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June 2018

American Samoa faces major financial challenges — many beyond local control

ASG Office of Program Planning and Budget director Catherine D. Saelua

Federal disaster assistance for local residents impacted by Tropical Storm Gita helped cushion the blows that have impacted the local economy in recent years, but the economy continues to remain volatile, affecting American Samoa Government revenue collection for the current fiscal year 2018, says ASG Office of Program Planning and Budget director Catherine D. Saelua in her FY 2019 budget call letter, sent out earlier this month to all Executive Branch departments and agencies. The call letter, which was also approved by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, asked directors to set the ceiling for FY 2019 at the same point set for FY 2018, as American Samoa continues to face major challenges to the local economy that are beyond local control. “In spite of our best efforts to minimize adverse impacts of the highly competitive fishing industry to our local cannery operation and other market forces beyond our control on our economy, major challenges will persist — exacerbated by proposed changes and reductions to our Department of Interior Grant-In-Aid and other non-defense federal grants,” Saelua said. Additionally, the “volatile conditions of our economy will directly impact our local revenue base and further undermine our attempts to address the growing needs of our people.”

Samoan Highland Hideaway to host retreat

Samoan Highland Hideaway

Samoan Highland Hideaway is hosting its first ever retreat to help people learn how to live a whole food-plant based lifestyle, a lifestyle that has been shown to prevent and even reverse obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Tim Walkden-Brown of the Samoan Highland Hideaway has been following this method for 6 months and said his health had greatly improved since making the switch as well as loosing 8 kg in the process. Information on the retreat can be found at

Lions Club of Pago Pago selects new slate of officers for 2018-‘19

Christopher King (far right standing) is the 2018-2019 President of the Lions Club of Pago Pago. He is seen in this group photo with other new incoming board members of the Lions Club as well as new inductees during the induction ceremony last Friday. Also in the photo is Sen. Galeai Tu’ufuli, who is the Lions Club chapter chairman (second from right sitting).

Christopher King is the 2018-2019 President of the Lions Club of Pago Pago. He is with other new incoming board members of the Lions Club as well as new inductees during the induction ceremony last Friday. Also present is Sen. Galeai Tu’ufuli, who is the Lions Club chapter chairman. The incoming 2018-2019 new board and officers of the Lions Club of Pago Pago; President, Christopher J. King; 1st Vice President, Tafaimamao Tupuola; 2nd Vice President, Ty Matyjakowski; 3rd Vice President, Andrew Burquist; Secretary, Ponita Laussen; Treasurer, Carneen Cotton; Membership Chair, Mike Sala; Tail Twister, Tamatoa Tony Langkilde; Lion Tamer, Willie Teleso, and Directors - Larry Sanitoa, Burg Salanoa, Joey Cummings, Christa Satele; as well as Immediate Past President, Lisa Tuato’o - who served as president for 2017-2018.

140 fanau fa’au’u mai le A’oga Maualuga a Leone 2018

A look at some of the 140 graduates of Leone High School class of 2018
Leone High School class of 2018 Valedictorian, Stephanie Lynn Sagapolutele Floor.
Leone High School class of 2018, Co Salutatorian, Elizabeth Liua Tevaseu Kepaoa.
Leone High School class of 2018, Co Salutatorian, Al Joe Aumua

"Mua'i tigaina mulia'i fa'aeaina! Sacrifice comes before success” - le manulauti na fa'ataua e le vasega fa'ai'uaso a le A'oga Maualuga a Leone mo lenei tausaga i le fa’au’uuina i le taeao o le aso Faraile o le vaiaso ua te’a, i le fale ta’alo a le aoga. Na tutula'i le susuga le faife'au Rev. Fa'alili Otineru o le EFKAS i Fagali'i, ma ia tapena se upu tomua mo le aso fa’amoemoeina. "Mua'i ositaulaga mulia'i Manuia" o le fa'aleagaga lea o le manulauti. O le tama'ita'i pule a'oga, Mrs. Mataua Aasa Matai sa fa'afeiloa'ia le au vala'aulia mamalu. Mai le to'a 140 o le ‘au fa'au'u, ua maua ai le togisilia i le vasega e le tama'ita'i o Stephanie Lynn Sagapolutele Floor mai Iliili. O ona matua o Patricia Ann Zecchini (ua tu’umalo) ma Carl Sagapolutele Floor, ma na soifua mai o ia ia Fepuari 9, 2000. E to’alua i la’ua ua mauaina le tulaga lua: Al Joe Aumua mai Pavaia'i. Na soifua mai o ia i le aso 15 Iulai, 2000 i ona matua o Sofeni ma Su'isu'i Aumua. O lana Ekalesia o le New Beginning United Pentecostal Church lea e tausia e ona matua fa'aleagaga Rev. Elder Taualai ma Eleitino Fa'ate'i. Elizabeth Liua Tevaseu Kepaoa, na soifua a'e o ia i Queensland, Ausetalia ia Aperila 29, 2000, ae ua aoaoina ma alaala tumau nei i Amerika Samoa. Na amata ana a'oa'oga i le Manumalo Baptist Academy i ana a'oa'oga tulaga muamua 2003 - 2012 ona fa'au'u lea i le vasega 8 mai le St Theresa Elementary i Leone i le 2014 ma amatalia ai ana a'oga maualuga i Leone.

American Samoa step-father sentenced to 15 years for incest

Chief Justice Michael Kruse

A 50-year-old man who was convicted for having a sexual relationship with his 15-year-old stepdaughter has been jailed for 15 years at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF). The sentence for Wayne Otto Smith was handed down by Chief Justice Michael Kruse, along with Associate Judges Faamausili Pomele and Muasau T. Tofili. Christy Dunn of the Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case while private attorney Richard deSaulles of the RDA Law Firm represented the defendant, who has been held in custody since he was arrested by police in July of last year. Smith was initially charged with 17 criminal counts, including 3 counts of rape; 2 counts of sodomy; 6 counts of first degree sexual abuse, and 3 counts of incest, all felonies, along with 2 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor. However under a plea bargain with the government, Smith agreed to plead guilty to three counts of incest, a class D felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of 5 years, or a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

American Samoa boxer Falaniko Tauta qualifies for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Two local fighters representing American Samoa during the 2018 Oceania Youth Boxing Championships, which was also a Qualifier Championship for the Youth Olympics Games in Argentina this year, Falaniko Tauta and Jolando Taalo, posing with the American Samoa flag.

The American Samoa Amateur Boxing Association (ASABA) is sharing some good news for the community, after one of the two local boxers who competed in the 2018 Oceania Youth Boxing Championships in Samoa two weeks ago qualified for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, October 6-18. The Samoa Oceania championship was also a Qualifier Competition.

ASABA vice president Okesene Malala who took the two fighters to Apia also received a Two-Star Coaching Certificate from the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) two weeks ago. He is the first American Samoan to receive such a certificate. American Samoa amateur Falaniko Tauta qualified for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games after an outstanding performance in Samoa where two of our local fighters, Tauta and Jolando Taaalo too part in the competition.