P1 Sun sets on ’86: Compact, Kwajalein, malnutrition big stories
Three years of waiting for the Compact of Free Association to be implemented finally ended in late 1986 when the new agreement with the United States passed its last hurdle and went into effect.
P1 A Christmas gift for Laura village
Last Friday President Kabua threw the switch giving the Laura municipality electricity for the first time. A dedication party in Laura was the final act in a program which was started over 10 years ago. Lines were installed and a power plant building was erected in late 1976 but the project stalled when funding ran out. Four years ago, the project received another shot when Nine Group laid an underground cable which would carry electricity from the new power plant. The project again stalled when the funds were not available for transformers, poles and drop lines. A few months ago, President Kabua called the Capital Improvement Program, Public Works and MEC administrators into his office and said he wanted electricity in Laura before Christmas, or they might be out looking for new jobs in 1987. A tremendous team effort resulted with MEC completing the project early last week. Jackie Jacob and his linemen, Robert Kitchingham and Dave Ackley were praised by the President for getting the job done under adverse conditions. It seemed everything that could go wrong did. Poles ordered months ago have not arrived. Transformers were supposed to be here in October just arrived this week. But amid all the difficulties the job got done. Jerry Kramer, PII manager, spotted some transformers on Kwajalein and arranged for their transfer to Majuro Jackie and his crew worked weekends and evenings. Kitchingham rewired the transformers at the old power plant. The end result was realized last Friday. Ten homes have been connected in Laura and many more are being hooked up this week.
P4 1986 milestones
Linda Swaine became the Marshalls’ first woman health assistant. Dr. John Iaman retired after more than 30 years of service to the government. The Marshalls government opened a Washington, DC office, sending former Cabinet Minister Wilfred Kendall to represent the Marshalls in the US capital. During the annual July fishing tournament, 15-year-old Kenneth Kramer took top honors by bagging a 190-pound marlin. Alele Museum Curator Jerry Knight and Micronitor Printing Company published a second edition of his 1982 book, Man This Reef, a collection of stories and legends of the Marshall Islands. Majuro Atoll Local Government formed early in the year with Amatlain Kabua as mayor. Alele Museum launched a weekly TV program that features Marshallese orators narrating legends and stories of the Marshalls that are illustrated with period pictures and current video, and more contemporary expressions of dance, music and drama.
P6 New men in charge
The national police are now under new management. Long-time Criminal Investigation Division Chief George Lanwi has taken over as commissioner of police. He replaces Paul Tonyokwe who has been in the post for the past three years. Meanwhile, Vincent Tani, who’s been in charge of training for police, has moved up to take George’s previous position.
P6 Who’s fault?
The terrible state of the roads was discussed at the Chamber of Commerce. The ensuring debate at the meeting at least afforded some comic relief. Fortunately, Jerry Kramer was there so he could be blamed in person (PII is in charge of the big road-paving project). As people complained about various things, Jerry was explaining that every day the road crew kept preparing areas for paving but then it rains and wrecks all the prep work, so it’s back to square one. In the meantime, there are a billion holes. “It’s an act of God,” he exclaimed of all the rain, to which one alert listener retorted: “Oh, so now you’re saying it’s God’s fault?” To which Jerry replied: God has decided that we should all have full catchment tanks and the road will get done later. Better keep praying.
P5 El Niño delayed to 2010?
It is as if the rain god has decided that December will erase the sin of dryness from earlier parts of 2009. Possibly this month will use up all the rain in the sky so that El Nin?o will kick in, as predicted, in January. In the meantime, get out your umbrella and high-water boots. The Majuro Weather Station reported this week that in November, Majuro saw just one day with more than one inch of rain. Contrast that with the report for December: Through Monday this week, Majuro has seen nine days with more than an inch of rain, bringing 16.33 inches — or four and a half inches above the average for December.