Flashback – July 5, 2000-2002

July 5, 2000

Aliens pose little pressure on public health facilities

Despite their overwhelming presence in the Northern Marianas, nonresidents continue to put too little pressure on public health facilities, with U.S. citizens accounting for the highest percentage of hospital visits in the period covering 1994 to 1999, a federally-funded investigation of the CNMI disclosed. The U.S. General Accounting Office revealed that nonresidents, who comprise about 58 percent of the total population of Saipan in 1999, accounted for only between 26 and 29 percent of the patient visits to Department of Public Health facilities each year from 1994 to 1999.

GOP defends party fees

Republican Party Chair Joseph C. Reyes expressed satisfaction over the number of likely candidates seeking its nomination as he brushed off criticisms against the policy of requiring payment of fees upon submission of letter of intent. Less than a dozen GOP members have met the deadline set by the party on the submission of the notices for the positions of governor, lieutenant governor, resident representative to the United States, senators and mayor for Saipan. “We now have enough pool of candidates and these are the ones who are serious in running for and winning a public office,” Mr. Reyes told in an interview.

July 5, 2001

Fitial: Freedom more fragile than ever

House Speaker Benigno R. Fitial yesterday called on the people of the Commonwealth to be more vigilant in guarding their rights as US citizens as he warned that “our freedom and liberty are more fragile than ever before.” In a Fourth of July speech during Liberation Day festivities at the American Memorial Park, Fitial also extolled the many brave men and women who lost their lives during the last world war defending the “peace and democracy we now enjoy.” The speaker, a staunch supporter of local self-government and free market policies, adamantly opposes moves in US Congress to federalize immigration, labor and wage laws in the CNMI. He has been in the forefront of lobbying efforts against a federal takeover of local immigration and labor control.

USCOE wants comment on PCB plan, study

The US Army Corps of Engineers’ Honolulu Engineer District has scheduled a public meeting on the Tanapag PCB Remediation Project and released two key documents for public comment. The public meeting will be held Wednesday, July 11, at 7pm at the Tanapag Elementary School. Those attending will be briefed on the Proposed Plan that evaluates treatment alternatives for the approximately 20,000 tons of PCB-contaminated soil that have been excavated from Tanapag Village and stockpiled in the village since August 2000. Following the briefing, the Corps will solicit and record comments on the plan from the attendees.

July 5, 2002

Tanapag residents oppose PCB plan

Tanapag residents, through Tanapag Action Group chair and now Director of Personnel Management Juan Tenorio, are opposing plans to use treated soil from PCBs to cover the Puerto Rico dump. Tenorio assailed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for saying that the soil treated from PCB contamination would be suitable for cover to close the dump. The EPA welcomed TAG’s concern, but assured that the treated soil is not at harmful levels. “Those soil are dirty,” Tenorio said. He reasserted that, based on an earlier report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that was concurred by the EPA, the soil contained other contaminants besides PCBs. Some of them were cadmium, chromium, dioxin, lead and mercury.

Legislature passes $40M land compensation bill

Just one more signature is needed-the Governor’s-and the CNMI government can now go full-swing in retiring all outstanding land compensation claims owed to landowners. In a rare back-to-back session that had both chambers working at fever-pitch, the Legislature finally gave its stamp of approval Wednesday on House Bill 13-1, which would secure the $40 million needed for this express purpose. As what House Speaker Heinz S. Hofschneider jokingly said during the session, “All it takes is a typhoon to make the two houses work together,” provoking laughter inside the chamber.

By Saipan Tribune

Saipan Tribune

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