This is the latest news from us.


Moran Eye Center from the University of Utah makes fourth visit to Micronesia


By Dr. Sandra Wang-Harris
University of Utah's Moran Eye Center in partnership with Mahi International Foundation ( and the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs returned to Micronesia for their 4th visit and outreach from October 17th through November 6th 2017. This year’s focus was centered on Pohnpei State Hospital’s first ophthalmologist Dr. Padwick Gallen and eye outreach in Chuuk State. The visit began with Moran Eye Center’s Dr. Eric Hansen training and supervising Dr. Gallen in the most modern techniques of cataract surgeries. They completed over 16 modern day cataract surgeries known as phacoemulsification making him the first Micronesian phaco-trained ophthalmologist in the FSM.
The following two weeks (October 23rd through November 3rd) was spent with a team of eye care professionals led by Dr. Craig Chaya, state outreach nurses and community health workers. The team traversed by boat the small islands around Chuuk Lagoon: Tonowas, Udot, Pata, and Toll, Feichuuk. The team screened and examined the people every day, gave out spectacle glasses and identified patients that needed surgery for the following week. The second week was focused in Weno and continued with full eye examinations, prescribing spectacle glasses and medicines as well as completing surgery for those who needed it. In total, 978 comprehensive eye exams were completed, 940 reading glasses were given to patients as well as 170 prescription ophthalmic glasses. 55 patients were treated with laser surgery while another 250 patients underwent surgery for various conditions including cataract, pterygium and other treatable causes of eye blindness.
The last week of the visit was spent in direct supervision and training of Dr. Gallen at Chuuk State Hospital where he successfully completed another 20 phaco cataract surgeries.
Eye care for any nation is critical for the economic and social welfare of its people not only for education, but for daily working and livelihood. The Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah and Mahi International is committed to the people of Micronesia and long-term sustainable eye care. This has been shown in the more than $500,000 spent on eye care in the FSM over the last 4 years which does not include the time and resources from some of the leading experts in vision and ophthalmology of the United States.
Along with the satisfying accomplishment of direct care by the visiting team this past month, perhaps one of the most notable achievements was the presentation of a National Eye Care Plan to Mr. Marcus Samo, Deputy Secretary of Health, FSM. In order to continue this vital work of sustainable eye care for all Micronesians, the National Eye Care Plan needs the full support of the state and federal governments. With the support of the FSM government and the state governments, eye care for all Micronesians is reachable and obtainable.

Add a comment

Two FSM citizens sworn in to practice law in Guam


By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
November 23, 2017
Guam—Two FSM citizens originally from Chuuk have recently earned the right to practice law in Guam after they passed the exam that allowed them to be admitted to the bar in that jurisdiction.
Debrah Ann Mori Retuyan earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Public Administration at the University of Guam. She later attended Thomas M. Cooley in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she earned a Juris Doctor. Retuyan interned at the Embassy of the FSM in Washington D.C. after which she returned to Guam where she currently works in the Prosecution Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Guam.
Maximo Mida spent his early years on Wonei and Udot before he moved to Pohnpei where he attended first through sixth grades at Kolonia Elementary. His family moved to Hawaii in 1986. He graduated from Mililani High School there. He enlisted in the US Coast Guard after High School where he became one of the services elite helicopter rescue swimmers. At the school he “learned that nothing is impossible to achieve if you put your mind to it,” he said.
While in the Coast Guard, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from Chaminade University in 2008. Retiring honorably from the Coast Guard after 20 years he then graduated in 2017 with a Juris Doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.
He has passed both the FSM and Guam bar exams and currently works at the Law Firm of Ramp and Mida.
He says that he has two beautiful children, four year old boy named Makai and a four month old baby girl named Meraki. He is currently engaged to be married to Agnes Billimon.

Add a comment

FSM Social Security Taxable Wage Base to Increase on January 1, 2018

FSM Social Security Administration
FSM— FSM Social Security Administration hereby reminds the general public that per Public Law No. 16-10, the taxable wage base is scheduled to increase from $7,000 to $8,000 on January 1, 2018.
The purpose of the social security law is to effect economy and efficiency in the fields of government and business by providing a means whereby employees may be ensured a measure of security in their old age and given an opportunity for leisure without hardship and complete loss of income. Further, to provide survivors’ insurance for wage earners and their dependents.
The increase is part of several amendments that were enacted to improve the short term as well as long term viability of the program.

Add a comment

Good fish landed at 14th Annual Budweiser Tournament


For several days before the 14th Annual Budweiser Tournament, the weather had been threatening to be too dangerous to have a fishing tournament. But at the dawn of November 18, the sun rose bright and clear. The 16 boats that registered were rewarded by fair weather and a fair number of good sized fish.
Each boat that registered and that came to the weigh in received a case of Budweiser and free t-shirts for the crew. Thanks Budweiser and Ambros, Inc.
The format was a Catch-5 where the boats competed against each other to land at least one of each of the following species, Billfish, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Skip Jack Tuna and Yellow Fin or other tuna.
Only one boat managed to catch all five. The same boat caught the only qualifying billfish of the day, a 70.5 pound sailfish. Congratulations to Happier Hookers captained by Kumer Panuelo.
With a total of 139.6 pounds of fish and five species caught, “Happier Hookers” grabbed the first prize worth $400. “Pohnpei Surf Club” pulled in three species for a total weight of 82.2 pounds of fish and the $300 second prize. “Happy Tuna” also landed three species for a total of 53.1 pounds for the third prize of $150.
There were also prizes for the biggest fish of each species. Each of those anglers won a $100 prize for their catches. Allois Malfitani landed the largest Yellow Fin Tuna at 57.3 pounds. Kumer Panuelo’s 14.6 pound Mahi Mahi scored him a prize. Thomas Beckman got a Skip Jack that was also 14.6 pounds for a win in that species category. Kumer Panuelo also scored a prize for his 70.5 pound sailfish. Dane Nighswander continued his series of wins with a 27.1 pound Wahoo.
Congratulations to all of the winners. Many thanks to Mangrove Bay for hosting the weigh in, and to all of the people that helped: Bill Pendergraft, Francisco, Tina Arnold, Uta Krause, Jim Tobin, and all of Kumer’s guys. We couldn’t do it without you.
The library raised over $900.00 this year from hot dog and sausage sales at the weigh in. Some of the books bought for the library were on display. Pohnpei Fishing Club is a proud sponsor of the library.
Many thanks to our sponsors Budweiser and Ambros/Shimbros.
I am sure we will be seeing a lot of people proudly wearing the shirts around town.
This is our last tournament of the year. Happy holidays to all fishermen and women.
The Annual General Meeting will be set some time in January, and we have a full lineup of tournaments scheduled for next year.
See you then.

Add a comment

Japanese Ambassador commends JICA Alumni Association for work in the FSM


By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
November 17, 2017
FSM—Japan’s Ambassador to the FSM, Ryoichi Horie hosted a reception at his home as a “celebration party” for a commendation that he awarded to the JICA Alumni Association (JAA) during their annual meeting in Chuuk on November 8.
The commendation was the first ever presentation by a Japanese Ambassador to the FSM. It was awarded in order to acknowledge JAA’s “outstanding contribution to the promotion of mutual friendship between Japan and the FSM over the years.”
The commendation was presented to Mr. Simpson Abraham and other board members of JAA-FSM in Chuuk and again at his residence in Pohnpei on November 17.
FSM’s Acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Samson Pretrick, Ambassador Horie, and Simpson Abraham gave speeches during the evening.
The Ambassador’s commendation is awarded to individuals or group of outstanding achievements in international fields to acknowledge their contribution to the promotion of friendly relations between Japan and other countries. The Commendation also aims to promote the understanding and support of the Japanese Public for their activities. This time, the Commendation was awarded to JICA-Alumni Association in the Federated States of Micronesia. JAA in FSM is playing a very active role within their respective communities. There are over 593 FSM citizens who have attended JICA trainings overseas and are recognized as members of the JAA in FSM and 129 active members as of today.
Ambassador Horie recognized the importance of the association and the role it plays in the FSM not only for promoting the social welfare of the local communities’ people, but also the mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and FSM.
The JICA Alumni Association of the FSM or JAA-FSM was chartered and established on November 3, 2006 as a non-profit corporation with the purpose of gathering and creating friendship among JICA alumni and volunteers within and outside of the FSM; developing relationships between JICA and alumni with the frames of the Official Development Assistance Program of Japan; and, supporting economic, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation between the FSM and Japan.
Since its inception in 2006, former JAA-FSM President Moses Pretrick established a chapter in each respective States as one of their activities for FY2013. The Kosrae Chapter was established on November 23, 2013, followed by the Chuuk Chapter on January 25, 2014, followed by the Yap Chapter on March 16, 2014.
JAA supported numerous activities in each of the respective states in FY2016:
In Pohnpei, a Waste Survey Activity was conducted at Nett Point on November 11, 2016. In collaboration with JAA-Pohnpei, JICA-Volunteers, Micro-Japan Club of COM, Environmental Protection Agency in Pohnpei , and Nett District Government, a total of 100 trash bags were collected. In collaboration with JICA, OEEM and EPA, the later placed signs imploring visitors to not litter on each side of the beach.
In response to the Kosrae Governments declaration of State of Emergency for the outbreak of the ZIKA Virus and Dengue Fever on November 1, 2016, JAA-Kosrae collaborated with the public health to clean up the community to help to eliminate the breeding of mosquitoes there.
In Yap, a Community Clean-up at Okeefe was organized by JAA-Yap in collaboration with EPA-Yap, COM-Yap, and the community to clean up the most popular, yet most polluted tourist attraction in Colonia.
JAA supported those activities by directly participating or co-sponsoring them.

Add a comment

Chuuk Continues To Promote Solid Waste Management through JICA Partnership Program

A new project entitled “Improvement of Solid Waste Management in Pacific Island Countries-The Cooperative 2R Promotion Project in the State of Chuuk, FSM” (hereinafter referred to as “the Project”) under JICA Partnership Program (JPP) in Collaboration with Hachioji City Government has launched this November. The duration of this project will be from November 2017 to February 2020. The main objectives of the project are conservation of clean environment through ongoing 2R activities and establish waste collection routines. Chuuk State Environmental Protection Agency will be the counterpart organization to promote the concept of the 2R (reduce and reuse) principle as well as consolidating the waste collection system and install organic waste disposal units with cooperation of local communities.
The Team met with two other relevant agencies contributing efforts to this project and they are the Chuuk Public Works & Transportation and Chuuk Women Council (CWC). In collaboration with Chuuk EPA, the Chuuk Public Works & Transportation operates and maintains the waste collection system. The members of Chuuk Women Council are practicing the principle of the 2R (Reduce and Reuse) by forming a sewing group who can fashion reusable shopping bags out of used clothes. This group of women also holds a market day on the last Fridays of every month to sell used items as well. These activities help prevent used clothes and other items as well as plastic bags from going to the landfill and will eventually contribute to future legislations on the ban of plastic bags.
The Team also visited Pohnpei on November 13-14 and paid a courtesy call to Mr. Antholino Neth, Acting Secretary of Department of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management (DECCEM) and Ms. Patricia Pedrus, Sustainable Development Planner and Embassy of Japan to introduce the objective and main activities of the project as well as expected outcomes and results. The Team then moved to Chuuk on November 14-22

Add a comment

Pingelap government still struggling with financial issues audit shows

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
November 30, 2017
Pohnpei—Pohnpei’s Office of the Public Auditor has released the results of an audit to help the then new Mayor to determine the cash status of Pingelap as of September 30, 2016. The audit says that the total budgetary revenues available for the Pingelap Municipal Government (PMG) in fiscal year 2016 amounted to $124,232. The review found that as of September 30, 2016, Pingelap had approximately $12,943. The figure is approximate because management was unsure of the amount due to unreliable financial reporting, because of un-updated records and balances and lack of review and reconciliation of the Municipal books with the bank records.
OPA had previously been engaged to audit PMG financial and accounting activities for the period October 1, 2012 to March 31, 2014. But due to the lack of financial and accounting records, they declared PMG to be un-auditable at that time.
“PMG has made some progress and improvement in the management of its financial records,” the summary of the audit said. “Our auditors are now able to trace and verify financial transactions presented in the combined journal of deposits and cash disbursement.”
The auditors noted that there still is much room for improvement in the cash receipt and cash disbursement activities. They were still not making receipts for every cash payment received and accounts were not reviewed and reconciled in a timely fashion. Filing and retention of records was apparently still a problem. Issuance of checks was not always supported by documentary evidence to properly justify disbursements of funds.
It said that a detailed review of available cash receipts showed that $305 of the cash collections had not been deposited and that the Treasurer could not provide any explanation. It also said that auditors had found that one check had been erroneously processed through the bank twice incurring an unnecessary service charge of $25. Due to insufficient funds in the Municipality’s bank account the bank did not pay the amount of the check out again. Had the PMG been reconciling their bank accounts in a timely fashion they would have detected the error but they did not.
Auditors chalked up the difficulties to the Treasurer’s lack of training and also a lack of oversight by management. They recommended that PMG provide personnel with relevant training.
The audit also found that PMG has not taken corrective measures to fully resolve the findings and recommendations identified in the Management Letter dated June 29, 2015 when they found the government to be un-auditable.

Add a comment