TSA sees travelers

As at Sept. 7, the U.S. Transport Security Administration reported “throughput” of 935,308 travelers, compared to 2,292,985 on the same day of the week a year ago. Numbers overall have been increasing recently, after earlier declines.  As of March 1, numbers were 2,280,522 compared to 2,301,439 a year ago. Numbers are updated daily on www.tsa.gov.

 

NavFac Marianas awards two contracts for Guam; continues housing upgrades

Invicta Defense LLC of Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded an $8.1 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for transportation management and logistic support services at Andersen Air Force Base. The maximum dollar value including the base period and one option period is $22.3 million. Five proposals were received according to the U.S. Department of Defense in a Sept. 4 release. Five proposals received. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas is the contracting activity.

On Sept. 3, NavFac Marianas awarded Modern International Inc. of Barrigada, Guam an $8.68 million firm-fixed-price task order under a multiple award construction contract (or MAC contract) for installation of energy efficient lights, heating ventilation and air conditioning and solar photovoltaic at Apra Palms housing, Naval Base Guam, according to a Sept 3 release from the U.S. Department of Defense. 

This project includes the installation of photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of all detached garages.  Work is expected to be completed by August 2023.  Four proposals were received for this task order, according to the DoD release.

According to Journal files, 145 housing units in Apra Palms were renovated for “rotationally deployed” sailors. A ribbon cutting was held for that work on Jan. 3, 2019. 

 

Grants awarded

The Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Ports Authority will receive a $750,000 Federal Aviation Administration grant to design the rehabilitation of 52,202 square yards of existing apron pavement at the Benjamin Taisacan Manglona International Airport in Rota, to maintain the structural integrity of the pavement and to minimize foreign object debris. The grant award includes $675,000 from the Airport Improvement Program and $75,000 in CARES Act funding.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs awarded the Federated States of Micronesia $608,180 in fiscal 2020 Technical Assistance Program funding as follows: for the Habele Robotics League, $358, 525; the FSM Office of National Archive, Culture and Historic Preservation, $55,760 for a vegetation removal and management program at the Nan Madol World Heritage Site in Pohnpei; the Pohnpei State Governor’s Office, $50,500 to develop a database for the Aid Coordination Unit; $41,300 for Habele to design and develop steel versions of the Micronesian adze and $35,000 to Habele to support the learning and production of lava lava weaving, $35,000 to the Kosrae State Public Auditor’s Office to upgrade the web site, support training and participation in conferences and related study materials; and $31,545 to the Chuuk State Public Auditor’s Office, to support conference participation and related study materials.

 

United Airlines updates Micronesia schedule

United Airlines has updated its extended Guam / Micronesia interim schedule until Oct. 30. As of Sept. 4, planned operation for the period of Sept. 9 to Oct. 31 is below. Additional changes remain highly possible.

Guam – Chuuk – Pohnpei – Kosrae – Kwajalein – Majuro – Honolulu 737-700 operates on following dates: 18-19SEP20, 16-17OCT20
Guam – Honolulu 1 daily 777-200
Guam – Koror 737-700 operates on following dates: 03SEP20, 17SEP20, 04OCT20, 18OCT20
Guam – Manila eff 11SEP20 2 weekly 737-800
Guam – Pohnpei – Chuuk – Guam 737-700 operates on following dates: 12-13SEP20, 26-27SEP20, 10-11OCT20, 24-25OCT20
Guam – Saipan 3 weekly 737-700/-800 (-800 operates from 01OCT20)
Guam – Tokyo Narita 7 weekly 737-700 (10 weekly from 16OCT20)
Guam – Yap 737-700 operates on following dates: 20SEP20, 18OCT20

In other United news, as expected, layoffs have affected Guam-based staff. The precise number of pilots retained remains unconfirmed.

The airline introduced Sept. 3 an interactive map tool on united.com and the United mobile app “that allows customers to filter and view destinations’ COVID-19 related travel restrictions. The Destination Travel Guide provides an interactive, color coded map to highlight if a destination is closed, partially open or fully open for travel, and will also note if any tests or self-quarantining is required for travel,” as well as what is open to the public.

 

COVID19 updates

 

Guam Gov’s office has no answers on PCOR 1

With 48 hours to go, no word yet on what Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero intends to do come the PCOR 1 deadline on Sept. 11 at noon, according to her office.

Payment updates

  • The Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation announced it processed 1,118 Economic Impact Program payments totaling about $1.5 million on Sept. 4. For the months of April through August, the department processed 80,222 EIP payments totaling about $142 million. 

This represents about 94.5% of the total funding received from the U.S. Treasury.  EIP checks are processed weekly and transmitted to the Treasurer of Guam for mailing. 

  • As of Aug. 31, the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Labor disbursed $71,244,451.79 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, according to a Sept. 3 release from the Office of the Governor.

These payouts are for 9,016 total payouts with error-free PUA applications and weekly certifications. The NMI DOL received 9,800 online applications and 2,044 paper applications, totaling 11,844 applications, the release said.

  • The latest update from the U.S. Small Business Administration on Aug. 27 showed

Economic Injury Disaster loans for Guam stood at 1,292 loans in the value of $75.83 million and for the NMI at 261 loans in the value of $16.53 million.

 

NMI eases COVID restrictions

The Northern Mariana Islands removed Sept. 6 “temporary restrictions on in-person interactions, social gatherings, and business hours,” which began on Aug. 24. The NMI returned to Level Blue. Curfew now returns to between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., businesses may now include dine-in to 75% occupancy – including staff, gatherings now return to 25 people “in a single room or single space,” and all public parks and beaches are now open.

 

Guam announces fatalities, positives

As of the evening of Sept. 8, there were a total 1,713 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 19 deaths, 951 not in isolation, and 743 cases in active isolation. Of those cases, 1,472 are classified as (local resident) civilians and 241 are U.S. military members.

Cumulative COVID-19 test results reported to Guam’s Joint Information Center on Sept. 8 reflect results from Sept. 4 to Sept. 7, according to the Sept. 8 release.

The Navy Exchange announced a “rise in cases” Sept. 3 but did not share numbers. Media reports of a COVID-19 outbreak on the USS Frank Cable at Naval Base Guam does not include number of cases.

Naval Hospital Guam can take about 48 hours to deliver test results, though sometimes warns it can take longer, according to Journal information.

The Department of Public Health told the Journal previously it is aiming for a 48-hour result delivery. However, the rise in cases has affected that aim.

Government of Guam agencies and a number of Guam businesses followed what has become community protocol and announce COVID cases, cleaning and re-opening. Most recently these the Port Authority of Guam, Mobil Oil Guam and Docomo Pacific. 

How many businesses are not following that protocol is not yet known. The Department of Public Health includes a variety of demographics in JIC releases.

Current arrivals on-island (returning residents and others) are being quarantined at the Dusit Beach Resort Guam (formerly the Outrigger Guam Beach Resort).

According to Journal sources, some individuals are being allowed to leave the hotel upon testing negative. Krystal Paco-San Agustin, press secretary to Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero, told the Journal on Sept. 9, “In some instances, such as critical service workers and hardships, they are transferred to home quarantine.”.

The port also announced Sept. 9 it has delayed operations on Matson Navigation Co.’s M/V Papa Mau, due to a lifeless crew member and a pending Guam Department of Health COVID test. According to the port’s release, Matson advised all crew members recently tested negative.

 

In other news:

 

Retirements:

Marian Aldan-Pierce has retired as president of DFS Saipan, according to the company.

Pierce joined the company as its first employee. She is the Guam Business Magazine 2000 Executive of the Year (the first executive from the Northern Mariana Islands to be recognized) and was also recognized with a Lifetime Achievement award through the Guam Business Magazine Businesswoman of the Year program.

Aldan-Pierce remains chairwoman of the Marianas Visitors Authority.

The Guam and Saipan executive team is led by Charles Bell, vice president of operations for DFS, who is based in Guam, according to Journal files.

Philippe Gerling is retiring as general manager of Nissan Motor Corp in Guam after more than 34 years with Nissan. Gerling’s community service includes president of Big Brothers, Big Sisters in Guam (now Manelu), and district assistant governor for Rotary International’s Pacific Basin Group.

Arnel Bonto, Nissan Guam’s controller, will assume the role of general manager upon Gerling’s departure, according to a release from Nissan.

 

 Guam Census Bureau resumes calling

The Guam Census Bureau resumed telephone calls to complete the 2020 census, according to a Sept. 6 release. Residents may receive phone calls to check the accuracy of their responses, the bureau said.

 

More than 2,000 apply for long-term NMI residency

Under Public Law 116-24, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services advised Gregorio “Kilili” Camacho Sablan, the Northern Mariana Islands Delegate to Congress that 2,092 persons have applied for the CNMI Long-Term Resident Status, according to a Sept. 5 release. About 1,000 applicants are in the Northern Mariana Islands under humanitarian parole status. USCIS extended its parole and work authorization in August, while the applications for permanent residence is being processed. Processing has been delayed, because of the closures of the Guam Application Support Center in line with the island’s PCOR 1, until at least Sept. 11, according to the latest release from USCIS. 

Other applicants are either out of status, but allowed to remain in the NMI, or outside of the NMI. mbj