Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another mention by Ruth Tighe


With kind thoughts and good intentions on many peoples' minds at this time of year, maybe it's the right time to talk about what people can do for themselves and each other independently of government subsidy, control, and intervention. Two recent examples of just how well this works, how effective it can be, are the Beautify CNMI! movement - which took off with a sort of spontaneous combustion and shows no sign of abating any time soon, having already accomplished an impressive string of achievements, and Bud White's Teacher of the Year fund raising.

Both endeavors met a perceived need. Neither involved formal government control, funding, or financial support (though of course, Beautify CNMI! does meet on government time, in government facilities). And both have established on-going programs that show every sign of being successful long into the future.

Read the rest of Ruth Tighe's article here

Friday, December 29, 2006

JSTA Cleanup of Paseo de Marianas

Members of Japan Saipan Travel Association (JTSA) and Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) woke up bright and early on Wednesday morning to pick up trash along the Paseo de Marianas in the Garapan Tourist District of Saipan. Here are a few pictures:

GarapanPaseo de MarianasMarianas Visitors AuthorityPerry Tenorio

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Garapan in the News

Marianas Variety, Thursday, December 28, 2006

NMI needs more community volunteers
By Gemma Q. Casas
Variety News Staff

AS the government’s financial condition continues to worsen, public and private sector officials are banking on volunteers to help clean up Garapan, the center of business activitys in Saipan.

Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat, Covenant-Saipan, said volunteers are needed in these difficult times to help promote the Northern Marianas as a major tourism destination in the Pacific.

Kaipat is part of a newly formed group spearheaded by the Hyatt and Tan Holdings Corp. whose goal is to transform Garapan into a more family-oriented place.

Dave Sablan of Tan Holdings, who presided over a meeting yesterday at the Tan-owned Fiesta Resort & Spa, said they want Garapan to be a more tourist-friendly area.

A team of volunteers will survey various business establishments and private property in the area.

The teams will then report to an advisory council which will ask the establishments to take action on suggested changes.

Sablan said their project will not be costly for business owners.
“We don’t want to impose costs (on business owners or the government) so we’ll try to round up more volunteers,” he said.

The volunteers will be asked to plant more flowers around the area; help install signs written in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese; and paint facades, among other beautification projects.

The group aims to finish transforming Garapan by June 30, 2007.

MVA Chairman and Tan Holdings CEO Jerry Tan said one of the things they want to see is improvement in Garapan’s street lights.

“(Having more street lights) does a lot of good. Tourists feel safer walking around and it drives away prostitution activities,” said Tan.

Garapan in the News

Saipan Tribune, Wednesday, December 28, 2006

Ad-hoc group formed to transform Garapan
By Liberty Dones

A private sector-led group was recently formed to accomplish one big goal: to spruce up or transform the appearance of the downtown Garapan tourist area, block by block, in the next six months.

This area covers the corners of Winchell's and the police fire station on the highway side and the Hyatt Regency Saipan and the Fiesta Resort & Spa area on the Micro Beach side.

The ad-hoc group is led by Century Insurance president Dave M. Sablan Sr. and Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager Michael von Siebenthal.

Sablan and von Siebenthal presented their project to government and environmental groups yesterday noon.

“The team's sole goal is to enhance the need to beautify the whole Garapan area so that we may proudly showcase the whole 'tourist belt' area, not only for our visiting tourists but also to our own local residents to enjoy,” said the two organizers.

The group divided the tourist belt, which includes the Paseo de Marianas, into 20 blocks and appointed 20 team captains to head the transformation of each block.

Hyatt Regency Saipan appointed six of its managers to handle six blocks while the remaining areas are given to managers belonging to Tan Holdings Corp., the mother company of Century Insurance.

Named as team captains from Hyatt Regency Saipan are its executives: Steve Palomero, Matt Araki, Gabrielle Colombo, Yosh Gabaldon, Josephine Mesta, and Ken Kaku.

They will be in charge of blocks located along Royal Palm Beach, Coffee Tree Avenue, and a portion of Ginger Avenue.

From Tan Holdings, the team captains include Lynn Knight, Ed Cho and Joe Ada, Rene Magalong, Nel Matanguihan, Arlene Almero and Elna Curante, Henry Pun, Ador Dimaano, Frank Camacho, and Puy Macario, among others.

Tan Holdings will handle portions of Royal Palm Beach, Coffee Tree Avenue, most of Ginger Avenue and the entire Plumeria Avenue.

Each team captain is tasked to pay a courtesy call on all business establishments within the assigned block to discuss beautification plans such as cleanup, painting, or planting flowering trees.

Part of the visit is to observe overall safety of the building, “ensuring that loose objects in the surrounding area are secured so that during high winds or typhoons, they do not fly away and damage other properties.”

Business operators are encouraged to plant flowering plants and decorative trees around the building.

Business signage will also be checked, making sure that it complies with the CNMI Building Code.

Team captains are required to submit reports and to meet once a month.

Sablan said the group would need more volunteers to implement the program.

He said the whole project is expected to be finished by end of June 2007.

The group met yesterday with Reps. Cinta Kaipat, Absalon Waki Jr., Zoning Board administrator Steve Tilley, Division of Environmental Quality's Tina Sablan, Beautify CNMI's Angelo Villagomez, Coastal Resources Management's John B. Joyner, Mike Evangelista from the House Speakers' Office, Judy Torres from Marianas Visitors Authority, among others.

Other officials dropped by during the meeting. They included MVA board chair Jerry Tan, MVA executive director Perry Tenorio, Asiana Airlines general manager Kwang Joong Kim, and Tan Holdings' Ivan Quichocho.

The group's transformation plan for Garapan tourist belt was widely supported by the attendees.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Pacific Islands Club Cleanup

Pacific Islands Club Saipan47 volunteers from Pacific Islands Club Saipan woke up bright and early to clean up the beach south of their hotel in San Antonio.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

International Visitors

Beautify CNMI International VisitorsOur website continues to get dozens of hits every day from people within the CNMI, on the mainland, and in other countries. Click on the map above to view the most up do date country share of the last 100 visitors to our website.

Beautify CNMI! in the News

Marianas Variety, Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sister Remedios wins Christmas tree contest
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

Students from the Sister Remedios Early Childhood Development Center won the Christmas tree decoration contest at the Paseo De Marianas in Garapan.

The students decorated their tree with recycled materials and were awarded 50 points and the grand prize of $500.

Saipan Community School won second prize and $300 scoring 48.2 points followed by Oleai Elementary School which won $200.

Students from Garapan Elementary School and Tanapag Elementary School, who tied for fourth and fifth places, won passes to the water park at the World Resort Hotel and gift certificates from DFS.

Sixth place went to Kagman Elementary School which received the same prizes.

The contest, which was staged in partnership with the Beautify CNMI! coalition, aimed to instill in the minds of participants and spectators the importance of recycling as a means of proper and effective solid waste management.

Beautify CNMI! in the News

Marianas Variety, Tuesday, December 26, 2006

More than 300 students join Crime Prevention Jamboree
By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa
Variety News Staff

MORE than 300 students from private and public schools participated in the first ever Department of Public Safety Crime Prevention Jamboree on Friday at American Memorial Park.

Students from Kagman High School, Marianas High School, Saipan Southern High School, Hopwood Jr. High School, Koblerville Elementary School and Dandan Elementary School gathered at the park for a Christmas treat organized by DPS in partnership with the business sector.

The event started at 3:30 p.m. with a sky diving exhibition performed by Police Director Pete Leon Guerrero and Police Sgt. Jack Salas.

The sky divers jumped from a plane 10,000 feet in the air and landed at the Ada Gym track and field area.

This was followed by a parade of various law enforcement vehicles and schools from the gym to American Memorial Park.

Acting Gov. Timothy P. Villagomez, Acting DPS Commissioner Tomas Manglona and Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat, Covenant-Saipan, were the guest speakers at the event.

Dandan Elementary School principal Jonas Barcinas, who is also head of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, and Crime Prevention Officer-In-Charge Police Officer Tricia M. Seman also spoke.

Miss Teen CNMI Myana Welch and Little Marianas Opal Northen urged the youth and children to stay away from drugs and violence.

The highlight of the event was the drill and ceremony competition of the Law Enforcement Explorer Program in which students from Kagman High School, Saipan Southern High School and Marianas High School participated.

Kagman bagged first place, MHS placed second and Saipan Southern High won third place.

The judges were Myana Welch and Beautify CNMI volunteer Angelo Villagomez.

The winners received trophies donated by SaipanCell and assorted gifts from the business sector.

Students from Koblerville, Saipan Southern High School and Hopwood presented dance performances.

The Taga Cultural Dancers from Tinian and other groups also performed during the event.

The participating students were accompanied by their parents and teachers.

Traffic Officer Sgt. Andrew Taimanao was Santa Claus and handed out candy presents to the children with the assistance of Welch and Northen.

Seman said she was pleased with the turnout for the event.

“We hope we can do it yearly. I’d like to thank everyone who helped in making this possible and successful — the sponsors, the parents, students, schools and the community for helping us out, and of course the Criminal Justice Program for funding this event,” Seman said.

The DPS Crime Prevention Programs consist of three programs for youth — the Law Enforcement Explorer Program for high school students, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program for the elementary level, and the Junior Police Officer Program for the elementary and middle school levels.

Each program offers lessons on decision-making, the importance of respect and helping others, volunteerism and staying away from drugs and gang violence.

DPS Fire Director and acting Commissioner Tomas Manglona said the program also aims to prepare the students for a career in law enforcement.

“They are our future so it’s important that these kids are protected and guided properly,” Manglona said.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Beautify CNMI! in the News

Saipan Tribune, Saturday, December 23, 2006

DEQ awards prizes to recycling winners
By Marconi Calindas

Recycling heroes gathered once more at the Division of Environmental Quality Conference Room yesterday to receive their prizes for winning the recycling competition held in November.

The Northern Marianas Academy, a private school in the Commonwealth, topped this year’s CNMI Recycles Day competition. The school collected a total of 50,380 lbs of recyclable materials. There were 34 NMA students who participated in the contest, bringing in 1,481.8 lbs of trash per student.

Marianas Visitors Authority director Perry A. Tenorio joined DEQ officers Tina Sablan and Reina Camacho in presenting the prizes to the winning schools yesterday.

NMA won $600 cash prize, plus 30 waterpark passes to Pacific Islands Club and 20 seedlings, courtesy of the CNMI Forestry.

Eucon International School ranked second, with a total of 22,459 lbs of recyclable materials. This means the109 students who participated brought in an average of 206 lbs of trash.

Public school Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School placed third after each of its 221 student brought in 166.7 lbs of trash for a total of 36,837 lbs.

San Antonio Elementary School ended up with 115.6 lbs per 239 participating students for an overall total of 38,020 lbs.

Grace Christian Academy ranked fifth with 75 lbs per student (total of 360 students). The private school accumulated a total of 27,220 lbs of trash.

Saipan International School, William S. Reyes Elementary School and Koblerville Elementary School followed the ranking with 63.9 lbs, 36.7 lbs, and 33.3 lbs per student respectively.

There were 24 private and public schools that participated in this year’s Recycles Day competition.

The competition based its scores on the recyclable wastes gathered by each student that participated in the competition.

This year’s CNMI Recycles Day partners and supporters included Ericco (provided free recycling collection for the schools); Ginen Saipan; Pepsi; Pacific Islands Club; Hotel Nikko Saipan; Hafadai Publishing; Saipan Shipping; MS Villagomez; and Java Joe's as corporate sponsors.

Government supporters were the Office of the Governor; Office of the Lt. Governor; Marianas Visitors Authority (prizes, logistical support); DPW; DEQ; Department of Lands and Natural Resources, Forestry Division (for the seedlings of all participating schools); and Office of Rep. Cinta Kaipat; Office of Rep. Absalon Waki. Nonprofit partners: Saipan Chamber of Commerce; Marianas RC&D; MINA; and MOVER.

This year’s contest committee members were Camacho, Angelo Villagomez, Steve Hiney, Barrett Ristroph, Bree Reynolds, Frank Tudela, Ed Diaz, Elly Stoilova, Ken Kramer; Cinta Kaipat; Absalon Waki, Gus Kaipat, Viola Kaipat, Nina Rivera, Marites Castillo, Merced Ada, and Sablan.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thank YOU, Tan Holdings!

Tan HoldingsAt their recent Christmas Party, Tan Holdings presenting Beautify CNMI! with a generous donation of $1000.

Beautify CNMI! in the News

Marianas Variety, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Signs installed to protect sea green turtles
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

PICTURES of green sea turtles and information about their life cycle are featured in the signboards installed yesterday morning in three strategic locations at Obyan Beach.

Officials from the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance, the Coastal Resource Management Office, the Historical Preservation Office and Beautify CNMI! went to the area to witness and supervise the installation of the three sign boards at around 8:30 a.m.

The sea turtle photographs were donated by Dr. Mark Robertson of the Marianas Eye Institute and members of All American Divers.

The signs provide information on green sea turtles and urge the community to help preserve the threatened species that makes Obyan Beach its nesting ground.

CRMO’s Kathy Yuknavage earlier said that many residents and visitors do not fully appreciate the natural, historical and cultural wealth that Obyan Beach has in abundance.

But, she added, it is a good thing that a lot of government agencies, private groups and individuals have started showing an interest in enhancing the wildlife habitat in the area.

Those who went to Obyan Beach to witnesss the installation of the first sign in the parking area were Yuknavage, CRMO Director John Joyner, MINA Chairman and former Lt Gov. Jesus C. Borja, HPO administrative officer Tony Agulto, archeologist Ronnie Rogers and Beautify CNM! restoration chairman Angelo Villagomez.

Villagomez said this is the first time that MINA, CRMO, HPO and Beautify CNM! have collaborated on a project initiated by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife grant.

The project is to have three phases:

First was the blocking of the beach with used power poles to prevent driving near the coastal area.

Second was the installation of informative sign boards.

And third will be the construction of stairs in the area for residents and visitors.

Security guards along roads leading to Obyan Beach have recorded an average of 100 cars packed with tourists that visit on weekly basis.

Most of the tourists visit the area to dive, and dive shops charge them a rate that ranges from $50 to $75 per dive.

Rogers said the area is an important historical site.

He said HPO “wants to stabilize the area to protect this historical site.”

Rogers said people lived there 3,000 years ago and there were many artifacts dug up in the area.

Besides the ancient latte stones, there could still be a lot of artifacts underground, he said.

The area also has Japanese bunkers containing human bones.

The bones, Roger said, have gradually been exposed due to the erosion of soil during heavy rains.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Volunteer of the Week

Bree Reynolds in 50 feet of water at Obyan Beach.

Bree Reynolds has been an invaluable member of Beautify CNMI! for several months. In 2006 she helped us find students to participate in stream cleanups, beach cleanups, tree plantings, and field trips (I prefer to call them outdoor classroom experiences). Oh yeah, she came along, too. She is also taking stream storm water samples with DEQ and RC&D's Stream Team.

Bree teaches at Hopwood Junior High School and at Northern Marianas College. Next year she plans to use the Micronesian Challenge as the centerpiece of her problem solving based curriculum. She is going to present the Challenge, to effectively conserve 30% of our near shore resources and 20% of our forest resources, and she is going to task the students to come up with a proposal.

I can't wait.

Bree is also building a Recycling Shed at Hopwood JHS. We need the following supplies:

  • 2 pieces of plywood
  • 64’ of 2”x4”
  • Metal Roofing 8’x8’
  • Outdoor house paint (any color)
  • Paint for oil drums (recycling containers) (any color-15 drums)
  • Chicken wire enough to line each drum.
We'll be looking for the supplies in the New Year, but if anyone wants to donate them now, that would be even better.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Hopwood Junior High School Tree Planting

This afternoon 27 students from Hopwood Junior High School, with a little help from Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, planted 75 Da'ok trees (Calophyllum inophyllum) around their campus. When they are taller, the trees will provide shade for students who have classes outdoors or who choose to go outside during breaks.

Hopwood Students Planting TreesJust ask any number of students sitting under the short supply of tall trees on Hopwood's campus if they prefer sitting in the shade or in the sun. The temperature in the shade can be 10 degrees cooler than the temperature in the sun (Click here for a student science project comparing soil temperatures in sun and shade).

Hopwood Students Planting TreesWe planted trees around the perimeter of the playing field and in the area around the flagpole. The trees around the playing field will play the dual purpose of providing shade and blocking out some of the noise from Beach Road.

Hopwood Students Planting TreesThe students who participated in today's planting will probably be in college by the time these trees are tall enough to provide considerable shade, but I'm sure they'll remember the Monday afternoon that they spent digging and planting in the sun. Hopefully they'll come back to Hopwood with their younger brothers and sisters and point out the Da'ok trees they planted way back in 2006.

HopwoodThe Da'ok trees were donated by Caesar and Ignacia Villluz. The shovels and picks were donated by Marianas RC&D. The students are in Mrs. Bree Reynolds 7th period Science Lab.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Another Succesful Wing Beach Event

Wing Beach CleanupFrom Kathy Yuknavage, Mariana Islands Nature Alliance Secretary:

Today was a great success and a lot of fun. Marianas Resort staff and Mr. Jim Phillip’s Marine Science class from Marianas High School were already at the beach picking up when Ted and I arrived at 7:45. They informed us that there was very little trash. The dumpster is working marvelously.

MINA cleanupWe only had to use one truck to haul the limited amount of litter collected. In fact we included the bags of garbage removed from the dumpster; all told weighing less than 120 lbs.

Angelo VillagomezGiven that we had very little to do to clean up, the 35 volunteers, including representatives from Aqua Resort Club, Beautify CNMI!, and the Church of Latter Day Saints, headed towards the main road to plant trees. Our newly elected Executive Director, Angelo Villagomez from Beautify CNMI! and RC&D brought a total of 30 Do’ak trees. The volunteers cleared brush, ignored their boonie bee stings and planted the trees along the south side of the access road. They have all been flagged so MINA and our co-adopters, Marianas Resort, can trade off keeping the brush cut back around them. It feels wonderful to actually have time to enhance the natural habitat of this pristine beach, rather than just remove litter. I hope we can continue to keep this and some of our other undeveloped beach fronts in their “primitive” state for those that like to have open sky and stars overhead.

Saipan LDSWalt GoodridgeWing Beach CleanupHope to see all of you next month to work on MINA Drive.



Friday, December 15, 2006


Ruth Tighe makes a suggestion:
If tourists are on island during Beautify CNMI! cleanups, they could be invited along, to pick up trash, to paint over graffiti, to plant trees. Tourists could even be enlisted to help survey marine populations as they dive and snorkel - so they could feel part of the battle against global warming - and the campaign to restore CNMI waters to their former pristine condition.
I think it is worth looking into.

Saipan Marianas Lions Club

Saipan Marianas Lions Club held their monthly meeting and fellowship at Kilili Beach on December 10, 2006. They did tree planting and garbage collection as part of their monthly meeting.

Saipan Lions Club Tree PlantingSaipan Coconut PlantingSaipan beach cleanupSaipan Marianas Lions ClubSaipan Marianas Lions Club has adopted Kilili Beach as part of Beautify CNMI and DEQ's Adopt-a-Beach program. They will clean the area on the first Sunday of each month starting in the new year.

Beautify CNMI's "Micronesian Challenge Symposium"

The Micronesian Challenge seeks to effectively conserve 30 percent of near shore marine resources and 20 percent of forest resources by 2020. Last night Beautify CNMI hosted a symposium to introduce the Challenge to some of our members. As part of the Outreach Working Group, which has worked the last several months on plans for taking the Challenge to the people of the CNMI, I led last night's discussion. I had help from DEQ's Fran Castro and Dr. Peter Houk, who were on hand to answer any questions that participants might have about last week's regional meeting in Palau.

The goal of the symposium was for Beautify CNMI partners to sit down and have a casual discussion about the Challenge. The Beautify CNMI coalition has plans to take the Challenge on as one of our major projects in 2007. The goal of the night was to simply introduce the Challenge to the members, to get the discussion started, and to focus our early thoughts on two words within the Challenge: Micronesian, because this is a regional effort, and 2020, because this is a long term plan for sustainability.

After introducing ourselves, reading the Challenge, and allowing me to talk about my personal vision behind the Challenge, we went around the room to give people the opportunity to voice some of their initial ideas about the Challenge, how they see themselves participating in the outreach and education component of the Challenge, and pretty much anything else that they had on their minds.

I think that the symposium was an appropriate forum for this type of meeting. I wanted participants to feel comfortable, so I tried to keep the meeting informal and fun. We had a pretty good discussion. I hope that it is the first of many.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Attend the Monthly Meeting!

The next monthly Beautify CNMI meeting will be Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 10 AM. We will be meeting at Division of Environmental Quality in the second floor conference room.

The meeting is open to the public.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Managing Natural Resources to Prevent Crime

The Marpi area of Saipan has become notorious for petty crimes, especially crime against tourists. Criminals hide in the jungle near the spots where tourists park and then run out to unwatched cars, smash, grab, and run back into the jungle. No one ever sees a thing. The tourists don't usually find out what happened until it is too late. The thieves disappear within seconds back into the jungle along the numerous jungle trails up in Marpi.

Even Beautify CNMI! is not immune to this. During our cleanup of the Suicide Cliff Outlook a while back, somebody smashed in a car window and stole a camera and a wallet. There were 50 people up there cleaning, but nobody saw a thing.

Crime is always a difficult thing to deal with. No matter how many police you put on the streets or how much money you spend on prevention, there will always be crime. The best you can hope to do is to reduce crime. The local government is always strapped for cash and since there is no funding mechanism to charge people an entrance fee to visit Marpi's tourist sites, there is no money available for 24 hour security (there is security during part of the day at some of the tourist sites).

Crime against tourists is probably the worst type of crime the CNMI could have. They are our life blood. We don't want to develop a reputation as a place hostile to foreigners. So how do you reduce crime in one of Saipan's most popular tourist spots when there is no budget for security?

Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) and Department of Natural Lands & Resources (DNLR) came up with an ingenious way to make it more difficult for thieves to operate in Marpi.

Saipan Suicide CliffThe thieves were able to operate successfully because the parking area was literally feet away from thick jungle. Even while standing in the parking lot on the edge of the vegetation, it was impossible to see in more than a few feet. The thieves were able to wait at the edge of the trees, run only a few feet to an unwatched car, smash, grab, and then disappear back into the jungle. The whole thing probably took under a minute.

Saipan Suicide CliffMVA and DNLR came up with a plan to thin out the trees near the parking area so that you could see at least 50 meters into the jungle, thus making it more difficult for thieves to hide.

Saipan Suicide CliffThey did not clear cut the area, they only cut away low lying branches and removed understory vegetation. They left all of the canopy species standing.

Volunteers from Department of Corrections and Rep. Kaipat's Office joined CNMI Forestry, Parks & Recreation, and Agriculture for a day's worth of cutting and chipping, thinning out a 50 meter perimeter around the Suicide Cliff lookout area. Any thief wanting to operate in the same manner as before the thinning had better be a very fast runner.

This project probably won't stop the crime in Marpi, but it should make it a lot more difficult for criminals to perpetrate a smash and grab. Not only will it make it more difficult to commit crimes, it also looks really nice! The thinned out trees are very inviting; It is a nice addition to an already beautiful spot.

Thank you MVA and thank you DNLR for coming up with this plan!

Thank you Cinta Kaipat and thank you Department of Corrections for providing volunteer labor!

Name that fish!

Weird FishWhoever correctly names this fish gets an autographed 8x10 of the Beautify CNMI! chairs!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Definitions of Sustainable Development

Although originally envisioned as a model of coral reef and forest Conservation, the Micronesian Challenge is also a model of Sustainable Development.

Here are some definitions:

World Commission on Environment & Development, 1987:

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Edward B. Barbier, 1987:

To maximize simultaneously the biological system goals (genetic diversity, resilience, biological productivity), economic system goals (satisfaction of basic needs, enhancement of equity, increasing useful goods & services), and social system goals (cultural diversity, institutional sustainability, social justice, participation).

Dag Hammarskjold Foundation of Sweden:

NEED - not profit - or growth-oriented; endogenous (accords with values of each culture and leaves people of that culture free to determine those values); stresses self-reliance rather than increased dependence on the world market; ecologically sound (tailors itself to local, regional, global capacities); and based on transforming existing power structures such that self-management and participatory democracy replace the current system of entrenched ecoonomic and political privilege.

Volunteer of the Week

Walt Goodridge and Captain CarlTree planting superstars: Walt Goodridge (left) and Captain Carl pose for a picture during MINA's latest tree planting at Wing Beach.

Captain Carl Brachear has been involved with Beautify CNMI! from day 1. He has participated in planning meetings, tree plantings, community and beach cleanups, and several publicity events.

Carl has been a great addition to Beautify CNMI's success. He has been one of super volunteers, coming to events week in and week out.

You should see our younger volunteers snap to attention when Captain Carl barks out an order. It is really funny to watch.

Carl has been one of the major proponents of a Beautify CNMI! led tree trimmer training. We were able to secure a $1000 dontation to pay for this training, so keep a look out for it over the next couple of months.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Micronesian Challenge in the News

Marianas Variety, Monday, December 11, 2006

Regional group to implement Micronesia Challenge
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

OFFICIALS from the CNMI and other Pacific islands have formed a regional body that will implement the Micronesian Challenge.

An initiative of Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Micronesia Challenge is a program that aims to conserve marine and forest resources across the region.

The program initially targets the conservation of at least 30 percent of near-shore marine sources and 20 percent of forests all over Micronesia by the year 2020.

Besides Palau and the CNMI, the other jurisdictions involved are Guam, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Four officials from CNMI environmental protection agencies attended a meeting held from Dec. 4 to 8 in Palau to discuss the Micronesia Challenge.

They are Fran Castro and Peter Houk of the Division of Environmental Quality and John Joyner and Cathy Yuknavage of the Coastal Resources Management Office.

DEQ spokeswiman Reina Camacho said the CNMI has already achieved 19 percent conservation in fish and wildlife, 13 percent in near-shore marine resources and 17 percent in forestry.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday Morning Dan Dan Cleanup

This morning was our second consecutive month cleaning the road between Northern Marianas College and San Vicente Elementary. 30 volunteers from Friends of the Marianas, Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, Rep. Cinta Kaipat's Office and family scoured the road for illegal litter.

The Friends of the Marianas also started digging sediment out of some of the culverts along the road. The gutters were made so that they would collect sediment and it needs to be removed periodically or it backs up and floods.

Beautify CNMIMOVERBeautify CNMIBeautify CNMICinta KaipatKen KramerBeautify CNMIKen Kramer, Marianas RC&D Coordinator, took the trash which we had collected. The transfer station is closed on Sundays, so he'll hold onto it and drop it off tomorrow morning.

Beautify CNMI!, for the first time in six months, have no volunteer activities planned for the next few weekends. We will have an end of year appreciation BBQ next weekend (it is also Adam's birthday).

We are going to begin focusing heavily on the Micronesian Challenge from this date on. Our first "Beautify CNMI! takes on the Micronesian Challenge" meeting will be this Thursday, December 15 at 7:30 PM. We will meet at Cafe at the Park in Garapan.

Octopus Video

Check out this octopus:

I think this video was shot at Obyan Beach. I don't know which dive shop shot the video, but the google video page links to Saipan Diving Shop.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Beautify CNMI in the News

Marianas Variety, Friday, December 8, 2006

EPA lauds NMI for landfill facility
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

THE NMI is the only jurisdiction in the Pacific region that has a federally compliant landfill facility, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Islands Office.

The EPA officials who arrived here a few days ago said they are satisfied with the state-of-the-art landfill facility in Marpi.

Michael Wolfram, EPA’s Guam program manager, said the CNMI is way ahead of other islands in the Pacific region in the field of solid waste management.

The EPA said the CNMI has effectively addressed problems on solid waste management which were among the major concerns of the federal agency five years ago.

Wolfram said they are also impressed with how the CNMI people are maintaining their islands’ environmental quality.

EPA Pacific islands region manager John McCaroll said they are impressed with the Division of Environmental Quality’s efforts in enlisting the people’s support in the implementation of initiatives that protect the environment.

The EPA lauded DEQ for the Beautify CNMI! coalition which was described as a “great and unique program.”

The EPA officials said local community awareness of environmental concerns has increased, as shown by a lot of different activities that range from cleanup to recycling.

The EPA provides technical assistance, conducts inspections, issues permits and manages grants in helping build local environmental protection capacity.

Last fiscal year, the EPA said it focused on improving access to safe drinking water, coordinated enforcement, environmental compliance and technical assistance, protected ocean and aquatic ecosystems and improved recycling and solid waste management.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Micronesian Challenge in the News

Saipan Tribune, Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Micronesia Challenge is on!

In October of last year, Palau President Tommy Remengesau issued a bold challenge to the leaders of the Micronesian islands. Called the Micronesian Challenge, Remengesau asked the leaders of Guam, CNMI, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands to join him in committing to effectively conserve at least 30 percent of the nearshore marine resources, and 20 percent of forest resources by the year 2020. All of the executives agreed, and the Micro Challenge was on!

The CNMI has approached the Micronesian Challenge with gusto. After an initial meeting facilitated by the Nature Conservancy's Trina Leberer, the director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife was tasked with further developing our approach to achieving the goals and objectives of the Challenge. He recruited other DFW staff, as well as employees of the Coastal Resources Management Office, the Division of Environmental Quality, the Division of Fish and Wildlife, and of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Members then formed marine and forest working groups.

The CNMI is taking a rigorous approach to defining “effective conservation of 30 percent of nearshore marine resources.” Chaired by a fisheries biologist, the marine group is crafting an ecosystem-based definition. Effective marine conservation comprises four main components: healthy fisheries; a healthy benthic environment; adequate laws, regulations, and enforcement; and public support. By integrating measurements of the effectiveness of each of these components for each island in the CNMI, a measurement of the percentage of the benthic and fish communities that are under effective conservation can be determined.

Meanwhile, the forest group has identified three main goals towards achieving effective conservation of 20 percent of forest resources; maintain existing forested areas, increase the current extent of forested areas, and prevent further fragmentation of these valuable resources. Some conservation actions which could be taken to meet these goals are acquiring additional public lands, planting native trees, establishing new terrestrial conservation areas, and increasing public awareness of forest resources in order to promote economically beneficial tourism, public health, and welfare. In addition, effectively managing forest resources in watersheds will generate better water quality and reduce nonpoint source pollution from runoff.

A final cross-cutting component of the approach is an education and outreach campaign plan. Two full-time community involvement liaisons would be hired. These individuals would meet with members from all sectors of the community to both inform them of and involve them in the Challenge. Through a variety of approaches from small gatherings to large regional celebrations, the hope is to generate widespread public support and action toward achieving the goals of the Challenge.

The next step is for representatives from all of the Micronesian islands to meet in Palau to discuss plans and coordination of efforts. That meeting is taking place from Dec. 4 to 8, in Koror. The CNMI is committed to be a part of the Micronesia Challenge, and looks forward to the upcoming meeting in Palau to continue discussing implementation of the Challenge.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Beautify CNMI! in the News

Saipan Tribune, Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Saipanpreneur Project: Creating economic success for the CNMI
Saipanpreneur Profile: Angelo Villagomez of Beautify CNMI!

By Walt F.J. Goodridge
Special to the Saipan Tribune

Angelo VillagomezLike the island nation he calls home, Angelo Villagomez has his feet and his future planted in two worlds. Born here in 1978, Angelo left for Massachusetts at age 3, spent a year in England when he was 13 (the family indulged his mom’s adventurous streak), went to high school in Florida, graduated from the University of Richmond in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in Biology, and then got a second degree in Environmental Policy. In November 2005, he went to Japan on his own adventure.

It was shortly afterwards, in December 2005, that he got the call that brought him back to Saipan to say a final earthly goodbye to his father. Then, after a brief return to Japan, he moved back to Saipan in March 2006.

"You can either call me a Chamorro-born American, or an American-educated Chamorro," he says of his unique perspective. It’s this straddling of two cultures, two sets of values, two worldviews, two life experiences that makes him uniquely qualified to pursue his passion and share his vision.

"The cultural lines of identity and separation that others may see are invisible to me," he adds. "But some things ARE visible. Like many people who spend enough time off island, I’m able to recognize some of our shortcomings from a different perspective. I’m not the first or the only person to see the need for change. It’s just my special calling to do something about it."

And that he has! Angelo works for the Marianas Resource Conservation and Development Council to organize volunteers to help with tree plantings, water quality and dive surveys. In addition, his volunteer participation as the energy behind the restoration committee of the "Beautify CNMI!" coalition has earned him tremendous public support and recognition. He, along with volunteers and fellow visionaries Tina Sablan, Cinta Kaipat, Reina Camacho and Steve Hiney form the heart and soul of this unique group-defined on their website as "a coalition of concerned citizens, private groups, and government entities united to enhance the CNMI’s natural beauty and foster community pride in its residents and visitors." (

It was at a meeting in June 2006, at what was then called The Beautification Group, which had started meeting a month earlier, that Angelo lit a fire of forward motion and set a new pace with his "do it now" approach to getting things done.

"At the meeting, we were all planning a tree planting project. I got an idea, so I said, ’Who’s got four trees? I mean, like, right now? Parks & Recreation had the trees. Ok, who’s got some shovels? No one had shovels, so I got them. Public Works said they’d dig the holes. We painted them gold, organized a little media event on short notice and we went out four days later, and planted four trees! The next meeting-same thing: ’Who’s got more trees?’ This time, P&R had seven, and we did it again...and it just snowballed from there."

His commitment, steeped in the character-building experience of a presidential campaign trail in the U.S., which honed an already innate persistence, brought and infused a new energy to the group. Since then, that small group of core volunteers, which eventually became Beautify CNMI has achieved an impressive record:

- 2,000 trees have been planted since June;

- 260,000 lbs of recyclable material have been collected in just two months;

- 3,380 volunteers showed up for the islandwide cleanup on Oct 20.

"Think about it," Angelo explains. "One in 20 people who call Saipan home cared enough to stop the normal routines of their lives to come out in the hot sun for the single purpose of making this a cleaner place to live and raise their families."

That IS impressive. Beautify CNMI is galvanizing the community in a way that’s never been done. Chamorros, Carolinians, Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and many others are all uniting every week with a common goal. (Imagine. No, better yet, come out and experience it!).

Indeed, veterans of volunteerism, pundits of public activism, and equally important givers of grants are likewise impressed.

"As a non-profit coalition, we depend heavily on grants from foundations and the federal government to help us in what we do," Angelo explains. "But the reality is that ’money follows success’ in the grant world, and we are 'successful' since we have overwhelming public support for what we do, an unlimited supply of volunteer labor, and people who are coming out and working together. Foundations love to see people working together. That translates into money in the form of federal grants which will help us promote and grow environmental stewardship in the CNMI."

"Our environment is our economy," Angelo explains. "Who we are has been defined by our environment. We can afford to have and feed big families because of our geography and access to fishing.

"What we do is also defined by our environment. We can use tourism as an economic booster because of the beauty of our natural environment."

"Based on the impact you’ve been having, it’s hard to believe that you’ve been here as an adult just since March of 2006,” I remark. “So what brought you back to Saipan?"

"Oh, without a doubt, chicken kelaguen! That’s the number one reason I came back!" he jokes. "The truth is Saipan is magical for me. My childhood memories are here. I can remember going fishing here. Just being here brings back those memories. If I go someplace, knowing that my father was here, and his father was here, it’s a powerful feeling."

With a tear in his eye, Angelo speaks nostalgically about his passion for Saipan, the environment and its preservation, and of other childhood memories that fuel his passion.

"I’ve always loved nature," he recalls. "There was nothing greater...nothing greater than being out there with my dad, fishing, hiking...."

As the power of the feeling overcomes him, the thought is left unfinished, and unheard-at least for those who listen only with ears. But for those who read men’s hearts and souls, one immediately senses that Angelo’s mission to honor the CNMI’s beauty is about his tribute to the land of his birth, and perhaps the fulfillment of a personal promise-one that he uses to maintain a deeper private connection to a past filled with memories that a son and his father shared.

“What's the greatest lesson you've learned from this?” I ask.

"That you can’t do it alone," he immediately replies. "From day one this has been a team effort. At Beautify CNMI!, we always say everyone in the community is a member, they just don’t know it yet. I’ve had the pleasure of working with people who are competent, and in all honesty, usually exceed expectations."

“And what's the next step?”

"Well, we’ll continue our projects, do more beach cleanups, anti-littering, tree planting, but the next big long-term project is The Micronesian Challenge. (The Challenge, first proposed by Palau President Tommy Remengasau Jr., and taken up by the leaders of the CNMI, Guam, Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia, is to "effectively conserve 30 percent of "near shore" resources, 20 percent of forest resources" by 2020.) Beautify CNMI!’s mission is to get the vision of this challenge into the heads and hearts of the people of the CNMI.

It’s a vision that mirrors and complements Angelo’s own-for Angelo’s vision for the CNMI includes more than the necessary first steps of clearing the streets of trash and repainting buildings and bus stops. It’s a vision national in its implementation, regional in its overall effect, global in its long-term impact, and universal in its respect of our shared human experience.

"We have more coral reefs than any place in the world,” Angelo offers. “So when this challenge is successful we will have protected larger swaths of reef than any other. We can be the shining star of Micronesia in that regard. The CNMI can, should and will be THE place for people to witness and experience coral reef conservation in action. The CNMI also can, should and will be known for industries, opportunities and based on our natural resources.

“So, when a Chamorro starts a locally-owned dive shop here on island, when a Carolinian starts a touring and trekking company, when a young person of any background starts a website design business, or some sort of Internet-based product and service for tourists who’ve come to experience our environment and culture, it will be because we've taken the time to preserve and beautify it. We will become known for the best aspects of our culture, traditions and natural resources. So that when a child is asked by any visitor what are we known for, she can say

1. latte stones

2. traditional navigation

3. Coral reefs...

...and, of course, chicken kelaguen!

“My grandfather was a fisherman. My father, even though he was a judge, still caught fish off the reef to feed his family. And I’m employed by an organization that focuses on reef conservation. So, in effect, I’m still making a living through the coral reef. I’m just doing it in a different way.

“There’s more than one type of activity that can be supported by the existence of our reefs and natural resources.”

And that is why this week’s Saipanpreneur column is a profile in passion that is paving the way for employees to get jobs, entrepreneurs to launch profitable businesses, and for children not yet born, the children of today who will be their parents, and the grandparents they will become tomorrow to enjoy the beauty and benefits from the foundation being laid today by average citizens.

"So, what’s the one thing you want people to know? I asked Angelo finally.

"Well, I’d like people to remember that it’s not the government’s responsibility. This is OUR home. It’s my home and YOUR home. It’s only 3 miles by 17 miles and if WE don’t take care of it, no one is going to take care of it for us. Whether it’s picking up trash or improving our economy, we can’t wait for the federal government. What I love about Beautify CNMI! is that it embodies a traditionally independent spirit and a belief that we are self-sufficient and that we CAN do it ourselves. Help from the outside can supplement, but we really should strive to be helping ourselves. The success of Beautify CNMI! shows that we’re ready and that we ARE doing it!"

* * *

I hope you enjoyed today's profile. Now you'll understand why when I thought about launching a website to capture the passion of those who proudly call the CNMI home, Angelo was the first person I contacted. Read Angelo's and other profiles at . And keep up-to-date with Beautify CNMI's events and volunteer projects at

* * *

Until next week, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!

(Walt F.J. Goodridge is author of 12 books including Turn Your Passion Into Profit. Walt offers coaching and workshops to help people pursue and profit from their passions. Originally from the island of Jamaica, Walt has grown several successful businesses in the US, and now makes his home here in Saipan. To learn more about the Saipanpreneur Project and Walt's philosophy and formula visit and Send article suggestions, entrepreneur nominations and feedback about this article to

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Volunteer of the Week

walt goodridgeThe We Love Saipan Network is up and running! This is due in no small part to this week's volunteer of the week, Walt Goodridge. In fact, the We Love Saipan Network was Walt's idea...and he did most of the work...and was paid a volunteer's wage to do it. That's right, he created and paid for the We Love Saipan Network and then donated it to the people of the CNMI.

A graduate of Columbia University, Jamaican-born Walt Goodridge is a former civil engineer who walked away from his career to follow his passion for music, writing, and sharing information. He has been an artist manager, record label owner, inventor, network marketer, career coach as well as a prolific poet . He is the author of 12 books including Turn Your Passion Into Profit (A Step-by-Step Guide for Transforming ANY Talent, Hobby or Product Idea into a Money-Making Venture), and creator of the long-running Life Rhyme series. Walt has written for Entrepreneur Magazine, Black Enterprise, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Essence, the Dallas Morning News, The Kip Business Report and numerous publications and popular websites. Walt offers personalized coaching and conducts workshops around the world to help others make money doing what they love!

Walt has lived on Saipan since February and has become an indispensable member of Beautify CNMI! Thank you, Walt!

Beautify CNMI! is a proud member of the We Love Saipan Network:
We are a coalition of business, government, private entities, and individuals committed to a single simple goal: Let's make the CNMI a better place to live and visit.

Every week we organize volunteers to go out into their communities to beautify their neighborhood, restore a historical, natural, or tourist spot, promote recycling, and to instill island pride and civic values. We do this by planting trees, picking up litter, painting over graffiti, clearing weeds, scrubbing down neglected tourist sites, and talking to our children, our friends, and our neighbors.

Our website details the coalitions we have built, the projects we have accomplished, and the fun we have had doing it.
Click HERE to visit the We Love Saipan Network Homepage

If you have a website or a blog and you would like to join the We Love Saipan Network, please email the webmaster at with a small blurb about your site, then add a link to on your mainpage.

If you want to be a real We Love Saipan Network Superstar, then go ahead and add this button to your mainpage:

We Love Saipan

Simply copy and paste the above html code into your website template.


Beautify CNMI! Myspace

Monday, December 04, 2006

Beautify CNMI! takes on the Micronesian Challenge

The Micronesian Challenge seeks to effectively conserve 30 percent of near shore marine resources and 20 percent of forest resources by 2020.

The Challenge was first proposed by Palau President Tommy Remengasau Jr. and has been taken up by the leaders of the CNMI, Guam, Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia. The Saipan Tribune reported on the Micronesian Challenge in August 2006.

Beautify CNMI! officially took on the Micronesian Challenge today. Some of our partners from Division of Fish & Wildlife, Division of Environmental Quality, Coastal Resource Management Office, and the Acting Governor are in Palau this week meeting with the four other Micronesian nations to work out some of the details of the Challenge.

They are looking for answers to some of the following questions:

What is meant by Effective Conservation?
What uses will be allowed in Effectively Conserved areas?
How will we pay for Effective Conservation?
What is a near shore resource?
Does it include mangroves?
How far from the shore do you go?
How deep do you go?
How do you quantify 30%?
What is a forest resource?
Does a forest include wetlands?
How do you quantify 20%?
Are these areas interconnected?
How about endangered species?
How about migrating species?

The answers to these questions might seem simple, but we are trying to come up with a long term solution for sustaining our natural resources, the cornerstone of our economy. This will require among many things, laws, regulations, and enforcement, all which have to be very specific and very precise.

The discussion to find the answers to these questions will themselves undoubtedly lead to another round of questions. Other agenda items to be considered during this week's conference in Palau are:
  • Designating a regional body to coordinate the Challenge
  • Reviewing existing conservation strategies and plans in each nation's jurisdiction
  • Establishing specific, quantifiable targets
  • Establishing a process for regular review of the Micronesian Challenge's goals and accomplishments
Keep in mind that this is a long term Challenge. We have been mandated to have the goals of the Challenge accomplished by 2020. This project is going to take a considerable amount of planning and public input. Our goal over the next few months is to explain the Micronesian Challenge and to start the process of bringing the community together to find ways to make this Challenge a success.

Undoubtedly, all the nations involved in the Challenge will undergo administration changes, economic challenges, and any number of unforeseen events. The Challenge strives to rise above all that, to galvanize conservation efforts in all of Micronesia, in much the same way that Beautify CNMI! has galvanized environmental stewardship efforts in the CNMI.

That gives us 14 years to discuss, disagree, examine, and reexamine how we will make the Micronesian Challenge a success. When we succeed in this endeavor, Micronesia will find a place on the map as a world class success story for coral reef and forest conservation.

My challenge to you is to help make the CNMI the success story for Micronesian coral reef and forest conservation. Are you with me?

Navy Hill Lighthouse

Navy Hill LighthouseNavy Hill LighthouseNavy Hill LighthouseNavy Hill LighthouseNavy Hill LighthouseNavy Hill LighthouseYesterday was the first time I ever visited the Navy Hill Lighthouse. Wow, talk about a gold mine waiting to be rediscovered. From "Historic and Cultural Sites of the CNMI."
What is commonly known today as the Japanese Lighthouse originated in reference as the "Japanese Signal House" in 1934. It was constructed to aid vessels in maneuvering the coral reef and shoals of Tanapag Harbor, which was the location of Japan's Seaplane Base on Saipan. It was renovated by the U.S. Seabeas (Naval Construction Battalion) and all structural features were noted as lost except for the three-story tower, which is said to have had a copper dome. It is very likely that the U.S. military utilized the renovated building for the same purpose for which the Japanese undertook construction in 1934. The building was abandoned and remained unused long after the U.S. Navy pulled out of Saipan 18 July 1947.

In 1974, the lighthouse was among one of three CNMI sites that were first nominated and accepted to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. However, the building remained unused for the next fifteen years. It was renovated towards the 1980s and converted into a restaurant. This attempt at adaptive use preservation lasted almost five years. With the exception of intermittent rehabilitation efforts, the lighthouse has largely fallen into a state of disuse once again.
I would love to see this historical landmark turned into a tourist spot/coffee shop/wedding chapel & reception area. I've heard rumors that different people want to turn it into a library, a museum, or possibly a restaurant.

Navy Hill LighthouseThis place has so much potential. Would you just look at that view? It wouldn't take too much love and attention to turn this historical spot into one of Saipan's must see places.

Tree Lighting Countdown

For those of you who couldn't make it...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Two Tourist Spots on a Sunday Morning

Beautify CNMIWe had a community cleanup of the Garapan Tourist District this morning. It was our third consecutive month picking up trash on the side streets of Garapan. 32 people showed up at 8 AM to help clean up one of Saipan's most popular tourist areas.

Beautify CNMIAt 10 AM we drove up to Navy Hill for our first cleanup of the Navy Hill Lighthouse. We were given permission by Department of Public Lands to enter the premises, but not to paint, so we ended up picking up garbage and cutting back some of the weeds. Actual restoration of this tourist site will take some plannning. 54 people participated in this cleanup.

Most of our work today was done by forcing children into hard labor:

Navy Hill LighthouseNavy Hill LighthouseJust kidding.

Recyclable Christmas Ornaments

Here are a few of the recyclable Christmas ornaments decorating Garapan this month:

Recyclable Christmas Tree OrnamentsRecyclable Christmas Tree OrnamentsRecyclable Christmas Tree OrnamentsRecyclable Christmas Tree OrnamentsRecyclable Christmas Tree OrnamentsRecyclable Christmas Tree OrnamentsRecyclable Christmas Tree OrnamentsRecyclable Christmas Tree Ornaments