Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
FROM: Carolyn M. Burrell, Assistant Director Complaints Processing and Adjudication
SUBJECT: Transmittal of Files to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for Hearings
It has recently come to our attention that since the Bureaus have begun transmitting complaint files for hearing to the Administrative Judges (AJ's) in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions (EEOCs) field offices, the AJ's have been sending their findings and conclusions (decisions) and case files (in some instances) to the Bureaus. Decisions have been sent to both the headquarters and field offices of Department of the Interior (DOT) bureaus. In some cases, upon receipt of such, the bureaus have neither notified the Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) of having received the AJs decisions, nor, transmitted the decisions and files to us for preparation of the Final Agency Decision (FAD). This has resulted in the Office for Equal Opportunity, oftentimes, not being aware that decisions had been issued by the AJ, and, therefore, not issuing the FAD in a timely manner. Several times recently, we have only become aware that an AJs decision had been issued upon receipt of notification of a complainants appeal from EEOC.
From a regulatory standpoint, the Director, OEO has 40 days after receipt of the AJs decision in OEO to issue a final decision. In cases where an appeal has been filed and we become aware that a decision was issued by the AJ without benefit of one being issued by the Director, OEO, we must prepare the FAD while also preparing the Departments comments on the appeal brief.
In order to avoid this happening in the future; effective upon receipt of this Directive, we are requesting that you place the following language in your letters to the EEOC transmitting case files for hearing:
Upon completion of the hearing, please transmit the Findings and Conclusions and the hearing transcript to:
Ms. E. Melodee Stith
Director, Office for Equal Opportunity
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
Finally, because EEOC field offices do not always return the complaint files to DOI along with the decisions, please provide OEO with a copy of the Report of Investigation and complaint (correspondence) file concurrent with their being submitted to EEOC and the Solicitors office for hearing. This will avoid our having to delay submission of our comments on appeals to EEOC because we did not have the accompanying files to send. As we have indicated to you previously, the EEOC is no longer accepting written comments from OEO on appeals without the complaint files.
Please share the information in this Directive with equal opportunity officials in your field organizations who have responsibility for processing formal complaints of discrimination.
DISTRIBUTION: Bureau and Office Equal Opportunity Managers
INQUIRIES: Carolyn M. Burrell, Assistant Director, Complaints Processing and Adjudication, (202) 208-3442