Fortuno Asks Congress To Fund Waterworks Projects… CRB: No Obligation To Hold Constituent Assembly… Gov Will Attend Pope’s Funeral… Validity Of Polls Favoring McClintock Questioned… Students Remember Pope… Kansas' Galindo Plans To Transfer… Sec. Of State Will Lobby To Keep Ft Buchanan Open… Gov’t Cancels 2 Lobbying Firms’ Contracts…Culebra Clean Up Announced

US Congress Asked To Fund Waterworks Projects

April 6, 2005
Copyright © 2005
Business News Americas ( All rights reserved. 

Luis Fortuño, congressional representative for Puerto Rico (PR) in the US federal congress, is petitioning congress to fund a series of PR waterworks projects, Fortuño told BNamericas.

"We have [proposed] a number of flood control projects, such as [for the] Arecibo river, Fajardo river, Puerto Nuevo river, and others. We [are] essentially looking for ways to control flooding in areas that affect large numbers of people and businesses, to avoid flood damages in the future," he said.

The main projects involve building canals to control rivers, which when they overflow can affect the island's larger cities such as San Juan, Toa Baja, Dorado, Arecibo, Ponce and Fajardo, he added.

"Secondly, there are a number of [proposed] water and sewerage, as well as storm water, projects throughout the whole island. These would create a better quality of life in the different sectors, making a positive change if they are approved," Fortuño said.

Aqueduct and sewerage authority Prasa, together with the island's city mayors, produced a list of projects that they deemed necessary for development. Projects include building "a few" wastewater treatment plants to increase the 50% level of household wastewater treated in PR.

Finally, "there are a couple of dam projects" being considered to provide potable water to the eastern part of the island and the greater San Juan area, Fortuño said.

But Prasa is still in technical meetings with the US corps of engineers - a necessary step before dam projects can be proposed - and the projects may not meet the cutoff time to be considered in the current congressional cycle, he added.

Fortuño is a member of the US congressional water resources subcommittee, which is part of the transportation and infrastructure committee. Because of Puerto Rico's political status as a US territory, its representative cannot vote in congress.

Romero Barcelo: Legislature Not Obligated To Hold Constituent Assembly

April 5, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Former governor Carlos Romero Barceló said Tuesday that the Puerto Rican Legislature is not obligated to hold a constituent assembly on status if Congress and President Bush do not respond before Dec. 31, 2006, to Puerto Rico’s request about the island’s political status.

Romero Barcelo said the amendment to the substitute bill approved in the House and the Senate, which Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila is expected to sign, was accepted by the New Progressive Party "to calm everyone down."

"There is no commitment to hold a constituent assembly on status," the former governor said.

Romero Barcelo said using a constituent assembly to resolve the political relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico is "ridiculous."

Governor Will Travel To Rome For Pope’s Funeral

April 5, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila and First Lady Luisa Gandara on Tuesday were added to the list of official delegates from 70 countries that will attend the funeral mass for Pope John Paul II on Friday at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Acevedo Vila and his wife will travel to Rome Wednesday and return to the island after participating in the pope’s funeral.

"The life of Pope John Paul II was an example of unity and respect among people. It is an honor and an extraordinary duty for this servant to represent the people of Puerto Rico in a solemn mass Friday that will precede the Holy Father’s funeral," the governor said in a statement.

John Paul II, who died Saturday at age 84, visited the island in 1984.

Validity Of Polls Favoring McClintock Is Questioned

April 5, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The secretary general of the New Progressive Party (NPP), Thomas Rivera Schatz, on Tuesday questioned the validity of some polls that allegedly favor Kenneth McClintock remaining in his post as Senate president, and called on the Senate leader to accept the proposal of a delegate assembly to decide the issue.

Rivera Schatz made his statements in reaction to media reports that said several polls ordered by NPP donors and ‘estadista’ organizations revealed that Pedro Rossello does not have majority support in his effort to unseat McClintock.

"If the information was correct ... I invite the president of the Senate (McClintock)… to accept the assembly and take the issue to the assembly," Rivera Schatz said in a radio interview.

"If the president of the Senate believes in the polls, then he should support our initiative and end this issue," he added.

Students At St. Thomas Gather To Remember Pope


April 6, 2005
Copyright © 2005
MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved. 

Pope John Paul II was the only pontiff most of them knew.

So it made sense that the university students flocked on Tuesday to a Mass honoring the pope whose quarter-of-a-century-plus reign turned him into an icon among young people across the globe.

''It's respect,'' said Victoria Sanchez, 18. ``He's the head of the Catholic Church.''

So went the service Tuesday afternoon at St. Thomas University, the Catholic school in North Central Miami-Dade County, where hundreds of students and faculty members crowded the airy Chapel of St. Anthony.

They came before class, textbooks in hand, wearing textbook college attire: sweats, flip-flops and backpacks.

Gisela Torres, 20, a communications student, was thrilled because she got to read from the Bible during the ceremony. Back home in Puerto Rico, her church always displayed a photo of the Pope and honored him each week.

''We'd worship God, we'd worship him,'' Torres said.

Kansas' Galindo Plans To Transfer


April 5, 2005
Copyright © 2005
The Wichita Eagle . All rights reserved. 

LAWRENCE -- After a freshman season of inconsistent playing time at Kansas, Alex Galindo announced Monday he will transfer at the end of this semester.

"I feel I need a change of scenery to get closer to home," said the 6-foot-7 Galindo in a news release.

"At this time, my mind is still open to where I will go; but hopefully, it will be resolved in the next few weeks."

Galindo is a native of Puerto Rico who played high school basketball in Newark, N.J.

KU coach Bill Self said injuries "certainly slowed his development" and resulted in erratic playing time.

After missing a lot of summer work because of a broken wrist, Galindo had a preseason groin injury. But he appeared to be on the verge of being a key reserve when he scored a season-high 14 points and had seven rebounds against Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Dec. 22.

Galindo played double-digit minutes in five of the next six games before aggravating his groin injury and missing four straight games.

He later played 23 minutes in one game then didn't play in the next. He saw only one minute in the first-round loss to Bucknell in the NCAA Tournament.

Galindo, who arrived at KU with a strong reputation as a shooter, hit 17 of 44 three-pointers for 38.6 percent. He averaged 4.3 points in 10.4 minutes while playing in 22 games and starting one.

He is expected to consider Florida and Florida International.

Secretary Of State Will Lobby To Keep Fort Buchanan Open

April 4, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS . All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Designated Secretary of State Marisara Pont traveled to Washington this week to lobby the Department of Defense to keep Fort Buchanan open, the government said Sunday.

The delegation, led by Pont, will present its position to Defense officials, as the administration of President George W. Bush is in the process of evaluating the closure or relocation of military bases both in and out of the United States.

"We are confident that they understand the benefits that members of the National Guard and the Reserve, their families, and veterans and Army retirees can have by keeping Fort Buchanan open," Pont said in a statement.

A spokesman for the State Department said Pont traveled to Washington Sunday and will return to the island on Thursday.

Government Cancels Contracts For Lobbying Firms

April 4, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS . All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The administration of Anibal Acevedo Vila confirmed that it will not renew the contracts of two lobbying firms that had been working on behalf of the Puerto Rico government in Washington.

Eduardo Bhatia, director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, said the decision to cancel the contracts for Patton Boggs and U.S. Strategies was economic.

During the term of former governor Sila M. Calderon both firms had contacts worth nearly $2 million annually, media reports said.

Bhatia said the only lobbyist law firm that will receive income from the Executive of Puerto Rico starting in July is the firm Black, Kelly, Scruggs, Healey and Associates.

Environmental Board Announces Contract To Clean Up Culebra

April 4, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS . All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The Environmental Quality Board said Sunday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was awarded a contract worth $1.9 million to clean up Culebra.

The board president, Carlos Lopez, said the contract is for the removal and disposal of all munitions and explosives in the areas previously designated under the Previously Used Sites for Defense Program.

"We have achieved this important point so that Culebra obtains the necessary resources to guarantee a quick and adequate clean-up, which will allow the most people to enjoy its natural resources and ensure the best security for citizens," Lopez said in a statement.

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