P1 A place of human caring By Dick Tullis Medicine has long been one of the strong suits of the Saipan Administration. Now, augmenting that reputation, the Majuro Rehabilitation Center has scored another big number one for Trust Territory medicine. Its fame is spreading. Hospitals and orthopedic surgeons throughout the South Seas are now clamoring to admit patients to Majuro Rehab. So what is Majuro Rehab? Actually that isn’t the name at all. It’s true bureaucratic nomenclature is the Trust Territory Rehabilitation Center of the Armer Ishoda Memorial Hospital in Majuro. People and taxi drivers, however, call it the “polio ward.” And they are right because that is what it used to be. The polio epidemic of 1963 struck down 200 people in the Marshalls. To care for the victims of that tragedy, the TT government established the Rehab Center at Majuro.
Then with a lot of help from Shriner’s Hospital in Honolulu and some first class quarterbacking by a most unusual lady from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ethel Coeling, the “polio ward” went national, taking in all sorts of orthopedic cases from all six districts of the TT. Now, mostly because of the spreading fame of Dr. Gavin Sutherland, the orthopedic surgeon contracted by the TT, the Majuro Rehab is going international. Patients from Nauru, the Ellice and the Gilberts are already scheduled. Only last week, Sutherland did first-stage bone operations on patients in Nauru. These will later be transferred to Majuro for rehabilitative treatment and delivered to the tender hands of Ethel Coeling and her extremely competent team of Micronesian physical therapists. These include both old pros and youthful trainees in a working program headed by Boss Nurse Item Andrike and assisted by Vincent Sarongchug, Peter Ngiraseb, Freman Nissa and Monica Kiuluul. Together this great surgical-therapy team has hoisted yet another banner of Marshalls Mokta. They have put the Marshalls on the map in a field where they are proud to be: International medicine. Who would have ever thought it?
P1 Yokwe Flags in the Marshall Islands were lowered to half mast on Saturday as news of President Amata Kabua’s death reached the nation. The President died at Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu, apparently of complications related to heart and kidney problems that results in his medical evacuation from the Marshalls to Honolulu on November 13. Acting President Kunio Lemari issued a statement to the nation, broadcast on V7AB repeatedly Saturday afternoon, announcing the passing of Kabua and calling on the people of the Marshall Islands to “remain calm, firm and united, however painful and profound our distress.” Kabua, 68, was the Marshall Islands’ first and only president, having led the nation since it established constitutional government in 1979. Acting President Lemari declared a month of national mourning.
P3 Bikini: Fix the injustice Attorneys for Bikini and Enewetak islanders filed briefs with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC on Friday, appealing a lower court judge’s ruling that dismissed their multi-billion dollar claims against the US government.
P4 Will JAL stick with RMI? Two Japan Airlines flights this month is good news for local hotels and businesses, and it brings to six the number of charters in 2007. But after a hiccup-filled year, is JAL going to halt its charter service in 2008? That question is being asked by some people involved, and last months’ charter that had only 100 passengers — half the number of previous charters — is fueling concern. Marshall Islands Resort General Manager Bill Weza, who describes himself as “Mr. Optimistic,” told the Journal that “no one has given up on it.”
P8 Sabio leads Catholics The Vatican announced Friday a changing of the guard for the Catholic Church in the Marshall Islands. On Friday, Monsignor James Gould, SJ, who has been the apostolic prefect for the Marshall Islands since 1993, stepped down as Fr. Raymundo Sabio, MSC, was named to take his place as apostolic prefect. He will serve 4,601 Catholics and seven priests.
P14 Cohen leaves key role David Cohen has turned in his resignation at Interior after five-and-a-half-years heading the Office of Insular Affairs. He’s been the Bush Administration’s most visible spokesman in the islands as his office oversees implementation of Compact II. Cohen is credited with significantly raising the visibility of island issues in Washington, helping to reactivate the White House Interagency Group on Insular Areas, and launching comprehensive new programs to promote private sector economic development and accountability.