Thank you, Ruth for taking notes!
Minutes of General Membership Meeting, February 15, 2007
David Bell of Bali Steel introduced himself. He called attention to the Green Island Alliance, a Pacific Islands Regional Recycling Network funded by the U.S. EPA, and allied with the United Nations Environmental Program. More information on this organization can be found at http://www.greenislandalliance.org.
Steve Hiney, chair of the Solid Waste committee, reported that the draft regulations are being reviewed for curbside trash pick-up in conjunction with the DEQ village beautification campaign. Implementation of the scrap auto project is now expected to begin at the same time as the March summit meeting of Micronesia leaders. An understanding has been developed between SamCor, DEQ and Bali Steel for the project.
Angelo reported for the Restoration Committee that the tree-trimming training program had been very successful, but that the bad news is the arborist found that most of the CNMI flame trees need replacing within the next 5-10 years or they could all be lost to the next typhoon. He said a long term re-planting program should be started immediately - planting new flame trees between the existing ones so that as the old trees are taken down, there will be new ones to replace them.
Gonzalo Santos from Indigenous Affairs explained that his interest at the moment was in the cultivation and preservation of medicinal plants and in sharing information about them. A conference on the topic is to be held on Rota.
Angelo reported that the paperwork required to begin re-painting the lighthouse on Navy Hill is underway - clearance is required from both HPO and DPL.
He announced that MVA has donated $10,000 to Beautify CNMI! and it has been used to purchase gloves and bags for the weekly clean-ups.
The report by the Legislation committee was deferred due to the absence of the Chairman.
Katie Busenkell announced that the first meeting of her committee on Animal Welfare will be held at the Cafe at the Park at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 22. Among topics to be discussed: the animal shelter, education for responsible ownership, a clinic for animal sterilization.
Angelo also reported that a new Micronesian Challenge subcommittee has been formed; co-chairs are Fran Castro and Angelo.
Steve Tilley spoke about the Zoning Board's recent articles in the paper, and the list he is building of village meetings and persons who would help facilitate them. A summary report of the village meetings is scheduled for May. The expected product for the round of village meetings is a report consisting of a half-page "summary" for each village that would list the problems, issues and recommendations identified by participants. Local participation is critical to the success of these meetings, he said. Following the village meetings, a draft zoning plan will be drawn up incorporating all the findings. The draft will be published as a newspaper insert in order to make it widely available. As now envisioned, all village meetings will be held at the Susupe multi-purpose center since equivalent facilities in the villages were difficult to arrange.
Angelo raised a question about the newly-announced plans to proceed with the construction of the cross-island and Talofofo highway projects, and how they fit into the land-use and zoning plans being prepared by the Zoning Board. It was suggested that the design plan for roads should be obtained from DPL.
Discussions after the meeting had adjourned included Representative Absalon Waki's comments on the ad hoc Garapan committee, which is concerned about keeping the Paseo area clean and well-lighted as well as calling on all area businessmen (and women!).
He also suggested that BC issue a statement in regard to its concerns over the proposed road plans.
Also included were comments by Representative Cinta Kaipat regarding the highly successful Kagman clean-up project, and the plans to conduct a certification ceremony for attendees at the tree-trimming class. The Beautify virus/infection is alive and well in Kagman, she reported. She also expressed thanks to MVA for its contribution - she said the trash bags purchased were from a local factory , Jin Yong's Plastics, that re-cycles plastic bags. The factory is located behind Chalan Kanoa school.
Dave Bell said the CNMI's re-cycling of plastic bags is unique to the Pacific - no one else is doing that.
Concern was expressed at the few litter citations that have been issued. Cinta suggested having the governor send out a memo to all agencies with litter officers urging them to enforce the litter-ticket program.