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Manuia le Kerisimasi America Samoa

Manuia le Kerisimasi America Samoa from the Samoa News staff. [SN photo]

Christmas is a special day for Christians, and especially locally — where church congregations are intricately woven into the fine mat of the Samoan culture. It is a day of giving thanks for the many blessings each and everyone in American Samoa has received this year.

“While Christmas is synonymous with physical gifts, a kind gesture to your neighbor, doing a good deed for someone in need, uttering a kind word for those in trouble, or simply displaying a spirit of goodwill will go a long way to make this Christmas special for someone,” Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga said in his annual Christmas message.

“On this Christmas, remember our heroes — the men and women in all of the Armed Forces of the United States, who are placed in harm’s way in order to protect our freedom and ensure that we live in peace, free from oppression and injustice,” he said.

Christmas Eve this year falls on a Sunday. This time of the year, many will spend Christmas with their families and friends, after church services.

A check with the Manu’a Island group reveals that the highlight of their celebrations will be church services, with many Manu’a residents now on Tutuila for the holidays.

Lolo has already declared Monday, Dec. 25 a government holiday. Therefore all government offices will be closed on this designated holiday and ASG employees working on that day will be compensated according to applicable laws and regulations.

The District Court will also be closed on Monday and anyone taken into custody tonight and throughout the three-day Christmas weekend, will spend the Christmas weekend behind bars, until the court opens for business next week Tuesday.

The majority of the territory’s businesses — including the three banks — will be closed Dec. 25.

At StarKist Samoa, production will shut down for three weeks instead of the usual end of the year two-weeks down-time. Not exactly good news for cannery workers who just saw a 5-week shutdown between late October to mid November.

StarKist Inc., corporate spokesperson Michelle Faist said the cannery’s last production day was Friday, and production will resume on Monday, January 15. “Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday,” Faist told Samoa News on Thursday.

With the holidays in full swing, the government’s Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board reminds vendors, bars and restaurants that when selling or serving alcohol they must abide by the rules and regulations.

Local law states that beer taverns and alcoholic beverage licensees may sell or serve beer or alcoholic beverages from 8:00 a.m. through 2:00 a.m. the following morning. Stores are allowed up to 10:00 p.m. to sell alcohol and beer. Alcohol is prohibited from being sold on Sundays at stores.

Police started their annual holiday enforcement program Friday and it will run until Jan. 5, 2018 at 6a.m. It’s,beefing up road patrols, conducting roadblocks at unannounced locations and checking on taverns and stores selling beer and alcohol. This includes monitoring the sale of alcohol to underage drinkers.

In observance of Christmas Day 2017, Samoa News will not publish on Monday (Christmas Day) and Tuesday, Dec. 26 and will return on Wednesday, Dec. 27.

From all of us at Samoa News: “We wish the people of American Samoa and our Toa o Samoa, a Merry Merry Christmas.”