P4 Praises teachers (letter) This community on Majuro should give credit to all teachers in the Marshall Islands who are trying their best to educate our children. For me, I know I’ll go nuts teaching young children, and the patience of those who sit day in and day out and endure the mischievous behavior of the little ones should be recognized and encouraged even by our government. If there are measures sponsored by this government, private school teachers should be included. —Justin deBrum
P5 Jaluit field may open this month A trial landing at the Jaluit airfield may come as early as the end of February, Secretary of Resources and Development Hemos Jack said February 11. Others estimate much longer than that. In any event, the R&D crew will move on to Jabot Island after the Jaluit airfield is completed. Then to Namu and later Ebon.
P3 Will another smoking gun emerge? Will a smoking gun on the Marshalls be revealed when the US Congress holds a special hearing on nuclear testing next week? A large group of Marshall Islands officials are expected to attend the hearing next Thursday in Washington, DC. But the hearing is unlikely, in and of itself, to generate the smoking gun that some would like to find. In the first place, the revelation that US officials a) knew that the winds were blowing directly toward inhabited islands hours before the 1954 Bravo hydrogen bomb test but detonated it anyway; and b) that Navy ships were in the vicinity of Rongelap (whose population was engulfed in show-like nuclear fallout) and instead of evacuating the people, were ordered to sail away — is old news. This was revealed in the late 1980s by persistent attorneys and investigative journalists. But saying this should not minimize the significance of this very important hearing. A key objective of this hearing is to press for the release of documents that remain secret 40 years after the Bravo test.
P5 Big catch The Marshalls Billfish Club has elected Alex Bing, Billy Roberts and Baron Bigler as the three new members to its board. They join Ramsey Reimers, Dennis Reeder, Bill Graham and Wally Milne. Since the entire board was there, they decided to hold officer elections. After the smoke cleared and fish stories were told, Alex emerged as president, Dennis was vice president and Baron became director of tournaments.
P6 Proper ID ADB consultant David Falcon told us an amusing story: Chris Yanckello, a consultant to the PSC on rationalization, was in Honolulu trying to cash checks from his Bank of Hawaii Majuro branch account. But no one would accept them because his Virginia driver’s license did not show the same address as the checks. But as soon as he pulled out his Majuro drinking permit, his checks were accepted. Lesson: Don’t leave home without it.
P11 Oldest Marshallese village found on Maloelap What started out as a routine archeological survey of the proposed dispensary site on Tarawa, Maloelap ended in the discovery and investigation of one of the oldest, best preserved, and largest ancient villages in the Marshall Islands. The archeological survey by the Historic Preservation Office discovered the first known prehistoric site on Tarawa. Excavations revealed um, or earth ovens, food remains such as fish and shellfish, and a shell adze. Even though this site had been disturbed by activities during the Japanese occupation and subsequent bombing by American forces, it sill yielded important clues to the ancient past of the first settlers, who lived on Tarawa perhaps 1,500 years ago.
P11 Chernobyl victim invited to nuclear conference “We have waited more than 50 years for justice,” said Rongelap Islander and ERUB group President Rokko Langinbelik. “The world needs to know of our suffering.” With the 51st anniversary of the Bravo hydrogen bomb test approaching March 1, ERUB is organizing conferences and activities to put the problems caused by Bravo into the spotlight. For the first time, this year’s anniversary will includes links between survivors of US testing in the Marshall Islands and survivors of the huge nuclear power plant accident at Chernobyl in the Ukraine that happened in 1986. ERUB, which is both an acronym for the four nuclear test-affected islands of Enewetak, Rongelap, Utrok and Bikini and is the Marshallese word for “broken,” was formed more than a year ago to put focus on ongoing nuclear test problems in RMI.