Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Saipan International School on 10/20

The third graders from Saipan International School took a field trip to Micro Beach and cleaned up the beach. Thanks, guys!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Beautify CNMI in the News

Beautify CNMI! was mentioned three separate times in today's papers. The tribune ran an article about the Suicide Cliff cleanup on Friday and also reprinted a press release about the Christmas Decoration contest at the Paseo de Marianas.

The Variety also ran an article about the Suicide Cliff cleanup. They don't really have a great archive system, so I'll just repost it:

Marianas Variety, Monday, October 30, 2006

Japanese volunteers clean up peace memorial
By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor
Variety Features Editor

PAYING homage to those who perished here during World War II and preserving the memorial that honors them, volunteers, including visitors from Japan, braved the rainy weather and cleaned up the site on Friday.

Some 33 volunteers led by Pacific Eagle’s Willie and Ayako Matsumoto conducted a cleanup of the Peace Memorial at Suicide Cliff in Marpi.

According to Pacific Eagle Enterprises Inc. vice president Aya Matsumoto, preparation for this activity began two weeks ago when she spoke with some young Japanese who were offering their services to help do something for the CNMI.

Matsumoto said, “I brought up the idea to the young Japanese to start the cleanup of the memorial sites. With the tourism industry vital to the islands, we would like to support the Marianas Visitors Authority (through this cleanup).”

Matsumoto said that she first thought of the activity when she received a letter from a senior citizen who helped build the monument and who came with the Japanese imperial couple during their historic Saipan visit last year. Matsumoto said she understood how difficult it was then to get funding to support such an endeavor and she understood where the letter sender was coming from. She said they were undertaking the activity for him as well.

Beautify CNMI!’s Angelo Villagomez expressed his gratitude to the Japanese-led volunteers who initiated the cleanup. Villagomez said, “I heard the couple from Pacific Eagle was doing a cleanup and if they were doing the cleanup, I wanted to support them.” Villagomez said that he appreciated their efforts in beautifying the island through the cleanup.

“It is really refreshing to see people taking the initiative to go out and improve the island without Beautify CNMI! telling them to do it and we would like to see more of this endeavor where people go out and clean up,” Villagomez said.

Armed with their brushes, grass cutter, and water hoses, the Matsumoto couple along with PDI general manager Yoichi Matsumura led 15 Japanese, and worked hand in hand with 15 other people from the Marianas Visitors Authority, Historic Preservation Office, and Beautify CNMI!

Jerry Facey, who was on Saipan when the monument was erected, marveled at how the monument has survived the ages “fairly well.” He said that there used to be “a big brass bowl” at the center, but “the monument still looks pretty much the same as it did the first time I saw it.”

At the base of that brass bowl was some stagnant greasy liquid which the volunteers and Historic Preservation’s Genevieve Cabrera discovered during Friday’s cleanup. Cabrera hailed the efforts of the volunteers in cleaning and preserving the monument and she will be sending the liquid to the Division of Environmental Quality for testing.

From 1 p.m. up to 4 p.m., there was no letup for the volunteers who brought generators and a water tank to accomplish their goal of cleaning the monument. Rain or shine, Pacific Eagle volunteers Ramil Huyoa and Noy Opena continued cleaning the Buddha icon and the cross of the monument.

Matsumoto said that it was their group’s first time to conduct such an activity and they are planning to do it more frequently.

For Matsumoto, cleaning up the Peace Memorial is just the beginning.

Among the Japanese who participated in last Friday’s cleanup activity, aside from the Matsumoto couple and PDI’s Matsumura were Jyunji Yoneda, Hideki Honda, Eigo Komatsu, MVA’s Hiroko Tenorio and Henry Sasaki, Hafa Adai Magazine’s Toshiaki Kobayashi, Akemi Ishikawa, Naboko Ishida, Kate Ishida, Shinji Yokota, Mayuki Kebukawa, Maimi Shimizu, Sachi Kuwahara, Osamu Komatsu, and Tadashi Mine.

Completing the list of 33 volunteers were Jerry Facey, HPO’s Cabrera, Beautify CNMI!’s Villagomez, MVA’s John Palacios and Ed Diaz, Pacific Eagle’s Jessie Camba, Ramil Huyoa, Noy OpeƱa, Kyle Kaipat, Simion Lisua, Bill Pangelinan, Mike Iguel, Ray Sablan, Peter Santos, and Manny Bras.

Pacific Eagle Enterprises, which has been in existence since 1987, is a partner of MVA in developing the tourism industry’s Japanese market.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Suicide Cliff Cleanup

Hafa Adai Team BC!

Yesterday afternoon I participated in the cleanup of the peace memorial atop Suicide Cliff organized by Willie and Aya Matsumoto of Pacific Eagle fame. I didn't count heads, but there were about 20-30 volunteers. In addition to the Japanese volunteers, there were representatives from HPO, MVA, DNLR, and Cinta Kaipat's Office.

Volunteers cut the grass, picked up trash, painted the railing on the edge of the cliff, washed all of the memorials with a pressure washer, shined the brass, and generally cleaned the place up. Reporters from both newspapers and a camera from MCV came to report on the activity.

We were all feeling great as we finished, having come together to clean up one of Saipan's most popular tourist spots, only to be brought down to the lowest of lows when we discovered that one of the volunteer's cars had been burglarized. The thief was hiding in the tangan tangan trees and when no one was looking, ran over to the car, smashed in a window, stole a camera and a bag and ran back into the cover of the jungle. Even though there were 30 or so people up there, no one saw a thing.

When the police came he explained to us how the thieves operate and told us that there is an element of our society that does this type of "work" for a living. The officer went on to tell us that pretty much ALL of our tourist spots have this problem.

I was enraged, but more than anything I was embarrassed. Here is a group of people, born not here, but somewhere far away, donating their money (and more importantly their time) to make these islands a better place to live and visit and then this happens.

We are going to have a real problem on our hands if the people who were flown here care more about these islands than the people who were grown here, but I don't think that this is the case. The 3300+ volunteers who came out on 10/20 showed that there is a sizable portion of our society that cares deeply about these islands.

With that said, I'd like to publicly THANK Willie and Aya for their commitment to these islands and to ask them to not become discouraged by the actions of a few. The majority of the people on this island are as angry and disappointed as you are. To prove this, I am inviting the entire Beautify CNMI team (yes, that means you) to participate in the cleanup of the Last Command Post being organized by Willie and Aya for this upcoming Saturday. (I'll send out more details on Monday)

Thanks for allowing me to vent,


P.S. The type of behavior exhibited by the thieves can not be tolerated if the CNMI is serious about becoming a world class vacation destination. If you witness this type of activity, please do not hesitate to call the police at 911 or crimestoppers at 234-7272.

Friday, October 27, 2006

CRMO on 10/20

9 volunteers from the Coastal Resource Management Office managed to remove 380 lbs of trash from Tank Beach. Here are before, during, and after pictures:


Saipan Tribune, Friday, October 27, 2006

8000 on 10/20
By Jayvee L. Vallejera

In the short time it has been in existence, the environmental group Beautify CNMI! has made a major impact in the way it has managed to harness the collective power of the islands' volunteers. For several months now, the group has been on a frenzy of cleaning up beaches and roadways, planting flame trees along Beach Road, and generally shaming the rest of us into putting more thought toward how we dispose of our litter and trash. In fact, they were the first group to seriously consider the suggestion about blanketing the entire island with flame trees. Together with the Northern Marianas College, they are also in the first stages of implementing a plan to line Middle Road with flame trees.

The group's capacity to invite collaborative and cooperative effort has been phenomenal, reaching across a broad section of CNMI society to recruit them to the group's cause. Nowhere was better proof of this than the recent “1020 on 10/20” beautification campaign, which managed to bring together more than 3,200 volunteers on Saipan for one day to pick up litter, plant trees, and generally have fun for a worthwhile cause. The sight of so many hands pulling together for a cleaner and better Saipan was heartwarming and morale-boosting, putting to shame any stray thoughts that people probably could care less about the state of these islands.

Now I don't want to nitpick but it also kind of set me to wondering: Where were the other members of the community on Oct. 20? At 3,200 volunteers, that is a mere 4 percent of the estimated 80,000 plus individuals on the islands. The Filipino and Chinese communities are considered one of the largest populations on the island but where were they during the event? Yes, Filipino groups such as the MOVER organization and a group of Tan Holdings employees were there but they were a paltry lot when compared to the total number of Filipinos in the CNMI. The absence of Chinese volunteers was also very noticeable, as well as volunteers from the Japanese, Bangladeshi, and Thai communities. These groups have their respective organizations, yet they were markedly absent during an event that was supposed to be a community-wide effort. Also, what about Tinian and Rota? I'm sure the 3,200 count would have more than doubled had our volunteers on the other islands joined forces to also clean up their respective islands. Were they invited at all to also organize their own cleanups?

I suppose this first “1020 on 10/20” was a test case for the Beautify CNMI!. It probably wanted to test the waters first to find out if people have the capacity to respond to the call for a more beautiful CNMI. After all, it is not easy to change paradigms, and that is what the group is trying to do: to change people's perspectives, from a mindset of “It's someone else's job” to “It's everybody's job,” from letting the government take care of it to everyone taking responsibility for it. That is no easy task, so the group-being an infant itself-is still taking baby steps toward yet more ambitious goals. If it was any indicator at all, however, last Oct. 20's success proved that Beautify CNMI is ready take on bigger challenges. Having easily surpassed its goal of getting 1,020 volunteers this year, Beautify CNMI! can now set its sight on a much grander goal the next time it holds this event. Perhaps, instead of just 1,020 volunteers, they can set a target of 10 percent of the entire CNMI population. That would certainly be a worthwhile goal, and Beautify CNMI! would have an entire year to plan for the logistics of the event. Yes, it's a large number and planning for the event itself would be a full-time job for more than just a handful of people. It will also require not just manpower but substantial funding, tremendous cooperative effort, and an endless capacity to cajole people to make it happen. I have no doubt, however, that the ever resourceful, ardent, and hardworking people at Beautify CNMI! can make it happen. The group has already proven that it has the mettle to make the impossible possible, I am confident that its reach will never exceed its grasp, that people will never fail to respond to its call, that all of us, at heart, are already passionate members of Beautify CNMI! and all it would take to get us off our collective butts is a little prodding from Tina, Reina, Angello, and Cinta.

(The views expressed are strictly that of the author. Vallejera is the editor of the Saipan Tribune.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

4.56 Tons, 3380 volunteers

These are the final numbers. There are a few groups out there who never got back to me with their number of participants, so the "true" number is probably a bit higher. Even so, I am proud to announce that 1020 on 10/20 yielded 4.56 tons of trash with the participation of 3380 volunteers.

One ton equals 2000 lbs. 1020 on 10/20 yield 4.56 tons of trash, which adds up to 9120 lbs.


This is the number reported to Beautify CNMI by Steve Hiney. He had his guys at the transfer station keep track of all the waste brought in by 1020 on 10/20 participants.

Several participants reported the weight of the trash removed from their adopted location. Here are a few examples:

580 lbs was removed from the Beach in front of Aquarius Hotel
380 lbs was removed from Tank Beach
280 lbs was removed from the beach north of the 13 Fishermen Memorial
500 lbs was removed from the road between NMC and San Vicente Elementary
38 lbs of aluminum cans ALONE were removed between San Vicente Elementary and the Post Office
140 lbs was removed from Wing Beach
500 lbs was removed from the beach behind GTC Elementary

Great job, everyone! Thank you to everyone who participated.

Hopwood Junior High School on 10/20

Every student at Hopwood Junior High School participated in the 1020 on 10/20 cleanup. The cleanup coincided with their Culture Day, so in addition to cleaning up the beach and school, the students performed dances and had hermit crab races, among other activities.

The Hopwood SAVE club (Student Action for a Viable Environment) also set up several recycling booths throughout the school with recycling bags donated by DEQ.

Here are a few pictures:

MVA on 10/20

Marianas Visitors Authority adopted Beach Road between National Office Supply and the MVA office in Chalan Laulau.

MVA is adopting this stretch of road and Makaka for the rest of the year.

Here are some pictures:

MINA on 10/21

MINA's Wing Beach cleanup nets 140 lbs of trash

About 140 lbs of trash were collected by 36 members and volunteers of the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance at its recent Wing Beach cleanup. Saturday's cleanup is the first cleanup after MINA arranged for the provision of a trash receptacle and hauling services.

MHS's My Wave Club, Beautify CNMI! and a representative from Top Fashion were among the hardworking volunteers picking up trash and clearing weeds and bush along the access road. Most of the litter found were old trash hidden by the overgrown weeds and large bushes. Seven quarts of used motor oil was also found.

The Saturday cleanup is the fourth cleanup activity performed by MINA since it adopted Wing Beach.

MINA intends to do more than just pick up trash.

“We're committed to maintaining a clean and beautiful beach and hope other organizations that adopted spot on 10/20 will consider permanently adopting that spot,” said Reina Camacho. She added that adopting a beach means more than picking up trash. “It's a commitment to beautify our islands so that everyone-residents and visitors-can enjoy.”

MINA's mission is to protect and restore the full range of habitats that sustain the CNMI's natural biodiversity and natural heritage for the economic and social benefit of present and future generations. A board meeting will be held on Monday, Nov. 6, 2006 at the Aquarius Beach Tower P1-D at 5pm. The public is invited to attend. Meeting information and general information about Mariana Islands Nature Alliance is available at its website (PR)

GTC on 10/20

107 students, teachers, and staff from Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School participated in 1020. They collected 500 lbs of trash from the San Roque Beach between Aqua Resort and Nikko Hotel.

This healthy activity helped beautify the community, heightened awareness on the negative effect of littering, and benefited the environment.

The teachers at GTC are aware of the ongoing Adopt-a-Beach program and they are going to make a commitment along with their classes to participate!

Here are some pictures:

Monday, October 23, 2006

Lt. Governor's Family on 10/20

Acting Governor Timothy P. Villagomez and team celebrate a successful clean-up during Friday’s Beautify CNMI! “1020 on 10/20” campaign. The team cleaned from Shell Dandan along As Lito Rd. to St. Jude Parish, netting several bags of miscellaneous trash and a discarded car fender.

Juan Tenorio, left, and Jose Mendiola load up bagfuls of trash collected by the family and friends clean-up team of Acting Governor Timothy P. Villagomez along As Lito Rd. during Friday’s Beautify CNMI! “1020 on 10/20” campaign.

Teresa Kim, left, and Lina Villagomez pitch in during Friday’s Beautify CNMI! “1020 on 10/20” island-wide clean-up campaign.

Department of Public Lands on 10/20

The Department of Public Lands adopted the stretch of road between the college and San Vicente Elementary. They picked up about 500 lbs of trash.

From Evelyn Techur:

"DPL was pleased to be able to participate and take part in the "1020 on 10/20 Beautify CNMI." It was a successful event and we would gladly do it again. Again, we at DPL are pleased to be able to contribute to the community and to our beautiful island."

"The staff met at the DPL parking lot at about 7:40am, we signed in, distributed gloves, trash bags to everyone and then we walked over to the NMC intersection where we split up into two groups and worked our way up to San Vicente School. According to our Finance Acting Director, Dave Atalig, they picked up car crash debris in between NMC intersection and Jin Apparel garment factory; they picked up 2 large pieces of car bumpers. Rachel found a shoe, Frank and I found a broken cellular phone near the entrance of the Easter Lane and the rest are the usual trash you find on the road; soda cans, bottles, cigarette butts, etc."

Here are some pictures:

Rep. Waki, Sen. Pangelinan, and Tan Holdings on 10/20

Tan Holdings along with Senator Pangelinan and Representative Waki adopted the Garapan Tourist District. Here are some pictures:

Children's World Daycare & Preschool on 10/20

Saipan's smallest volunteers on 10/20 picked up litter on the street in front of thier school. Here are some pictures:

Picnics cap islandwide cleanup drive

Marianas Variety, Monday, October 23, 2006
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

PICNICS all over the island took place on Friday, following Beautify CNMI!’s “1020 on 10/20” cleanup drive that drew support from government agencies, the business sector and ordinary members of the community.

From Pau Pau beach to a stretch of Chalan Pale Arnold in San Roque, and all the way to Laolao Bay in Kagman, people from different walks of life joined the campaign that aims to keep the island clean and green.

Beauty CNMI!’s goal was to get at least 1,020 volunteers for the Oct. 20 cleanup and ended up with over 3,200 volunteers.

The campaign was also supported by the Marianas Visitors Authority which provided $10,000 for the cleanup.
Tan Holdings, which owns garment factories, bought 1,000 T-shirts for the volunteers while Bob Jones of Triple J bought 1,000 bumper stickers.

Star Water, Saipan Ice and Marianas Ice donated broken water bottles that were used as planters.

Fiesta donated trees. While Hyatt, Aqua Resort, and Century Hotel donated prizes.

Aquarius provided the meeting space, Errico offered to pick up recyclables at schools, Pacific Trading provided banners and Balli Steel helped get rid of junk cars.

Aqua Resort also hosted fundraisers for the cleanup drive while Laolao Bay Golf Course became the driving force behind the 1020 recruitment scheme in Kagman.

Acting Gov. Timothy P. Villagomez, Sen. Maria T. Pangelinan, D-Saipan, Reps. Cinta M. Kaipat, Covenant Saipan, Absalon Waki, Covenant-Saipan were among the officials who joined the islandwide campaign which also drew the participation of the Division of Environmental Quality, MVA, the Office of the Public Auditor, the Filipino organization MOVER, the Kagman Komunidat Association and Hotel Nikko.

DEQ spokeswoman Reina Camacho said Beautify CNMI! is not a formal group.

“Beautify CNMI! was never officially formed. We are a loose coalition with no formal structure. We are constantly changing and taking on new people, ideas, and projects…the idea was born in May and our first project was recycling during the Liberation Day fair. On June 19, we planted four flame trees...and the rest is history,” she said.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

San Vicente Bus Stop

The plan for this morning had been to pick up trash along the side of the road leading down to Lao Lao Beach. Even after 1020 on 10/20 and the past cleanups we have had down there over the last several months, there is still bound to be literally tons of litter and illegal dumping to be found down there.

We decided not to pick up trash this morning, however, and chose to use some of the leftover paint that Sherwin Williams donated to Beautify CNMI! on 10/20.

We decided to paint over this:

This school bus stop sits on the corner of Lau Lau Bay Road and Isa Drive in San Vicente. MOVER is adopting Lau Lau Bay Road as part of MVA's Adopt-a-Road program, so even though almost all of the school bus stops on Saipan are covered in graffiti, it made sense for us to do this one first.

Here are a few pictures of us in action:

We painted the whole thing with a coat of white and then livened it up with some yellow. We didn't have much yellow paint, so in order to conserve what we had we decided to paint stripes.

After we finished and had a chance to look at our work, we decided that stripes looked pretty cool. Good thing we were low on paint, huh?

Helping us this morning were volunteers from Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, super volunteer group MOVER, and of course, our super volunteers Juanita Fajardo, Public Auditor Mike Sablan, and their son, Young Environmental Warrior Adam Sablan. The paint supplies were donated by Sherwin Williams.