July 3, 2006
Free power generators
The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has received offers of free power generators from a Philippine government agency and a private company based in the country. Acting CUC executive director Tony Guerrero said that the Philippines’ National Power Corp. has offered to “hand over” four to five engines to CUC if the Commonwealth would pay for the shipping costs. In addition, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial said that Prime Asia Group had made a similar offer to the Commonwealth. Guerrero said that CUC is considering the proposal, but is also worried about the huge cost of bringing the engines to the CNMI.
Beautify CNMI plants 11 more flame trees
The Beautify CNMI’S subcommittee on restoration, with the help of Filipino organization MOVER, plus some government agencies and volunteers, planted 11 more flame trees along Beach Road in Garapan yesterday morning. There are now a total of 22 newly planted flame trees between Garapan Fishing Base and Gold Beach Hotel along Beach Road since the subcommittee on restoration kicked off its tree planting project on June 19, 2006. Rep. Cinta Kaipat, Marianas Resource Conservation Development Council coral reef public involvement coordinator Angelo Villagomez, restoration subcommittee member Carl Brachear, and Division of Environmental Quality waste reduction & recycling coordinator Tina Sablan led the tree planting.
July 3, 2007
PTI launches new GSM network
Pacific Telecom Inc. launched yesterday its $1.6 million GSM network, giving customers greater ease in connecting with friends, business associates, and families here and around the world, especially in countries using GSM technologies such as Japan, the Philippines, and Europe. “[It allows] customers to roam, to connect to what has become the world standard for mobile communication. GSM is used throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America, as well as in the U.S. [through Cingular and T-Mobile]. …We are now offering the best of both worlds under one group: CDMA and GSM,” said PTI president and CEO Rickly Delgado Jr. in yesterday’s launching at the PTI office in Susupe. Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, who attended the event, described it as a major breakthrough and one that would boost local tourism and trade.
DC lobbyist contract to be renewed
Gov. Benigno R. Fitial yesterday said he would sign a new contract with the CNMI government federalization consultant. Fitial said he was satisfied with the work done by Oldaker, Biden & Belair, whose initial six-month contract will expire on Monday, July 9, 2007. The six-month renewal deal will carry the same price tag as the first one—$15,000 a month, plus approved expenses. “I would like to keep them until all of our federal issues are resolved,” Fitial said. According to the consulting contract, the Governor’s Office hired the D.C.–based Oldaker, Biden & Belair to “make its best effort to assist the Commonwealth in developing and executing government relations plans.”
July 3, 2008
‘Big projects will get priority’
The federal cap on the number of foreigners labor officials can permit to work in the Commonwealth after the passage of legislation federalizing local immigration laws has yet to be reached, according to Division of Labor chief Barry Hirshbein, but regulators must still give many available openings to key development projects to spur economic growth. “The numbers look good,” Hirshbein said before a meeting of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Garapan, adding that Labor currently has about 300 employment slots available below the more than 22,400 worker limit imposed by the bill.
Businesses eye wind energy
With a recent spike in electricity rates forcing scores of small businesses in the Commonwealth to cut costs in order to survive, many are eyeing wind energy as a potential solution and zoning officials are poised to present a series of new regulations soon to help them get it. Zoning officials have recently seen an upswing in requests by small businesses and homeowners seeking clearance to install wind turbines in response to higher electricity rates, according to zoning administrator Steve Tilley. However, local regulations for erecting wind turbines now only address those used to generate power for sale to consumers.