatization law will boost power rates—Muña

The Legislature’s efforts to privatize the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. are commendable, CUC executive director Antonio Muña said Friday, but he disagrees with the means of getting there. “The efforts of the Legislature are.unfortunately, at this point, we are all on the same page, it’s the vehicle which we arrive that we disagree,” he said. The Senate and House of Representatives voted this week to override Gov. Benigno Fitial’s veto of the bill, requiring CUC to privatize its power system through a bidding progress, as opposed to a “request for proposals.” It provides a $250 million price tag that prospective private sector buyers must pay in order to acquire CUC. Further, it gives CUC the power to settle disputes with the Commonwealth Development Authority by issuing $45 million in preferred stock.

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