Friday, April 24, 2009

Friends of the Monument on NBC

The Friends of the Monument were featured as part of a series on the ocean that played on NBC Nightly News during the week of Earth Day.

NBC also put together a piece called, "Voices from Saipan," that is viewable only on the Internet.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Promises Kept

Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This week, most likely on Earth Day, barring any major breaking news stories taking over the air waves, NBC Nightly News will broadcast, in prime time, a national story about the Marianas Trench Marine Monument. Likely the story will be less rah-rah environment and more, how did we get here, what now and what are the challenges ahead? Regardless, the story illustrates an important promise kept.

While much work remains to be done to realize all the benefits touted and to effectively harness the full potential of the declaration, everyone who has had a hand in making the monument a reality should hold their heads high this coming Earth Day. Be proud; together we have taken a most difficult yet monumental first step on the way to preserving one of the most special and least understood places on our planet. To that end our children will thank us, for perhaps the most important of promises has been kept, the promise to do what we can now to save our oceans and the very existence of hundreds, if not thousands, of species, potentially even our own. By doing so we have also brought a tide of change to the shores of the CNMI.

In addition to this week's NBC story, late last week Angelo Villagomez and Ike Cabrera traveled to San Francisco where, on behalf of the Friends of the Monument, they accepted the 2009 EPA award acknowledging commitment and significant contributions to the environment. Although getting a monument declared is not necessary to receive this award, as demonstrated by Beautify CNMI winning it in 2008, the fact remains, by receiving this honor twice in successive years we now have something very important in our corner-momentum. Even the critics must recognize that this round of press alone delivers not only on the promise to bring positive worldwide attention to the CNMI but it can also be the catalyst we need to re-brand the CNMI. That is, if we don't screw it up.

During NBC's visit a few weeks ago, I remember hearing someone saying this will be the first time since the 1990s one of the Big 3 networks has come to the CNMI to do a national TV news story. Back then ABC did their expose on our booming, less than glamorous garment industry and the accompanying issues with human trafficking and prolific prostitution. Of course, a story like that followed by years of corruption (aka Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff) can make for a difficult image to shake long after the factories are gone and the federal government assumes control of local immigration.

Now I know an image can't be changed overnight nor will it be changed by one three-minute spot on the national news. However, if we play our cards right, manage the monument with due diligence and ride this wave of media coverage over the coming weeks, months and years we can do it, one story at a time.

Case in point. Following the day of diving with NBC, including four very different dive sites in the Grotto, Naftan Point, Ice Cream and Ship Wreck, I asked reporter Ian Williams how his day had compared to other dive days he'd experienced around the world. He enthusiastically and whole-heartedly responded with “as good as or better than any I've ever had.” As our conversation continued we discovered his points of reference include some very high profile places in Asia including many in Indonesia, a country generally well known for some pretty decent diving. This, without even setting foot anywhere near the actual area designated as a monument. Think of the possibilities for education and tourism when yet another of the promises is met. That of a world-class visitors center on Saipan complete with a walk-through replica of the Trench and live video feeds from the many research expeditions and their crews of local students and scientists. The job has really just begun; let's work together to keep the promises and reap the benefits for the sake of our children.

Mike Tripp
Garapan, Saipan

Kilili Mentions Island-wide Cleanup in DC Speech

NMI represented as Obama signs Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
Thursday, 23 April 2009 00:00
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Office of the CNMI Congressional Delegate) — Gregorio C. Sablan joined a select group of members of Congress at a public charter school in southeast Washington today to witness President Obama sign into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.

The new law is the most far-reaching expansion of opportunities for national service in almost a generation.

Sablan was an original co-sponsor of the bill and spoke in support of it during debate on the House floor.

The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act was brought to life through a collaboration between the Senate and the House of Representatives Committees on Education and Labor, of which Sablan is a member.

The Act has been hailed as landmark legislation that will not only encourage a new generation of Americans to engage in public service, but will also create positions that will help to simulate the economy and provide benefits to those in need.

“Throughout his campaign and the first months of his administration, President Obama has encouraged Americans to engage in service to their own communities and to the nation,” said Sablan. “I am so proud to have been able to add the support of the people of the Northern Mariana Islands to the president’s call for service.

“One only need look at the tremendous turnout for this weekend’s islandwide cleanup to see that the people of the Northern Marianas are willing give of themselves in order to make their community better. That is the spirit that the Serve America Act seeks to encourage throughout our nation.”

Serve America expands the number of service-oriented jobs funded by the federal government from 75,000 to 250,000.

It also creates several new service groups, including a Clean Energy Corps, an Education Corps, a Healthy Futures Corps, and a Veterans Service Corps.

New opportunities will be available for senior citizens, as well as for disadvantaged and foster youth and for those with disabilities.

These volunteer positions benefit participants not only with work experience, new professional relationships, and valuable job skills, but also by giving them money for college.

Also attending the event was Sen. Edward M. Kennedy himself, whose voice was strong, though his hands trembled on the podium.

Kennedy, D-Mass., is battling a brain tumor.

He was joined by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Ut., Rep. George Miller, D-Ca., Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Other members of the audience were first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Rosalind Carter, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“As an original cosponsor of this legislation,” said Sablan, “I am thrilled to see it signed into law by a president who believes so strongly in the cause of service. This new law will provide an opportunity for all Americans — and that includes us in the Northern Marianas — to participate in activities that will strengthen our communities and provide benefits to our citizens. I encourage everyone to take part in community and national service and I congratulate my fellow members of Congress and President Obama on completing this wonderful piece of legislation.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Brilliant Star and Whispering Palms

The students and teachers at Brilliant Star School and Whispering Palms School adopted the lighthouse for the Island Wide Cleanup.

They want to adopt the spot for the rest of the year, too! Thanks!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Final Tally

We're done tallying up the final numbers for the Island Wide Cleanup. It is funny to think that several weeks worth of work are going to boil down to a sentence like, "27,070 lbs of trash were picked up by 4,140 volunteers from 61 volunteer groups at 54 adopted sites." I guess that's what this kind of stuff comes down to in the end.

So those are our official numbers. Here they are again:

Number of volunteers participating: 4,140
Weight of trash removed: 27,070 lbs (13.5 tons)
Volunteer groups participating: 61
Number of adopted sites: 54

There are too many people to thank for our success, but my Thank You letter is a start.

William S Reyes Elementary

The students at William S Reyes Elementary cleaned the beach in front of their school.

Thank you!

Tottotville Community

Catherine Anderson and the Tottotville Community led a cleanup of their neighborhood.



Marianas Visitors Authority and Northern Marianas Dive Operators Association teamed up for a cleanup of the Laulau Bay Dive Site. Some of the volunteers aren't shown...because they were underwater!

Ladera International School of Saipan

Ladera International School of Saipan had a very successful cleanup of Coral Ocean Point.

Would you look at that pile of trash?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thank you

Friday was an amazing day. Thank you. Thousands of people came together for a single cause: a more beautiful Saipan. Young and old, citizen and non-citizen, local and non-local, government workers and business owners volunteered a few hours of their time to pick up the trash littering our beautiful island. Later this week the islands of Tinian and Rota will do the same. Again, Thank you.

Our results were staggering. The final numbers are still being tallied, but our preliminary count shows 4040 volunteers, 55 volunteer groups and 48 adopted sites on Saipan, and 12,960 lbs of trash removed from our streets, beaches, and parks.

The collaboration between groups to make this island wide cleanup a success was enormous. Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Rotary Club of Saipan handled most of the pre-cleanup coordination and sign-ups. Marianas Visitors Authority, Marianas Tourism Education Council, McDonald’s, and the Kramis Family provided funds for supplies and prizes. On the day of the cleanup DEQ, Bureau of Environmental Health, and Division of Parks and Recreation coordinated all of the trash pickup. Additionally there were 55 volunteer group coordinators, who ensured that their adopted site had rubber gloves, trash bags, and most importantly, volunteers.

In every way, from the total number of volunteers, to the number of participating groups, to the amount of litter removed, this year’s cleanup was bigger than anything the Beautify CNMI coalition has ever accomplished.

Furthermore, if the success of this cleanup has anything to teach us, it is that the government does not have the sole responsibility of solving our social problems, nor do they hold a monopoly on having the ability to fix them. We just showed that with a slight change in ethic and a small amount of effort on everyone’s part we can move mountains, in this case a 6.5 ton mountain of cans, bottles, and cigarette butts.

Unfortunately, Saipan’s streets and beaches will be covered in litter by the end of the week. Over the weekend hundreds of people went to the beach and left their trash, cigarette butts and cans are still being thrown out of cars, and homestead residents continue to dump their trash in the jungle.

Instead of being discouraged by this realization, I ask all of you to become reenergized. Change happens. The success of Beautify CNMI over the last three years and this latest cleanup are proof of that. Let us redouble our efforts to turn the Marianas into the cleanest, safest islands in the Pacific.

I encourage the volunteer groups that participated in this cleanup to adopt their spot for the next 12 months. Become the steward of that road, beach, or park for the next year.

I also encourage the eight government agencies charged with enforcing our litter laws to start making examples of some of the worst litter offenders. Hand out a few of those $500 tickets to businesses not properly storing their garbage or to residents dumping their trash illegally.

Finally, I encourage our donors to continue supporting our cleanup efforts. We cannot paint over graffiti if we do not have paint and we cannot pick up litter if we do not have garbage bags.

Volunteers, government policy, and business support are the three legs on which Beautify CNMI stands. The continued involvement of all three will improve the quality of life for the people that live here and make us a more desirable tourism destination.

Again, thank you to all who have supported the concept of Beautify CNMI over the last three years and to everyone who participated in this historic island wide cleanup. I look forward to many more years of collaboration and hard work as we move towards a more perfect Commonwealth.

Angelo Villagomez
Beautify CNMI

Aquarius Beach Tower

The staff at Aquarius Beach Tower staff teamed up with Max Aguon and boys, last year's Beautify CNMI Steward Award winner, to clean up the area south of Sugar Dock. Thank you!

Paseo de Marianas Promoters

Our super volunteers from Paseo de Marianas Promoters did their cleanup where else? The Paseo de Marianas!

Thank you!

San Vicente Elementary

san vicente elementaryThe students, teachers, and parents of San Vicente Elementary had their cleanup on Saturday morning. They were joined by Friends of the Mariana Islands, who provided the pictures. Marites Castillo has more photos on the FMI blog.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I CAN'T thank everyone enough! A MILLION THANKS to all of you who came out yesterday and will come out again today to participate in the 2009 Island-wide Cleanup in observance of this year's Environmental Awareness Month. The number of participants this year shattered the number we established almost three years ago with the 2006 Island-wide Cleanup called "1020 on 10/20" (Where we asked for at least 1,020 volunteers to participate in the Island-wide Cleanup on October 20, 2006, but got 3,380 volunteers instead!) This year, well over 4,000 volunteers (4,040 yesterday morning and counting!) from government, private, and the community set aside whatever they were going to do yesterday to collectively do one GREAT thing for our community -- BEAUTIFY IT and walk right into history while at it!


Angelo Villagomez (of Beautify CNMI!, the Rotary Club, Pew Environmental Group, Friends of the Monument, and MINA)and Joe Kaipat of DEQ did an outstanding job of organizing this massively successful cleanup.

Thanks to our wonderful sponsors: The Rotary Club, DEQ, MVA, NTT Docomo, McDonald's, Ron & Nancy Kramis, PDM Promoters, Marianas Tourism Education Council, and Beautify CNMI!

Oh, and by the way, THANKS to Bank of Guam and Shirley's for donating the money to build our Beautify CNMI! trailer and THANKS to FMI for building it. Joe and the DEQ gang put the trailer to good full use during the cleanup!

And one final thought -- Can you all think of a better way to showcase our beautiful islands to our many friends and visitors who will be arriving by sea and air to attend our Flame Tree Arts Festival? Please...Let's keep our islands clean and beautiful. Let's continue to Beautify CNMI!

Cinta M. Kaipat
Beautify CNMI!

Great Newspaper Article

There was a great article by Anthony Pelligrino in today's Saipan Tribune. He interviewed a number of people for the story. Really good reporting
Thousands pick up trash to clean up Saipan
By Anthony Pellegrino
Special to the Saipan Tribune

Close to 4,000 young and adults picked up tons of trash along Saipan's major roads, beaches, parks, dive sites and other tourist spots yesterday as part of the islandwide cleanup highlighting the observance of Environmental Awareness Month.

“I hope this day will make a difference for the environment and our children,” said 62-year-old Terry Camacho of the Office of Personnel Management. “I hope that next time somebody throws trash anywhere, he would think twice and think about those who are cleaning up the environment.”

Camacho was among the OPM employees and their families who picked up trash at the Garapan Fishing Base starting at 2:30pm yesterday.

Just a few meters from her was 4-year-old Ila Seman, the youngest of the OPM employees' family members to take part in the activity.

“Please do not throw your trash anywhere,” Joannie Laniyo, 7, said as she tagged along with her mother, OPM employee Benita Seman, for the cleanup.

From 7am to 4:30pm, thousands of volunteers from the private sector and the local and federal government cleaned Saipan of litter-from cigarette butts, plastic bottles, soda and beer cans, plastic bags to soiled baby diapers.

Michael Lizama, 12, a seventh grader at Hopwood Junior High School, said most of what they picked up on campus and at the beach were cigarette butts and plastic bottles. His classmate, Alicia Lloren, 12, said she and her classmates are proud to be part of making their campus cleaner.

Hopwood Junior High School had the most number of cleanup participants at 1,113.

TJ Litulumar of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration joined eight other TSA employees in picking up trash at the beach side fronting the Quarter Master Road intersection all the way to the 13 Fishermen Monument and back.

“We're supposed to clean up only from 9am to 11am but it's now around 12,” said Litulumar, adding that this is part of TSA's community outreach programs.

Mariana Coats and Jeremy T. Sasamoto of the Department of Public Health said they didn't mind the heat and dust to be able to help clean up Saipan. DPH employees picked up trash from Navy Hill to Horiguchi Building and back, starting at 2:30pm.

“Many of what we picked up were beer cans and plastic bottles. I hope people will stop littering,” said Sasamoto.

Aya Matsumoto, vice president of Pacific Eagle Enterprises, said they started cleaning up the area around the 13 Fishermen's Monument on Beach Road at 9:30am.

“We also planted a flame tree. We'd like to show tourists that Saipan is clean and beautiful. We'd like tourists to come back to the island again,” she said.

The cleanup will continue today. Joleen Torres, from the Committee to Elect Juan “Pan” Guerrero and Joe Camacho, said they expect 45 volunteers to clean up Beach Road this morning.

Joe Kaipat of the Division of Environmental Quality and co-chair of the islandwide cleanup, said 55 volunteer groups including public and private schools, government agencies and private businesses took part in the cleanup of 48 sites around Saipan.

The islandwide cleanup is cosponsored by Beautify CNMI, the Division of Environmental Quality, Rotary Club of Saipan, Marianas Visitors Authority and the Marianas Tourism Education Council.

Friday, April 17, 2009

News from Joe Kaipat

I received the following message from Joe Kaipat:

It is 7 pm and things wrapped up at 6. We have so far registered a total of 12,960 lbs and do not have weight from BEH, Parks & Rec. and one more DEQ vehicle. I will get them on Monday and total it with tomorrows collection before it is final. It was a good and hot day. Saipan is clean. I will update you further on Monday. When do you return?


Joe M. Kaipat
Division of Environmental Quality
Manager, SDWP
Joe coordinated all the logistics for the island-wide cleanup, including the pickup of all trash from every group that requested help. He was a huge part in pulling off this successful day.

The 12,960 lbs of solid waste collected so far already exceeds the 9,120 lbs removed during 1020 on 10/20 in 2006. In every way, from the total number of volunteers, to the number of participating groups, to the amount of work done, this year's cleanup is bigger than anything we have ever accomplished.

I am amazed at what our island just pulled off.

Congratulations to everyone!

Northern Marianas College

Students and staff from Northern Marianas College cleaned up the road near their campus. Great work, guys!

Department of Public Lands

22 volunteers from the Department of Public Lands cleaned Isa Drive between the Northern Marianas College and the Round House in San Vicente.

Pacific Eagle

The volunteers from Pacific Eagle and Isa CNMI cleaned up the area north of 13 Fishermen Memorial.

They also planted a Flame Tree. There are more photos and stories on the Isa CNMI blog. Check it out!


The Docomo volunteers cleared the streets in front of their office in Gualo Rai.

Garapan Elementary

The entire student body of Garapan Elementary School participated in today's Island Wide Cleanup. The students cleaned up their campus.

Great work!

Two more groups

60 students and 20 parents from Saipan International School cleaned up Obyan Beach from 8:30 - 9:30 this morning.

Thanks for all your hard work today, SIS!

Friends of the Mariana Islands was out this morning, too!

These guys are one of our most consistent, hardest working volunteer groups. You guys are the best! Thank you!

FMI has more pictures on their blog.

First Photos

Over 4000 people are expected to hit the streets of Saipan today to Beautify the CNMI. The first person to send in their pictures was Ken Kramer. This is his son Alexander Kramer standing next to the litter he picked up in Gualo Rai.

The Laolao Bay Golf Resort team were the second group to get their photos in. Here they are standing next to their impressive pile of trash.

Thanks to everyone who participated today!

Thank You NTT Docomo for Donating this Map

Thanks to Beautify CNMI! partner and 2009 Island-Wide Cleanup Sponsor NTT Dococo for this wonderful map which shows the sites adopted by various private businesses, schools, government agencies, families, et al. to clean today and, we hope, in the future.

If anyone wants to take a look at this map, stop by DEQ and ask for Joe Kaipat.

Joe Kaipat of DEQ, who co-organized this event with Angelo Villagomez, poses with former Congressman Absalon Waki, Jr. of NTT Docomo, one of the sponsors of this year's Island-wide Cleanup and donor of the map.Joe and Waki posing ala Vanna White. :D

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cleanup day is almost here

Just a few more hours before the troops hit the ground. I submitted the following press release, hopefully in time for Friday's papers. Our tally going into tomorrow is 4018 volunteers.

Go us!
Nearly 4000 ready to Beautify CNMI

4000 volunteers are set to hit the streets and beaches of Saipan tomorrow in what is expected to be the largest island-wide cleanup in Micronesian history.

“The support the community is showing us has been tremendous,” explained co-organizer Angelo Villagomez of Pew Environment Group. “We have businesses, government agencies, schools, and even families registered to participate.”

As of Thursday afternoon, 51 volunteer groups had adopted 48 sites around Saipan. According to Beautify CNMI volunteer Ken Kramer, “The cleanup we organized in 2006 had 32 volunteer groups. This one is nearly double the size.”

Deputy Secretary of Labor and Beautify CNMI founder Cinta Kaipat had a reminder for all participants, “Don’t forget to take before, during, and after pictures of your cleanups. We will post these on the Beautify CNMI blog and the two groups with the largest number of volunteers and most trash collected will win $100 each. We’ll use the photos submitted to determine the winners.”

Division of Environmental Quality, Rotary Club of Saipan, Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA), and Marianas Tourism Education Council are the co-organizers of the island-wide cleanup. Supplies were donated by MVA and McDonald’s.

For more information on the how to participate in the cleanup, contact Joe Kaipat at 664-8500 or Angelo Villagomez via Email at A list of all participants can be found by visiting

Monday, April 13, 2009

2009 Island Wide Cleanup Participants

4140 volunteers and climbing!!!
54 sites adopted
57 groups participating

Several community groups, businesses, and government agencies have already submitted their pledge to adopt spots for our islandwide destination enhancement day on April 17, 2009. You can adopt your own spot or participate in one of the existing cleanups.

How to sign up
How to win $100 for participating

We have recieved sign-up sheets from:

NEW!!! Gus Kaipat & Family, Friends of the Monument, and Team Chura Talo - Koblerville Substation
Volunteers Expected: 11
Time: 3:00 - 5:00 PM
Contact: Gus Kaipat, 288-4875,

NEW!!! OSHA-CNMI Consulation Office - Koblerville Substation
Volunteers Expected: 1
Time: 3:00 - 5:00 PM
Contact: Elaine T Pangelinan/Julie Inos

NEW!!! Japan Water System - Shell Gas Station South to BOH
Volunteers Expected: 4
Time: 7:00 - 11:00 AM
Contact: Cecilio Raiukiulipiy, 898-8237,

NEW!!! Saipan Industrial Gas - Sai Ship - South to PX
Volunteers Expected: 3
Time: 8:00 - 10:00 AM
Contact: Becky Constante, 322-8035,

NEW!!! DOC - Joeten Tr L - Microl Tr L
Volunteers Expected: 10
Time: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Contact: Sgt. Arnold Seman, 237-2700,

NEW!!! Micronesian Legal Services - Joeten Tr L to Sugar Doc Tr L
Volunteers Expected: 10
Time: 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Lolita Nazaire,

NEW!!! AOK Apartments - Lower Gualo Rai
Volunteers Expected: 5
Time: 9:00 AM
Contact: Ken Kramer, 233-0009,

NEW!!! Committee to Elect Juan Pan and Joe CAmacho - Beach Road - Quarter Master to Micro Beach
Volunteers Expected: 45
Time: SATURDAY 9:00 AM
Contact: Jolene Torres, 483,1720,

NEW!!! Saipan Community School - Susupe Beach
Volunteers Expected: 194
Time: 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Contact: Bobby Winkfield/Amanda Allen, 234-6687,

NEW!!! Aquarius Beach Tower Hotel - Sugar Dock to Pacific Gardenia Hotel
Volunteers Expected: 10
Time: 8:00 - 10:00 AM
Contact: William Hunter, 235-6025,

NEW!!! Palms Resort - Pau Pau Beach
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 7:30 - 8:30 AM
Contact: Ray Dela Cruz, 237-5322,

NEW!!! Lao Lao Bay Golf - Kagman Market to Kagman High School
Volunteers Expected: 40
Time: 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Contact: Tony DL Guerrero

NEW!!! Northern Marianas College - As Terlaje Hill West
Volunteers Expected: 30
Time: 8:00 - 10:00 AM
Contact: Clarice DLG Arriola, 234-5498 xt. 1277,

NEW!!! Department of Lands and Natural Resources - DLNR Office north and south
Volunteers Expected: 50
Time: 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Robert Magofna, 322-9834

NEW!!! Department of Public Lands - Micro - Shell Dandan
Volunteers Expected: 30
Time: 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Contact: John Gonzales, 234 - 2751/2,

NEW!!! CJPA - EMO - Mobil Gas Station
Volunteers Expected: 7
Time: 1:00 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Jerome Icapo, 664-4550,

NEW!!! Coastal Resources Management Office - Kilili Beach
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Kina Borja, 664-8307,

NEW!!! Hopwood Junior High School - HJH Beach & Road
Volunteers Expected: 1113
Time: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Contact: Christine Masga, 664-5081,

NEW!!! Garapan Elementary - GES Compound
Volunteers Expected: 872
Time: 1:30 - 2:00 PM
Contact: Boni Pangelinan, 237-3342,

NEW!!! Chacha Junior HS NHS - Tank Beach
Volunteers Expected: 10
Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Contact: Carmen Sablan, 237-3921/27,

NEW!!! Chacha Junior HS Student Council - Tank Beach
Volunteers Expected: 12
Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Contact: Barbie Iglacias, 237-3934,

Commonwealth Ports Authority - Tun Herman Pan Road
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 3:00 - 5:00 PM
Contact: Jadene A Villagomez, 237-6500,

Division of Environmental Quality - DEQ office north to Sugar King Park and back
Volunteers Expected: 50
Time: 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Jose M. Kaipat, 664-8500,

Department of Public Works Administration - GR Traffic south to Quarter Master
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Juan Deleon Guerrero, 235-1090,

Department of Public Works Solid Waste - DPW Beach
Volunteers Expected: 25
Time: 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Terrence Fitial, 322-2760,

Historic Preservation Office - Airport west to As Perdido
Volunteers Expected: 10
Time: 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Diego Camacho, 664-2123,

Marianas High School - Beach Road north and south of the school
Volunteers Expected: 40
Time: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Contact: Kalani Reyes, 235-4550,

Department of Public Health - Navy Hill to CHC and South
Volunteers Expected: 50
Time: 2:00 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Lily Kapileo, 664-4870,

Ron & Herminia Fusco - Fishing Base area
Volunteers Expected: 2
Time: TBA
Contact: Ron Fusco, 322-9063,

CNMI Youth Congress - Isa Drive on Capitol Hill from EMO to Sarah Market
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 4:30 - 6:30 PM
Contact: Roz Leon Guerrero, 483-7679,

Mike Tripp Productions - Grotto
Volunteers Expected: 2
Time: 6:30 AM
Contact: Mike Tripp, 285-MIKE,

This will be an underwater cleanup. Mike will provide mesh bags.

Tottotville Community - Tottotville Subdivision
Volunteers Expected: 15
Time: SATURDAY, 8:00 AM
Contact: Catherine Perry Anderson, 288-8433,

Northern Marianas Insurance Assoc. - Beach Road from Moylan's Insurance to Associated Insurance
Volunteers Expected: 30
Time: 3:30 - 5:30 PM
Contact: Tamara Hunter, 234-6442,

NTT Docomo - Middle Road in Gualo Rai and San Jose
Volunteers Expected: 16
Time: 8:00 - 9:00 AM
Contact: Absalon Waki, Jr, 483-9254,

Department of Labor - Koblerville Substation Area
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Lenice Kapileo/Jeff Camacho, 236-0900,

Transportation Security Administration - Quartermaster to 13 Fishermen
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 9:00 - 11:00 AM
Contact: Joshlyn Lieto, 483-1580,

Saipan Mayor's Office - Beach Road from Afetnas to Koblerville
Volunteers Expected: 30
Time: 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Ton Benavente, 234-6280/08,

Office of Personnel Management - Garapan Fishing Base Complex
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Contact: Ben Santos, 233-9033,

Office of Personnel Management and Lollipops are going to recruit some of the surrounding businesses to participate in the cleanup.

PDM Promoters Inc - Coral Tree Avenue, Paseo de Marianas
Volunteers Expected: 10
Time: 9:00 AM
Contact: Sonia Siwa, 234-6900,

The PDM Promoters Inc have teamed up with other groups on Saipan to clean the Garapan Tourist District every month since October 2006. They are going to recruit some of the local businesses in Garapan to participate.

Betty Koichi & Friends - Adopted spot TBD
Volunteers Expected: 6
Time: 9:00 - 2:00 AM
Contact: Maureen Nicholas, 235-0323,

Betty Koichi and her volunteer friends are looking to hook up with another volunteer group to do a cleanup.

Pacific Eagle Enterprises, Inc - 13 Fishermen Memorial Area
Volunteers Expected: 10
Time: 9:30 AM
Contact: Aya Matsumoto, 483-5100,

The Pacific Eagle volunteers are going to do a trash cleanup and plant a flame tree to commemorate the day.

Shirley's Coffee Shop -Ada Gym
Volunteers Expected: 30
Time: 4:30 - 6:30 PM
Contact: Susan Macario, 235-5379,

Marianas Visitors Authority and NMDOA - Laulau Beach Divespot
Volunteers Expected: 30
Time: 2:00 - 5:00 PM
Contact: Ed Diaz, 664-3200,

Koblerville Elementary School/MY Wave - Micro Beach
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 7:30 AM
Contact: Maria Angelli Agcaoilli,

Friends of the Mariana Islands - Isa Drive - SVES to Botanical Garden
Volunteers Expected: 10
Time: 7:30 AM
Contact: Marites Castillo, 234-9769,

William S. Reyes Elementary School - Laly 4 Beach, Chalan Kanoa
Volunteers Expected: 400
Time: 9:30 AM
Contact: Lynette L. Villagomez, 237-3541,

The 3rd - 6th grade students will cleanup the beach.

DFS Saipan Limited - Garapan main streets
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 7:00 AM
Contact: Marian Aldan Pierce, 236-2500,

The group will start at the intersection where Beach Roads meets American Memorial Park, head south to Garapan Street, then east towards Chalan Pale Arnold (Middle Road), north towards CHC, and finally west back towards their starting point.

Lollipops - Beach behind Lollipops store in Garapan
Volunteers Expected: 5
Time: 3:45 - 5:00 PM
Contact: Penny Hofschneider, 234-8040

Upward Bound Program, Northern Marianas College - Kagman III, Phase IV, Manga Street
Volunteers Expected: 22
Time: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Contact: Veronica M. Palacios, 234-5498 ext. 1279,

Early Intervention Program - Beach Road from Rainbow Photo to Hard Rock
Volunteers Expected: 10
Time: 9:00 AM
Contact: Viola M. Kaipat, 664-4830,

Tan Holdings - Beach from Garapan McDonald's to Carolinian Utt
Volunteers Expected: 200
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 AM
Contact: Ed Arriola Jr, 233-8080,

Northern Marianas Housing Corporation - Middle Road, Garapan
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 2:30-4:30 PM for picking up trash; whole day painting graffiti in Lower Mihaville
Contact: Edith C Fejeran, 234-6866,

The group will clean Middle Road from Navy Hill traffic light intersection north to the traffic light at Bank of Hawaii and then back. They will paint over graffiti in Lower Mihaville.

Saipan International School - Obyan Beach
Volunteers Expected: 80
Time: 8:00 - 10:00 AM
Contact: Rob Epley,

Grades 2, 3, and 5 are going to participate in the cleanup, along with some parents and teachers.

San Vicente Elementary - San Vicente Elementary Campus
Volunteers Expected: 100
Time: SATURDAY 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Contact: Pete Mesgnon/Betty Miller, 287-2386/237-3791,

Brilliant Star Upper Elementary School - Navy Hill LIghthouse
Volunteers Expected: 14
Time: 9:00 - 11:00 AM
Contact: Elizabeth Henke, 483-0345,

Ladera International School of Saipan - TBA
Volunteers Expected: 114
Time: Coral Ocean Point
Contact: Nina Rivera, 288-2006,

Pacific Islands Club - Beach Road from Chalan Piao traffic light to Koblerville Mobile
Volunteers Expected: 20
Time: 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Contact: Joe Ada, 285-6611,

Juan Babauta and Galvin Guerrero - Beach Road
Volunteers Expected: 100

Island Wide Cleanup in the News

Islandwide cleanup volunteers now over a thousand

MORE than a thousand individuals have volunteered to join the second islandwide cleanup slated for April 17, 2009, and their number is still increasing.

Event co-organizer Angelo Villagomez said during last week’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at the Hyatt

Regency that 22 groups had already confirmed participation and 19 sites had been adopted for cleanups.
The volunteers are from businesses, government agencies, schools and organizations.

“We are inviting everyone to join us in this year’s islandwide cleanup. You can adopt a spot, either your favorite beach, a tourist attraction, or the road in front of your home, business, or office, or you can join another group at their cleanup,” Villagomez said.

He is optimistic the organizers can reach their goal of recruiting 5,000 volunteers for the cleanup.
As of yesterday, 1,201 volunteers had signed up.

Adopted sites include Beach Road from Afetnas to Koblerville, Garapan Fishing Base Complex, Coral Tree Avenue and Paseo de Marianas, Susupe area around Shirley’s including the Mt. Carmel Church and School area, 13 Fishermen Memorial, Laulau Beach dive spot, Micro Beach, Isa Drive to Botanical Garden, Laly 4 Beach, Chalan Kanoa, Garapan main streets, Kagman III, Phase IV, Manga Street, Beach Road from Rainbow Photo to Hard Rock, Garapan McDonald’s to Carolinian Utt, Middle Road, Garapan, Obyan Beach, Navy Hill Lighthouse, and Grand Hotel to Sugar Dock.

The co-organizers of the cleanup are the Division of Environmental Quality, the Rotary Club of Saipan, the Marianas Visitors Authority, and the Marianas Tourism Education Council.

Villagomez said MTEC is setting aside $900 for the Public School System to be divided among the top schools with the highest percentage of student turnout for the cleanup.

For more information, contact Joe Kaipat at 664-8500, Angelo Villagomez at 285-6462 or e-mail him at .

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Carnival of the Blue 23

carnival of the blueCarnival of the Blue 23 is now posted at Deep Sea News. I contribute regularly to this blog carnival, having hosted twice.

A Blog Carnival is a particular kind of blog community. There are many kinds of blogs, and they contain articles on many kinds of topics. Blog Carnivals typically collect together links pointing to blog articles on a particular topic. A Blog Carnival is like a magazine. It has a title, a topic, editors, contributors, and an audience. Editions of the carnival typically come out on a regular basis (e.g. every monday, or on the first of the month). Each edition is a special blog article that consists of links to all the contributions that have been submitted, often with the editors opinions or remarks.

Carnival of the Blue is published on the first Monday of each month. Topics relate to the ocean and conservation, hence the 'blue.' Next month it is hosted on Sea Notes, the blog of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Beautify CNMI looking for award nominations

The Committee Chairs of Beautify CNMI are seeking nominations for their annual Beautify CNMI Steward and Beautify CNMI Champion awards. The two awards will be given out at the end of April.

The awards are given out to recognize the individuals or groups who have been environmental leaders during the past 12 months.

There are two award categories, the Environmental Steward and the Environmental Champion.

The Environmental Steward award recognizes a person or group that leads the community in activities that help protect our environment in a variety of ways. This individual or group has demonstrated the need to take pride in our islands and to take care of the place we all call home. They serve as an example for others, especially the next generation, to follow.

According to Beautify CNMI volunteer Angelo Villagomez, “The Steward Award winners are the backbone of Beautify CNMI. These are the people that volunteer their time every single weekend to improve our environment and our islands.”

The Environmental Champion award recognizes a person or group that exemplifies the Beautify CNMI spirit. Those qualities include volunteerism, cooperation, innovation, creativity and the ability to infect others with the Beauty Virus. The Environmental Champion is a role model for others to follow. They bring environmental issues to the forefront of public consciousness. They make things happen and effect change.

“The Champion Award winners are the environmental leaders on Saipan,” explained Beautify CNMI founder Cinta M. Kaipat.

The 2007 Environmental Champion winners were PSS teacher Bree Reynolds, MINA board member Kathy Yuknavage, and local activist Captain Carl Brachear. The winners of the 2007 Environmental Steward award were elementary school student Adam Sablan and volunteer group Friends of the Mariana Islands.

The 2008 Environmental Champion winners were Nava Khorram, Marites Castillo of Friends of the Mariana Islands, Katie Busenkell of PAWS, Mike Tripp of Marianas Dive, and Aqua Resort Club. The winners of the 2008 Environmental Steward award were Friends of the Marianas Islands, Marianas Dive, Paseo de Marianas Promoters and Max Aguon and the Pantalon Boys.

To nominate an individual or group, submit a written nomination explaining why that person or group deserves recognition. You can make as many nominations as you like, but individuals and groups can only be nominated for one award category. Nominations must include the award category the nominee is being considered for, a well written argument detailing the reasons why this nominee should be considered, and contact information for the nominee and for the person making the nomination.

Send nominations to Angelo Villagomez at or mail them to PMB 360 BOX 10001; Saipan, MP 96950 or call 285-6462 for more information.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

$900 in prizes made available to schools

The island wide cleanup that is being planned for next Friday was independently planned by three separate organizations. I wrote about organizing an island wide cleanup on The Saipan Blog back in January. In February I got an email from DEQ saying that they were planning an island wide cleanup as part of the Commonwealth Earth Day celebration. Then last month, Marianas Tourism Education Council (MTEC) contacted me to let me know that they were also planning an island wide cleanup in April.

We immediately decided to work together (this is back in February) and started roping in other partners. Marianas Visitors Authority agreed to donate $1500 for supplies and last week, Tan Holding, the largest employer on the island besides the government, pledged to have all their companies participate (three hotels, several restaurants, an insurance company, a newspaper, among others).

A big part of MTEC's involvement is giving support and financial assistance to the local schools. They donated $1000 towards the cleanup effort. They originally offered to split the $1000 equally between the schools and Beautify CNMI, but I asked them to change it to $900 for the students and only $100 for us. The way I figure it, I'm really good at scrounging up supplies and volunteers and if there is money available for students, better to support the students.

They issued a press release about their donation today.
MTEC Offers Top Schools Cleanup Incentives

Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) – Personal responsibility in having a clean tourism destination is being highlighted by Marianas Tourism Education Council (MTEC), as the group announces cash incentives for Northern Marianas schools that join the Earth Month Island-wide Cleanup on April l7, 2009.

In addition to $100 donated to event organizer Beautify CNMI!, MTEC is setting aside $900 for the Public School System to be divided among the top schools with the highest percentage of student turnout for the cleanup.

“Keeping our islands beautiful is an important part of supporting tourism, and we encourage all schools, especially those with MY WAVE (Welcome All Visitors Enthusiastically) clubs to have their students join the April 17 event,” said MTEC Chairman Ed Cho. “MTEC is pleased to support this year’s cleanup and help encourage a clean environment for visitors and residents, alike.”

Beautify CNMI partners Division of Environmental Quality, Rotary Club, and Marianas Visitors Authority are inviting all residents to plant a tree, paint over some graffiti or cleanup a road or a beach during the event. Cleanup over the weekend is also encouraged for people not available on April 17. Assistance with gloves, trash bags, and trash transfer are also available from Beautify CNMI!

Sign-up forms will be the basis of awarding the MTEC incentive. Forms are available from Rotary Club member and event co-organizer Angelo Villagomez at

A complete list of participants for the cleanup can be found at As of today (April 7), six spots have been adopted by eight organizations, accounting for 136 volunteers.
The coordination of the cleanup is going very well. As of 8:31 AM on Wednesday, April 8, we have 11 sites adopted by 13 different groups representing 591 volunteers. We are about 1/10 of the way there with 9 days to go to continue building excitement. I'm optimistic that we'll reach our goal of 5000 volunteers!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Former CNMI Residents donate prizes for island-wide cleanup

Two former residents of the CNMI have donated $300 in prizes to be given out to participants of the upcoming island-wide cleanup. Ron and Nancy Kramis of Bellingham, Washington decided to donate the prize money because they wanted to somehow participate in the event planned for April 17.

“We’ve been following Beautify CNMI since it was formed and when we lived in the CNMI we would volunteer. We are back in Washington now and we wanted to help out. Ron came up with this idea for us to participate,” commented Nancy Kramis who worked with PSS and DPH when she was living in the CNMI.

“Whoever wins the prizes can spend the money anyway they like, but when I came up with the idea I thought that the prizes could be used to purchase school supplies or more cleanup supplies. Maybe if some students win they could have a pizza party to celebrate their hard work,” added Ron Kramis.

Event organizers have decided to use the prize money to give out three $100 prizes. The first prize will be $100 cash given to one of the participating groups at random. Every volunteer group, business, or school that participates will have their names put into a hat and one of them will be the lucky winner of $100.

The other two prizes require the coordinators of the volunteering organization to submit a photograph. The volunteer group that picks up the most garbage, as evidenced by a photograph of trash collected on the day of the cleanup will win $100. Likewise, the volunteer group that recruits the most volunteers, as evidenced by a group photograph on the day of the cleanup will also win $100.

“We are blessed to have such generous benefactors. These prizes are a nice way to reward all the hard work that volunteer groups have been doing for Beautify CNMI over the years. Ron and Nancy Kramis deserve a heartfelt si yu’us ma’ase,” said event co-organizer Angelo Villagomez.

Division of Environmental Quality, Rotary Club of Saipan, Marianas Visitors Authority, and Marianas Tourism Education Council are the co-organizers of the island-wide cleanup.

For more information on the how to participate in the cleanup, contact Joe Kaipat at 664-8500 or Angelo Villagomez at 285-6462 or via Email at
Letters to the Editor
Monday, April 06, 2009

Please participate in this month's islandwide cleanup

Two and one half years ago, the Beautify CNMI campaign put together an event called “1020 on 10/20.” We challenged 1,020 people to spend a few hours on October 20 doing something to make these islands a better place to live and visit. Over 3,380 locals, contract workers, government workers, business owners, elected officials, and students heeded the call and spent the morning of Oct. 20 picking up litter off roads and beaches, painting over graffiti, and planting trees. Our collective efforts were impressive.

If my records are to be believed, that year the Coastal Resources Management Office teamed up with the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance to remove 380 lbs of trash from Tank Beach. The students at Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary removed 500 lbs of trash from the beach behind their school. The Division of Environmental Quality cleaned up the area north of the 13 Fishermen Memorial and planted several dozen coconut trees. They removed 280 lbs of trash. All told over 9,120 lbs of litter were removed from the 32 cleanup sites adopted in 2006.

A second islandwide cleanup is being planned for April 17, 2009, as part of the Commonwealth's celebration of Earth Month. The concept for this event is similar to what we did with “1020 on 10/20.” We are asking community members, business owners, and government agencies to spend up to two hours enhancing the areas around their homes, businesses, and offices.

Several organizations are helping us organize this cleanup. The Rotary Club of Saipan, Marianas Tourism Education Council, and Division of Environmental Quality are the lead coordinators. The Marianas Visitors Authority is donating $1,500 for the purchase of plastic bags, rubber gloves, and paint supplies. They will be available for pickup at DEQ later this week. DEQ has also pledged to use their trucks and staff to pick up and transfer all garbage to the Lower Base transfer station, which Department of Public Works will be keeping open late to accommodate us.

Additionally, Governor Fitial has agreed to allow all Executive Branch agencies to participate in this islandwide cleanup during working hours. More information on their participation should be forthcoming from the Governor's Office and the Division of Environmental Quality.

I humbly invite you to join us in this year's islandwide cleanup. You can adopt a spot, either your favorite beach, a tourist attraction, or the road in front of your home, business, or office, or you can join another group at their cleanup. A list of all of this year's adopted spots can be found at Simply contact the coordinator for that location and tell them you want to join.

If you would like to adopt a spot this year, please call me at 285-6462 or Joe Kaipat at DEQ at 664-8500 or email me at I will send you the one-page sign up sheet and help you with your adopted spot's logistics.

These islands are our home and if we don't take care of it, nobody else is going to do it for us. The Beautify CNMI campaign has always belonged to the entire community. I will often say, “Everyone is a member of Beautify CNMI, even if they don't know it yet.” This campaign has always been one of the people and by the people. When we didn't have money for garbage bags, somebody has always donated them. When we needed volunteers, somebody has always given us their time. With this cleanup, we are asking for your help one more time.

This cleanup comes right around the time of the third anniversary of Beautify CNMI and I'm looking forward to this event launching us into a successful fourth year. Again, I humbly ask you to participate in this year's islandwide cleanup. Participate with your family, your co-workers, or your classmates, but please participate.

Angelo O’Connor Villagomez
Volunteer, Beautify CNMI

Friday, April 03, 2009

Sign up for the Island Wide Cleanup

I am working with the Division of Environmental Quality, Marianas Visitors Authority, Rotary Club of Saipan, and Marianas Tourism Education Council to coordinate an island wide cleanup for April 17, 2009.

The concept for the cleanup is simple: If several thousand people spend just a couple of hours doing something to improve the islands on the day of the cleanup, the following morning the islands will look pretty nice.

This will make our islands look pretty snazzy in time for Earth Day and for Tourism Month in May.

The coordinators are asking people, businesses, government agencies, schools, and homes to spend an hour or two doing a cleanup at anytime on Friday, April 17, 2009. If you want to adopt a beach that is great, but we are encouraging people to adopt the area near their place of business. Governor Fitial has agreed to allow ALL government agencies to participate during working hours. More information on that should be forthcoming from DEQ and the Governor's Office.

I hope you can participate. I've created a simple signup sheet that will help us track our activities. If you would like me to send you one, please email me at angelovillagomez at gmail dot com. After you fill it out, please either fax or email it back in.

Island Wide Cleanup sign ups begin

The first 50 people have signed up for the Island Wide Cleanup slated to take place on April 17, 2009. The Saipan Mayor’s Office and the Office of Personnel Management were the first organizations to turn in their sign up sheets.

The Office of Personnel Management has adopted the Garapan Fishing Base and has pledged to recruit 20 volunteers to help beautify the area. Likewise, the Saipan Mayor’s Office has adopted Beach Road from Afetnas to Koblerville and has pledged 30 staff for roadside trash collection.

“Our first two signups adopted the roads and areas near their offices. This is what we envisioned when we started planning this cleanup,” said co-organizer Joe Kaipat of Division of Environmental Quality. “We hope to get at least 5000 volunteers this year,” he added.

According to the organizers, the goal of this year’s island wide cleanup is to recruit at least 5000 volunteers to spend a few hours beautifying the islands, whether it is by picking up litter on a road or beach, painting over graffiti, planting a few trees, or participating in some other activity.

The cleanup organizers are encouraging participants to adopt a spot near their homes, offices, or schools, although some organizations will adopt beaches and/or tourist sites.

The organizers are encouraging the community to get involved as much as possible.

Event co-organizer Angelo Villagomez said, “It would be great if we could get a few families to adopt the roads near their homes. We want people to take ownership and responsibility for the upkeep of their areas of the island.”

The Marianas Visitors Authority is providing funds for garbage bags, rubber gloves, and some paint and the Division of Environmental Quality has pledged to assist with transferring solid waste collected to the transfer station in Lower Base. Supplies, if needed, will be available for pickup at the Division of Environmental Quality.

Division of Environmental Quality, Rotary Club of Saipan, Marianas Visitors Authority, and Marianas Tourism Education Council are the co-organizers of the island wide cleanup.

For more information on the how to participate in the cleanup, contact Joe Kaipat at 664-8500 or Angelo Villagomez at 285-6462 or via Email at