MAY 2017

During a handover ceremony on Monday, May 8th Charges de affaires Joanne Cummings presented the keys to three new police vehicles to Benito Cantero, Director of the Department of Public safety.
The donation represented a USDA Rural Development Communities Facilities Grants funding under the Economic Impact Initiative (EII for $25,000) and the Regular CF Grant (RCF for $8,495) Programs for a Total Grant Amount of $33,495 (55% of Total Project Cost). PSG provided $27,405 in Matching Funding (45% of TPC) for a Total Project Cost of $60,990 for the Three Vehicles for Procurement, Detailing, Sirens and Lights.
Grant Awards were obligated on March 03, 2011.
One vehicle will be stationed at the Kitti Substation for PSG DPS and the other two will be stationed at the Main Police Station in Kolonia Town for Patrol Division usage in Sokehs and Kolonia and Nett.

PALIKIR, POHNPEI – May 12, 2017. The First Regular Session of the new Twentieth Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia has convened and reorganized its leadership and maintained Senator Wesley W. Simina as the Speaker for the new body.
The leadership of Congress is comprised of the Presiding Officers and the Chairmen of the seven congressional committees. As organized, the leadership of the new body is as follows, for the Presiding Officers:
1. Senator Wesley W. Simina from the State of Chuuk maintained his role as Speaker;
2. Senator Esmond B. Moses of the State of Pohnpei is elected as the new Vice Speaker; and
3. Senator Florencio Singkoro Harper of the State of Chuuk is once again the Floor Leader of the body.
For the chairmen of the seven congressional committees:
1. Senator Joseph J. Urusemal of Yap again heads the Committee on Education;
2. Senator Paliknoa K. Welly of Kosrae maintains his chairmanship on the Committee on External Affairs;
3. Senator Ferny S. Perman of Pohnpei is the new Chairman of the Committee on Health and Social Affairs;
4. Senator Robson Romolow of Chuuk takes over the Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations;
5. Senator David W. Panuelo of Pohnpei maintains his chairmanship of the Committee on Resources and Development;
6. Senator Victor Gouland of Chuuk also maintains his chairmanship of the Committee on Transportation and Communication; and
7. Senator Isaac V. Figir of Yap too maintained his role as the head of the Committee on Ways and Means.
Unless agreed upon for earlier adjournment, the First Regular Session of the 20th Congress is scheduled to adjourn on May 30, 2017. The interested general public is always welcome to observe the Congress in session.
During a handover ceremony on Monday, May 8th Charges de affaires Joanne Cummings presented the keys to three new police vehicles to Benito Cantero, Director of the Department of Public safety.
The donation represented a USDA Rural Development Communities Facilities Grants funding under the Economic Impact Initiative (EII for $25,000) and the Regular CF Grant (RCF for $8,495) Programs for a Total Grant Amount of $33,495 (55% of Total Project Cost). PSG provided $27,405 in Matching Funding (45% of TPC) for a Total Project Cost of $60,990 for the Three Vehicles for Procurement, Detailing, Sirens and Lights.
Grant Awards were obligated on March 03, 2011.
One vehicle will be stationed at the Kitti Substation for PSG DPS and the other two will be stationed at the Main Police Station in Kolonia Town for Patrol Division usage in Sokehs and Kolonia and Nett.


Habele Foundation - MAY 2017
Micronesian citizens living in Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, gathered in South Carolina in mid-May to reassemble a traditional paddling canoe. The boat was crafted in Yap and serves as a symbol of the interwoven history of the American and Micronesian Peoples.
Gift of this one-of-a-kind craft was prompted by support from private citizens across the United States –and in particular South Carolina– following Super Typhoon Maysak, a record-setting storm that ravaged the Micronesian States of Yap and Chuuk in 2015.
Canoe delivery was organized by “Habele,” a South Carolina headquartered charity serving students across Micronesia. Habele had solicited, coordinated, and delivered relief supplies to pupils and educators in the wake of the storm. “Waa’gey,” a Yap-based community preservation organization, crafted the canoe, also working with Habele to identify Micronesians in the United States who could reassemble the craft once it reached Edisto Island, south of Charleston.
"The canoe is the central object of Pacific Island cultures, and preserving the knowledge of its construction and use is essential to cultural preservation in the region,” explained Douglas Herman, Senior Geographer, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. “It is exciting to see this knowledge being shared and perpetuated.“
The westernmost state in Micronesia, the tiny islands of Yap are scattered across 500 miles of ocean, just south of the US Territory of Guam. An American protectorate following liberation in World War Two, Micronesia is now a sovereign nation in a special “Compact” with the US. Through that status, many Micronesians come to study, work, and live, in the United States. Reassembly of the canoe offered some of these Islanders a chance to reconnect, and preserve their distinctive cultural skills.
“The practice of building and sailing canoes is an essential component of Micronesian culture,” says Barbara Wavell, an anthropologist and author of “Arts & Crafts of Micronesia.” “Canoe building requires many important skills including woodworking, lashing. These skills can also be applied to other cultural activities such as house construction and the making of bowls and tools. The Habele canoe project is a significant step in the promotion and preservation of this important cultural knowledge.”
Among the Micronesians who gathered to reassemble the canoe using distinctive and complex lashing techniques were Camilius Epoulipiy, John Salmai , Marino Yarogimal, Ralph Tawerilig, Richard Yangitelmes, and Troy Hasugulut. American born relatives of Island descent joined as well as American volunteers.
The canoe’s point of origin and its new berth share historical ties with the Spanish Empire. In 1686, the Islands of Yap were sighted and first claimed as Spanish colony. That same year -over 7,000 miles away- Point of Pines Plantation on Edisto was burned by Spanish raiders from Florida hoping to expel English colonists from present day South Carolina.
“This canoe is authentic enough for museum display, and functional enough to take shrimping in South Carolina’s tidal creeks,” explained Larry Raigetal of Waa’gey. “It’s made from local materials, with traditional tools, and we are excited about our friends at Point of Pines putting it to good use.”
“I join our elders and young men of Waa'gey in extending our heart felt appreciation and congratulations to our partner, Habele and those who have helped to assemble the canoe,” continued Raigetal, the "Senap," or master carver. He was supervised by his late father and master canoe carver Peter Pakemai “This is a proud moment for us and we are humbled with the opportunity to play a small part of this achievement.” Organizers hope to formally commission the canoe in mid-June.
“I was grateful to be a part of this,” said Cam Epoulipiy, who drove more than seven hours to attend. “To reconnect with other Islanders, to practice and preserve important skills, and to see that others outside our Islands also value these things of such importance to us.”


MAY 2017

The importance of having healthy and productive coconut trees is the focus of a new grant that the Enimwahn Community received from the Global Greengrants Fund. Their NGO, Enimwahn Development Association Incorporated or EDA Inc., received $5,000 to purchase equipment and 2000 coconut seedlings and plan to cut senile trees and replant with a more productive species of coconut tree. President of the EDA Inc., Mr. Stuard Penias, noted that “the use of coconut in our community really went up due to the rise in cost of raising pigs and other community usage of coconut. As of today, the number of coconut trees in our community has decreased compare to ten years ago. Most of these coconut trees have died due to the typhoon we encountered (in 2015) and some are just too old to give fruits and too tall for people to climb. The need and demand for new coconut trees within the Enimwahn community is increasing rapidly. Therefore, the Enimwahn Community is seeking assistance from any donor agency who can assist with the replenishment and replanting of new coconut trees.”

On Saturday, April 22, 2017, Willy Kostka and Betty Sigrah of the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), and Ricky Carl of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Micronesia Program, met with the 10 Heirs of Alik Kufus to hand $21,000 ($2,100 per family) over to the owners of the Yela Ka Forest Reserve in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. This is an event that takes place every April with the funds coming from the proceeds/earnings of the Yela Conservation Easement Endowment Fund, managed by MCT. The endowment, which was established to support this conservation easement agreement with funds from a US Forest Service Forest Legacy Grant and with matching funds from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, has a current total value of approximately $520,000.
As a Micronesia Challenge ( site for the FSM, the Yela Ka Forest in Kosrae is a special place that holds the world’s last remaining stand of the Ka tree (a species of Terminalia found only in Pohnpei and Kosrae). Because this forest area is privately owned, and because it is a unique and special place that provides pertinent ecosystem services to the people of Kosrae, as well as serves as a very critical habitat/nursery for the creatures/animals in the area, Yela qualified under the Forest Legacy Program. Conservation easements are comprehensive plans that involve different components and partners.

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
May 18, 2017
FSM—The US Department of the Interior has notified the FSM that it has suspended further infrastructure grant assistance to the FSM. The letter was dated April 27 and was transmitted under diplomatic cover to Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Lorin Robert in a letter dated April 28.
“The DOI has taken this step because the GFSM has not established a management system that meets the standards set forth in the “FSM Infrastructure Development Plan 2016-2025” (IDP),” the letter, signed by James E. Cason, Delegated Authority of the Deputy Secretary said.
It continues to say that the Compact of Free Association requires that “The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia shall develop and submit a nationwide infrastructure development plan (IDP) to the Government of the United States for review. Projects may be phased over two or more years. The annual implementation plan for the infrastructure sector referred to ... above, shall include a list of integrated state and national priorities for new and reconstructed capital infrastructure to be financed by Compact funds, cost requirements, and implementation schedule. This·project list and any revision thereto shall be submitted to the Government of the United States. Insofar as Grant funds are involved, the IDP shall be subject to the concurrence of the Committee.”
FSM Secretary for Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure, Lukner Weilbacher said this morning that the FSM does have an IDP that was approved by JEMCO (Joint Economic Management Committee). He said that the FSM feels that the issues the letter raised weren’t clear and has asked for a meeting with its US partners to discuss the matter further. “We already have an approved IDP,” he said.
Until after possible resolution of the issues of that pending meeting, US provided infrastructure funds under the Compact of Freely Associated States as amended have been frozen for future projects in the FSM.

Two-day summer festival set for June 16 – 17, 2017

Yap Visitors Bureau
COLONIA, Yap FSM – In its seventh year, Yap’s Homecoming Summer Festival 2017 will feature local food, canoe rides, craft demonstrations and the traditional dances that Yap is known for around the world.
“This year we are honoring 30 Years of the Pacific Asia Travel Association in Micronesia,” notes Don Evans, General Manager of the Yap Visitors Bureau. “We are proud to be members of PATA Micronesia, a catalyst for sustainable tourism development, and are excited to welcome the organization’s members to Yap during this fun event for their second tri-annual meeting.”
Taking place annually on the third Saturday of June, pre-festival activities on Friday, June 16th will begin at noon at the Yap Living History Museum in Colonia. A marketplace, canoe building and carving demonstrations and a traditional dance will entertain residents and visitors alike.
On Saturday, June 17th from 8:00am to 5:00pm, more fun and entertainment will include excursions in a hand-carved sailing canoe, a Stone Money ceremony, more traditional dances, as well as the opportunity to sample local food, buy locally-made handicrafts, and observe demonstrations by the island’s artisans.
“Come celebrate Yap’s kick-off-the-summer festival when families and friends, new and old, reunite at the Yap Living History Museum in Colonia. And don’t forget to bring your camera!” Evans adds.
For more information, contact the Yap Visitors Bureau at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

sylvia elias

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
May 17, 2017
Pohnpei—On Sunday, May 21, 26 year old Sylvia Elias of Madolenihmw will march across a platform in Guam to receive a Master’s degree in Social Work through the University of Hawaii Distance Learning program. Elias is a strong advocate and powerful voice for the elimination of family violence, a young voice made bolder and stronger by international backing.
In late April she met with several leaders including Chairman Peter Lohn of the Pohnpei State Legislature. Senator Lohn is the Chairman of the Judicial and Governmental Operations Committee. On the agenda was the newest version of a bill to criminalize and set penalties for Family Violence. The bill was first introduced approximately 9 years ago, but every time there is a new legislature, bills that have not been passed disappear and have to be re-introduced if they are to be considered. The latest complicated bill is 29 pages long. Reading through the bill it is striking to see how many times the words “if available” are used in reference to mandatory counseling, shelters, and other services that simply aren’t available.

telecommunicationOn May 4, 2017, The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Palau jointly hosted a signing ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Guam to commemorate the signing of the supply contracts for the Yap, Palau, and Chuuk cable systems. Executive officials and managers joined together to participate in a commemorative signing ceremony and ribbon cutting to celebrate the roll out of the projects.
During the ceremony, the Government of FSM together with Belau Submarine Cable Corporation (Republic of Palau), NEC Corporation (cable supplier, based in Japan), Globe (Republic of Palau’s partner, based in Philippines) and PT. Telekomunikasi Indonesia International aka Telin (FSM’s partner for the Yap cable, based in Indonesia), formally announced their collective partnership for the construction of fiber optic cable systems that will connect Yap, Chuuk (Weno) and the Republic of Palau to the rest of the world. NEC, as the cable supplier, announced that it had already begun construction and confirmed that delivery of the cable systems is currently on schedule to be completed by the end of this year.

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
May 18, 2017
Palikir, Pohnpei—Chairman Senator Victor Gouland of Chuuk called a public hearing of the Committee on Transportation and Communication for 8:30 this morning. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss proposed amendments that if passed would transfer certain assets of FSM Telecommunications Corporation (FSMTC) to the newly established “Open Access Entity”.
Witnesses at the hearing included representatives of the Department of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure including the Department’s Secretary. The Secretary for the Department of Justice was there. FSMTC had representatives there including one board member. No one from the new “Open Access Entity” was there, leaving an attorney who has worked on the project to be the spokesperson, even though he told the committee that he didn’t work for the new government corporation.

anniversary 03

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
May 17, 2017
Kolonia, Pohnpei— Escorted by a full Kolonia Town contingent of police officers, with sirens blaring, people of Kolonia Town paraded from the Pohnpei State government building to the Kolonia Town government building for the 52nd commemoration of their “Charter Day”.

“Kitail linganiki atail tepsang wasa tohto ahpw kak ehupene pahn ehu government oh kolokal soaramwahuen atail wasahn kouson oh en kak mwahueng en dih en mwuhr akan,” was printed in the program. Roughly translated, the sentence means “We shine from our different cultural backgrounds but unite under one government and uphold the true heritage of our origins for the sake of the next generation.”
The parade started later than planned, as did the formal ceremony at the Kolonia Town government building. The ceremony began with an opening prayer, and welcoming remarks were provided by the Speaker of the 9th Kolonia Town Council, followed by the laying of a wreath for former lead ers of the Kolonia Town government.
The Honorable Tadasy Yamaguchi gave a brief history of Kolonia Town. The ceremony closed with remarks by Kolonia Mayor Jose San Nicolas.

marlinBy The Pohnpei Fishing Club
May 13, 2017
Pohnpei—A two day fishing tournament of the Pohnpei Fishing Club (PFC) finished today. Petsin Abiner very nearly broke the club record for a marlin when he landed his 448.6 pound marlin. The previous record had been 450.6 pounds.
Certainly there are some large boats with big engines that compete in the fishing tournaments but there are also small boats. Abiner’s was one of those. His marlin nearly filled his boat and he was only running a 40 horsepower motor. Further, Abiner caught his marlin on a handline, a truly amazing feat. If his fish had only been two pounds heavier he would have walked away with the marlin jackpot that keeps growing and is now at $2500; missed it by “that much”.
The tournament started on FSM Constitution Day, a national holiday, and concluded on Saturday May 13.
Anglers competed for thousands of dollars in prizes. The top two anglers also won trips to the 25th Annual All Mike Tournament in Majuro. Those two prizes and others were sponsored by Ambros, Inc.

college 02

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
May 11, 2017
Pohnpei—Happy students participated today in the 65th commencement exercises of The College of Micronesia at the China Friendship Gym in Palikir. The theme chosen by the students was “There’s More Beyond the Reef”.
This class’s valedictorian was Anjannet Frederick who gave a stirring valedictory address. Salutatorian Jaymar Dannis Anderson introduced the commencement speaker, Yolanda Joab. Anderson presented a long list of Joab’s achievements that would have been impressive even if she wasn’t a young woman.
“The fastest way to feel old in your twenties is being asked to deliver the keynote speeches at both your high school and college alma maters,” she joked.