P4 Katsuobushi The Nankatsu Corp, more affectionately known as the Katsuobushi plant, sent their first shipment of dried skipjack tuna to Japan last month. The new manager told me that the product was well received in Japan and is a big hit. The katsuobushi plant has been shut for the last month due to personnel problems. But plans are to resume operation the first of February. —Grant Gordon
P4 Soon to be You probably wonder what that concrete foundation is being built on the old runway in front of Evelyn Konou’s store, right? That’s the new milk factory and ice cream plant. They had promised ice cream by Christmas but didn’t quite make it. I’m glad to see progress being made on the project. —GG
P2 Laura factory ready Everyone knows about Laura’s garment factory, a huge complex built more than four years ago by someone from the People’s Republic of China, and then closed before it opened. Over the years, the factory sat like a giant white fortress, slowly succumbing to Mother Nature as paint peeled and the weeds grew higher. Now, the complex is alive with workers wielding paint brushes and adjusting machinery. Good smells are again coming from the dining hall. “Yes, if all goes right, the factory will be opening this month,” says T. Wang, director and general manager of Lanco Pacific Limited, a PRC company. His company expects to manufacture as many as a million trousers, shirts and sports jackets a year. Wang is hoping the first of 200 workers will be arriving January 8.
P3 Wotje school opens It’s official: Northern Islands High School started this week after an official opening celebration Saturday that involved a large contingent of officials from Majuro. Virtually the entire population of Wotje of more than 500 turned out for Saturday’s big celebration and blessing of the first government high school to open in more than 20 years. NIHS is not complete: only the two-story, eight classroom building was finished, but none of the dormitories, vocational building or permanent teacher housing.
P5 New twist How’d you celebrate the new year? At one of the local bars, popping champagne bottles or chugging Taka Lager? Or locked in the air conditioned privacy of a hotel room? Or out waking up the neighborhood with new year’s songs? Three local residents found a new way to celebrate new year. Jack Niedenthal, Carl Ingram and Dan Cadra donned scuba diving gear at 20 to midnight on new year’s eve, and stepped off the ocean side reef out past the airport. They were 80 feet down when the new year rolled around, amidst sharks, boxer fish and who knows what else, cause it was pretty dark down there at midnight. A novel way to ring in 1998.
P9 Frank’s ready for ’98 Frank’s pool house has turned out to be a takeout for the year 1998. Grand opening of Frank’s Takeout was held January 5 in Delap. Frank’s Takeout is owned by Captain Frank and his wife Katina.
P17 JAL happy with service in Marshalls Tuesday morning’s outbound Japan Airlines charter flight may be the last scheduled flight for now, but it’s not the last flight forever, assures Marshall Islands Tours’ owner Satoshi Yoshii in an effort to extinguish local fears that this is the end of the JAL charters. “We’ve demonstrated RMI’s capabilities and we met all of JAL’s demands,” said Yoshii, who adds that JAL is very happy about this and that tourists who came in on the charters also enjoyed the visit. Yoshii has been the main promoter of the JAL service, which started in the early part of 2007 but were less numerous in 2008.
P25 PII responds to high fuel price Pacific International Inc. is biting the bullet and going into the business of selling fuel. PII’s operations manager Kenneth Kramer confirmed rumors of a new gas station, telling the Journal that, “yes,” PII is going to open a fuel depot and start selling fuel as soon as mid-January. He said a decision was reached three months ago out of PII’s discontent with the current four local gas stations, which have failed to translate the decreases in world fuel prices to the Majuro market.