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Rey Questions Claim Island Returned $38.6m Of Unused School Funds To Feds…Hofstra Fattens Up On P.R. Diet…4 U.S. Agencies Bid For 255 Acres At RR…Calderon Defends Protocol-Greeting Tradition…Vieques, Culebra Economic Plan To Be Developed, Former Bombing Range In For Long Transition, Says Archbishop…Perez Exhibits Baseball Paintings At PAFA

Education Officials Question Federal Claim Of Unused Funds

Compiled from wire reports

January 11, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ORLANDO SENTINEL. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Newly released federal figures show Puerto Rico returned $38.6 million in unused education funds to the federal government, but the island's education secretary said his agency has used everything it has been given.

The figure appeared in a list of Education Department funding that reverted to the U.S. Treasury last year. Education Secretary Cesar Rey said the only money he knew had been returned was $18 million in special-education funds.

Puerto Rico Returns School Funds To Feds

By Nancy Zuckerbrod

January 10, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- While state officials nationwide say they need more money to educate children, newly released figures show states are returning millions to the federal Treasury rather than spending it in the hinterlands.

Last year, states returned $124 million to Washington that was to have gone toward large education programs such as special education and aid to poor children, according to Education Department data obtained by The Associated Press.

The states had more than three years to tap into the money before it reverted to the federal government on Sept. 30, 2003, said C. Todd Jones, a budget official in the Education Department.

The money was less than 1 percent of the $18 billion in federal funding that had been allocated to states on formulas in force during that period, Jones said Friday.

It could have been put to good use in the states, he said, and they have much flexibility in the money's use. States, he said, ``should seriously investigate why they are turning such large sums back to the federal Treasury.''

States and territories that returned the most were Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, the department said.

Puerto Rico sent back $38,636,034

Federal Funding Returned to Treasury

January 12, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

A state-by-state look at federal funding for ongoing education programs that reverted back to the U.S. Treasury last year after states failed to spend it: State Available balance Ala. $ 1,517,152 Alaska 396,396 American Samoa 901,109 Ariz. 3,013,975 Ark. 56,241 Calif. 1,680,554 Colo. 912,933 Conn. 915,805 Del. 522,817 D.C. 3,077,389 Fla. 3,525,865 Ga. 3,643,267 Guam 968,860 Hawaii 229,132 Idaho 241,109 Ill. 1,052,991 Ind. 1,485,081 Iowa 337,920 Kan. 79,947 Ky. 374,989 La. 6,060,902 Maine 31,579 Mariana Islands 77,922 Marshall Islands 0 Md. 1,772,645 Mass. 126,313 Mich. 5,093,607 Micronesia 364,604 Minn. 116,408 Miss. 793,899 Mo. 4,696,297 Mont. 279,013 Neb. 271,161 Nev. 685,696 N.H. 233,702 N.J. 3,447,871 N.M. 6,215,135 N.Y. 1,653,779 N.C. 80,381 N.D. 1,062,722 Ohio 580,218 Okla. 451,311 Ore. 692,200 Palau 65,488 Pa. 3,457,847 Puerto Rico 38,636,034 R.I. 37,488 S.C. 372,997 S.D. 131,527 Tenn. 3,869,768 Texas 11,007,911 Utah 108,715 Vt. 18,258 Va. 3,452,832 Virgin Islands 2,038,587 Wash. 424,657 W.Va. 118,118 Wis. 465,247 Wyo. 386,579 Nation 124,438,947

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Hofstra Fattens Up On P.R. Diet


New York Daily News

January 10, 2004
Copyright © 2004
Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved. 

For a second straight season Hofstra has reached into South Florida to fill its backcourt needs.

Pride coach Tom Pecora, who grabbed guard Carlos Rivera from Miami last season, has coaxed 6-2 guard Jorge LeBron to come north next season.

LeBron, who is averaging 31 points for Florida Prep in Port Charlotte, averaged 23.5 for the Miami Tropics AAU team last summer.

"He's a diamond in the rough," said Art Alvarez, LeBron's AAU coach.

LeBron and Rivera - Hofstra's third-best scorer at 10.6 ppg - grew up four doors away from each other in San Germain, Puerto Rico.

LeBron scored 59 points in one game this season and has topped 40 on several occasions.

Four Federal Agencies Bid For 255 Acres At Roosevelt Roads

By Marialba Martinez of Caribbean Business

January 9, 2004
Copyright © 2004
CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All rights reserved. 

Four U.S. government agencies have already requested 255 acres of the 8,600-acre Naval Base Roosevelt Roads (NBRR) in Ceiba that is set to close in Ceiba, said Economic Development & Commerce Secretary Milton Segarra.

The four agencies that have submitted applications for land transfers are the U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Postal Service, and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), according to a press release distributed by Segarra after the meeting with the DOD and U.S. Navy. According to the statement, Segarra met with Patrick O’Brien, director of the DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment; and Wayne Army, first deputy secretary of the U.S. Navy.

"To begin with, this is a good omen because we have the majority of the available property to develop," said Segarra. "I had the opportunity to show the U.S. Navy and DOD officers our preliminary plan for the redevelopment of NBRR, who were very impressed and showed their support with our plan."

In a prepared statement, Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila, who wasn’t present during the meeting, said that it was heartening to hear Segarra speak about the U.S. Navy’s support for the redevelopment of the base. Acevedo Vila added that the Bush administration wanted to use Puerto Rico’s plan as a model for base closings in 2005.

Calderon Defends Protocol-Greeting Tradition

January 9, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Although it is her last year in office, should it be up to her Gov. Sila Calderon would keep the annual tradition of the protocol greeting in which members of the society greet the governor and which him the best each year.

"The protocol greeting is something symbolic. It seems to me that it is a very beautiful Puerto Rican tradition and the other governors should continue it. I believe we must hold the activity for many years," Calderon said at the conclusion of this years’ protocol greeting.

A large procession of religious and military leaders, legislators, businessmen and union leaders among others visited La Fortaleza on Friday to greet the governor, her husband Ramon Cantero Frau and her daughters, Maria Elena y Sila Mari Gonzalez.

The governor said the annual greeting is a way in which we wish each other the best for the new year.

"It’s a good tradition," Calderon said.

After holding the traditional greeting during his eight years in office, former Gov. Pedro Rossello said Thursday that he would evaluate the use of the protocol greeting and suggested it should be replaced with a less formal meeting.

Vieques, Culebra Economic Plan To Be Developed

By Marialba Martinez of Caribbean Business

January 9, 2004
Copyright © 2004
CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Economic Development & Commerce (DEDC) selected economic consultants Estudios Tecnicos Inc. to conduct an economic study of Vieques and Culebra that will eventually lead to a master plan, said DEDC Secretary Milton Segarra.

The study, which will cost $475,000, will take five months and is expected to delineate what kinds of commercial activities the offshore islands can implement to develop a sustainable economy. The final master plan should take into account input from the residents of Vieques and Culebra who have attended four public hearings organized by the DEDC.

Long Transition For Vieques, Archbishop Said

January 9, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Patience, that is what the Catholic Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves has requested regarding the transition process of Vieques.

According to Nieves, who visited La Fortaleza on Friday for the governor’s protocol greeting with Gov. Sila Calderon, the process of cleaning the beaches will take from 25 to 30 years.

"That process in Hawaii has taken more than 25 years," Nieves said.

Gonzalez Nieves said that the transition team appointed by Calderon continues to work.

He added that it is up to the authorities to deal with the process.

For Vieques Mayor Damaso Serrano said that those who are criticizing the transition of the land, don’t understand that it is a process that will take time.

"It is possible that they can’t understand that the decontamination, the handling of the land and the possible development of the land is a long process," Serrano said.

"If the Navy was bombing our people for 68 years, we can’t pretend that things will be solved from one day to the next. It will take time," Serrano said.

In addition Serrano said the local government is working on additional initiatives in which he included at maternity ward at the local hospital.

He also noted that after the closing of the target range tourism in the municipality has greatly increased.

"Hotels are practically full and car rentals are practically empty," Serrano said.

Renowned Sports Artist Perez Exhibits Baseball Paintings At PAFA

Bill Fleischman

January 8, 2004
Copyright © 2004
The Philadelphia Daily News. All rights reserved. 

Baseball fans don't have to go to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., to see paintings of the inductees.

A Philadelphia-oriented exhibit of Dick Perez paintings opens today at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 118 N. Broad St., and will continue through Feb. 29.

Featured are 32 paintings of Phillies, Philadelphia Athletics and native sons in the Baseball Hall of Fame, including Reggie Jackson and Roy Campanella.

Once this exhibition ends, the paintings will be moved to their permanent home at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies' new stadium.

Perez, 63, is the official artist for the Baseball Hall of Fame and has painted portraits of every Hall of Famer. The gallery room of the museum bears his name.

He has done illustration work for the Phillies and Eagles since the 1970s. He designed and illustrated the 1983 World Series program cover.

Born in Puerto Rico, Perez moved with his family to New York City's Harlem section when he was 6. His love for baseball began with playing stickball in the streets around 125th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. His family moved to Philadelphia in 1958. He attended the Philadelphia College of Art and the University of Pennsylvania.

During the 1980s and '90s, Perez was a partner in Perez-Steele Galleries. He works primarily in oils, watercolors, acrylics and gouache.

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