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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 77,635

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Commonwealth Utilities Corp. (CNMI) facing cash-flow crisis

SAIPAN – The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. will soon be in a "hand-to-mouth" situation if it can't get $8 million in reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said CUC Chief Financial Officer Greg Cruz.

"What we collect goes out the same day to take care of our bills," Cruz reported to the CUC board on Friday.

Without the FEMA reimbursement, he added, CUC would be unable to pay some of its contractors hired for the Supertyphoon Yutu restoration work.

"We should have a plan B in the event this money (FEMA reimbursement) doesn't come in by the end of the year," Cruz said.

Read more: https://www.postguam.com/news/cnmi/commonwealth-utilities-corp-facing-cash-flow-crisis/article_7b6954b6-803b-11e9-adf1-e7adec4cf87f.html

USDOJ accuses Starkist of trying to get out of paying a $100 million fine

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The US Justice Department is asking a federal judge to “reject” StarKist Co’s “attempt to escape punishment for the crime it committed” and to uphold a proposed $100 million fine, as cited in a plea agreement between the parties for the company’s participation in the packaged seafood conspiracy — to fix prices of packaged seafood sold in the United States.

USDOJ’s sentencing memorandum — with many portions redacted, and revealing details of StarKist’s participation — was filed last week at the federal court in San Francisco, where the company will be sentenced next month.

Documents filed in March this year, show the “inability” of StarKist to pay the $100 million criminal fine and the matter — at the time — was referred to the Probation Office for a pre-sentence report to, among other things, determine if StarKist can pay this amount or lower it to $50 million.

In the USDOJ 30-page sentencing memo, trial attorney Andrew J. Mast notes that StarKist “is to take responsibility for selling hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of price-fixed tuna to consumers” in the US.

Read more: http://www.samoanews.com/local-news/usdoj-accuses-starkist-trying-get-out-paying-100-million-fine

CNMI government to implement 72-hour work schedule

The Torres administration announced on Thursday that it will implement a 72-hour work schedule beginning with the pay period that starts on June 23, 2019.

Under Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ directive, business hours for departments and agencies under the Executive Branch will be closed during every “payday” Friday beginning on July 5, 2019 until further notice. The Office of Personnel Management has been directed to work with all departments and agencies to ensure that all civil, excepted and exempted service employees are properly notified and advised of the modified work schedule.

“This is a very difficult decision, but it is necessary in order to protect our government employees from other more drastic options that would have more severe impacts and to ensure that our government obligations and services remain stable,” said Torres.

“Financial recovery remains at the top of our efforts, so that we can eventually revert back to a normal 80-hour work schedule. Lt. Gov. Palacios and I appreciate all our government employees for their patience during these financial challenges and for their continued commitment to serve the people of the Marianas,” he added.

Read more: https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/breaking-news-govt-to-implement-72-hour-work-schedule/

Grammy-winning Hawaii resident's drug possession case in Guam closed

HAGATNA, Guam >> A drug possession case in Guam involving a Grammy Award-winning singer has been closed, officials said.

A superior court judge in Hagatna ordered the case against Yvonne Elliman-Alexander and her husband, Allen Alexander, to be closed Tuesday after they completed all requirements of their sentence, The Pacific Daily News reported Monday.

Elliman-Alexander won a 1978 Grammy for “If I Can’t Have You” on the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.

The couple was charged with drug possession by airport authorities as they arrived in Guam in 2017 for a benefit concert, according to court records.

Read more: https://www.staradvertiser.com/2019/05/29/hawaii-news/911-report/grammy-winning-hawaii-residents-drug-possession-case-in-guam-closed/

Feds could face coral lawsuit

KAILUA-KONA — The Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday announced plans to file suit after a federal agency missed a deadline to rule on whether to list cauliflower coral as a threatened or endangered species under federal law.

That’s unless the agency publishes its determination within 60 days, according to a letter from the conservation group’s attorneys and addressed to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and an official for the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The lawsuit would accuse Ross and the National Marine Fisheries Service, an agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce, of violating the federal Endangered Species Act, which requires the Fisheries Service to act on petitions to list species as threatened or endangered within 12 months of their filing when it has determined protection might be warranted.

“The law is pretty clear within the statute that they have to make a decision within that 12-month period,” said Maxx Phillips, the Center for Biological Diversity’s regional director for Hawaii and staff attorney.

Read more: https://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2019/05/30/hawaii-news/feds-could-face-coral-lawsuit/?WHT=ce082a9abcac236eb9f2eafe8df536f8c11a40a4

Housing Costs Put A Crimp On Keeping Teachers In Hawaii

WAIMEA, HAWAII ISLAND — For Hawaii public school teachers Annie O’Brien and Heather Luster, an ordinary, drab-looking structure parked behind an elementary school has been home for the past year.

What it lacks in aesthetic appeal, it more than makes up for in affordability. The women, who are neighbors, pay $500 a month for their studios, with utilities ranging from $50 to $80. Their rent is deducted directly from their DOE paychecks.

“I realize that’s a very great deal,” said O’Brien, 60, an Australian who moved to the Big Island a year ago from the mainland to teach in special education.

But once O’Brien vacates her apartment after the school year is up, she’s uncertain whether Hawaii’s cost of living makes it worthwhile to stick around in her job.

Read more: https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/05/housing-costs-put-a-crimp-on-keeping-teachers-in-hawaii/

'My Heart Sank': Former Officer Details His Role In Mailbox Conspiracy

Niall Silva, who was the first Honolulu police officer to plead guilty to conspiracy in the alleged framing of Gerard Puana, took the witness stand Tuesday in the ongoing trial of Louis and Katherine Kealoha.

Silva testified that he falsified police reports, lied during Puana’s criminal trial in December 2014 and deceived both the FBI and a federal grand jury about his role in the alleged frame job.

He also discussed his reaction to seeing Puana for the first time on Dec. 4, 2014, when he testified against him at his criminal trial for stealing the Kealohas’ mailbox.

Silva was one of the Honolulu police officers who reviewed surveillance video of the alleged June 21, 2013, theft the day after it occurred.

Read more: https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/05/my-heart-sank-former-hpd-officer-details-his-part-in-mailbox-conspiracy/

Waterbury Man Guilty of Fraud and Money Laundering Offenses Related to $1.5 Million Fraud Scheme

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Brian C. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the Boston Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, today announced that LEON C. VACCARELLI, 42, of Waterbury, has been found guilty of numerous fraud and money laundering offenses stemming from an investment scheme that defrauded individuals of approximately $1.5 million. A trial before U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton began on May 13 in New Haven, and the jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of a 21-count superseding indictment this morning.

According to court documents and the evidence presented during the trial, Vaccarelli was a registered representative of The Investment Center (“TIC”), a brokerage company, and was an investment adviser associated with IC Advisory Services, Inc. (“IC Advisory”). He also was the owner and only member of LWLVACC, LLC, and conducted business through an entity named Lux Financial Services (“Lux Financial”). Using these various entities, Vaccarelli operated a financial advisory and brokerage service through which he offered investment advice and sold investments and securities to individuals and families in the Waterbury area.

Between approximately 2011 and 2017, Vaccarelli defrauded approximately 15 victim investors of approximately $1.5 million by falsely representing that he would invest his clients’ money in IRA rollover accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit (“CDs”), or other types of interest-earning investments. However, instead of investing customers’ funds as he had represented, Vaccarelli deposited customer funds into his own personal account and business bank accounts, commingled those funds with his own money, and used the funds to pay both business and personal expenses, including tuition and mortgage payments. In some instances, he also used customer funds to make bogus “interest payments” to other victim-investors.

Vaccarelli’s victims include an elderly woman who Vaccarelli coerced into transferring approximately $300,000 in funds from a safe investment portfolio into a bank account that Vaccarelli controlled. Vaccarelli subsequently spent the money on personal expenses and to pay off another investor who threatened to sue him. Vaccarelli also stole nearly $500,000 from a trust, which was established in 1991 to care for a woman with diminished capacity. Other victims include a retired schoolteacher, a retired construction worker, and medical professionals.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ct/pr/waterbury-man-guilty-fraud-and-money-laundering-offenses-related-15-million-fraud-scheme

Alaska Native leaders call on Attorney General Barr for help, tribal authority to make up for lack

Alaska Native leaders call on Attorney General Barr for help, tribal authority to make up for lack of police

Alaska Native leaders on Wednesday called on U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr for federal aid and tribal authority to prosecute certain crimes, saying that a dangerous lack of law enforcement is growing worse in the state’s most remote communities.

Barr, in Alaska for four days to learn more about the problems, said during his confirmation process earlier this year that he was struck by the challenges facing public safety in Alaska, with its vast, hard-to-reach regions. On Wednesday, speaker after speaker, representing more than 200 Alaska tribes, described how crime in rural Alaska has raised alarms with the number of state-funded Village Public Safety Officers at or near an all-time low.

In Anchorage on the first day of his visit, Barr sat at a long table at a tribal health facility listening to 13 Native leaders from every region, many of whom had flown in to describe a crisis of rural sexual assault, violence and drug use. He said he would work to provide greater security in rural Alaska through his power at the Department of Justice.

“It’s the responsibility of the attorney general to serve all the people of the United States, every state, every community,” Barr said. “It’s critical our legal system work for every American and no one be left out of that.”

Read more: https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/rural-alaska/2019/05/30/alaska-native-leaders-call-on-attorney-general-barr-for-help-tribal-authority-to-make-up-for-lack-of-police/
(Anchorage Daily News)

Rep. Knopp censured by Alaska Republican Party

Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai/Soldotna, faced an official censure last Friday from the Alaska Republican Party State Central Committee for his role in forming a majority coalition with Democratic representatives at the beginning of this year’s legislative session.

Glenn Clary, chairman of the State Central Committee, said that the censure will have three major consequences for Knopp: Knopp will no longer receive any official support — financial or otherwise — from the Alaska Republican Party; a primary challenger to Knopp will be supported by the party and Knopp will be prohibited from participating in any official Alaska Republican Party activities.

As of now, two people have already filed as primary challengers against Knopp, who is up for re-election in 2020: Ron Gillham, who previously ran against Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, in the last election cycle, and former Rep. Kelly Wolf. Clary said that the Alaska Republican Party has not yet endorsed either of these candidates.

The motion for censure was made during Friday’s Republican Party committee meeting in Kenai by Jason Floyd, a member of the District 30 Republicans and a constituent of Knopp. According to the language in the motion, Knopp “engaged in actions detrimental to Alaska Republicans or to Republican values and goals.”

Read more: https://www.homernews.com/news/knopp-censured-by-alaska-republican-party/
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