Budget passed will benefit insular areas
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald J. Trump has signed the fiscal year 2020 budget, according to a Jan. 7 release from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs. The budget includes the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, which involves funding for key programs provided by the Office of Insular Affairs to insular areas and temporary increases in Medicaid funding for all U.S. territories in 2020 and 2021. The temporary increase raised the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage from 55% to 83%, effective from Dec. 21, 2019 to Sept. 30, 2021. Additionally, the Northern Mariana Islands is set to have an increase of 3,000 permits for foreign construction workers to support disaster recovery efforts through 2022 and a $2 million increase in energy, maintenance, operations, coral reef preservation and more to the insular areas.

Cruz

Former UOG president’s passing mourned by community
MANGILAO, Guam — Jose Q. Cruz passed away on Jan. 6 at the age of 73, according to a Jan. 13 announcement. Cruz was the fifth president of the University of Guam from 1983 to 1987. After his term as president, he remained at UOG as a regents professor, associate professor and adjunct faculty member until 2002. He began working at UOG as a part-time assistant professor and instructor of public administration and management from 1979 to 1983.

Guam GOP changes leadership roles, nominates delegate
SINAJANA, Guam — The Republican party of Guam has nominated an incumbent for Guam’s delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a Jan. 7 release. The nominee is Sen. William M. Castro; the alternating leadership roles are the following: Sen. Telo T. Taitague, minority leader; Sen. Louise Borja Muña, assistant minority leader; and Sen. James C. Moylan, minority whip.

Guam judge elected as chief justice
HAGÅTÑA, Guam — The Supreme Court of Guam has elected Associate Justice F. Phillip Carbullido to serve as chief justice, according to a Jan. 7 release. The election’s result marks Carbullido as the first judge to serve a fourth term as chief justice. Carbullido will begin his three-year term on Jan. 21.

The Guam Waterworks Authority has upgraded its Umatac-Merizo Wastewater Treatment Plant to service its customers in the southern region.

Photo courtesy of the Guam Waterworks Authority

DPHSS receives repellent sprays from CDC to distribute
MANGILAO, Guam — The Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services has received 5,000 mosquito repellent pump sprays from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation to issue in a village-to-village drive, according to a Jan. 13 release. The drive will be from Jan. 15 to Jan. 31. The donation from the CDC Foundation will help residents protect themselves from the dengue virus, as well as continue efforts to reduce the number of dengue cases.

Deadline soon for SBA loan applications
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The U.S. Small Business Association issued an announcement reminding Guam’s nonprofit organizations of the Feb. 7 deadline to apply for its disaster loan for economic injury caused by Typhoon Wutip.

Eligible private nonprofit organizations of any size can apply for up to $2 million for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans; the interest rate is 2.75% with terms up to 30 years. Applicants can apply online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or email [email protected] for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

NMI relaunches energy program
CAPITOL HILL, Saipan — The Northern Mariana Islands Division of Energy has relaunched its State Energy Program to provide financial assistance as an incentive to NMI residents, according to a Jan. 7 release. Residents can receive rebate vouchers on a first come, first serve basis for energy efficient and energy star rated appliances to replace old ones. Appliances for the vouchers will be available starting Jan. 13 at the CNMI Energy Division Office located at House 1337. Applications will be available at the respective mayor’s offices for residents of Tinian and Rota. For more information, contact the Division of Energy at 670-664-4480.

GWA unveils upgraded treatment facility
UMATAC and MERIZO, Guam — The Guam Waterworks Authority held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its upgraded Umatac-Merizo Wastewater Treatment Plant on Jan. 9. Some of the facility improvements include an upgraded pump station and the addition of an equalization tank. The upgrades cost $21 million and will service more than 500 GWA customers.

The Foody’s location at the ITC building, which opened on Dec. 11, is the second standalone
one on Guam.

Photo by Rianne Peredo

Foody’s opens at ITC building
TAMUNING, Guam — Foody’s opened at the International Trade Center building on Dec. 11, according to Camille Denight, marketing manager of IP&E Holdings LLC. Foody’s is a convenience store which offers pre-packaged hot food, drinks and more. The ITC Foody’s location is the second one which is not attached to a Shell service station; its hours of operation are Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

United adds extra flights after volcano causes cancellations
TAMUNING, Guam and MANILA, Philippines — United Airlines added extra sections between Guam and Manila on Jan. 15 to accommodate remaining passengers as a result of the Taal Volcano eruption in the Philippines, according to a Jan. 14 statement. The first flight, UA2800, departed Guam at 9:20 a.m. to arrive in Manila at 11 a.m., while the second, UA2801, departed Manila at noon to arrive on Guam at 5:35 p.m. Flights at the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport, Guam were cancelled on Jan. 13 following the Taal Volcano eruption. mbj