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Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Saipan public library to cut hours, pay

SAIPAN – The Joeten-Kiyu Public Library will take part in the Northern Marianas governmentwide austerity measures by cutting library hours, starting July 1.

Currently, the library is open from Tuesday to Saturday.

Library Director Erlinda Naputi on Tuesday issued a new schedule the library will be closed on "austerity Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and holidays.”

Public library administrative assistant Victoria Cabrera said library programs and events held every Saturday will also be affected by the government’s austerity measures.

She said the reduction of library hours also means a pay cut for the employees.

Read more: https://www.postguam.com/news/cnmi/saipan-public-library-to-cut-hours-pay/article_b9c99c18-925e-11e9-8c77-7b67a321eb9b.html

'Enough is enough': Community calls for halt on military construction in letter to Guam governor

A letter from 20 residents, businesses and community groups was sent to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero requesting a meeting to discuss the military buildup's effects on historically and culturally significant sites.

"I don't want my son growing up and not knowing who he is," said Victoria Diaz, Mañe’lon Marianas volunteer. "It's not just pottery, or lusong, or ceramic scatter. It's history."

This joins continued calls from senators for the governor to step in and halt construction, as the past month's military buildup work revealed at least five sites across Marine Corps properties containing ancient artifacts. The latest discovery on Monday was ceramic scatter and lusong, or mortar and pestle, at Northwest Field.

As of Wednesday evening, there has been no response from the governor's office.

Read more: https://www.guampdn.com/story/news/local/2019/06/19/community-protest-construction-military-base-to-preserve-history/1495976001/
(Guam Pacific Daily News)

Mike Gravel: US must treat Guam better

Americans do not often like to think of their country as an empire. And yet there is no denying that it is.

As Daniel Immerwahr shows in his valuable book, “How to Hide an Empire,” America’s expansionist imperialism, after surging in the late 19th century, faded in zeal by the mid-20th century. We have large shed the self-image of Americans as colonizers — especially since it would raise uncomfortable questions about nation-building projects like those in Afghanistan and Iraq — and thus it is little surprise we think little of the legacies of the colonialism vaunted by William McKinley and Albert Beveridge.

The most obvious legacies, of course, are territories like Guam.

Because most Americans think little of Guam, the U.S. government’s current policy toward the territory might be described as unsalutary neglect. Guam has a population of 150,000, far more than the 50,000 coal miners in the U.S. And yet whereas American leadership often crows about the plight of coal miners, nary a word is spoken about Guam unless, as happened in the summer of 2017, a flare-up in North Korean relations causes threats against its security.

It’s obvious why Guam is so often neglected — its residents can’t vote in presidential elections and its delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives can’t vote. Since Guam lacks the leverage to influence national elections or votes in the House, national politicians feel no need to appeal to Guamanians in the way they appeal to Floridians or Iowans. Thus, Guam’s issues go unaddressed year after year.

Read more: https://www.guampdn.com/story/opinion/readers/2019/06/18/mike-gravel-us-must-treat-guam-better/1484663001/

NMI eligible for more disaster aid

The CNMI is eligible to receive more federal disaster funds, including from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Department of Education.

EDA officials are now in contact with their counterparts in the CNMI, since Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu struck the Commonwealth in September and October last year. EDA has identified 40 potential projects that they can help fund in the CNMI.

EDA helps in the timely delivery of federal assistance to support communities in their long-term recovery after being hit by major disasters.

The CNMI can get a share of the $600 million in disaster relief funds from EDA, which was enacted from Public Law 116-20. EDA representatives are set to arrive this week to assist the CNMI with its plans and applications for the funds.

Read more: https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/nmi-eligible-for-more-disaster-aid/

NMI Museum asks for consistent funding

“We are not lobbying for increased funding. …Just…a constant source of funding.”

Thus argued NMI Museum director Daniel Aquino Jr. during a stakeholders’ meeting with legislators yesterday at the NMI Museum of History and Culture.

This comes against a backdrop of a proposed $214,207 funding for the museum in fiscal year 2020. That is a steep drop from the museum’s fiscal year 2019 budget of $462,984 and fiscal year 2018’s budget of $245,478.

Aquino fears that, without sustainable funding, the museum will not be able to maintain its current condition and even worsen in five or more years.

Read more: https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/nmi-museum-asks-for-consistent-funding/

Alaska Mental Health Trust considers $500 land-use fee for snowmachiners and ATV riders

JUNEAU — The agency that funds Alaska’s mental health treatment programs is considering a $500 per-year fee for using a snowmachine or ATV on its vast tracts of state land.

In a public notice filed last month, the Alaska Mental Health Trust announced plans for a new permit program that would require Alaskans to pay before using trust lands. The trust owns nearly 1 million acres of land statewide, including extensive tracts in the Matanuska Valley, along the Chuitna River, and near Point MacKenzie.

According to information provided by the trust, the new permits are intended to help the organization raise additional revenue and compensate for damage done by those who use the land.

By email, chief communications officer Allison Biastock said the trust does not have figures on how many Alaskans use trust-owned land, but “there is consistent interest in using trust land non-commercially for recreation, firewood harvest, ATV and snowmobile use, and trapping. Also, during field inspections, trust land managers consistently see where new use has occurred on trust land without authorization.”

Read more: https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2019/06/18/alaska-mental-health-trust-considers-500-land-use-fee-for-snowmachining/
(Anchorage Daily News)

5 years in prison ordered for ex-CEO at Alaska-based company

NEW YORK (AP) - The former chief executive at an Alaska-based fiber-optic cable company has been sentenced to five years in prison for cheating New York investors of over $270 million.

Elizabeth Ann Pierce, formerly head of Quintillion, was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos.

Pierce, who now lives outside Austin, Texas, apologized but also blamed others. Ramos said her effort to blame others was no excuse for what she did.

Ramos said the 2015-2017 fraud against two New York-based investment companies was huge.

Read more: https://www.ktuu.com/content/news/5-years-in-prison-ordered-for-ex-CEO-at-Alaska-based-company-511540012.html

Alaska teens charged in 'murder for millions' slaying

ANCHORAGE — Two Alaska teens hoping to cash in on a $9 million offer from a Midwest millionaire brutally killed a developmentally disabled woman on a popular trail outside Anchorage, shooting her in the back of the head and dumping her body in a river, authorities allege.

The millionaire’s only demand for the payout was either photos or video of the slaying, according to court documents laying out first-degree murder and other charges against six people in the June 2 death of Cynthia Hoffman.

“This is a truly horrific case that is not the norm for our community,” Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll said at a news conference, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Among those charged is Darin Schilmiller, whom authorities say presented himself as the millionaire Tyler from Kansas, using a fake photograph. “He does not look like the young man he portrayed himself to look like, he is not a millionaire and he lives in Indiana,” court documents say.

Read more: https://www.juneauempire.com/news/two-alaska-teens-charged-in-murder-for-millions-slaying/


Federal child pornography charges announced against defendant in Hoffman murder case

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Denali Brehmer, an Alaska teen charged with murdering Cynthia Hoffman with the help of four friends and at the request of a mysterious online “millionaire” is now also facing federal child pornography charges that were revealed as the murder case unfolded.

Federal and state officials held a press conference Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the federal indictment against Brehmer was released, and after three Alaska-based defendants were arraigned and pleaded not guilty to state murder charges.

The state and federal charges both arose during the investigation of the death of 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman, whose body was found near Thunderbird Falls in Anchorage after her killing on June 2.

New federal court documents released Tuesday detail additional federal child pornography charges for both Darin Schilmiller, 21, of New Salisbury, Indiana, and Brehmer, 18, of Anchorage.

Read more: https://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Federal-press-conference-Cynthia-Hoffman-murder-511488212.html

State employees anxious as government shutdown threat looms

Earlier this month, Gov. Mike Dunleavy sent a message to state workers telling them to expect layoff or furlough notices after Friday if the Legislature is unable to finish the budget by the end of the special session.

An operating budget is now on its way to his desk. The question is whether it will be enough to prevent a government shutdown on July 1.

As legislators debated inside, about 20 people stood across from the state Capitol Wednesday afternoon with signs urging lawmakers to fund state services and override any potential vetoes from Governor Dunleavy.

It was a quiet gathering compared with many of the protests during the regular session.

Read more: https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/06/12/state-employees-anxious-as-government-shutdown-threat-looms/

Dunleavy calls for round two in Wasilla after Alaska Legislature adjourns first special session

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has called the Alaska Legislature into a second special session to fund permanent fund dividends. The session will begin on July 8 in Wasilla.

He issued the executive proclamation shortly after both chambers of the Legislature adjourned the first special session.

The session would meet on Monday, July 8 at 1 p.m. Dunleavy recommended Wasilla Middle School as the venue. The agenda is limited to paying for PFDs.

While the Legislature passed a capital budget bill, most capital projects didn’t receive funding in the legislation. That’s because lawmakers couldn’t agree on how to fund these projects. The mostly-Democratic House majority caucus wanted to prevent the elimination of funds to equalize the cost of power across the state to pay college scholarships and grants. But the Republican House minority would only agree to do that if full dividends of roughly $3,000 were paid this year. An amendment to fund dividends at that amount failed on Wednesday.

Read more: https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/06/13/dunleavy-calls-for-round-two-in-wasilla-after-alaska-legislature-adjourns-first-special-session/
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