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Goodbye 2020 — don’t let the door hit you on the way out

A crowd of people seen standing in line outside of the Territorial Bank of American Samoa (TBAS) waiting for the bank to open so they could cash their stimulus checks

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — It feels like we’ve been running a marathon and can’t find the finish line. Drug busts, domestic abuse and even campaign shenanigans paled in significance up side the all-consuming news story of 2020. In American Samoa and across the world — the pandemic — is the story and it’s still evolving.

Some of us have had our vaccinations while most wait ‘our turn’ to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19 and take up life in the ‘new normal’ going forward. But before we go, here is the year in headlines, a first draft of history for American Samoa.


Public schools in session Monday, MMR vaccinations mandatory

2020 starts off tragically with deadly traffic accident New Years Eve

DoA director Filifaatali Mike Fuiava resigns in aftermath of deadly crash

American Samoa welcomes its 2020 New Years babies

DOI announces emergency response funding after measles outbreak

TCF inmate Barlow adds Secretary of Interior to court case

Fono to convene next Monday; Gov Lolo to deliver State of Territory address

Hope Dialysis Center passes CMS inspection and is fully certified

AG Ale stepping down to get into the political fray

Team Amerika Samoa wins JPS Paradise Football Classic V

Charges against church elder in Nuuuli assault case are dismissed

2020 Polynesian Bowl roster will include one local athlete — Faalili Faamoe Jr

Hawaii lab confirms 12th measles case for American Samoa

Jonathan Fanene arrested, charged for domestic violence — again

Siaumau Jr. gets the maximum punishment: 15 years behind bars

MV Manu'atele badly damaged at dock in Ofu during storm

Quadruplets delivered at LBJ Hospital over the weekend

Samoa Govt puts new travel restrictions in place over Coronavirus Outbreak

Former TCF Watch Commander sentenced to 28 months in jail

Governor says policy must be developed to combat spread of Coronavirus locally

Former Customs agent busted for pot at post office enters into plea agreement

US bars foreigners coming from China for now over virus fear

Man claims sex relations with 13-year old stepdaughter was consensual


Fear of Coronavirus brings tighter restrictions for travel in 2Samoas

Bail set at $15K for defendant in aircraft firefighter unit drug bust

No confirmed case of coronavirus — but two local people in quarantine

No new confirmed cases for measles in American Samoa

Multi-million-dollar apron rehabilitation project underway

American Samoa's fire dept down to one truck, one office location

After a week's outage flights to Manu’a to resume early next week

Senators Gaoteote & Fai’ivae team up for 2020 gubernatorial race

Another domestic abuse case — and as usual — alcohol involved

Public Works drawing up a blueprint for a 10-unit quarantine facility in Tafuna

Number of overstayers convicted of felonies continues to rise

Amata informs GOP of intent to seek re-election

6 local elementary schools granted 6-yr accreditation

Sea of obstacles imperil American Samoa’s tuna industry

American Samoa US citizenship ruling faces appeals

Lemanu-Talauega team makes bid to lead Am Samoa govt

Court sentences uncle who sexually assaulted his niece, 16

Electric wire thefts in American Samoa trigger power disruptions

Acting Attorney General appointed to fill vacant post

Tropical Storm WASI remains on track south, away from territory

Drug dealer will serve over six years in prison

All public schools from ECE, K to high school will resume Monday

ASG finds home damages range from “destroyed” to “affected”

Judge laments number of domestic violence cases showing up in his courtroom

Gov appoints coronavirus task force

MARCH 2020

As coronavirus spreads, American Samoa's LBJ hospital prepares

Bloomberg campaign rolled out in American Samoa

2020 Census —population count launched this week

New restrictions issued to combat spread of coronavirus to American Samoa

Man arrested admits to string of robberies in Leone area — including copper wire

American Samoa broke a record high temp for March 8th

Jessop-Ta’ase unanimously supported for AG post at Senate confirmation hearing

Coronavirus: American Samoa needs more beds, quarantine spaces

Governor establishes 21-member COVID-19 Task Force

Sogelau Monument and Samoan Village Project going up by Museum

Two young men face 2nd-degree murder charges for beating death

Lolo presses to reopen Marine Monument to commercial fishing

Gov Lolo self-isolates after trip to mainland

Woman arrested for her role in smuggling drugs and cell phones into TCF

Cancellation of American Samoa Public School sponsored events

Governor Lolo extends State of Emergency Declaration to Apr 17th

Samoa closes borders to foreign nationals

Tulsi suspending her presidential campaign

TAOA meal service will continue while encouraging ‘social distancing’

Effective Monday, March 23 all public and private schools close

SBA offers disaster assistance to American Samoa small businesses

Catholic Church cancels all Sunday masses after this Sunday

Man accused of beating wife to death charged with 1st-degree murder

Territorial Spelling Bee slated for Wednesday is now cancelled

StarKist Samoa and support businesses allowed to operate

Gov. Lolo appeals to CDC for COVID-19 testing equipment locally

OSHA case in electrocution death of three workers against Manu’a’s Inc. closed

Jessop-Ta’ase nomination for AG rejected by House, again

Samoa Airways stations aircraft here to continue air service for Manu’a

US Air Force Academy Class Of 2024 will include a Samoan girl

Hawaiian grants Lolo's request to stop flights: HNL-PPG suspended

Young daughter calls 911 telling police her father beat up her mother

Gov. Lolo reappoints Jessop-Ta’ase as acting AG

Amata gives details on CARES Act's benefits for American Samoa

ASG Treasury delays the due date for filing 2019 taxes

Local businesses anticipate economic hit and it will trickle down

APRIL 2020

Hawaii reports first COVID-19 death

American Samoa only US locale with no confirmed COVID-19 cases

Cops snag drugs during traffic stops

LBJ Hospital working with LDS to bring coronavirus testing equipment

Airlift of PPE arrives in American Samoa

ANZ Bank is a qualified lender for loans under the CARES Act

All religious services are suspended effective today, Apr. 3rd

Four inmates charged with escape — yet again

Samoa Airways Manu’a flights restricted to “emergency issues”

American Samoa is included in CARES Act unemployment benefits

Detainee scaled new prison wall yesterday, apprehended hours later

Lolo institutes strict protocol for processing COVID-19 payments

In a test of faith, Christians mark Good Friday in isolation

Take a virtual scuba dive of the most beautiful marine sanctuaries

Care packages for our Samoan students stranded in Hawaii

Governor extends COVID-19 emergency declaration to May 1

Amata confirms appeal of citizenship lawsuit

Coronavirus testing machine and limited test-kits on island

Flag Day scaled-down — marking 120 years as a part of US family

American Samoa starts local Covid-19 testing

HAL flight suspensions for American Samoa extended 30 more days

CoC to ASG — please look at lifting current biz-hour restrictions

Feds grant major COVID-19 disaster declaration for American Samoa

Man convicted of sexually assaulting stepdaughter sentenced to 7 years

Governor grateful for latest CARES Act funding — $35 million+

ASG to pay stimulus money for local qualified taxpayers & children

U.S. State Department files reply to plaintiffs in appeal to citizenship case

American Samoa's Homeland Security director hands in resignation

Firefighters battle blaze at Scanlan Building in Fagatogo

Inmate charged in drug smuggling case involving Correctional Officer

Round two of federal Paycheck Protection Program starts Monday

Chief Justice postpones drug trial citing COVID-19 restrictions

Samoa PM claims American Samoa source of money, drugs & guns

Couple arrested after allegedly hooking up ASPA power illegally

Young mother accused of stealing from her own grandmother to buy meth

DoH recommends standing pat with closed borders — until May 31

MAY 2020

Two senior firefighters killed in fire truck crash on Afono Road

American Samoa’s state of emergency extended through June 1

Cops apprehend alleged copper wire theft ring — ASPA losses $7,283

Task Force members get $2,000 checks as “token of appreciation”

Man tells court, “I made a terrible mistake when I chose to be a drug seller”

Traffic cops doing a brisk business nabbing drivers for illegal drugs

One of two firefighters who survived deadly accident still hospitalized

Drug addiction in Am. Samoa — a personal story beginning in this issue

Territorial Bank of American Samoa approved for PPP Lending

Public high school graduations for 2020 “will be virtual”

Fireman injured in Afono crash medivaced to New Zealand ICU

Manu'a siblings on life saving journey, now in California

Probation officers said they “feared for their safety” at TCF

Drug and alcohol involved cases continue to clog the American Samoa courts

41 members of American Samoa family are training at Fort Lee together

Military flight brings PPE, medical corpsmen — and Lt. Gov. Lemanu

Case against family accused of using ASPA power illegally is dismissed

Leaders inform governor that Fono stands ready to review COVID-19 funding

Friday drinking session leads to arrest of one man — death of another

Stimulus checks for American Samoa go to post office Friday

TCF inmate’s Federal lawsuit encounters delays during COVID-19 quarantine

SBA approves100th PPP loan for American Samoa small businesses

Why doesn’t ASG charter a flight for stranded citizens, readers ask?

Largest ancient structure in all of Polynesia — up for sale

Another 30-day suspension of Hawaiian Airlines flights — the 3rd

Police officer charged after shouting threats and Samoan faaumuumu

Memorial Day to be celebrated this year in quiet remembrance

Manu'a people piloting their own alias to bring cargo to their islands

After public outcry, Lolo explains reasons for suspending HAL flights

Stimulus checks + tax refunds equal = traffic jam: TBAS extends hours

Governor gives the cabinet an ear-full over 2020 campaign violations

Governor’s exit plan includes converting contract workers to career service

Governor appoints acting director for local Homeland Security

JUNE 2020

Gov extends coronavirus emergency for another 30 days

DPS cracks down on drug trafficking between Manu’a and Tutuila

Samoan Methodist Churches in Hawaii caring for our students

Gov directs preparations for resuming Hawaiian Air flights July 1

Woman arrested for allegedly abusing her child and assaulting an elderly woman

Territorial Bank makes first SBA PPP loan in American Samoa

Get ready for long lines: New round of stimulus checks out Friday

Stimulus check money sparking domestic violence in some families

Memo clarifies which workers are eligible for unemployment benefits

Alleged ice dealer says he sells drugs because it’s a fast way to earn money

One man dead in Vatia — allegedly during fight at a party

DHR issues guidance on unemployment programs for ASG workers

Armed raid on Ofu nets marijuana & weapons, suspects not arrested

American Samoa pays tribute to fallen firefighters

Intervenors: People of American Samoa do not want U.S. citizenship at this time

Congresswoman back in the territory — and glad to be home

Governor withdraws plan for furlough days for older ASG workers

Lolo: Repatriating local citizens stranded in Samoa is the top priority

Stranded Samoans from Alaska get to fly out on FEMA flight

Treasury begins reconciliation of stimulus — now at $30+ million

GAO report doesn't recommend increase or decrease for min wage

Residents file lawsuits against Gov and ASG over emergency declarations

Victim arrested for allegedly assaulting men who stole his stimulus check

American Samoans support for Black Lives Matter — at home and abroad

Flights for residents stranded in Samoa postponed to Wednesday

Iulogologo signals there may be a delay in resuming HAL flights

Alert younger brother tells mother their uncle allegedly abused his sister

Tragedy takes lives of two in rough seas between Auasi and Aunuu

Interior asks for further study on minimum wage alternatives for American Samoa

Governor’s village enforcement program enlists aumaga faiganu’u

No COVID-19 epidemic in American Samoa, but meth scourge keeps growing

DPS investigating accident at sea — here’s what witnesses say

Gov: American Samoa will not reopen borders with Hawaii in July

New requirements temporarily delayed repatriation flights

18hr rainfall around 7” inches; generates flooding

Samoa's Pulemelei Mound to no longer be sold

Long battle with cancer ends with passing of young man from Manu’a

ASG employees stranded overseas to receive regular paychecks

Proposed bottomfish catch for American Samoa drastically cut

Some COVID-19 restrictions ease today but not Hawaii-Pago travel

Of the 118 local residents repatriated so far, 87 are foreign nationals

JULY 2020

Each of four village aumaga issued $10,000 CARES Act checks

DHSS announces delay in food stamps for this month

COVID-19 disparities for Pacific Islanders worsen nationally

Under Amended Declaration schools to open, businesses allowed 100% capacity

Fono using COVID-19 federal funds to rent office space at Sadie's

After 6 months on the run, alleged drug dealer arrested

Two from the Polevia family stranded in Hawaii awaiting OK to go home

DoH reports on repatriation flights, cargo entries and fishing vessels

JUST ASKING: What's the status of the lawsuit against ANZ?

No date yet for charter flight for local residents wanting ‘to exit’ to Hawaii

Commercial flights between Manu’a and Tutuila resumed this week

Former TCF guard charged with PPD and assault

DOE & Scholarship Board award 26 off island scholarships to local grads

More repatriation flights from Samoa to include specialized workers

Complaint filed with U.S. Treasury against ASG over CARES Act money

Faipule knew nothing of CARES Act checks until funds received

Amata provides info on oversight of CARES Act, other relief funds

Parole Board grants James Barlow’s request for early release

Charter flight for patients needing off-island care set for July 21

Latest repatriation flights for American Samoans stranded in Samoa scheduled

Fisheries observers repatriated on charter flight from Pago Pago

Thursday is Manu’a Day — a local government holiday

Fono back in session today — FY 2021 ASG budget tops agenda

Mother charged for allegedly abusing her two daughters over two days

Fono discusses issue of COVID-19 checks for their fono offices

Kruse issues multiple orders in lawsuits over COVID-19 declarations

Another faipule returns $10,000 check — before the Feds weighed in

Feds rule NO on $20,000 & $10,000 payments to local legislators

Hawaiian Air agrees to suspend flights to Pago through August

Lolo outlines sweeping changes in Laufou parking and traffic regulations

Court still trying to determine who stopped drug test of TCF inmate

Old ASTCA building to be demolished making room for new court house

Registered voters stranded off island will be able to cast their ballots

Barlow files complaint with Interior Secretary against local AG’s Office

Tuesday night’s Medicaid flight goes off smoothly with 274 passengers

Gov Lolo writes to Interior Secretary to justify CARES Act spending

Here’s some good news — ASPA fuel surcharge is dropping

American Samoa lawmaker denies leaving quarantine

Very few American Samoa workers qualified for fed unemployment

Lolo creates entry pay scale for high school grads and Associate degree holders


Gov issues Seventh Amended Declaration — now through Aug 31

Another domestic violence case in court — this is the 4th recent case

Preliminary injunctions against COVID-19 declarations denied

Territorial Bank of American Samoa introduces TBAS Debit Mastercard

Vice Speaker: Drug search of boats, planes from Manu’a ILLEGAL

COVID-19 emergency: Immigration board powers suspended

House hearing focuses on illegal drugs entering the territory

Stranded American Samoans offer solutions to their overseas plight

Man who allegedly threatened to cut off his neighbor's head arrested on drug charges

Gov’t re-files criminal case against Retirement Fund’s former executive director

Senate rejects government’s lease with solar power company

Speaker questions allowing stranded “active voters” to vote absentee

It’s confirmed — Third release of stimulus checks goes out today

Fono committee hears report on CARES Act spending after the fact

Two arrested for assaulting a pregnant woman

Jessop Taase confirmed: First woman to serve as American Samoa’s AG

‘Auafa O Upu, Treasure Trove of Rare Samoan Words launched

Hawaii statute prohibiting US nationals from owning a firearm — struck down

LHS co-Val begins her journey at U.S Air Force Academy

Governor reportedly denied US soldier access into American Samoa

FEMA confirms pull out of on-site personnel in American Samoa

Three daughters of American Samoa honored as “Women of the Century”

Traffic stop nets — not meth — but this time it is cocaine

Governor extends suspension of Hawaiian flights through Sept. 30

Gov’s office clarifies to public —BINGO banned during pandemic

Opening ceremony for 2020-2021 school year slated for Monday

Governor supports Health Dept decision to quarantine FEMA staff

Embarrassing moment for American Samoa during roll call at DNC

LBJ puts its first COVID-19 testing machine online

COVID Task Force denies faipule request to “bring our people home”

ASCC Apprentice Workforce program works with Tradesmen Board to facilitate licensing

Alliance launches an online petition supporting repatriation flight

Gov Lolo pushes to relocate e-rate office to Tafuna H.S. campus

Eligibility for ASG building projects funded by CARES Act questioned



Gov tasks health leaders with plan for flight for stranded residents

Students are ‘literally’ sitting on floor in Tafuna Elementary classroom

Emergency Declaration for American Samoa extended to Sept. 30

Fofo faipule calls for hearing on problems at Veterinary Clinic

DoH looking at options for repatriating local residents from U.S

American Samoa experiencing a “tsunami of cash” — $170M in COVID-19 aid

Alleged threats to cut off a man’s head with a machete, leads to drug charge

ASHSAA 2020 Football Season kicks off with triple-header

Two men arrested for attempted rape of mentally challenged young girl

4th round of stimulus checks for American Samoa distributed today

2020 General Election candidates certified — no challenges received

Agriculture director says budget includes pay for new veterinarian

Samoa's deputy prime minister quits cabinet over land & title bills

A top 2022 college quarterback prospect is from American Samoa

ASG launches “repatriation registry” while new petition campaigns to keep local borders closed

Former police officer found guilty of drug charges released from jail

Lolo wants gov’t salaries reviewed and adjusted upward where warranted

Family members rally in support of stranded residents

Driver involved in fatal car crash charged with vehicular homicide

Lolo requests suspension of Hawaiian Air flights through October

Tafuna High parents and PTA against moving E-Rate to lower campus

10th Circuit Court hears arguments in birthright citizenship appeal

$1 million in “political appointee payments” will begin in new FY

Absentee ballots for stranded voters sent out

Tumuatasi Lefatia aka MAMA jury trial pushed back

Man allegedly beats his wife after she flushes his drugs down the toilet

Interim rule proposed for American Samoa bottomfish limit

Court rules against American Samoa in LVPA fishing rights lawsuit

Tafuna PTA requesting sit-down with governor over lower campus issue

New supervisor welcomed to USCG Marine Safety Detachment

Veterinary clinic is out of meds, out of vaccines, virtually out of business

11th Anniversary of Tsunami — A Quiet Remembrance


Alliance requests federal help from U.S through Congresswoman Amata

In the future ASG will lease — not appropriate family lands, LOLO SAYS

Fono lends support to DMWR opposition to bottomfish interim measure

Governor’s extension of emergency declaration remains in “Code Blue”

Sweeping changes in Industrial Park policy to foster local business development

Sabrina Suluai-Mahuka Teacher of the Year: An honor that runs in the family

DPS probes the deaths of two men whose bodies were found at sea

Mauga challenges cabinet to step up to help stranded residents

Annual Tattoo Fest goes hybrid local and virtual global

Fono digs in, returns budget ‘as is’ to governor and adjourns — again

Families in the dark about police investigation into deaths in Amouli

White Sunday — A time to cherish one of God’s most precious gifts

Reservists who appeared at Dem convention won’t be disciplined

Man accused of stabbing a member of aumaga multiple times with steak knife

DoH says it “has a plan” if we open up our borders for repatriation

Govt leaders: Local incidents of suicide call for ‘high priority’ action

Gov announces one-way Medicaid charter to Hawaii set for Oct 23

An estimated 600 residents of territory were off-island when borders closed

Bill allowing stranded overseas electors to vote is signed into law

Over 400 overseas absentee voters have already cast their ballots

Still no progress on site of the new Fono Building

American Samoa’s strategic location to play a part in China push back

Local fireman transported to the US for further rehabilitation

Stranded residents want repatriation — not open borders

Gov says $15Mil+ forecast in surplus funds will be used for Fono building

Funding gap appropriation bill passes with two amendments

Swains Islanders meet to select Fono delegate

Governor agrees to return THS’ lower campus to the school,

Latest round of stimulus checks for American Samoa are in the mail

Six to eight cyclones probable for next few months


No repatriation flight for Nov, but breakthrough on horizon

Barlow departs the territory on recent med flight after parole granted

Hawaiian Airlines flights suspended through Dec 30

Tafuna Warriors are ASHSAA’s 3-Peat Junior Varsity Football Champions

 Election Day: Exercise your right by voting. It’s your voice. Go Vote

Unofficial results have Lemanu & Talauega winning 60+% of vote

Aumua Amata overwhelmingly wins a 4th consecutive 2-year term

December looked at as “possible month to begin” repatriation plan

TBAS extends benefits of a Debit Mastercard to businesses

Five incumbent House representatives unseated

False Positive: No confirmed COVID-19 case in American Samoa

Man charged with abuse of underage girl

Man convicted of sexually assaulting his 16-yr old stepdaughter to serve 7 yrs

Hawaii’s Keiki to Kupuna Foundation providing food for stranded veterans

Crew on container vessel test positive for COVID-19

Varsity Football ‘Undefeated’ Champions – Tafuna Warriors

“Le Filifili” named in drug case

Samoa officials also on alert after positive COVID tests for sailors

Territory still Code Blue, as COVID-19 cases are ‘transit’ not local

Final actions on legislation as American Samoa’s 36th Legislature has ended

Local veterans stranded in Hawaii remembered on their day

Talofa Airways still intends to begin flights to Manu'a despite recent delay

Swordfish retention limitation removed for American Samoa

$2.3 M CARES Act money to be used for partial funding of new courthouse

Amata back in Washington as Congress goes into ‘lame duck’ session

Samoa's suspected positive COVID19 samples heading to NZ

Gov. orders immediate suspension of all air & ocean passenger services

Governor Lolo establishes COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force

Chief Uti Petelo selected as Senator for Aua, Leloaloa/Atuu

Still no clarity from New Zealand on Samoan sailor's COVID tests

Governor-elect Lemanu still not reunited with wife

Thanksgiving 2020: Prayers for our people around the world to “stay safe”

LBJ celebrates 100th knee surgery — and LDS doctors who made it possible

Second man in Samoa tests positive

Noted local siapo educator and artist recognized for excellence

Woman finds man trespassing in her kitchen — beer in hand


US Air Force planes heading to Antarctica denied permission to land

Alleged sexual abuser arrested after victim's father goes to police

9 PM – 5 AM biz closing applies to holiday parties and church services

Ban on sea voyages and flights between 2Samoas remains in effect

Grandmother reveals “horrifying tale” of rape within her family

Incoming Lemanu- Talauega team reviews transition with Gov Lolo

First Lady’s LBJ visit brings holiday cheer and goodies for all

Amata points out an Air Force flight is a different circumstance

DMWR office mobbed by “fishermen” applying for CARES Act funding

“Alia Tele” could become a reality after $4.4M USEDA grant

Upgraded Fale Samoa dedicated as the “Afioga Tufele Li’amatua Sr. Tufele Cultural Center”

Teacher of Year to keynote ASCC 73rd Commencement on Friday

Accident during a police hot pursuit — allegedly with gun toting cops

“Decorating our island” sends a message of peace and love

Le’i denies officer drew a weapon at Vaitogi police vehicle accident

Third Medical Charter scheduled for Jan. 8, wait list opens Tuesday

Governor tightens protocols for aircraft landing in American Samoa

American Samoa expects COVID-19 vaccine this week

“Sogelau” Monument dedicated in memory of 1900 flag raising

Gov establishes method to appeal HR decisions for unemployment benefits

Repatriation of Samoa citizens from territory awaits word from PM

Barlow appeals to Gov Lolo to grant pardon and commutation

COVID vaccine to arrive in American Samoa on Saturday freight flight

Once again idea of ‘elected’ senators is in the background of 'selection'

Priority for COVID-19 vaccinations — healthcare workers, 1st responders

Repatriation flight pushed back to Feb 2021; vaccination may be key

Many logistical challenges for DoH with the shipping and storage of vaccine

Medicaid director calls for prioritizing vaccines for Jan 8 referral patients

Major flooding in parts of Samoa — many stranded in Apia

“Refusals” of COVID-19 vaccine is a right of an individual, DoH says

Current ASG Treasurer to remain in service three months in new admin

Pundits predict Rep. Savali will yet again be Speaker in 37th Legislature

COVID task force and ‘some’ directors expected to serve in new admin

Despite the holiday season, drug and assault cases crowd courts

Governor receives first Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine on American Samoa

Barlow’s case against Interior Secretary continued to next year

DoH explains priorities for getting the vaccine and how to sign up

Stimulus bill signed — what’s in it for American Samoa?