DOI official visits Saipan

Cantor

Carmen Cantor, assistant secretary of the Office of the Insular Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior announced $410,974 in grant funding, which the NMI Department of Lands and Natural resources will use to continue to detect, eradicate and implement preventive measures against the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle and invasive Velvet Bean Vine.

The funding comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Investment Law.

In funding announced to date from the law the NMI will receive:

  • almost $21 million in fiscal 2022 for water, with $8 million for lead and pipe service line replacement, and $5 million for safe drinking water investments that can also support lead pipe replacement in fiscal 2022;
  • more than $7 million over five years to improve public transit;
  • over $900,000 in 2022 for weatherization and $1.2 million to help prevent outages and strengthen the power grid in 2022; and
  • more than $6 million for NMI airports.

Cantor visited the NMI on Sept. 16, according to a release, attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the 35,696 square-foot U.S. District Courthouse building – which held a soft opening in July 2020, delivered remarks at the 25th Annual District Judicial Conference for the Northern Mariana Islands and visited the Commonwealth Health Center, among other locations.

 

Navy official visits Guam and Saipan

Smith

Jimmy D. Smith, director of the Small Business Office of the Department of the Navy, visited the Guam Chamber of Commerce and is due to meet with members of the board and the steering committee of the Armed Forces Committee of the Guam Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 20, according to the Guam Chamber. Smith is due to meet with the membership of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 23 for a lunchtime presentation, according to the Saipan Chamber.  

Smith’s responsibilities include overseeing small business acquisition policy; strengthening government and private sector partnerships; and fostering opportunities to leverage small businesses as a strategic advantage for the benefit of military personnel.

 

NMI receives federal pandemic funding

The Northern Mariana Islands is receiving “another $9,606,182.67 to cover costs of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and a Sept. 17 release from the office of Gregorio “Kilili” Camacho Sablan, the NMI’s delegate to Congress. The funds are intended to pay for labor, rented equipment, materials, and contract services performed between April 2020 through September 2021 to set up alternative care sites. On Sept. 12, FEMA announced a second grant of $1,678,097.80 “to purchase personal protective equipment and ensure the safe opening and operation of the local healthcare system during the pandemic.” To date, the Commonwealth has received $69.3 million in FEMA grants related to pandemic relief, the release said.

In addition, the NMI is receiving three U.S. Department of Justice grants worth $1,27 million for crime prevention, domestic and sexual violence, victim assistance, training, and the sex offender registry, the release said.

 

Guam Coast Guard cutter visits FSM

The USCGC Oliver Henry – homeported in Guam – conducted a port visit in Kolonia in Pohnpei from Sept. 14 to Sept. 16, following a patrol through the exclusive economic zone of the Federated States of Micronesia, and other Oceania areas.

The crew met with U.S. and FSM officials, to discuss “patrol highlights and future opportunities,” multilateral efforts and met with the crew of the FSS Palikir, the FSM’s patrol boat.

Lt. Freddy Hofschneider III of Tinian is the commanding officer of the Oliver Henry.

The USCGC Myrtle Hazard made a contactless crew rest and re-fueling stop in the FSM in May. According to Journal files, the USCGC Sequoia and a Navy’s Underwater Construction Team, worked to widen the channel at Kapingamarangi Atoll in the waters of the southernmost island in the FSM for three months – completed in late December.

In related news, port of Guam stakeholders – including U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam will conduct a “full-scale maritime security training exercise” in and around the Port of Guam, from Sept. 20 to Sept. 22.

 

Visitors bureau shares plans for Guam at expo

The Guam Visitors Bureau told the Journal on Sept. 19 details of plans for the island’s representation at the Tourism Expo Japan 2022 from Sept. 22 to Sept. 25.

GVB will have four booth spaces in L-035, located in the Pacific area in East hall 4 throughout the expo.

Its objectives for Industry Day on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23 are to position Guam as a destination ready to welcome visitors from Japan, to meet with travel related entities, to greet participants, to share the latest updates on Guam via handouts, and to attend the Japan Association of Travel Agents event.

For Consumer Day on Sept. 23 and Sept. 24, GVB will continue to market the island as ready for Japanese visitors, will share the “current state and latest news about Guam,” will communicate Guam’s “Clean, Safe and Security” measures,” promote the ongoing Go! Go! campaign and distribute giveaways.

The Guam delegation includes Alupang Beach Club, Baldyga Group, Crowne Plaza Resort Guam, Dusit Thani Guam Resort & Dusit Beach Resort Guam, Fish Eye Marine Park, Guam Premier Outlets, Skydive Guam LLC, T Galleria by DFS Guam, and Triple J Rentals/Outback Steak House, as well as GVB staff and Vincent San Nicolas, a cultural musician/illustrator.

According to Journal files, in 2018, more than 207,00 visitors attended the expo and in 2019, 151,000 visitors attended – despite its being move to a smaller venue in Osaka as Tokyo prepared to host the Olympic Games that summer. Organized by the Japan Travel and Tourism Association, JATA and the Japan National Tourism Organization, in 2018 the expo drew 1,441 corporations and organizations from 136 countries and regions, including 47 Japanese prefectures, according to Tourism Expo Japan.

This year in July, the organizers forecast “150,000 visitors in total, about 350 buyers and about 7,000 business appointments for four days. More than 1,000 booths from 47 prefectures in Japan and the world” will be at the expo.

Both the Marianas Visitors Authority and the Palau Visitors Authority will be attending, together with other representation.

In other news, GVB will hold a General Membership Forum on Sept. 21at the GVB office at 11 a.m. The meeting is also open to the public and will be streamed at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87545355808.
Updates will be given on membership deadlines, the board of directors election, tourism recovery, the fiscal 2022 year-end report, the fiscal 2023 budget, Guam’s tourism industry and the bylaws, which were under review.

 

Civic org recognizes Guam Business Magazine Executive of the year

Crisostomo

Joseph M. Crisostomo, 2004 Guam Business Magazine Executive of the Year, has been named the 2022 Guam Chamber of Commerce Individual Business Laureate.

Crisostomo is the president of CarsPlus,LLC, Cycles Plus LLC, Pacific Auto Leasing LLC which does business as Thrifty Car Rental, JC22 Properties and Car Wash Pros which does business as Finish Line Express. Recent additions to group businesses include Pacific Powersports LLC which does business as Harley-Davidson of Guam and GoSolar Guam.

Crisostomo will be recognized at the upcoming Guam Chamber of Commerce gala on Sept. 24 at the Hyatt Regency Guam.

 

Island leaders discuss Pacific issues

The Office of the President of the Federated States of Micronesia issued a statement on matters discussed at the 12th Pacific Islands Conference of leaders from Sept. 12 to Sept. 14 in Hawaii.

President David W. Panuelo was chairman of the conference.

“Attending delegations to the 12th PICL discussed issues such as the Pacific’s nuclear legacy, in the context of the Runit Dome, and [Advanced Liquid Processing System]-treated water, in the context of Japan’s plan to discharge such water from Fukushima; the increased engagement with the Pacific on behalf of larger powers such as the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China, including the sharing of views on how to manage relationships with these countries; the importance of women and gender equity and empowerment in strengthening Pacific Regionalism; how to diversify industry, such as novel ways to benefit from resources such as breadfruit; and the socialization of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent with America Samoa, the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the State of Hawaii — who are members of the PICL but not the Pacific Islands Forum, and have since described their in-principle agreement with the strategy that the Pacific Islands Forum and its membership” and are fully supportive, a  Sept. 17 release said.

 

RFPs wanted for Guam projects

The Guam Economic Development Authority is requesting proposals to provide architectural and engineering services to assist in programs and projects to “expand and improve Guam’s economy.” GEDA anticipates the first project will be the Guam Green Markets Projects – intended to repair, renovate, and storm-harden green market facilities in Agat, Mangilao and Sinajana to add space for small businesses and entrepreneurs at existing public markets, according to the Guam Chamber of Commerce. See https://www.investguam.com/ for the RFP.

In other contracting news, the Guam Department of Public Works is seeking bids for Phase 1 of the Islandwide Traffic Signal System Upgrade, consisting of eight traffic signal systems. Bids are due Dec. 1. For the bid book and plans, see https://www.guamtransportationprogram.com/contract-opportunities

 

Guam launches childcare grant; NMI grant deadline extended to Oct. 18

The Office of the Governor announced Sept. 20 the launch of the Child Care Assistance Program Support 2022, which provides up to $200,000 in grant funding for local employers and child care providers to support the opening of new facilities and/or expand to a new location/branch, in addition to covering personnel costs, rent, utilities, mental health services and more. 

There are about 48 childcare centers licensed by the Department of Revenue and Taxation and DPHSS with a total capacity of 1,920 enrollees. CAPS 2022 has been launched to achieve the goal of enroll 3,500 children by the end of fiscal 2023. CAPS 2022 awards will provide assistance and stability for the childcare industry with grant support 75% of total costs associated with opening the childcare facility, not to exceed $200,000 per location, according to the release.

Applications will be accepted via email to [email protected] until Dec. 30. For details and requirements of the CAPS 2022 grant, visit investguam.com or contact the Guam Economic Development Authority at (671)647-4332.

The NMI BOOST Program (Building Optimism, Opportunities, and Stability Together), aimed to help entrepreneurs and applicants with new and existing business plans and tax classifications has an extended deadline until Oct. 18, according to the Saipan Chamber of Commerce. For more details, see https://www.boostcnmi.com/

 

And also:

The Commonwealth Ports Authority has re-introduced parking charges at the Francisco C. Ada International Airport in Saipan. Payment is cash only, with passes available from the accounting office.

            Charges are:

            16 minutes to one hour                                               $2

            Each additional hour/fraction of an hour                    $2

            Daily rate/up to 24 hours                                            $15

            Annual tenant employee rate                                      $50

            Semi-annual frequent flyer pass                                 $250

            Annual frequent flyer pass                                         $400

            Service/delivery vehicle annual rate                          $200

            Lost ticket fee                                                             $15

 

 

The Guam Power Authority announced Sept. 19 that Piti 8 and 9 generators are online, after undergoing extensive work to convert the units to burn ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, “a milestone in reducing emissions and improving the units’ reliability.”

The conversion is part of GPA’s Clean Energy Master Plan and satisfies a federal consent decree that requires all of Guam’s generators to switch to cleaner burning fuel. The Piti units are coming online as Cabras 2 is due for a major overhaul of its boiler and turbine systems in mid-October, a release said. mbj