Jan. 4, 2001
DPH drafts plan on use of tobacco settlement funds
Public Health Secretary Joseph Kevin Villagomez has asked the House Ways and Means Committee to consider the strategic plan drafted by the department in appropriating funds received by the CNMI government in connection with the tobacco industry settlement. Mr. Villagomez made the recommendations in response to a proposed measure which will establish a Master Settlement Agreement Trust Fund for the initial deposit of all funds from the tobacco settlement. Introduced by Rep. Malua T. Peter, HB 12-290 will ensure the preservation of funds until the CNMI Legislature has determined the appropriate allocation of funds. The bill requires the Finance Secretary to establish a separate CNMI Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund for deposit of all funds, past and future, received by the CNMI.
Tanapag PCB remediation project resumes
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Tanapag PCB Remediation Project has resumed work following a break for the holiday season. The most recent phase of the project being done in Tanapag Village began in August. Since then, more than 12,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyl, commonly referred to as PCBs, has been removed from Cemetery No. 2 and other Tanapag village sites and stockpiled in nearby containment cells. Environmental Chemical Corporation of Aiea, Hawaii, a leading company in the PCB-remediation field, is doing the work under contract with the Corps.
Jan. 4, 2002
New law frees up CIP money for PSS
House Bill 12-426 would probably go down in CNMI legislative history as one of the fastest bill that got signed into law, after making it through the legislative process in exactly a month. Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio signed House Bill 12-426 on December 31-or 31 days after the House of Representatives first passed the measure, which, in effect, would make the CNMI compliant with the grant terms of the Office of Insular Affairs and eligible once more for new grants. The measure-now officially known as Public Law 12-81-essentially transfers the responsibility for a classrooms project from the Rota High School to the Northern Marianas College.
Inclusion of students with disabilities urged
The Council for Exceptional Children underscored the need for full inclusion of students with disabilities to help them become proficient in socialization, history or math facts. The council said that although it is obvious that there are more opportunities for everyone to grow and learn in an inclusive classrooms rather than a one-on-one approach. "Inclusion of all students teaches the student and his or other peers that all persons are equally valued members of this society and that it is worthwhile to do whatever it takes to include everyone," said the council.
Jan. 4, 2003
MPLA board ’unaware’ of Bertha’s return
The Marianas Public Lands Authority board of directors has nothing to do with the rehiring of former MPLA commissioner Bertha Leon Guerrero. MPLA board chairperson Ana Demapan-Castro disclosed this Thursday, noting that she wasn’t aware that Leon Guerrero is back on government service “until now.” Leon Guerrero, who was terminated by the board on Nov. 20, was recently hired by Gov. Juan N. Babauta to be his special assistant on political and regional affairs. Part of her duties now is to oversee all commissions, councils, task forces, and boards, including that of the MPLA. When asked, Demapan-Castro said that the board never made any recommendation to the governor to absorb the former MPLA commissioner.
PSS needs $2M for Rota schools
The Public School System has incurred some $2 million in losses on Rota due to supertyphoon Pongsona. Board of Education chairman Herman T. Guerrero said the estimated loss was contained in a report submitted by the PSS to the Governor’s Office. “That’s the amount based on the report by the commissioner,” Guerrero said. Education commissioner Rita H. Inos personally supervised the typhoon damage assessment for Rota schools. Among the heavily damaged government facilities on Rota were Rota High School and Junior High School buildings. Inos said the typhoon wrecked school buildings and school buses. As a result, some of the buildings would have to be abandoned.