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April 24, 2002 - Palikir, Pohnpei

Update from the President's Office - No. 208

April 24, 2002MEMORANDUM

To:       All Regents, Faculty, Staff, and Students

From:     Interim President
Subject:  Update from the President's Office-No.208

Trip Report. I left Pohnpei on April 8, 2002. Director Joakim Peter (Jo Jo) and Marylene Bisalen met me at the Chuuk airport and briefed me on the upcoming meetings with the Governor and Chuuk Legislature Leadership starting at 9:30 in the morning. Our first meeting was with Governor, Dr. Ansito Walter. The meeting proved to be a good start as Governor Walter expressed his full support for the college. He also reminded Jo Jo and I that it was Chuuk State government that helped us pay for the access road easement for the proposed Chuuk campus. We shared the plans for the construction of the Chuuk new campus and that the work for the access road will commence early next month.

Following the meeting with the Governor, Jo Jo and I met in his office to talk. I brought Jo Jo up to date on the main issues with the College about the budget, the five-year strategic plan, the institutional self-study and the eligibility requirements for the 4-year degree program in education, the role of State Campuses, and the Endowment Fund, among others. We spent some time talking about the immediate and long-range needs of Chuuk Campus; the need to have bigger and better facilities… more space for the increasing enrollment is a priority. My meeting with Jo Jo continued over lunch at the Truk Stop Restaurant. Jo Jo reported that in the afternoon of April 4, 2002, he called a general assembly of all faculty, staff, and students outside the classroom area. Jo Jo talked about his vision for the campus and about the plans to address the immediate facilities needs of the campus. On Friday, April 5, 2002, the Founding Day activities took place. During the months prior to the Founding Day, Chuuk Campus had a walk-a-thon and a bike-a-thon to raise funds for the COM-FSM Endowment Fund. Congratulations to Chuuk Campus for their contribution to the Endowment Fund. This will keep the torch burning in the name of our future generations of students.

In the afternoon Jo Jo and I paid a courtesy call on the leadership of the Chuuk State Legislature. We met with House of Senate President Detor Santos and Vice President Isiro Choram. We talked about the Chuuk Campus construction and the need for their support. They, too, pledged their full support to the college and urged us to let them know specifically how they could help us. Later we met with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bonciano Fasy Nethon. He was very enthusiastic in meeting us and promised to work with the Chuuk State COM-FSM campus.

On Tuesday, April 9th we met with FSM Congressman (Chairman of the Committee on Health, Education and Social Affairs), Senator John Petewon. After we updated him on the status of the Chuuk Campus construction, we presented our request for his consideration to help replace the amount of $1.0 million that Congress de-appropriated last special session. Senator Petewon expressed concern that there maybe one more potential landowner whose property may be affected by the plans for the access road. Upon being informed that the said land has been avoided and that surveyors assured us that piece of land would not be included in the access road plans, Senator Petewon promised to work with the Chuuk delegation to replace the money earmarked for Phase I and the other phases of Chuuk Campus site.

I would like to thank Jo Jo and his staff for setting up the meeting schedule and talking with me. Thanks to Marylene for accompanying me to observe some classes. I enjoyed meeting with you. We still have some challenges ahead of us but I trust that if we collaborate and work together, we will prevail. I believe we need to continue to educate and inform our leaders and the community on an ongoing basis of the needs and priorities of the college.

I left Chuuk on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 and was diverted to Kosrae due to heavy rain and clouds over Pohnpei. We were supposed to leave Kosrae on Thursday, the next day, but the flight was overbooked and overweight from Honolulu. Only four out of 40 diverted passengers were able to go on the flight. On Saturday, April 13th, I was able to get on the flight for Pohnpei. I would like to thank Director Kalwin Kephas and his staff for their hospitality.

FSM- Fisheries Maritime Institute(FSM-FMI). Seafarers Upgrading/Revalidating Courses sponsored by Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) are now concluded. The courses purposes were to upgrade the level of knowledge, skills and to revalidate the qualifications of all seafaring officers in the FSM. There were 6 deck officers, including ship masters and officers of the deck watch, and 2 FMI fishing/navigation instructors, who completed this first set of upgrading courses for the FSM. A total of 7 engineers also completed the courses; three were FMI engineering instructors. Due to the success of the courses, SPC encouraged the Institute to arrange for another session for other seafarers in the FSM who have not had the opportunity to take the courses. The deck officers completed the Sea Survival course and The First Aid Course on March 8, 2002.

Roof Repairs. According to a report submitted by Director Ewarmai, the re-roofing project is nearly completed. The old roofing material has been fully scaled off and the roof workers have started to water blast the whole area.

Training. Mr. Patrick Peckalibe completed his training in Japan in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and Fishing Gear. His training is part of the counterpart-training project facilitated through the Fisheries Training Project implemented at FSM-FMI. Director Ewarmai reported that Mr. Peckalibe brought with him a new wealth of expertise that he would utilize in the enhancement of the training programs at the Institute.

According to a trip report by the Director of FSM-FMI, he represented the Institute at the seventh annual meeting of the Association of Pacific Islands Maritime Training Institutions and Maritime Authorities (APIMTIMA). Workshops on Dangerous Goods and Deck Cargoes, International Safety Management Code, Safe Ship Management and Safe Operating Procedures, (GMDSS), and Search and Rescue (SAR), were held. During the three-day meeting, consensus was reached over a number of legislative and regulation issues. A generic format was established and, once it is completed, this model will be distributed to the Maritime Administration of each Pacific Island member government for their reference and use. Director Ewarmai also attended a one-week course in Maritime Auditing. There were 15 participants from the Pacific Island member governments that took the course and passed it.

Captain Benjamin James, the practical navigation instructor, traveled to Japan to take part in the counterpart training component of the project in Fishing Techniques. His training will last for six weeks.

Captain Tatsumi Shigeo, an Associate Professor of the National Fisheries University of Japan, is in Yap to develop the course on Radar Simulator for instructors. Captain Takashi Suguro from Tokyo University of Fisheries was dispatched from Japan to FMI to take up his post as a Short Term Expert on Fishing Instruments. Instructional materials on instruments such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), Echo Sounder and the Fish Finder, etc that are used on board ships for navigation and fishing will be developed. Captain Suguro will be at FMI until May 14, 2002.

Training Equipment. The passing of Typhoon Mitag near Yap in March 2002 left the island devastated and people homeless. The training vessel, Cassiopeia, was blown over the Ganir Causeway resulting in a total loss of the vessel. This was the Institute's only training vessel that was capable of providing training on long-line fishing, gillnet fishing, pole-and-line fishing, ship handling and maneuvering, radar plotting and use of radar, etc. However, in late March, the Institute received an open-lifeboat from Tokyo University of Fisheries. Although this boat partially compensates for the loss of the training vessel CASSIOPEIA, it does not fully replace it.

The FMI staff and their families who are staying on the FSM-FMI Campus organized Easter Sunday activities. There were lots of games including an Easter egg hunt for the kids and egg throwing for adults and children. Director Erwarmai said it was decided that although there are games scheduled weekly between students, and between staff and students, there will be many more events like the one held on Easter Sunday since everyone had fun and it involved every member of the FSM-FMI community.

Chuuk Campus Construction. The contract for the access road has been awarded to ABCOR Construction. Director of Maintenance Francisco Mendiola had a meeting with ABCOR Construction and Efren Roque Architects to finalize the scope of work and contract documents for the access road. This contract is only for the sewer line and coral road in the amount of $395.166.00 and will be completed in four months starting in May 2002.

As for the building, the design work is still in progress and will be completed by next month as well. Once funding is available, bidding and contract documents will follow the completion of the access road.

National Campus Faculty Office Construction.A&B Construction to whom the project has been awarded is still working on the bonding requirements for the project. The agreement is for A&B Construction to come up with a cash bond at the rate of 10% of the total amount of the contract, which is a little over $200,000 by the end of next week. The estimated time for completion of the building is six (6) months.

Pesonnel. Mr. Gilmoon was hired on April 8, 2002 as the Student Support Services Program (SSSP) Coordinator at Yap Campus. Please join me in welcoming Mr. Gilmoon to the COM-FSM family. Ms. Karen Davies, English Instructor at Yap Campus resigned on April 16, 2002 after spending a little over a year with the College. On behalf of all of us at the College, I would like to express word of appreciation to Karen and wish her well.

More next time!!

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