December 26, 2005
‘Tinian casino investor lured by QC’
The Commonwealth’s qualifying certificate program is one of the main reasons the new Tinian casino investor decided to come to the CNMI, according to the company’s resident agent. Philip Long, a Tinian resident and local agent for Bridge Investment Group, said the company seeking to build a new hotel and casino on Tinian would apply for tax incentives under the CNMI’s qualifying certificate program in due time. “We’re not at that stage yet [where we can submit an application for a QC]. But most likely, we’re going to be applying since it was a major interest among the investors—that the CNMI was offering tax incentives if they would bring so much money out here,” Long said.
Moore: Finding lost WWII plane is Christmas gift to pilot’s family
Volunteers led by businessman-historian Kenneth Moore recalled how his group found remnants of an American fighter plane that was downed by the Japanese forces during World War II, dedicating the effort as Christmas present to the surviving members of U.S. squadron “Highhatters” and the family of the lost plane’s fallen Navy pilot, Lt. Roy Bechtol. Moore, founder of the non-profit group Moore’s Marauders, made special mention of Bechtol’s nephew, Gregory B. Bechtol, for whom he dedicated the discovery. Japanese forces reportedly gunned down the F6F Grumman Hellcat flown by the fallen Bechtol over Pagan on June 23, 1944. In late November 2005, with Bechtol’s remains and remnants of his plane still missing over 61 years after the tragic day, the Marauders made a trip to Pagan as part of its efforts to locate missing American soldiers who fought during the Second World War in the Pacific.
December 26, 2006
Rota arrivals down 51 percent
Rota arrivals continued to suffer last month, posting a 51-percent decline. Statistics from the Marianas Visitors Authority showed that Rota only had 994 visitors last month, a significant plunge from November 2005 arrivals of 2,048. Data showed that tourist arrivals via Guam went down by 64 percent, from 1,309 last year to 466 in November this year. Inter-island arrivals also decreased by 29 percent, from 739 in November 2005 to 528 last month. Rota’s visitors are mostly Japanese, followed by Guamanians/U.S. mainlanders, then Filipinos. For fiscal year 2006 ending in November, Rota received 2,044 visitors, which is 46 percent lower than the prior year.
Bill seeks local license for Japanese doctors
Japanese doctors will be able to practice in the Commonwealth if a Senate bill is enacted. The Senate, in a bid to enhance the islands’ potential as a retirement destination, has passed by unanimous vote a proposed legislation that would provide for the licensing of foreign doctors from Japan. Authored by Sen. Paul Manglona, Senate Bill 15-43 now goes to the House of Representatives for action.
December 26, 2007
Increased GHI rates now permanent
The NMI Retirement Fund has adopted as permanent the increased premium rates for the government’s health insurance program. Implemented on an emergency basis, the regulation was to remain in effect for 120 days only. But with the Fund’s latest action, the new contribution rate schedule will now be effective permanently. The rate increases became in effect on Nov. 1, 2007, at the same time Aetna Global Benefits took over the Fund’s Group Health and Life Insurance Program.
PSS concedes childcare program’s transfer to DCCA
The highly publicized tug-of-war between the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Public School System over the child care program seems to have simmered down, with PSS conceding to Gov. Benigno R. Fitial’s will in the matter. This comes soon after Fitial issued an executive order designating DCCA as the new lead agency for the administration of the Federal Child Care and Development Fund program. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has told Fitial that the Administration for Children and Families has already received a copy of the order. "I know there are many concerns that come with this. But we have to give DCCA the opportunity, now that the decision has been made," said Education Commissioner David Borja.