Oct. 29, 2001
NMI sees rising cases of diabetes
The number of diabetes cases in the CNMI is going up, as the disease remains one of the leading causes of death in the Commonwealth. Department of Public Health Medical Director Richard Brostrom said the situation in the CNMI does not reflect the trend in the mainland US where diabetes cases are reportedly declining. Although the DPH's statistical report on the health status at the Commonwealth is still pending, Brostrom said there have been more than 50 deaths caused by diabetes or its complications this year. Last year, diabetes mortality reached 45. Of this number, 25 and 14 died due to heart disease and stroke, respectively, while six died directly from the disease.
Residents oppose PCB treatment plan
A group of Tanapag residents has threatened to hold mass demonstrations against the on-site treatment of some 20,000 tons of soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyl, a day after they walked out from a meeting with government officials to discuss about the plan. Tanapag Action Group Chair Juan Tenorio said they will stage a rally to express opposition against the on-site treatment of PCB-contaminated soil proposed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The proposal was conditionally approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency. “We started organizing a [series of] mass, community demonstrations,” disclosed Tenorio. He said the indignation rally will be staged within a week and a half's time.
Oct. 29, 2003
DPH to lobby for lifting Medicaid cap
Public Health officials are lobbying federal authorities for the lifting of the Medicaid cap in the CNMI as well authorizing local health clinics to accept Medicaid patients and be reimbursed accordingly. These are the issues, according to the Department of Public Health, that will be raised by CNMI Medicaid administrator Helen Sablan and DPH legal counsel Debra Knapp with Medicare and Medicaid policymakers in conferences in Maryland. “They will discuss removing the cap for the CNMI. Sablan will also discuss the possibility of allowing other private clinics in the CNMI to Medicare/Medicaid reimbursable,” said department spokesperson John P. Douglas.
'Water metering to promote conservation'
Acting Gov. Diego T. Benavente, as head of the CNMI Water Task Force, yesterday touted the installation of water meters as one of the priorities in the working group's action plan, saying the device would promote water conservation among consumers. The lieutenant governor, who also announced the near-completion of the task force's office in Capitol Hill, believes that if consumers were metered-as opposed to the current flat rate payment system-they would be more conscious about water usage. “And the only way that people, I believe, would start conserving, is if they start paying based on use rather than by the monthly flat rate system that most of our people pay,” said Benavente.
Oct. 29, 2004
House pushes for credit union's accountability
House Speaker Benigno R. Fitial met with representatives of the Commonwealth Government Employees Credit Union yesterday to discuss the institution's financial standing and ensure that members of the old credit union are adequately protected from further financial losses. According to Fitial, the current credit union is operating quite apart from the original credit union, which became insolvent in the mid 1990s. The new credit union was created to replace the original credit union and has not commingled funds with the original one, which has been in receivership since it collapsed in 1995.
PSS to get additional buses, vans
The Public School System will soon add another three 66-passenger buses to its current fleet on Saipan, as well as mini-vans for schools on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. Associate commissioner for administration Dr. David M. Borja, who said during an interview yesterday that the buses, as well as 12 mini vans, are expected to arrive either late December or early January through the Federal Transit Authority. Funds provided for the purchase of the buses and vans, as well as for maintenance, is almost $700,000.
PSS began the school year with 12 regular buses in its fleet. However, Borja said two of the buses have been inoperable due to engine and body problems.