General Membership Meeting
The meeting was held in the conference room of the DPW transfer station in Lower Base and chaired by Representative Cinta Kaipat. It was observed that the general meeeting attendance seemed to be declining, but that attendance at committee meetings was growing. In providing Scott Crockett, Natural Resources Conservation Service District Conservationist and first-time attendee, of an overview of the function of Beautify CNMI!, Angelo explained that BC has no by-laws, no officers, no formal organization. It is intended to to serve as a model for problem solving, the steps being: identify the problem/need, identify the solution, find the means to apply the solution, and then do so.
Angelo welcomed Scott, noting that Scott's office has funding the BC could tap into, and that in turn, the BC could offer his office a network of do-ers, and a means of providing outreach.
The report from Solid Waste, Recycling and Junk Cars committee was deferred due to the absence of its chairman.
Chairperson Angelo Villagomez presented the report from the Restoration and Graffiti committees. Instead of "grafitti," Micronesian Mural Challenge should be used, he said, to put the emphasis on creating art, to encourage positive artistic talent. The MMC committee will solicit art work, identify places to be painted, and provide paints. The project is under the leadership of DPS Crime Prevention Unit's Tricia Semen.
The flame tree replacement program has received funding for 50 trees from Attorney Jed Horey, and for 21 more from individuals to date. The trees will be planted when rainy season starts. Ken Kramer suggested that an embossing stamp be created, for placement on the ground as a means of identifying tree donors. Angelo said he would look into it.
A comment was made re DPW's cutting down of ailing flame trees - that it should wait until the trees have finished blooming. Cinta said she'd follow up on that.
Herminia Fusco reported that Roy Sablan, of HPO, has money to restore the bell tower, which had been one of the Restoration committee's concerns.
Cinta, in her capacity as Legislation Committee chair, reported that she had been asked to amend the littering law to lower the fines for littering, since litter officers were reluctant to impose the $200 fine now in the law for lesser infringements. There was considerable discussion, but all agreed it was important to enforce the principle that littering be against the law - no matter how small. In addition to discussing the pros and cons of lowering the fine, the group suggesting including a mandatory requirement for community service. Publication of the names of litterers, and having them wear identifying vests (labelled "litter bug") were also discussed.
Chris Parke was called upon to for an update on Zoning Board activity - she noted that the zoning board will hold an open house from 2-5 the next day on tentative plans for Garapan and the Beach Road area. Consultant John Owens from Seattle, Oregon, had conducted a 1 1/2-day workshop and the presentation was based on its findings. Among the suggestions coming forth: that the island's architecture reflect its island location.
Angelo noted that the Micronesian Challenge committee had focused on turtle breeding site protection. He note that some government agencies working on the Challenge do not seem to be on the same page as BC.
Scott was then given the floor, and mentioned two specific programs he administers that BC might find useful: EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentive Program), which promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals, and WHIP (Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program), which encourages the creation of high quality wildlife habitats that support wildlife of national, state and local significance. Both provide funding, for which matching can be done with labor and locally supplied materials. The programs, said Scott, could help leverage BC funds by providing technical assistance and funding in the areas of conservation, forestry, ecology and land use planning.
Discussion focussed on the trail, earlier proposed by Carl Brachaer - dubbed the "Pacific Crest Birdwatching Trail" - whose construction Scott said could be assisted by both the NRCS and RCD programs, under the rubric of creating, enhancing and restoring habitat. Ken Kramer was named head of the Trail committee.
Katie Busenkell reported the Animal Welfare Committees' upcoming pet show, to be held on Saturday at the airport football field, and the committee's project to make presentations on pet care in every school on island. The next PAWS Meeting will be held at Bobby Cadillac's on 5/16 at ll:30 a.m. Nominations will be sought for PAWS Board members.
The new committee chairs named are: Ken Kramer, Trail Committee and Tricia Semen, Micronesian Challenge.
Angelo reported that BC had collected $1200 from ARC, received a $500 check from Bank of Guam, another $500 from Nancy Rushmerand $700 from the Flame Tree festival, plus $1420 from the sale of flame trees to date. About $1400 of the money has already been spent to pay for the awards, some t-shirts, and buttons and stickers from the fundraiser at Aqua Resort.
Cinta reported on the extensive plans San Vicente Elementary School has made for the week of May 21, starting with a full day dedicated to cleaning up the SVS adopted beach at Lau Lau on that Monday.
She reported that Ken Concepcion (KC) is working with Koblerville families to get the Koblerville Youth Center up and running. Among the plans: to hold Friday night family fun programs along the lines of the street market, complete with a stage for performances.
She also mentioned Tanapag's Tataga Fundraising event - BC will be donating a tent for use at the event, and making available information about BC activities and projects. She asked for volunteers to help man the booth between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 26.
It was decided to enter a BC float in the 4th of July parade - Marites Castillo was asked to chair that project/committee.
Lastly, Angelo announced that there will be a clean-up of the Okinawa War Memorial on Saturday, the 26th, in preparation for the arrival of an Okinawan group of visitors.
Steve Hiney, chair of the Solid Waste, Recycling and Junk Cars committee arrived as the meeting was ending. He assured attendees that the junk car project was still alive, and expected to be implemented shortly.