UOG alum places 2nd in business strategy
Posted: Aug 31, 2015 By Isa Baza KUAM
It's a game that brings together students from some of
the top business schools in the world - and University of Guam graduate Jung
Jin Cho ranked second place in his group during the August 2015 Best Strategy
Invitational, part of the Business Strategy Game.
Cho said he used a numbers based strategy to outrank his
peers. Dr. Annette Taijeron Santos said Cho's success shows the quality of
business administration degree programs at UOG.
Young Junior Achievement entrepreneurs bring ideas to
Posted: Aug 31, 2015 By Ken Quintanilla
More of our island youth demonstrated their
interest in businesses. This past weekend dozens of high school students attended
the Junior Achievement Guam company program. JA is a program for
high school students to learn more about work readiness, entrepreneurship, and
Meg Tyquiengco is the chairperson of the board for Junior
Achievement and told KUAM News, "We have our eleven sponsoring companies -
Bank of Guam, Bank of Hawaii, Calvo's Insurance , Community First, First
Hawaiian Bank, Guma Tasa, IP&E, Tan Holdings, Triple J, Pacific Islands
Club , and United Airlines, and they are all sponsoring anywhere between 25 to
35 students 30 and they're gonig to teach them how to create a business, build
a product, market and sell it, and there will be a competition. And then they
will liquidate that company , give a return of the investment to stockholders
and then after that we have a competition in January that will send the two top
teams to Korea."
The two teams will then compete against the top teams in
26 other countries in the Asia Pacific Region.
Report: Guam's economy continues to improve
Posted: Aug 31, 2015 By Nestor Licanto
As the new fiscal year draws near, Guam's
economy continues to improve. That's the assessment of long-time
Department of Labor economist Gary Hiles in his 2016 Economic Outlook
"The economy on Guam has been gradually expanding
for the last four years," he summarized, "and we're expecting for
2016 that it will continue expanding and perhaps start accelerating with the
beginning of the military buildup, the marine relocation to Guam."
The Record of Decision was signed just this weekend; it
was the final step in the defense department's lengthy federal environmental
assessment. Hiles says it will trigger a more than decade-long run of military
construction projects. He says Department of Defense predicts a gradual rise in
activity that will add about 2,000 civilian jobs by 2016, ramping up to a high
of more than 7,000 laborers by 2021.
But for the near term, Hiles says it was private sector
construction that helped most, noting when asked about what stands out as
highlights of his outlook, "Well, in this year the opening of the Regional
City medical hospital has been a big highlight, and also the major employer -
the Dusit Thani hotel - has opened in Tumon. So two major employers and a
number of smaller new restaurants have opened recently. And that employment
will continue and expand some more in the future as those businesses get more fully
In his report, Hiles says there are a number of other
private and local government construction projects in the pipeline, their
impact on the level of economic activity and revenues for Fiscal Year 2016 will
of course depend on the timing. Hiles says a short term leading indicator of
future construction activity is the number of building permits issued, adding,
"Building permits are fairly strong. We've seen an increase in the number
of permits in commercial which can lead to jobs in the future. There's also a
number of bond funded projects, primarily for the utilities. the airport will
be doing a number of projects, as will the water and power authorities. So
these bond-funded utility projects will play a significant component in the
construction work in the years ahead."
Hiles report also discusses how a dramatic drop in fuel
prices will have a significant impact here. He said, "Two of the main
factors are, on the demand side because china's economy is slowing down a bit.
That demand is slowing down. And with the deal with Iran, we'll expect to see
more oil coming out of Iran. So the supply has expanded, also the supply of
fuel has expanded with the fracking industry in the united states so enormous.
the United States has gone to almost being self sufficient in some fuels.
He says as a result of lower fuel prices local consumers
will have more money to spend within the community.
Externally, he says it will also provide a stimulus to
Asian economies that are net petroleum importers, such as Japan, Korea and
China - countries which also happen to be Guam's primary source of tourists.
"Surprisingly a deflationary factor is with the reduced price of fuel that
we've experienced in the last year, and that's an important factor because our
economy depends a lot on fuel. Fuel for vehicles, transportation, that's the
consumer expense. But also for the airlines to bring the tourists. When the
fuel prices were very high, there was fuel charges added, but now some of those
fuel charges are being reduced or eliminated. So that's helpful, encouraging
for tourist industry. That makes tourists flights to Guam more
affordable," Hiles said.
And speaking of Guam's main industry, he says
estimates call for modest growth in tourism, adding, "The Visitors Bureau
put out a forecast of slight increase in tourism for 2016, but kind of hidden
in that is the impact of tourism will expand because tourists are spending
"Our major source of tourism is Japan and their
economy is fairly flat. And so the Japan arrivals are down compared to
historical numbers, but we're fortunate that the Korean market has picked up
and basically filled in the slack so resulting in a net increase in tourists
But Hiles notes there is one issue- especially in this
region- that cannot be predicted, and that's Mother Nature. Case in point:
Typhoon Soudelor's devastation in Saipan, of which he said, "There's
always the possibility of weather disturbances, typhoons, earthquakes other
natural or health issues so, you just never know for sure. It's
Monday, 31 Aug 2015 03:00am
BY ROBERT Q. TUPAZ | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
“THE Marines are coming” will become a
common cry for the next several years on Guam as the island preps and builds for the permanent presence of U.S. Marine Corps forces.
On Saturday, the Navy announced the
signing of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the long-anticipated relocation of
Marine units from Okinawa, Japan to Guam.
“This proposed action is needed to ensure consistency with the new force
posture adopted by the Department of Defense in accordance with the April 2012
Roadmap Adjustments international agreement,” said Cmdr. Daniel Schaan,
director of Joint Guam Program Office (Forward). “It provides for a materially
smaller force on Guam than was originally proposed in the 2010 final
environmental impact statement, while fulfilling U.S. national security
obligations in the Western Pacific.”
The ROD finalizes the process as Marines relocate to Guam and covers training
operations in the region including exercises scheduled to be conducted in the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Gov. Eddie Calvo will receive a briefing today at Adelup regarding the
decade-long process that will increase the military presence on Guam. Calvo
said the heightened effort was designed “to protect our shores and our nation’s
allies in the Asia-Pacific region.” He added that with the signing of the ROD
the process of an $8 billion investment in Guam will begin anew.
“This buildup 2 has given us time to understand better what we need to do to
strengthen our economy so we don’t see a huge rise with the buildup, and then
plummet once it’s completed,” Calvo said in a statement. “Also, the downsize in
the buildup numbers and extended time frame of 13 years, as opposed to the
seven years we were looking at before, help to ensure a smoother transition of
Marines into our island community.”
Calvo added that the ROD encapsulated the four pillars that he and then-Under
Secretary of the Navy Robert Work agreed to in 2011.
The ROD reflects decisions in the supplemental environmental impact statement,
noted Calvo. According to the ROD, the housing area and training range will
stay within the military’s existing footprint. The decision includes: The
primary base and cantonment area to be located at Naval Computer and
Telecommunications Station Guam in Finegayan; Family housing will be at
Andersen Air Force Base; The live-fire training range complex will be at the Northwest
Field area on Andersen Air Force Base; and there also will be a hand grenade
range at Andersen South.
Organized and trained
JGPO said the ROD enables the Department of the Navy to ensure that the
relocated Marines are organized, trained and equipped. The ROD is required at
the conclusion of the environmental review of any federal project or program
and outlines the decisions the Navy has made to implement the proposed
realignment actions and specifies associated mitigation measures.
In its release JGPO stated that Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey, deputy commandant
for plans, policies and operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, underscored the
strategic importance of Guam to the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific.“The
Marine Corps has a historic friendship with the people of Guam; we look forward
to continuing that partnership,” Bailey said.
JGPO, Calvo and Aguon encouraged the island community to read the ROD in its
entirety. JGPO touted the final product as a process that thoroughly considered
public and resource agency comments on the SEIS, interagency discussions, and
Guam community and leadership discussions.
The announcement comes a week after the Department of Defense announced an
award of a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity
small-business contract with a maximum value of $100 million for the design and
engineering services for projects funded by government of Japan direct cash
contributions and U.S. funds for the development of infrastructure and
facilities covered by the Defense Policy Review Initiative and other projects
under the purview of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific. On Aug. 12,
the Navy released a request for proposals for the first phase of utilities and
site improvements at Finegayan with proposals due Sept. 14.
shows average legislative salary exceeds $33K
Monday, 31 Aug 2015 03:00am
BY ROBERT Q. TUPAZ | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
EXCLUDING lawmakers, the average hourly
wage at the Guam Legislature exceeds $16 per hour or $33,280 annually.
This amount does not include the fees
for legal services. At the end of the current fiscal year alone, lawmakers will
dole out $209,133 for lawyers and another $5,700 for specialized services.
Lawmakers also spend more than $1 million in rent for their two-year term.
Click here to view Senatorial Offices Top Paid Staff
According to the latest legislative staffing pattern dated July 31, lawmakers
receive an annual base salary of $85,000 before benefits are added.
Sens. Michael San Nicolas, Tina Muña-Barnes and James Espaldon received the
largest government match for benefits, bringing their total compensation to
more than $115,000 each per fiscal year.
Seven other senators also receive more than $100,000 in compensation after
salaries and benefits are computed.
While the average legislative staffer’s rate stands at $33,280, 16 staffers,
including five of the six employees paid to staff the Office of Finance and
Budget, exceed the amount paid to lawmakers before their pay increases were
retroactive to January 2014. Five of OFB’s six employees earn in excess of
$65,000 per year.
In the staffing pattern report, San Nicolas had the highest number of staffers
with 17; however, 11 were listed as part-time or with terms of employment
ending at different dates in August.
As for office budgets, Sen. Dennis Rodriguez Jr. expended the most with
$328,463 reportedly budgeted for staff. Democratic colleague San Nicolas came
in second with $326,230 of his budget allocated for staffing.
Lowest salary rates
Sens. Mary Torres and Frank Blas Jr. spent the least on staffers. Blas listed
his staff expenses at $116,479.84 for three members. Torres budgeted $78,023.67
for two staffers – the least number of employees in any senatorial office.
However, Torres did contract with attorney Benjamin Sison Jr. for more than
Sen. Brant McCreadie employs lawyer Ignacio Aguigui for legal research at
$30,000 annually and Sen. Rory Respicio, chairman of the committee on rules,
contracts attorney Mary Louise Wheeler for $10,800. In addition, the legislature
employs attorney Therese Terlaje as its counsel of record at $90,000 and the
legislature’s central office is assigned attorney Julian Aguon for $45,000.
Vincent P. Arriola, executive director of the Guam Legislature, said it is the
prerogative of individual lawmakers to employ lawyers or staffers whom they
feel would best assist their offices.
“Personnel requirements are determined by individual senators for their offices
in line with their policy goals and needs for specialized expertise,” Arriola
said. He referred questions about employment and contracts to specific
senators. “Should you require a more detailed response, we would refer you to
those respective senators.”
Senatorial staffers Jason Tedtaotao and Edward Lee draw the most in total annual
compensation among all legislative staffers. Tedtaotao earns $88,822.24 from
Sen. Tommy Morrison’s budget as chief of staff. Lee, a staff assistant with
Sen. Tony Ada takes in $79,645.94. Both Lee and Tedtaotao possess advanced
degrees and have extensive experience in the legislature serving in various
capacities with several lawmakers.
Tony Ada also pays the most per average per employee at $58,970. Tony Ada
employs just three people with a reported staff budget of $176,911.75.
There were two expenses listed for vendors at $5,700 collectively. Sen. Frank
Aguon Jr. paid Stephen Michael Cruz $3,000 for investigative services relating
to the nomination of Chief of Police Joseph Cruz. Respicio allotted vendor
Maria K. Raiford a $2,700 contract to provide “public education/relations.”
As for rent, the legislature reported contracts for the entire term of the 33rd
Guam Legislature. The central offices of the legislature cost taxpayers
$504,000 paid to Tai Hong Corp. before utilities.
Several senatorial leases reflect amounts between $48,000 to $72,000 per
legislative term for senators not located in the main legislative hall.
Sens. Tom Ada, Aguon and San Nicolas pay their landlords the most with $72,000
each per term. Aguon and San Nicolas are located in the DNA building in
Hagåtña. Tom Ada’s office is on Aspinall Avenue near the legislature. He rents
from Ada's Trust & Investment Inc.
branch budgeted $8.4M for fiscal 2016
Monday, 31 Aug 2015 03:00am
BY ROBERT Q. TUPAZ | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
THE Guam Legislature will receive $8.4
million for its fiscal 2016 budget.
Its current operating budget is $7.78
million for the offices of elected lawmakers and its central operations. As
well, the legislature operates the Office of Finance and Budget which was
budgeted $340,863 for FY 2015 which ends on Sept 30.
The amount is appropriated through the general fund and is inserted into the
annual appropriations measure. However, unlike other agencies or departments of
the government of Guam, the legislative branch is exempt from defending its annual
allotment for legislative offices or the OFB.
According to Vincent P. Arriola, executive director of the Guam Legislature,
local statute automatically provides a 2-percent ceiling of the annual budget
projections for lawmakers and the legislature.
“Unlike the vast majority of government entities, the legislature’s budget was
determined by law through a popular initiative passed nearly 20 years ago,”
Arriola said. “The 1996 initiative set the legislature’s budgetary ceiling at 2
percent of the government’s revenue projection for that fiscal year.”
Arriola said that the legislature’s budget has more than complied with this
statute allotting approximately 50 percent less than the amount allowed by law.
The substitute Bill 37-33, the FY 2016 budget bill, adopted a $665 million
budget for government operations for fiscal 2016. Two percent from the proposed
budget equates to some $13.3 million. Add on top of that an additional $200.7
million from the government’s special fund revenue, and according to Guam law,
the legislative branch alone could have appropriated in excess of $17.3 million
for its budget.
In October 2014, lawmakers received a budget of $7.78 million for current year
needs. With the proposed $8.4 million budget for FY 16, the branch of
government that controls the purse strings of public service seemingly provided
themselves with an increased appropriation of $629,436. Not so said Arriola.
“According to the Office of Finance and Budget (OFB), the legislature’s budget
is, in fact, a $96,000 decrease when compared to its actual funding level from
all sources in the current year,” Arriola said.
At the start of the current term of the 33rd Guam Legislature, lawmakers agreed
to set budgets for each office. Offices held by members of the majority party
receive more than the minority party. Thus, the office of each Democratic
legislator, each of whom is chairperson of a legislative committee, was
provided $331,516 through the end of this fiscal year. Minority senators
received $191,256 for their office operations.
Speaker Judith Won Pat, who in addition to her regular senatorial duties was
provided a budget of $387,284 for her office. The speaker is often tasked with
a host of ministerial duties including hosting official visits and receiving or
transmitting correspondence from other branches and all senators in addition to
other government business.
The Guam Legislature has no classified personnel on staff. All employees work
as unclassified employees but can receive government benefits enjoyed by
individuals in classified positions such as retirement, medical, dental and
life insurance benefits and can accumulate sick or annual leave. “Staffing
decisions including compensation are a prerogative of individual senators,”
There are two classes of legislative employees. A legislative class I employee
may receive all the government benefits with the office paying the government’s
matching contribution as required by law and depending on the employee’s years
of service. A legislative class II is only entitled to annual or sick leave.
There are no restrictions on “double dippers” – former government employees
pulling both a government pension and drawing a full or part-time salary with
Another area of the legislative branch that may seemingly receive a budget
increase if the FY16 budget is adopted by the governor or overridden if vetoed
is the OFB. The OFB is the legislature’s equivalent of the executive branch’s
Bureau of Budget and Management Research and the governor’s fiscal team. The
office is led by the chairperson of the Ways and Means Committee or its
successor committee. In this case, Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz is chairman of
the current committee on appropriations, therefore, the OFB falls under his
The proposed budget passed by lawmakers last Monday provided a $399,000 budget
versus the current operating budget of $340,863.
Arriola said that the according to OFB, the increase from $340,863 to $399,000
is to partially restore the OFB appropriation to what it was five years ago.
“The OFB appropriation back in FY 2007 was $455,071 and continued to decline to
its current level at $340,863,” Arriola said. “No other government entity has
received a similar sharp reduction in appropriation level over the same
He provided a history of the appropriations to the OFB from fiscal years 2007
Below are the Office of Finance and Budgets' appropriations by fiscal year:
2007 – $455,071
2008 – $455,071
2009 – $428,567
2010 – $428,567
2011 – $392,460
2012 – $378,737
2013 – $359,232
2014 – $340,863
2015 – $340,863
to use liquefied petroleum gas hit the road
Thursday, 27 Aug 2015 03:00am
BY JASMINE STOLE | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
THE first two vans outfitted to run on
liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) instead of standard gasoline were donated
yesterday to two local nonprofit organizations as part of a pilot project for
using alternative fuel.
According to Bob Koeppen Jr., commercial
and administration vice president of South Pacific Petroleum Corp. (SPPC), LPG
performs just as well as regular gasoline, but puts out cleaner emissions. SPPC
is the island’s sole LPG supplier. SPPC hopes to expand its LPG customer base
to include fleets of vehicles in the future, depending on the success of the
pilot project, according to Koeppen.
Compared to traditional fuel, liquefied petroleum gas offers cleaner emissions
and is conceivably better for the environment, which is why other locales offer
cars that run on LPG. “In a lot of places around the world, there have been a
lot of LPG conversions to help with air emissions,” Koeppen said.
On Guam, school buses could be one of the larger markets that would benefit
from the use of LPG fuel over traditional fuel because of the cleaner air
emissions. “If the government wanted to buy a bunch of LPG school buses, you’re
looking at (cleaner) air emissions, less of a carbon footprint,” he said.
Triple J Ford partnered with SPPC to supply the two Ford LPG Transit Connect
vans donated to Harvest House and the GCA Trades Academy. The vans have dual
fuel capacities, with LPG being one of them. Jeffrey Jones, president of Triple
J Enterprise, said several vehicles are now in stock that are able to run on
LPG should customers decide they want to purchase vehicles that run on LPG.
A lot of thought went into choosing a gas station to house an LPG pump, Jones
said, but eventually Triple J and SPPC decided on the Ocean Vista 76 service
station on Airport Road near the Route 16 overpass. The LPG pump sits separate
from the other pumps and currently it only refuels the two donated vans – the
only LPG vehicles on the island.
The separate LPG pump station cost an estimated $10,000.
Technology to provide LPG fuel for vehicles has advanced significantly in
recent years, which is why it is more feasible now than it was previously to
offer LPG for vehicles, Koeppen said, adding he has been trying to get LPG
vehicles on Guam for years.
Koeppen said SPPC gets its liquefied petroleum gas from Asian countries,
including China, Philippines, Indonesia or Japan. “We have no control over
that, that’s the shipping company,” Koeppen said. “(The cost) to bring in the
LPG is very similar to what we bring in the fuel ship,” he said. Similarly, the
per-gallon price would be about the same for customers using liquefied
petroleum gas instead of traditional fuel in their vehicles, according to
However, if Guam companies offering LPG could avail of federal tax breaks, that
would be a big factor in the price per gallon of LPG, Koeppen said.
Many companies in the nation are turning to LPG conversion to take advantage of
tax breaks, Koeppen said. LPG operators would get tax credit of 50 cents for
every gallon of LPG fuel sold, he said. It is unclear if those incentives apply
to Guam. Koeppen said he has asked the Department of Revenue and Taxation “a
few times” if the tax incentive is available to Guam companies.
DRT was unavailable yesterday for comment.
The pilot project was a partnership between SPPC and Triple J Ford. Jones said
the companies are hoping to serve customers that might seek out LPG-fueled
vehicles. He said many Ford cars sold at Triple J can be converted to run on
LPG. “The cars are available, the fuel’s available. So we’ll have to see how it
goes,” Jones said.
Most of SPPC’s current LPG customers are hotels, restaurants, bakeries,
laundromats or schools where it is used for cooking or heating water. According
to 2010 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Guam consumes
2,700 barrels a day of gasoline.
The U.S. EIA analysis of the island stated that the island’s petroleum
consumption by year varies, “but recently it has averaged nearly twice the U.S.
consumption per capita.”
LPG consumption is minimal, compared to motor gasoline consumption on island,
about 0.4 thousand barrels a day in 2010, according U.S. EIA.
takes command of NavFac Command Marianas
Friday, 28 Aug 2015 03:30am
BY FRANK WHITMAN | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
CAPT. Stephanie Jones today is to assume
command of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas during a change of
command ceremony at the NavFac office complex in Apra Heights. Jones will
relieve Capt. Glenn Shephard who assumed command in August 2013.
Jones will be the first woman to hold
the top position at NavFac Marianas.
Jones joined the Navy in 1989 and most recently was executive officer of NavFac
Mid-Atlantic based in Norfolk, Virginia. Prior to that, she was assistant chief
of staff for training and readiness at First Naval Construction Division in
Little Creek, Virginia, and commanding officer of Naval Construction Training
Center at Gulfport, Mississippi. Among her numerous other assignments, Jones
was regional engineer for Joint Task Force 76 in Kandahar, Afghanistan; and
public works officer at Commander Fleet Activities in Okinawa, Japan.
Her decorations include the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.
Jones is qualified as a Seabee combat warfare officer, a registered professional
engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a member of the Defense Acquisition
Corps and a certified energy manager.
She graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor’s degree in
industrial engineering and received her commission through the Naval Reserve
Officer Training Corps program. She holds a master’s degree in civil
engineering from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in economics from
the University of Oklahoma and is a graduate of the executive program of the
University of Virginia, Darden School of Business.
Jones grew up in Annandale, Virginia.
Jones will become at least the third woman in a top military leadership
position on Guam. Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar assumed command of Joint Region
Marianas, the most senior military position on Guam, in August 2014. Capt.
Jeannie Comlish became commanding officer of U.S. Naval Hospital Guam in June
Macy’s to open
expansion next summer
Thursday, 27 Aug 2015 03:00am
BY JOHN O'CONNOR | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
MACY'S shoppers can look forward to an
expanded outlet next summer when the expansion project at its Micronesia Mall
store is completed. According to Ryan Torres, store manager for Macy’s Guam,
the two-story, 45,000-square-foot expansion will be completed late next summer
and will house the store’s home care department and an expansion of the men’s
The expansion is being built adjacent to the men’s and children’s departments
of the Macy’s store. Both floors of the expansion will be around 22,000 square
feet. The men’s department will be gaining additional space on the first floor.
A men’s Finish Line shop and luggage department will be stationed on the first
floor. The second floor will house Macy’s home department where shoppers can
find kitchen appliances, furniture and other home essentials. Maternity wear
and a kid’s Finish Line shop will join the home department on the second floor.
Torres said positive customer feedback contributed to the expansion. “Our local
customers continue to be an important part of our business, including tourists
and our U.S. Armed Forces,” Torres said. This will be Macy’s second expansion
at the Micronesia Mall. Construction started early this year and the contractor
is BME & Sons Inc., according to Phillip Schrage, senior vice president of
group operations and leasing for Micronesia Mall. The expansion will include
new parking in front of the building and a new entrance directly into the
expansion. Schrage said BME will transfer the building to Macy’s for outfitting
The first expansion was completed in 2009 and added men’s and children’s
sections into what had been the mall’s expo hall. The main store sells women’s
apparel, jewelry, handbags, shoes, women’s Finish Line products and cosmetics.
After the expansion, the men’s and kid’s sections will sell men’s apparel,
watches, fragrance, children’s wear, home essentials, men’s and children’s
Finish Line products, maternity wear and luggage.
KUAM tours the new Dededo Farmer's Co-Op
Posted: Aug 26, 2015 Ken Quintanilla
It's been years in the making and in a few
months, island farmers will have a place to call their own as the new Farmers
Co-Op facility will finally be completed bringing with them a new location for
the Dededo Flea Market.
"Right now, you'll see a lot of the farmers you see
them on the side of the road, for example, Ernie Wusstig. You see him promoting
his product," said Stacia San Nicolas. But that may all change as island
farmers will now have a new home, with the near completion of the new facility
in Dededo. San Nicolas, the Farmers Co-Op general manager, added, "But
with this now, everybody will be able to come to one location, and bring all
their products here and the people can come here to shop. So it's one location
for all the farmers."
A groundbreaking ceremony was held nearly a year ago on
the 6.9-acre property located at the intersection of Marine Corps Drive and
Santa Monica Avenue. While the facility itself is 10,000 square feet, the total
project cost came out to around $3.9 million. "We're going to have a
kitchen here as well for people come and learn how to make more of the produce
they have, we'll have office space, we'll have the open market for the
vendors," she explained.
The Farmers Co-Op is part of the Guam Economic
Development Authority's HOT Bond projects. GEDA real property assistant manager
Diego Mendiola along with Architects Laguana gave the Farmers Co-Op their first
tour of their new home. "I'm extremely excited because I also farm, my
family does," Mendiola said. "So lately I have to drive around the
island to deliver and sell produce, but now I'll just have one place to go and
everything will be done, so I'm extremely excited."
He adds delays in construction were due to the weather.
Meanwhile, the Farmers Co-Op facility will also accommodate the relocation of
the Dededo Flea Market - a move Dededo mayor Melissa Savares says is a long
time coming. "Of course I'm excited, it's something we've worked for a
long time for many years to find a home for a new facility which is going to be
safer, away from a curved intersection, heavy traffic area," he said.
"It's in between housing areas, so people can come and not only get fresh
produce over the weekend and have that physical activity and walking over
because it's closer to a lot of homes."
Savares says fees will remain the same. The new facility
will provide 180 vendor stalls measured at 16-x-16 along with more parking even
for ten tour busses. Like the Farmers Co-Op, vendors will soon be given a tour
of the site, as well.
The entire project for the Farmers Cooperative Association of Guam
Facility and the Dededo Flea Market is expected to be completed in October and
open 60 to 90 days thereafter
education budgets forward
Thursday, 20 Aug 2015 03:00am
BY ROBERT Q. TUPAZ | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
WITH the adoption by lawmakers of the
budget proposal contained in Substitute Bill 37-33, lawmakers breezed through
most of the education-related funding. The Guam Department of Education, Guam
Community College and the University of Guam will receive $287 million
collectively for their budget needs.
Of the education budget, $450,000 was allocated to the First Generation Trust
Fund Initiative. The fund created through Public Law 33-07, supports public
high school graduates wanting to obtain post-secondary education.
The law establishes a trust fund account for each eligible ninth grade student
in Guam’s public schools to be used upon graduation from high school for
attendance at the University of Guam or the Guam Community College. The
breakdown provides $250,000 for UOG and $200,000 for GCC.
During session, lawmakers continued in the committee of the whole with Vice
Speaker Benjamin Cruz, legislative chairman of the committee on appropriations,
walking them through each section.
Senators started yesterday’s discussion with the de-appropriation of the
expected savings of the debt service resulting from the recent passage of
Public Law 33-60, a bond refund measure that will net at least $2 million in
debt service savings by next month. Beginning in 2016, any other savings are
for the sole use of Guam Memorial Hospital and health-related costs for medical
services provided to the community.
An amendment was offered to prioritize the current and any additional savings
to the Department of Public Health and Social Services for the local match of
the Medicaid program. As well, money not captured by DPHSS within 30 days will
be re-appropriated to Guam Memorial Hospital for Medicaid claim payments and
outstanding vendor payments.
The remaining will be provided to the Guam Department of Education for its
outstanding vendor payments.
If the measure passes the legislature and is signed by the governor, GDOE will
see receive more than $238 million for its operations in fiscal year 2016.
The education board wanted a $328 million budget; GDOE officials cited the
14-points of An Adequate Public Education Act, provisions of the Competitive
Wage Act and its impact on fiscal 2016 operations as justification for its
requested, but denied, $90 million-plus increase. Additionally, GDOE cited
funding for two charter schools and expanding the preschool pilot program,
needed capital improvement projects and long-delayed addressing of safety and
deferred maintenance requirements at the schools as reasons for an increase.
GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez on Tuesday evening said the department was
reviewing the budget package and would provide comment upon final review on
their plan to do without the additional requested amount.
Guam Community College will receive just over $18 million from federal
grants-in-aid and the general fund, up from the current level of $16.4 million.
The University of Guam will receive $33 million from federal grants-in-aid and
the general fund alone. An additional $9.3 million from other funds including
revenue generated from tuition brings UOG’s budget to more than $42 million.
The budget session continues today at 9 a.m. in the committee of the whole.
Senators recessed yesterday as they began reviewing the budget requested by the
Express Med 2
opens new location in Mangilao
Thursday, 20 Aug 2015 03:00am
BY JACQUELINE PERRY GUZMAN | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
EXPRESS Med 2 celebrated the grand
opening of its Mangilao location, according to Anna Jane Bautista,
pharmacist-in-charge of the new facility.
The Mangilao location is located in the
new American Medical Center clinic on Route 10 Vietnam Veterans Highway in
There are now two Express Med locations in Guam; the first is in Dededo.
“Both Express Med locations have drive-thru windows,” Bautista said. “We also
have a third drive-thru pharmacy located in Sinajana, it is Minutes RX Pharmacy
in ‘The Village.”
Bautista said “Our drive-thru windows are open to service patients around the
area, offering convenience for people coming to and from the north and south of
Express Med in Dededo was Guam's first drive-thru pharmacy. “We are in the same
building as American Medical Center that houses various specialty physicians,”
she said. “Express Med Pharmacy has established its good name through excellent
customer service. Express Med pharmacies carry a wide array of
pharmaceutical and medical supplies and over-the-counter medications.”
The new pharmacy is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Express Med 2 has four employees, according to Bautista. One is a pharmacist,
two are pharmacy technicians and one essential pharmacy personnel, she said.
The unique drive-thru service provided by Express Med at its locations offers
convenience to its customers. “Patients pull up to the drive-thru window and
either drop off prescriptions or pick them up,” Bautista said. “Doctors and
patients can send or call in prescription requests ahead of time. ... Patients
can also drop off their prescriptions, park in the designated areas and our
pharmacy will process the medications requested.”
Express Med pharmacies accept most insurance. Bautista said. “We process
Medicare, Tricare, Staywell, Netcare, Take Care, Select Care and other private
local insurances. We also accept Medicaid and MIP patients.”
LabTech in the American Medical Center in Mangilao is the sister company to
Express Med. “It is a medical laboratory also opened simultaneously with the
pharmacy. LabTech has seven convenient locations around Guam. Lab Tech AMC
Mangilao is a full laboratory where most common lab tests are done,” said
looking for Guam support for Cruz
Thursday, 20 Aug 2015 03:00am
BY JACQUELINE PERRY GUZMAN | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
DENNIS Lennox, a consultant for the
presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, has been on Guam for a week
and will stay for another week and a half.
Lennox is on a listening
tour, visiting Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. “It is an opportunity to listen
and learn. For far too long Washington has really ignored the concerns of the
people of Guam and the other two territories. Sen. Cruz wants me to hear those
concerns and bring them back to him,” he said.
Lennox said he met with Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio and has plans to meet Gov. Eddie
Calvo this week. Lennox met with all of the island’s Republican senators,
Republican party leaders, businessmen, clergy and voters. “We are trying to get
as many opinions and viewpoints as we can,” he said.
“I have come to realize that Washington has treated Guam like its foster
child,” Lennox said.
Another part of his visit includes putting together a team for Cruz. “We
already have a campaign chairman in Saipan. We will be announcing that soon and
we will be announcing a Guam team, a campaign committee soon,” said Lennox.
“The caucus in Guam and the CNMI isn’t until March 2016 so there will be a lot
of announcements from now until then.”
Lennox said Guam could play an important role in the selection of the
Republican presidential nominee.
“You can vote in the Republican nomination process, so for purposes of the
nomination, Guam is no different than any of the states on the mainland,”
Lennox said. “Sen. Cruz also sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee which
is very crucial for Guam for defense issues and also the economic impact that
the naval and Air Force presence has.”
Lennox said he has plenty of material to bring back to Cruz. “I’ve heard a lot
of different issues since I have been here. I am here to take those concerns
back to the senator so we can begin to address those issues and not only raise
them in the Senate but also so that when he is in the White House,” he said.
One of the problems that Guam faces, Lennox said, “is that it doesn’t have a
voice in Washington, D.C. It has a delegate who cannot vote on the floor of the
House of Representatives, and it has no representation in the Senate. Our first
priority is to ensure the voice of Guam is heard loud and clear in Washington
Some of the issues Lennox has listened to include war reparations, veterans
issues, earned income tax credit issues, Compact-impact, and general
infrastructure and economic development issues such as the CNMI undersea cable
that was cut recently.
“Really, that is a federal government issue. The federal government needs to
step in and improve the infrastructure in the CNMI and across the Pacific as
well,” he said. “It is a national security issue because, of course, with
everything that’s happening in the Pacific, it is vital that all the
territories are connected to the United States,” he said.
On the issue of political status, Lennox said, “Senator Cruz respects the
people of Guam to decide the political status for themselves. It’s a decision
that Guam has to determine.”
Lennox met with former Gov. Joseph Ada and discussed political status issues
and scenarios. “He is a great voice for the people of Guam and he offered a lot
of valuable insight for Sen. Cruz,” Lennox said.
The cuts made by the Obama administration have been a troubling issue for Cruz,
Lennox said. “Our Navy is the smallest it’s been since World War I. By the time
Obama leaves office our Army will be the smallest since World War II. With
everything happening in the world, the troubled Middle East with ISIS on the
rise and close to taking over Iraq, with Iran about to get a nuclear weapon,
with Chinese aggression and Chinese currency devaluation --- which is economic
warfare --- and with North Korea ... this isn’t the time to be cutting back our
military, we need a strong military capable of protecting American interests,
our vital interests on Guam,” he said. “Guam is not only where America’s day
begins, but it’s also the gateway to Asia. We need to leverage Guam’s strategic
position to be an economic asset to the United States but also to continue its
strategic military importance.”
Underfunding of veterans’ services on Guam is another troubling issue for Cruz.
“There is no veterans’ hospital on the island. That’s deeply troubling because
Guam has one of the highest rates of military service in the various states and
territories and it is outrageous that there are men and women who served our
country with honor and dignity who aren’t getting the services and equal
treatment that they deserve,” said Lennox.
Lennox also said the Cruz campaign is concerned with investing in Guam’s
infrastructure. “We want to do that while preserving and protecting the local
cultural identity. The beauty of Guam is this rich culture, this rich melting
pot that you have here,” Lennox said
community to benefit from projects
Thursday, 20 Aug 2015 03:00am
BY ROBERT Q. TUPAZ | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
GOV. Eddie Calvo yesterday announced a
couple of contracts for construction and repair projects at two separate
seaside locations. The combined costs of the awards amount to $682,310 and is
planned to enhance and benefit the fishing community.
According to officials at Adelup, fishing improvements are planned for Hagåtña
and Merizo. In Hagåtña, a fishing platform will soon be available for the use
of island residents. In Merizo, a modern pier and boat ramp will be realized
with a repair contract.
“We need to encourage people to build a stronger fishing and marine industry,”
Gov. Eddie Calvo said in announcing the awards. “That’s why we’re building
modern infrastructure, so we can support fishermen and entice young Guamanians
to fish and to explore oceanic careers.”
Calvo signed a contract with Mega United Corp. to build a 136-foot fishing ramp
at the Paseo de Susana. The fishing ramp will cost $549,370.
The new fishing platform at the Paseo will be ADA-accessible, constructed of
fiberglass panels above the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ wave absorber at the
The government of Guam, in coordination with the nonprofit Guam Organization of
Saltwater Anglers, also has a coordination plan in place with the Corps of
Engineers for the inspection and maintenance of the platform and wave absorber.
The Merizo pier contract was awarded to Rex International for necessary repairs
to the village’s pier and boat ramp. The contract amount was listed as
$132,940. The contractor will remove the existing structure, then install
cast-in-place marina-strength reinforced concrete. The contractor also will
seal any existing cracks, and replace the pier rubber bumper that is bolted to
the 50-foot long metal channel.
“The projects are part of Gov. Calvo’s overall capital improvements agenda – a
precursor to the capital improvements projects plan to be developed under the
Imagine Guam program,” a statement from Adelup said. “Part of that agenda is to
modernize infrastructure for fishing and other marine activities and
bonds get A-minus rating from Fitch
Thursday, 20 Aug 2015 03:00am
BY JASMINE STOLE | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
FITCH Ratings gave the government of
Guam business privilege tax refunding bonds an “A-” rating, according to a
press release from Business Wire.
This week, the Guam Economic Development
Authority issued a notice of sale for the government’s BPT refunding bonds of
$404.8 million. According to the statement, the bonds will be sold by
negotiations next week.
The legislature passed a bill that would refund Guam’s general obligation bonds
for 2007 and 2009 for business privilege tax bonds. The legislature and the
governor were at odds over how much refunding the bonds would save the
government and how those anticipated savings should be spent.
In its statement, Fitch states that Guam’s debt levels are “quite high with tax
supported debt equal to approximately 56 percent of personal income and $7,146
per capita” and that “Guam expects an increase in its debt limit based on a
recent property revaluation.”
Fitch Ratings explained that an “A” rating denote that the issuer’s capacity
for payment of financial commitments is “considered strong.” An “A”
rating is not as good as “AA” or “AAA” credit quality but still better than
“BBB,” “BB,” “B,” “C” or “D” ratings. Fitch is one of the top three credit
rating agencies in the United States.
According to GEDA, the government intended to take advantage of the
low-interest rate environment which is the reason that the government had to
work quickly and introduce legislation for the refunding of the two general
obligation bonds by the end of July. The government also hopes to achieve $2
million in debt service savings this fiscal year. Guam can realize up to $48
million in gross savings over the life of the bonds, GEDA officials have said.
Originally, Sen. Michael San Nicolas introduced a bill that would refund the
two general obligation bonds from 2007 and 2009 for another general obligation
bond but heated discussions on the session floor about how to appropriate the
anticipated savings prompted San Nicolas to withdraw his measure.
The governor introduced another bill, with the appropriations San Nicolas
disagreed with, and called the legislature into a special session but divided
lawmakers did not act on the governor’s bill, stating that the bill had not had
a public hearing.
Eventually, on July 31, Vice Speaker Cruz introduced Bill 151 which would allow
the general obligation bonds to be refunded as general obligation bond but
ended up withdrawing his name from the measure, in part because of Sen. Dennis
Rodriguez’s amendment that would direct the anticipated savings from the
refunding of the bonds and use the savings for health-related matters.
Navy awards $75M
Thursday, 20 Aug 2015 03:00am
BY JASMINE STOLE | VARIETY NEWS STAFF
NAVAL Facilities Engineering Command
Marianas announced yesterday a multiple award construction contract for various
locations on Guam that was awarded to 11 small-business firms on Tuesday. NavFac’s
award was for various contracts that may total up to a maximum of $75 million
over five years.
According to the notice details on the Federal Business Opportunities website,
the companies will be contracted for various projects or services, including
new construction, renovation, modernization, routine repair or maintenance to
be completed at different federal or military facilities on Guam and in
outlying areas in the Pacific.
One project from this Multiple Award Construction Contract (MACC) was the
repair of floor slab inside a walk-in freezer at Building 24016 on Andersen Air
Force Base, which is the base exchange. S.K. Construction was awarded $383,278
for the task order.
All other companies were awarded a task order for the one-year base period,
with a $10,000 minimum guarantee.
In addition to S.K. Construction, NavFac awarded the MACC contract to Advance
Management Inc., Dawson Federal Inc., GSI Pacific Inc., Hawaii Pacific JV LLC,
Ian Corp. which does business as Ian Construction, InfraTech International LLC,
Leading Tech Construction Co., MILCON Construction LLC, Talion Construction LLC
and Wolf Creek Federal Services Inc.
The contract is for a one-year base period, with four one-year options, for a
total duration of 60 months, according to the original synopsis. The minimum
guarantee for each contractor for the life of the contract is $10,000 and the
maximum aggregate dollar value for all awarded contracts, including the base
period and all options, is $75 million.
Of the 11 companies, four are based in Hawaii, including Dawson Federal, GSI
Pacific, Hawaii Pacific JV and Talion Construction MILCON Construction is a
Texas-based contracting company and Wolf Creek Federal Services is a company of
Chugach Alaska Corp. The remaining companies are based in Guam.
The contract was set aside for certified 8(a) small businesses. According to www.acquisition.gov,
section 8(a) of the federal Small Business Act established a program that
allows the U.S. Small Business Administration to enter all types of contracts
with other agencies and award subcontracts to eligible businesses as a sole
source or competitive basis.
This MACC contract was posted in June and awarded on Tuesday, Aug. 18.
State-of-the-art dialysis center opens in Sinajana
Posted: Aug 06, 2015 By Jolene Toves KUAM
Another new medical facility opens its doors
this evening. The Village Medical Complex offers a variety of clinical
services, but its primary feature is a state-of-the-art nephrology clinic.
Founder Dr. Saied Safa says diabetes continues to be a big health risk on Guam,
and the newly-opened dialysis center in Sinajana fills a gaping need.
"The patients from south and central, they're always
lacking or having difficulty to have access to dialysis units. So this was a
long-term thinking. It took a long time actually to find the ideal location
that could help the patients from south and central Guam," he said.
The dialysis center is being operated under franchise
with US Renal Care, which partners with more than 200 centers across the
country. Scott Sasserson, chief operating officer, told KUAM News, "Dr.
Safa provides us with his medical expertise. We're able to provide him
with the operations that are necessary from the day-to-day standpoint. Whether
it's the supplies, the machines, the staff, all of that. So it's a good
partnership from that standpoint. We're thrilled about this complex and this
facility because it's really, as Dr. Safa said in the beginning, its
created some more access."
The 32,000 square foot Village Medical Complex also
includes internal medicine and ophthalmology clinics, a drive-through pharmacy,
and a health food cafe.
Chinese Chamber of Commerce organizes Saipan aide
Posted: Aug 06, 2015 By Nestor Licanto
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce is also
looking to lend a hand to help the typhoon victims in Saipan. They are seeking
donations to fill another 40-foot container with dry goods for Saipan storm
Benson Au-Yeung is the business group's president, and
told KUAM News, "No better reason for us to help out the closest island to
Guam, which is are our friends from Saipan. You know, we all know from Saipan,
friends and families from Saipan. And also we do business in Saipan. Some of us
even have branches in Saipan."
He added, "So I called in my board of directors, the
committees, we put together some type of letters and sent out to our members to
see what we can collect and the result was very good. Everybody even before I
even sent it out, everybody's already contacting other people because everybody
just got friends or people they know from Saipan right. I can't begin to
mention all the names but I appreciate everybody for all the support."
The Chinese Chamber is accepting dried goods such as
bottled water, rice, canned food, batteries, flashlights, beddings. You can
drop them off at the Chinese Chamber office.
The deadline for donations is next Wednesday, August 12.
National Science Foundation strengthens UOG's research capabilities
Posted: Aug 06, 2015 By Jolene Toves
A $6 million grant from the National Science
Foundation is opening doors and elevating the University of Guam's research
activities. President Dr. Robert Underwood said, "We are now going to be
part of a network, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
(EPCoR), which is designed by the NSF to help universities develop
their research capacities."
In addition to this grant UOG now has access to other
EPSCoR grants in other federal agencies like NASA and Department of Defense.
Dr. Underwood says this is a major activity for the UOG Marine Lab, noting,
"Because we will be working mostly with coastal management and will be
placing sensors in Pago Bay and we will be upgrading our cyber-infrastructure
and will be developing a STEM pipeline for students that goes all the way back
to high school."
Dr. Underwood says the sensors will assist them in their
attempt to keep track of issues within the environment changes caused by land
activity as well as climate change. "Much of the data that we have
regarding climate change particularly in the Western Pacific is inferential
data, not direct data. Data that is actually collected by us, so this enhances
our capacity to collect the data but it's in an enormous amount of data, so we
have to update our cyber-infrastructure," he explained.
The update will allow the research information to be
shared amongst research institutions for analysis placing the university on a
new category in terms of research. He says they want to also grow the masters
program in the sciences, specifically environmental science and biology, in
order to be able to develop the research capacity. The grant will primarily
fund research projects he says UOG needs to match the activities, adding, "So
we are matching some of our financial aid assistance to students but more
importantly we can't really even the $6 million because already we have been
contacted by NASA to get a couple of hundred of thousands of dollars, we have
already been contacted by DOD."
He says this is monumental for the university because it is the only
university in the Western Pacific that is devoted to research so they must
develop their internal capacity. He adds that UOG is the only US masters- and
baccalaureate-level program on this side of the International Dateline, and
people around the world will be wanting to attend the University of Guam.
Airport to meet
the needs of the future
Monday, 27 Jul 2015 03:00am
VARIETY NEWS STAFF
THE A.B. Won Pat International Airport
Authority, Guam is to be congratulated as it holds the opening ceremony for its
recently completed 12,000-foot primary runway. The opening is the culmination
of a series of federally funded runway projects that began about seven years
ago. With the extended runway, the airport can now serve as a point of origin
for long-haul flights including nonstop flights to the West Coast of the United
States in the event that an airline decides such a route would be profitable
enough to operate.
The size, design and capacity of Guam’s airport is a major feature of the
island’s infrastructure that has allowed Guam to develop the sophisticated,
lucrative tourism industry that it has. One does not need to travel too much in
the region to have learned that the A.B. Won Pat International Airport is the
largest and most modern of those in the Pacific islands outside of Hawaii. And
it appears to have the extra capacity to accommodate the island’s needs into
In addition to the air cargo operations of the airlines and the customs
station, the remaining space of the 160,000-square-foot air cargo facility
adjacent to the airport also accommodates non-aviation businesses. Presumably,
should the need arise, that space could be converted to house additional air
cargo business as it was designed, and located, to do.
The recently announced construction of a commuter terminal also has the
potential to stimulate interisland business, tourism and family travel. Also in
progress is the construction of a concourse isolation corridor to meet
post-9/11 security concerns about the potential interaction of arriving
passengers who have not been screened by Transportation Security Administration
agents with passengers who have been screened. The new corridor will provide a
more permanent and substantive response to that particular security concern.
The capacity of the airport has resulted in its ability to accommodate airlines
such as Air Busan, Jin Air Dynamic Airways and T’Way Air that have recently
begun serving Guam. And the airport continues to solicit additional airlines to
fly routes that include Guam.
We, along with the rest of the community, have been concerned over the
accusations and litigation surrounding the luxury retail contract, the
bottleneck of tourists at the immigration checkpoint and the poorly maintained
restrooms. We are hopeful that these challenges will be appropriately
But we continue to commend those who are responsible for the growth and
operation of the airport.
Grant bodes well
Thursday, 06 Aug 2015 03:00am
VARIETY NEWS STAFF
OUR congratulations to the University of
Guam on its recent $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation through
the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program for
coastal ecosystems research. The university is, of course, in an ideal location
for ocean research, and its marine lab has taken advantage of that by
attracting high-caliber faculty and students. The new grant reflects a
recognition by the National Science Foundation of the university’s capability
to do significant research.
The nature of the research which the university will be undertaking is critical
not just due to local concerns, but because of the changing climate and other
environmental stressors around the world. As the university release states,
“Guam will function as a ‘living laboratory’ to investigate the sustainability
of marine coastal environments under changing sea levels, sea-surface
temperatures and water quality conditions in the Western Pacific.”
The current grant will no doubt attract the attention of the academic world and
make UOG’s marine lab more attractive to more top-level researchers and, we understand,
bode well for future research grants – all of which benefits the university as
The current grant comes on the heels of news that a team from the university’s
Cancer Research Center has had a research paper published in the Journal of Health
Communication. It is another testament to the quality of research at UOG.
We continue to view the University of Guam as an important community and
regional resource. It offers a high-quality choice for the tertiary education
of local residents and a repository for local information, ideas and research.
Among its functions, it can, and does, serve to prepare residents to take their
place in the local community to meet local needs and solve local problems based
on local knowledge and practices.
We look forward to continued positive developments at the university and the
benefits to the community from a vibrant college environment and its alumni.