AMI loses $1.2 million

Journal 2/14/1986

P1 Ataji greets HiCom Senator Ataji Balos led a group of more than 50 Kwajalein landowners over to Kwajalein Island February 13 in a demonstration of their dissatisfaction with the Pentagon’s reply to their requests for increased ai, said sources on Ebeye. The action resulted in the snack bar being closed to all Marshallese.

P3 AMI $1.2m in the red During the first five years of Air Marshall Islands operations, it lost a total of $1,212,056. The Auditor General’s July 1-December 31, 1985 report said: “AMI did not, prior to the period ending April 30, 1985, maintain accounts and records using generally accepted accounting principles and therefore we are unable to express an opinion” concerning unaudited earnings statements of AMI up too that date. 

P16 Problem of home grave sites In traditional times, Marshallese houses consisted of a sleeping house, a cooking house and a small house. These days, however, there seems to be an addition to that in the form of a family burial plot. A drive through Majuro shows that many have buried family members in their back or front yards. This practice appears to be growing without consideration of the possible consequences in the view of some Majuro residents. There is currently no municipal cemetery in Majuro, despite a growing community of more than 12,000 people.

Journal 2/13/1998

P3 It will be dust and delays For the next 20 months, traveling on Majuro’s main road will take a little patience. Section by section, the road is getting a major overhaul for the first time since its original construction almost 25 years ago.

P16 Girls basketball causes roars of excitement Opening ceremonies for this year’s high school sports league were held at the ECC this past week with girls basketball on the schedule for the first time. After the opening ceremony, a full house crowd was treated to a game of basketball between Assumption and Marshall Islands High School girls teams. From the opening tipoff, people were on their feet cheering. So loud, it was difficult to hear the referees’ whistles. Beatrice Bani was a real crowd pleaser with her sure ball handling and fast break layups which made her top scorer for MIHS. The Assumption girls proved too much to handle, though as severity starting player scored, led by Candice Guavis, Melinda Kii and Emma Kabua.

Journal 2/13/2009 

P2 Tijen shares birthday with newspaper On the day Tijen “Badine” Jortak-Labin was born — that fateful day of Friday, February 13, 1970 — a comfortable breeze carried inland by the trade winds cooled the island and its occupants. This same breeze blew into Armer Ishoda Memorial Hospital (now CMI) where Tijen’s mother Tinok Jortak was anguishing in labor anticipating the birth of her second child — Tijen. Tinok was worried about her child, who was born at just two pounds. “It was a rough pregnancy and although I came through full term, I was constantly sick, said Tinok. I was scared for Tijen but God blessed us and she survived.” On that same day, less than a mile down the road from the hospital, Joe Murphy and what he describes as his team of “Irish-extract aficionados” — among whom was Mike Malone — was giving birth to the Micronitor (now Marshall Islands Journal). From this modest beginning was hatched the nation’s only independent newspaper before RMI was a nation. Both Tijen and the Micronitor’s beginnings were marked with the odds against them. “Tijen was so small she couldn’t nurse with me,” recalls Tinok. “There was a Palauan nurse who helped me feed her.” Meanwhile, not many Majuro-ites know what a newspaper was, let alone what to do with it. “I would drop off 15 copies at the cashier’s counter at Kitco,” said Murphy. “After a week, I would go back and the same number of copies would still be sitting there.” Murphy recalls sitting at Kitco drinking his morning coffee when he overheard a conversation between the cashier and customer who was paying for her breakfast. “What’s that for?” Asked the customer pointing at the stack of Micronitors. “Iñok” (I don’t know) came the reply. While nurses at Armer Ishoda were nursing Tijen to health, Murphy kept publishing and distributing the newspaper. Fast forward to 2009 and both Tijen and the Journal are in good health. According to the helpful staff of the Ministry of International Affairs vital statistics office, only two Marshall Islanders share their birthday with the Journal: Tijen and Sweet Jemomo — whom were were unable to locate. Murphy, we are sad to report, has not stopped loving his beer. You can often find him enjoying libations to this day at MIC. —Suzanne Chutaro


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