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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

Guam clergy sex abuse cases up for hearing unless judge recuses himself again

A new round of hearings is scheduled this week for eight of the 15 lawsuits related to alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests on Guam, unless the judge recuses himself from hearing these cases.

Superior Court of Guam Judge Arthur R. Barcinas is set to hear the eight clergy sex abuse cases Thursday, based on the court’s schedule as of Monday afternoon.

Barcinas previously recused himself from hearing six other clergy abuse cases, stating that his late uncle, Deacon Jeff Barcinas, appears to have been secretarial staff to Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron during a potentially relevant period.

Apuron is accused of raping two former altar boys and sexually abusing two others in Agat in the 1970s. Other former and current priests are also named in pending clergy abuse cases.

Read more: http://www.guampdn.com/story/news/2017/01/30/clergy-sex-abuse-cases-up-hearing-unless-judge-recuses-himself-again/97233448/

Guam Speaker: Governor's minimum wage bill "fake proposal"

Guam - Speaker BJ Cruz is responding to Governor Eddie Calvo's veto of his minimum wage bill and the governor's introduction of his own.

Speaker Cruz says the governor's own measure to increase the minimum wage is disingenuous because it gives a political appointee the ability to unilaterally decide whether a minimum wage increase should be granted.

Last Friday, Calvo vetoed Cruz's bill 312 which would have increased the minimum wage on Guam to $9.20 an hour starting May 1. The governor instead introduced his own version that would also increase the minimum wage to the same amount but only after a report is completed that meets four requirements: that hours will not be reduced for employees, that employers will not reduce their workforce, that the scheduled wage increase will not be sacrificed to non-minimum wage, non managerial employees and that benefits will not be reduced.

"The study is coming at the end of this week if he had just waited a week he would've had the benefit of a study and if the study agreed with a rejection, with his position that it was going to be the end of Guam's economy, then he could and should veto the bill. But if it didn't and it was positive, then he's already killed the bill and he's replaced it with what he purports to be his alternative plan," noted Cruz.

Read more: http://www.pacificnewscenter.com/local/12386

Northern Mariana Islands company ordered to pay $52K for refusing to hire US-based workers

Guam - A settlement in an immigration related case in the CNMI could set a precedent for the H2B visa lawsuit here on Guam./

The Department of Justice announced today that it reached a settlement with a Saipan-based company called J.E.T. Holding which operates a restaurant, bowling alley and an amusement center.

According to the Justice Department, between January and June of last year, J.E.T. refused to hire qualified US citizens or other work-authorized individuals, preferring instead to hire foreign workers under the CW-1 visa. The CW-1 visa grants temporary authorization to foreign nationals to work in the CNMI.

Under the terms of the settlement, the company will pay a civil penalty of $12,000 and back pay of $40,000 to compensate claimants' lost wages as a result of their actions. J.E.T. was also ordered to train its workers on anti-discrimination policies of INA.

Read more: http://www.pacificnewscenter.com/local/12387

Guam EPA will begin testing for Agent Orange

Guam - The Guam Envorinmental Protection Agency says they will begin testing for Agent Orange on Guam as ordered by Governor Eddie Calvo after reports surfaced about its use here in Guam in the 1960s and 1970s.

The governor today sent a directive to GEPA to test water and soil sources on Guam for Agent Orange, 2,3,7,8-tetracholordibenzodioxin (TCDD), an herbicide that has been linked to cancer.

The reports resurfaced after a retired Air Force veteran, Master Sgt. Leroy Foster claimed that he and others sprayed the herbicide on Guam while stationed here in the 1960s nd 1970s.

Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo also said she looked into the matter. However, she noted that the Department of Defense denied the use of Agent Orange on Guam.

Read more: http://www.pacificnewscenter.com/local/12388

Board approves $324M Guam Department Of Eeducation budget proposal

The Guam Education Board approved a $324 million budget proposal for the Guam Department of Education yesterday. The request for fiscal year 2018 is just $2 million shy of the of the proposal submitted in fiscal 2017, which was ultimately reduced to just around $240 million by the legislature.

While it is uncertain if the law-making body will grant the full request this year, Sen. Joe San Agustin, chairman of the legislative committee on education, has stated that GovGuam was fiscally constrained and that he would be scrutinizing the budget to see how spending would be prioritized. He added that there was a need to focus on capital improvement and less on filling office positions.

Individual school needs prioritized

Mark Mendiola, the committee chairman on finances for the board, said the 2018 budget focused on providing more support to individual schools and less on relegating resources to central office staffing. This includes a focus on hiring school aides.

A recent incident at F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle School made headlines when five students from the school entered the campus intoxicated while wielding pipes and rocks. They also attempted to injure some staff responding to their presence.

Read more: http://www.postguam.com/news/local/board-approves-m-gdoe-budget-proposal/article_7a0a2886-e685-11e6-b9a5-7b04ac0b6660.html

Samoan Postal Service employee charged with unlawful possession of 'ice'

Cheyenne Lafaele a former United States Postal Service (Federal) Employee, has been criminally charged by the Attorney General’s Office with unlawful possession of controlled substance of methamphetamine, a felony that is punishable between five and 10 years in jail and or a fine between $5,000 to $10,000. Lafaele who’s bail was set at $5,000 made her initial appearance in the District Court on Friday.

According to the government’s case, the matter was reported to the police on January 10, 2017 following routine inspection by the Customs on all the parcels that come into the USPS. The government’s case claims that police met with Customs officers where one informed the police that a routine inspection by the K9 dug detector “Critter” alerted near a package address to Chevonne Lafaele, and after the inspection the Customs officers left to get coffee.

They returned not long after and noticed that the package was missing from where it was and then a Custom Supervisor was informed of the situation.

The police also met with the Postmaster who told the police that she was informed by a USPS employee that a drug bust was about to happen at the Post Office. The postmaster further stated that she was also informed by the Customs Supervisor that Lafaele allegedly removed the package from where it was and left it where USPS employees leave their belongings. It’s alleged that the Postmaster then approached Lafaele and reminded her to clear the package with Customs before she leaves with it. During the inspection, Customs discovered four separate plastic packages that were concealed within a speaker unit.

See more at: http://www.samoanews.com/local-news/postal-service-employee-charged-unlawful-possession-%E2%80%98ice%E2%80%99#sthash.Ig9UKyad.dpuf

StarKist Samoa negotiations for more land space at a standstill

Negotiations, which began last year, for additional land space for StarKist Samoa to expand operations has reached a standstill as both the American Samoa Government and the largest private employer in the territory have provided each other counter offers.

Land space for StarKist Samoa to build more freezer capacity was one of the issues discussed with ASG leaders during a meeting in March last year by StarKist Co., president and chief executive officer Andrew Choe when he visited American Samoa for one week.

Choe was scheduled to be in the territory last week, but he didn’t make the trip, according to Michelle Faist, the vice president of corporate communication at StarKist Co. She added that Choe made the plan unexpectedly on Jan. 19 not to travel here.

“The reason being is that part of the issues we’ve been having is the uncertainty of the land lease with [ASG land] at the shipyard,” Faist said in a news conference last Friday afternoon at the StarKist Samoa office.

See more at: http://www.samoanews.com/local-news/starkist-samoa-negotiations-more-land-space-standstill

Democratic Party Releases Haven of Aloha Call to Action Letter and Petition

News Release from Tim Vandeveer, Chairperson, Democratic Party of Hawai’i

HONOLULU - January 25, 2017 -- With the prospect that the themes and statements of intolerance from the 2016 presidential and congressional elections could find their way into the laws and policies of our national government, the Democratic Party of Hawai’i releases a statement on Thursday explaining how that outcome is unacceptable to the people of Hawai’i and contrary to the core values of our society.

The letter, entitled ‘Haven of Aloha” is intended to serve as a recognition of the need for protecting members of the Party and community at large as well as a call for state and local officials to stand up for these values and fill the void of leadership in protecting the social safety net for all.

“We felt it necessary to articulate the values that we stand for and will not compromise. Other municipalities and states have issued similar statements, but ours is unique to our culture and place because it is framed in the Aloha spirit.” said Tim Vandeveer, Chair of the DPH. According to the statement, this is because in Hawai‘i, ‘we are defined by diversity and guided by Aloha.’

“We have much to be proud of in these islands. By the greatest margins in our nation, we overwhelmingly rejected the politics of bigotry, misogyny and hatred. But still, we must redouble our efforts,” Vandeveer stated, “It is in this context that the job of local city and state governments and judiciaries, becomes so important.”

“Our congressional delegation will stand up for us to ensure that we have a voice as the party in opposition to the potentially hostile agenda of the GOP-majority Congress and the President. However, where the social safety net is torn asunder at the federal level it will become incumbent upon our local leaders to utilize our values to bind together and preserve our quality of life and character of our society– to take leadership and responsibility for the most vulnerable among us as well as our youth and coming generations.”

The message is the core of a document the DPH created and invited the Congressional Delegation, State Executive, Senate and House leadership, the Mayor and City Council, and others to sign onto as a unified public statement of shared values to send notice of recognition and protection to potentially affected communities.

The letter serves as a call to action for party members and elected officials to stand up for all people, and fight to protect abiding values of liberty, social justice, economic justice, protection of the environment, and compassion and respect for the dignity and worth of the individual. It urges residents to continue to respect and welcome immigrants, refugees, people of all religions, races and sexual identities, as we work for the betterment of humankind.

“Hawai‘i must continue as a diverse, inclusive, and positive model for our fellow citizens across the ocean and beyond. May we always be an inspiring ‘Haven of Aloha’,” said Vandeveer.

Please join us at DPH Headquarters located at 627 South St. #105 on Thursday, January 26 at 2pm for a formal unveiling and release of the ‘Haven of Aloha’ document, list of signatories, additional statements of support and invitation for public participation via an islands-wide petition.


Medical vans to aid homeless could cost state $1.4M annually

The state would spend $1.4 million every year to operate two mobile medical clinics aimed at helping sick or injured homeless people under a Senate bill aimed at cutting emergency room costs to treat homeless people for non-life-threatening issues.

State Sen. Josh Green (D, Kona-Kau) moved SB 347 out of his Human Services Committee on Friday on a vote of 3-0.

Green, a Big Island emergency room physician, said he would volunteer for mobile clinic shifts himself and would recruit other doctors and nurses — and health care students — to join him.

Green envisions the two mobile clinics operating primarily on Oahu but periodically shipping one to the neighbor islands to treat the medical needs of the homeless there.

Read more: http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/01/30/hawaii-news/medical-vans-to-aid-homeless-could-cost-state-1-4m-annually/

Hawaii lawmakers tackle presidential tax returns, housing

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers are tackling drones, presidential tax returns and housing shortages as they head into their second full week of the Legislative session.

They’re filling the calendar with legislative hearings after introducing more than 2,900 bills in the past week.

Here are a few bills to keep an eye on:


Frustrated with President Donald Trump’s refusal to release copies of his tax returns, Hawaii lawmakers are proposing multiple bills to make it a state law to reveal tax returns in order to appear on the ballot as a presidential candidate. The Senate Judiciary Committee takes up SB150 Tuesday. The bill says candidates have to provide an income tax return for the most recent taxable year that it was filed. Similar bills have been introduced in the Hawaii House and several other states.

Read more: http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/news/state-wire/hawaii-lawmakers-tackle-presidential-tax-returns-housing
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