P1 Fire destroys KITCO By Bill Graham Another historic Pacific retail landmark passed into history March 25, the victim of a devastating fire. Like MIECO here in Majuro, whose collapsed roof several years ago led to its eventual razing, and like the True Trading Company in Moen and the Western Carolines Trading Company in Koror, both of which burned down, the old KITCO Commissary is no more. The building, which until the fire housed the two dual outlets of G&L Enterprises Midtown Mini-Store and Video Rental Shop and Lloyd and Pat Muno’s Seven Degrees North and Cooler, was totally decimated by a roaring blaze which broke out just after closing of the two late night operations purveying TV tapes and ice cream to a regular and steady crowd. Once the headquarters of the Kwajalein Import and Trading Company’s burgeoning empire, the building had a long and glorious history since its construction in the 1950s. For many years, KITCO was THE PLACE to shop in Majuro, offering a wide variety of dry goods and food items. Together with MIECO, it bookended downtown Majuro. It was the first store to have a regular supply of frozen meat and the first to market fresh produce from Laura.
P11 Seiberling promises aid to Rongelap A delegation of four Rongelap representatives returned from Rep. John Seiberling’s March 14 hearing in Washington with the powerful lawmaker’s promise of economic aid for an emergency evacuation to Kwajalein and an independent radiological survey of Rongelap. Senator Jeton Anjain, Lijohn Eknilang, Billiet Edmond and Johnsay Riklon spent a week in the US capital lobbying for Congressional support of their planned evacuation from Rongelap next month.
P3 School crisis Kwajalein Mayor Wilmer Bolkeim is concerned that as many as 50 percent of Ebeye’s elementary age children may not be in school, and he wants to do something about it. The local government is keen to move forward on two fronts: establishing a new public elementary school to provide additional classroom space for Ebeye’s large population, and start the first public high school on the island.
P16 New LCU christened in Majuro The government’s new landing craft was blessed in a ceremony near the Weather Station Monday evening. Transportation Minister Kunio Lemari hailed the new ship, saying it was long the dream of former President Amata Kabua that three ships, including a landing craft, would be built and put into operation. The first two, Jukae and Ribukae, went into service earlier in the 1990s. The new LCU is named Jel Jelet Ae. The 140 foot LCU is the first vessel to be built locally by the Majuro Dry Dock and Slipway. “Most people who look at it don’t believe that we built it here,” said Ray La Force, who supervised construction. “Some people ask us, ‘how long did it take you to fix it?’ Fix it? We built it.”
P20 Canoe race bringing outer island racers Participants from more than 21 islands around the Marshall Islands will test their korkor (small sailing canoe) skills during the Marshall Islands Cup, May 1, according to Outrigger Marshall Islands Resort officials. The first-ever national race, sponsored by the Resort, will feature a four-mile men’s and women’s race, both starting and finishing at the new Outrigger property.
P1 Power soars by 7.5 cents The Marshalls Energy Committee announced its biggest power rate increase in its 22-year history that takes effect April 1. Rates for lifeline and residential will jump a whopping 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour, while government and business rates increase five cents a KW hour. Lifeline goes from 23.5 cents to 31 cents. Residential rates go up from 25.5 cents to 33 cents per KW hour. Business rates are being bumped from 34 to 39 cents, which government is going from 35 to 40 cents per KW hour. MEC blamed the increase on world market fuel prices, which rose to $132 per barrel in March, up from $106 in January.
P12 Next to the Best is great A group of women on Arno Atoll are very modest about their capabilities. So humble are these ladies that they named their group Atar Moman (Next to the Best). But Next to the Best may be a misnomer because they have just done something that no other club or non-profit group has done on an outer island here: they’ve taken the support of five donors and parlayed that into a sizable chicken and egg growing project in their community.