May 7, 2004
Some retirees want their jobs back
Government retirees are seeking exemptions from re-employment restrictions to be able to return to government service. Members of the NMI Retirement Fund board said yesterday that at least two retirees were granted the exemption last month. They included Victor Lifoifoi and Miriam Seman. Yesterday, three more names were set for the board’s discussion and eventual approval: Juan L. Babauta, Monica Lizama, and Jose R. Bermudez. These retirees have reportedly been approved for exemption by Gov. Juan N. Babauta. Authorities said exemptions for the re-employment of government retirees require the governor’s approval, except for teachers, doctors, nurses, and other professionals.
CDA: Gateway financing a dead issue
As far as the Commonwealth Development Authority’s board of directors is concerned, the Northern Marianas College’s proposed financing for its Pacific Gateway project is now dead. “It’s over. We did what we had to do. We couldn’t go any further. This issue is now dead,” said CDA board chair Sixto Igisomar in an interview yesterday. He said the CDA board has no plans to revive the issue in the near future “unless there is a new notice.” Igisomar said that he has foreseen the situation that the Gateway project is in now.
May 7, 2005
CDA lifts moratorium on direct loans
More than $1 million has been identified as available for lending, after the Commonwealth Development Authority lifted Thursday the five-year moratorium on direct loans. According to CDA, 50 percent of the available funds was allocated to commercial loans of over $25,000 while another 30 percent was budgeted for commercial loans amounting to $25,000 and under. The remaining funds are being put aside for marine and agricultural loans. CDA announced that it will start accepting applications for new loans starting June 1, 2005. The moratorium was put in place in 2000 due to delinquent loan payments resulting from the 1997 Asian economic crisis.
Babauta OKs medical referral escort bill
Gov. Juan N. Babauta has approved a bill that provides for the expenses of medical referral escorts but he expressed a number of concerns, including the legislation’s lack of funding source. The governor, in a transmittal letter to the Legislature, said that Senate Bill 14-82, which seeks to fund the travel and accommodation of escorts who accompany patients for off-island medical referral, would ensure that patients “can be cared for and assisted by a family member of friend.” “This ensures that our families and loved ones are not left alone while undergoing medical treatment,” said Babauta. The new legislation, authored by Sen. Joseph Mendiola, provides that the government shall pay for the expenses of a family member or a friend to escort patients that are sent off-island for treatment.
May 7, 2006
Another casino MOA signed
The Fitial administration signed Friday a memorandum of agreement with a Los Angeles-based casino investor for a casino operation on Tinian. Gov. Benigno R. Fitial said during Friday’s news briefing that the agreement was signed between the Department of Public Lands and Hollywood Park Casino. The casino, owed by Hong Kong-born Leo Chu, is located in the famous Hollywood Park Racetrack. It is said to be the first casino in the United States located in a racetrack. Hollywood Park Casino representative Charlie Dizon earlier said that Chu is very interested in bringing his operations to Tinian. Dizon led a fact-finding team to Tinian this week.
Call-A-Ride obtains $90K federal funding
The CNMI Call-A-Ride Program has finally seen the light with the help of a federal grant through the CNMI Public School System. Thomas J. Camacho, special assistant for disability policy and programs, announced during Friday’s news briefing at the Governor’s Office the allocation of $90,000 as financial assistance to the program by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration. PSS Commissioner of Education Rita H. Inos had written CNMI Council on Developmental Disabilities director Antonio C. Chong early last month that PSS was able to secure federal funding for the program, after being asked to secure the grant by vice speaker Justo Quitugua and other representatives of the Governor’s Office.