Room at the top
Rear Adm. John V. Menoni will be assigned as commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Two, Virginia Beach, Va., according to a Feb. 25 release from the U.S. Department of Defense. Menoni is commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas; and commander, Joint Region Marianas. No replacement has yet been announced.
Telecom co issues statement on AG lawsuit
Teleguam Holdings Inc., which does business as GTA said in a statement that its actions were according to law, following a release from the Guam Office of the Attorney General. “We believe our actions have been proper and legal and in line with our commitment and responsibility to transparency in billing, GTA said on Feb. 27. The AG announced Feb. 26 it had filed a complaint in the Superior Court of Guam, alleging GTA used an illegal surcharge to pass Business Privilege Tax to customers after it increased to 5% from 4% in April 2018. The AG’s office said there was insufficient warning for customers and is suing to stop GTA from continuing as well as to return charges.
Their day in court
- A bipartisan coalition of 26 attorneys general led by the Northern Mariana Islands Attorney General Edward Manibusan filed an amicus brief today in support of Guam’s efforts to hold the U.S. Navy accountable for its share of the costs in cleaning up the Ordot Dump, according to a March 2 release. The amicus effort was joined by attorneys general from Alaska, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawai’i, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Guam filed its opening brief Feb. 24 at the Supreme Court of the United States in its case against the Navy concerning the Ordot Dump. The questions presented in Guam’s appeal are whether a non- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) settlement can trigger a contribution claim under CERCLA Section 113(f)(3)(B); and whether a settlement that expressly disclaims any liability determination and leaves the settling party exposed to future liability can trigger a contribution claim under CERCLA Section 113(f)(3)(B). The United States has until March 24 to file its brief. Guam will then have an opportunity to file a reply brief in early to mid-April. Oral arguments are expected to be heard in mid to late-April, according to the Office of the Attorney General of Guam.
- The United States Supreme Court announced March 2 it will review a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that unanimously found it unconstitutional to deny low-income elderly, blind and disabled residents of Puerto Rico the same access to federal support enjoyed by other Americans living in the states and certain other territories, according to a release from Equally American. In United States v. Vaello-Madero, decided by the First Circuit last year, the U.S. is seeking to recover $28,081in Supplemental Security Income payments Jose Luis Vaello-Madero received after moving from New York to Puerto Rico.
The United States is also seeking reversal in two other cases where federal judges have ruled in favor of equality for U.S. citizens living in the territories. In Schaller v. U.S. Social Security Administration, currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a federal district court judge in Guam reached a similar ruling that the denial of SSI benefits to a disabled woman in Guam was unconstitutional. And in Peña Martínez v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Service, currently pending before the First Circuit, a federal district court judge in Puerto Rico ruled unconstitutional not just the denial of SSI benefits, but also the exclusion or Puerto Rico residents from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicare Part D low-income subsidies.
Guam company announces PPE manufacturing and distribution plans
Fulgur Technology announced March 1 it has entered into a partnership with a Government of Taiwan-backed manufacturer to produce and distribute medical-grade facemasks and other personal protective equipment on Guam and elsewhere in the U.S., as well as build facilities in Guam and the U.S. mainland.
Fulgur Technology owner, Joseph John Mantanona, said his company has teamed with Global Passion Corp., Fuyang-tek Co. Ltd. and the Industrial Technology and Research Institute of Taiwan. The first of the PPEs the partnership will manufacture and distribute will be BFE-99 facemasks, which can provide the user with particulate protection that exceeds an N-95 mask’s protection, the release said.
Guam route 3 sector to officially open
The Guam Department of Public Works will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for the 2.8 miles of Route 3 widening from Route 28 to Chalan Kareta. This section of highway was widened from two to five lanes to match the existing lane configuration from Chalan Kareta to Route 1. Black Construction Corp. is the contractor; the $42.6 million project was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Airline has upcoming schedule changes
Flight changes to the United Guam-Saipan route were shared with Saipan Chamber of Commerce members. Please note:
- Starting the week of March 1, United will start operating a Friday flight between Saipan and Guam.
- Starting the week of March 29 through May 5, the United flight will depart Saipan 30 minutes earlier on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Please see below for the timetable.