Sunday, June 17, 2007

Minutes of Meeting, 6/14/07

Present were Cinta Kaipat, chair, Angelo Villogomez, Ken Kramer, Teny Topalian, Steve Hiney, Ruth Tighe and Dennis Cabrera.

Restoration Committee: Angelo said that in light of the cutting down of diseased flame-trees, planting more should be a priority. A flame-tree planting is scheduled for June 19 on Beach Road to mark the anniversary of the first tree planting, and purchasers of flame trees will be encouraged to plant their trees themselves. Over 2,000 trees have been planted by Beautify CNMI! in the year since the program started.

Several bus stops have also been repainted since the last meeting.

Turtle Conservation/MC Committee: The Resource and Conservation District has developed bags and bumper stickers in support of turtle conservation, carrying the slogan, "What we do on the land can affect our marine environment." Making a video as an educational tool was discussed, with concern expressed not only about what phase of turtle conservation to include (does showing tagging give away how to capture a turtle?), but also about distribution. Angelo will talk to Mike Tripp about suggestions, ideas, but it seems likely a grant will be needed to make the film and get it distributed. The turtle poaching of the previous week was mentioned.

Access to a boat for turtle projects was raised, but it was concluded that while CRM, Fish and Wildlife and NMC may have vessels, the liability risk militates against using a government owned boat for Beautify CNMI! projects.

Triggered by Angelo's suggestion that turtle-decorating contest winners from Guam be brought to Saipan, holding a local contest was discussed, perhaps of creating turtles, to be exhibited at the Paseo. Though using only re-cycled materials was proposed, it was decided not to limit the materials that could be used. Angelo will discuss this further with PDM, Masako-san

Cinta reminded everyone that the turtle issue began with Lynn Bruzesse's interest in having Ulithi join hands with the CNMI in turtle conservation programs that perpetuate traditional approaches to preservation and protection. The idea of establishing a turtle hatchery was discussed.

Status of the solar-powered restroom on the Beach Path: Water and sewer connections have not been made. Since it is allegedly on the right-of-way, the Department of Land and Natural Resources cannot use its park money as it had intended, to make the connections. Ken will be meeting with Thelma Inos of the Energy Department and Dr. Dela Cruz of DLNR to see if a solution can be found.

Angelo noted that the Marshall Islands, from which he had just returned, face the same problems Beautify CNMI! does: the difficulty faced by NGO's in being invited, being able to participate, in issues related to the NGO mission.

Animal Welfare Committee: Cinta reported on behalf of Katie Busenkell, who was not able to attend. The stateside veterinarian Katie has been communicating with is due to arrive on Saipan in August for a week to check out facilities, etc. The spay and neuter clinic is now tentatively scheduled for February or March 2008. Katie distributed an extensive list of items needed for such a clinic that had been drawn up by the group that sponsored a similar clinic on Guam. This project has been killed.

Legislation Committee: Cinta reported that there has been no progress on amending the litter law, as DEQ had requested, and as was discussed at last month's meeting. She said legislators are adamant that fines be increased, despite the concern about blanket fines for minor or major littering and the reluctance of "litter cops" to write tickets. The law should have been tiered, suggested Steve.

Ken Kramer announced that forestry training is being conducted by DLNR. He noted that Dr. Dela Cruz said the department has $150,000 that must be committed or it will be lost. Several suggestions were made for its use: a chipper, a pull-behind trailer for re-cycling use.....

Steve Hiney said he'd asked several vendors to submit proposals for patrolling Middle Road and Beach Road for four hours twice a week to picking up road kill but had gotten no response to date. Angelo said the real need was to have someone available on call. It was suggested that the informal request for proposal be broadened, and not restricted only to trash collectors, or to specific times and frequencies.

Re-cycling: Steve reported that a place to put junk cars would be available in two weeks, and what was needed was a place for someone to take phone calls relating to the location of the cars, etc. Angelo offered space and phones in the MINA office.

Steve said that while there now is no specific slot on the agenda of the EPA annual meeting in American Samoa for a discussion of Beautify CNMI!, he will be referring to it as a repeatable model in his talk re: regionalization.

In closing, Cinta asked about a float for the 4th of July. Apparently, the project has fallen by the wayside.

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