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97% Of RR Will Be Available For Redevelopment…Rossello Steadfast On Candidacy…Treasury Expects Chaotic Filing Deadline…Homicide Rate Continues Unabated…Worn Out Their Welcome?…1-Year Expos Trial Run Sought…Sailor Latest Iraqi Casualty…Ruiz Talks At Hogar Crea…Notre Dame To Honor Cabranes

97% Of Roosevelt Roads Will Be Available For Redevelopment

By WOW News Staff

April 12, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

According to a prepared statement, Economic Development & Commerce Secretary and President of the Authority for Local Development of Roosevelt Roads Milton Segarra announced on Monday that 97% of the now non-operational Roosevelt Roads Naval Base would be available for redevelopment by local authorities.

Segarra confirmed that the U.S Dept. for Homeland Security would retain 7 buildings in the southern portions of the base, totaling some 45 acres. The U.S Customs Office will retain three areas totaling 15 acres; these will include a section of the docks, a hangar, and a small target practice range.

The Army Reserve will maintain a small portion of the Bundy area, about 90 acres with 16 installations to conduct operations.

"The presence of these three agencies represents only 3% of the total 8,300 acres of land available in Roosevelt Roads, this is an opportunity for Puerto Rico to develop and plan strategies for the economic rehabilitation of Ceiba, Naguabo and the island’s eastern region," stated Segarra.

The Roosevelt Roads Local Redevelopment Authority is currently reviewing initiatives for the reuse of the lands, it is hoped that by august the process will be complete. Among the greater concerns is the creation of jobs for residents.

Segarra added that on Wednesday April 14th, a town meeting will be held to hear the concerns of area residents. The meeting will be held in Ceiba’s Multipurpose Center at 9:30 in the morning.

Rossello Firm On Aspirations For Governor Despite Arrests

By WOW News Staff

April 12, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Although surprised by accusations against three former members of his party, New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello said he is more determined than ever to stay the course and win the November general elections.

"This has been a very painful episode to see people who have collaborated with me being accused," Rossello said in a radio interview after arriving on the island on Sunday.

Just as he has done in the past with other corruption scandals linked to members of his former administration, Rossello assured the people of Puerto Rico that he was unaware of the $2 million scheme related to the Superaqueduct project.

This time, the corruption scandal involved Rossello’s former campaign director Rene Vazquez Botet, former NPP Secretary General Marcos Morell, and former NPP Rep. Jose Granados Navedo.

"I have never obtained any illegal benefit, nor have I authorized or given instructions to commit illegal acts. I never knew of people who were committing illegal acts. So in that sense, I am completely at ease," Rossello said.

Rossello said that although he once considered Vazquez Botet to be a very close friend, they had become distant, especially since Rossello’s political comeback because he wanted to convey the message of change.

Nevertheless, Rossello acknowledged that this new scandal would cast a shadow on his party and would give his opponents plenty of ammunition against him. However, he said he trusts that the people of Puerto Rico will be able to tell the truth from the political propaganda of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP).

Rossello said the PDP has had a long history of winning elections by demoralizing its opponents rather than presenting a competent government plan that could speak for itself.

"They said former Gov. Luis A. Ferre was a weak man surrounded by corrupt people and Ferre lost. I remember the merciless campaign they carried out against former Gov. Carlos Romero when they accused him of murder. Now they are trying to do the same with me, just as they did back in 1992 when they falsely accused me of income tax fraud," said Rossello.

"Just as they didn’t succeed in 1992 and in 1996, they won’t succeed this time," Rossello stated.

Rossello said he feels he has learned the hard way that he must be more alert when it comes to ensuring a healthy administration. He also said he would make it a priority to ensure that the interests of the Puerto Rican people are well looked after.

"These are difficult moments for the party and for me."

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

SAN JUAN (AP) - Pedro Rosselló acknowledged that his New Progressive Party is going through some difficult times after Thursday's arrest of two high-ranking officials from among those whom he considered his friends.

"I admit that these are difficult times for the party and for me personally. These are people who were close to me, and to the efforts of the NPP," Roselló said upon returning to Puerto Rico after a family trip.

In a newspaper interview, the ex-governor acknowledged that René Vázquez Botet and Marcos Morell were very close to him.

"I consider him (Vázquez Botet) my friend, I also consider Marcos Morell to be my friend", Rosselló said, while emphasizing that he is not prejudging them. "I considered both of them to be my collaborators and my friends," he stated.

Vázquez Botet, Rosselló's ex campaign director, and Morell, Secretary General of the NPP during Rosselló's first term, were arrested Thursday by federal authorities for having allegedly participated in an extorsion scheme involving contractors hired for the Super Acqueduct project. They were allegedly participating in the scheme with José Granados Navedo, ex Vjce Chairman of the House of Representatives.

Granados Navedo has already pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentence in the Federal Courts.

Rosselló repeated that he never authorized any member of his government to commit illegal acts.

"I did not authorize, I did not request any type of illegal activity from anyone. At no time was I aware of the current allegations," he stated.

Treasury Dept. Expects Chaos Amid Filing Deadline

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

SAN JUAN (AP) – Thursday is the last day to file taxes and the Treasury Department is expecting chaos will take over payment centers and the offices for taxpayer’s assistance, due to the fact that 520,000 individuals and corporations have not filed yet.

Juan Flores Galarza, Secretary of the Treasury, said that only 430,000 forms have been filed as of last Thursday, which represent 45.2% of the forms expected this year.

He stated that this year the Treasury Department estimates it will receive 950,000 forms, an increase of 18,000 from last year’s 932,000 forms, according to published reports.

The secretary said that a large number of forms to be filled will include payments from taxpayers.

Flores Galarza pointed out that delays in filing are unusual and are most likely due to the public decision to participate in the Easter Week celebrations.

He reminded the public that the treasury has 103 filing offices and 8 taxpayer’s assistance offices, located in Plaza Las Americas in San Juan, Ponce Mall, Plaza Carolina, Plaza del Carmen in Caguas, Santa Rosa Mall in Bayamon, Beltz Outlets in Canovanas, Mayaguez Town Center, and Plaza Atenas in Manati.

As of last Thursday the Treasury Dept. had paid some $182.3 Million in returns on some 289,789 forms.

This year government will pay out $396 million in returns, which represents a $36 million increase from last year’s returns of $360 million. Flores Galarza said that 97% of forms filed will receive returns.

Six People Killed In Puerto Rico Over Holiday Weekend

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

SAN JUAN (AP) - At least six people were shot dead over the Easter holiday weekend in separate incidents throughout Puerto Rico, police said Sunday.

The shootings increased the number of killings in Puerto Rico to 237.

According to the latest police statistics, since January there have been about 10 more killings compared to the same period last year.

There were 780 killings in 2003 compared to 781 in 2002. Police say most of the violence is drug-related on the island of 4 million residents.

Police make arrests in less than half the cases, which they blame partly on poor cooperation by residents who can feel either compelled to protect their neighbors or afraid to incriminate them.

Worn Out Their Welcome?

From Wire Service Reports

April 11, 2004
Copyright © 2004. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN, P.R., April 11 — The Expos, who played 22 games in Puerto Rico last season, have apparently worn out their welcome. They drew 10, 623 on Sunday and 11,957 on Saturday, one night after they attracted fewer than 15,000. All together 37,319, a total so paltry they might have been able to match it in Montreal.

Making matters worse, they dropped 2 out of 3 games to the Mets.

Puerto Rico Seeks 1-Year Trial for Expos


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

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico wants all 81 Montreal Expos' home games next year.

The promoter who brought 22 games to San Juan last year and again this season made a proposal to the commissioner's office for a trial relocation to the Caribbean island.

Depending on the success of that trial, Antonio Munoz's group would try to buy the Expos, who were bought by the other 29 teams before the 2002 season.

"We have an offer on the table to operate all 81 home games in Puerto Rico with them in a one-year trial," Munoz said Friday before the Expos' first game of the year at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

If the offer is not accepted and the team is relocated somewhere else, Munoz said he is still interested in attracting other major league teams with attendance problems. He mentioned Florida, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay as teams that have expressed interest in playing in San Juan.

Sailor Latest Iraqi Casualty

April 9, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Department of Defense Documents

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Fernando A. Mendezaceves, 27, of Ponce, Puerto Rico, was killed April 6 in Iraq while conducting combat operations in the Al Anbar Province.

Mendezaceves was assigned to the Naval Medical Center San Diego, First Marine Division Detachment, San Diego.

Ruiz Talks At Hogar Crea

By Manuel Gamiz Jr. Of The Morning Call

April 8, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Allentown Morning Call. All rights reserved. 

John "The Quiet Man" Ruiz, the first Latino heavyweight boxing champion and current WBA champion, has seen the effects of drugs and alcohol firsthand, he recently told hundreds of listeners at Hogar Crea, a drug rehabilitation center in Freemansburg.

Ruiz left Puerto Rico with his mother as a young child because of his father's drinking problem, he told a crowd consisting of more than 100 members and directors of the international nonprofit group.

Hogar Crea International honored Ruiz with a lifetime achievement award March 29 for his humanitarian efforts and dedication to helping others. He established Champ's Corner, a charity to benefit the homeless, and has donated to several organizations.

Holding true to form, Ruiz donated $20,000 to Hogar Crea.

"I fight in the ring," Ruiz said "That's easy compared to what you guys are doing. I wish you the best and I hope you keep with it.

Ruiz will defend his WBA title against Fres Oquendo on April 17 in New York.

Notre Dame Honors Cabranes

April 4, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved. 

South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND -- Judge Jos A. Cabranes will [be an] honorary degree recipient at the University of Notre Dame's 159th Commencement exercises May 16.

Judge Jos A. Cabranes (doctor of laws) -- A judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since 1994, Cabranes previously served for 15 years as a U.S. District Judge for the District of Connecticut. After moving with his family from Puerto Rico to New York, he earned degrees from Columbia College, Yale Law School and the University of Cambridge. He has chaired two major Hispanic civil rights organizations, practiced in a New York City law firm, taught international law at Yale and Rutgers University, and served as special counsel to the governor of Puerto Rico and as head of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's office in Washington.

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