Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DEQ Cleanup Brigade on Saturday

(DEQ) - The Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ) cleanup brigade will be at it again, picking up trash at Aboni Beach in Garapan

If you would like to volunteer your time to clean and beautify our island, please meet on Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. behind the Mobil gas station/Mc Donald's restaurant. Come join us and "Pick it Up!"

Volunteers will split into groups, cleaning north and south of Aboni Beach until 10:00 am and break for drinks and then continue, if needed.

This month, outstanding brigade volunteers who participated in at least ten (10) monthly cleanups will receive a brigade cap and those who participated in at least three (3) cleanups will receive a green brigade t-shirt.

This is a cleanup that should not be missed, so join DEQ's cleanup brigade and "Pick It Up!" Let us work together for the health of our coral reefs and cleanliness of our beaches for everyone to enjoy.

The DEQ cleanup brigade began in 1996 and continues to maintain clean, healthy beaches.

For more information about volunteering, please contact the DEQ office at 664-8500.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Governor Fitial and Beautify CNMI

Governor FitialFor three years Governor Benigno Fitial has been an important component of Beautify CNMI's success. I forget exactly how he put it, but I remember Cinta telling me that he once told his Cabinet to, "give Beautify CNMI whatever support they need."

In the last three years government staff and resources have been dedicated to helping us make these islands a better place to live and visit. Most recently, Governor Fitial gave all government offices permission to participate in the island-wide cleanup during working hours. Many of our 4,000+ volunteers were government employees.

For all his support, we gave him a limited edition Beautify CNMI volunteer t-shirt (only 400 of this design were printed).

Thank you, Governor Fitial!

PIC Donates to PAWS

Last Saturday the Pacific Islands Club held a fundraiser for PAWS. They opened up their water park for the low, low price of $10 for one day only and donated all the proceeds to PAWS. The PAWS volunteers heeded the call and showed up in droves.

pacific islands club donation pawsToday PIC General Manager Keiran Daly handed PAWS a check for $545.

Thank you, Pacific Islands Club! And special thanks to Kanae Quinn and Elly Stoilova of PIC who arranged this generous opportunity for PAWS!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Name That Abyss!

marianas trench marine national monumentUniversity of Hawaii professor and geologist Patricia Fryer and George Washington High School marine biology teacher and Marine Mania advisor Linda Tatreau are holding a contest to rename HMRG Deep, the second deepest place in the ocean.

According to the article in Pacific Daily News:
The contest is open to all Guam and Northern Mariana Island students ages 18 and under. The proposed name must reflect Guam's history, culture or language and the applicant must include a paragraph explaining the significance of the name.

All entries should include the applicants name, school and contact information. The deadline to submit entries is July 14 to

The winner of the contest will have their chosen name on all bathymetric/geologic maps and will also get to ride on the UnderWater World float in the Liberation Day Parade, with a banner stating the winning name.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I set up an account on Barack Obama's and added an event for the monthly cleanup of the Garapan Tourist District. I'm not sure how much this will help us on Saipan; it is probably more useful in big cities.

Either way, I created an event. Beautify CNMI is now a part of Barack Obama's call to service.

Bridge Capital donates to Beautify CNMI!

Generous Donation: Angelo Villagomez (left) and Joe Kaipat (right) accept the donation from Bridge Capital at the Governor's Office this past Thursday.
Bridge Capital donated $2000 to Beautify CNMI last Thursday during a ceremony at the Governor’s office on Capital Hill.

Beautify CNMI has earmarked the funds to support the Solid Waste Committee, which coordinates weekly cleanups. The donation will fund at least six months of volunteer cleanups.

“For three years we have depended on the generosity of the community to support our volunteer programs,” said Angelo Villagomez of Beautify CNMI. “This donation will ensure that 2009 will be our most successful year yet.”

Bridge Capital, LLC is an international investment banking firm specializing in high yield real estate secured lending, distressed debt acquisition and restructuring, equity and debt placement, and investment management services. The company is based out of Saipan, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Beautify CNMI! is a coalition of concerned citizens, private groups, and government entities united to enhance the CNMI's natural beauty and foster community pride in its residents and visitors. Beautify CNMI was the 2006 Saipan Tribune Person of the Year, was a recipient of a 2007 EPA Environmental Award and received a Certificate of Commendation from the United States Congress in 2009. For more information visit them online at

For Press Release

I'm just going to put this on the blog so that it is easy to find.
Beautify CNMI! is a coalition of concerned citizens, private groups, and government entities united to enhance the CNMI's natural beauty and foster community pride in its residents and visitors. Beautify CNMI was the 2006 Saipan Tribune Person of the Year, was a recipient of a 2007 EPA Environmental Award and received a Certificate of Commendation from the United States Congress in 2009. For more information visit them online at

Friday, June 19, 2009

Weekly Email Update: June 19

Hafa Adai,

Thanks again to all the sponsors and participants of the Boonie Dog Show!

The fun continues tomorrow at PIC where for one day only a one-day water park pass is $10. All funds for the day will be donated to PAWS to help them find homes for abandoned animals.

As for cleanups this weekend....


Happy Father's Day,


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Saipan to host regional environmental conference

Registration is now open for the 26th Pacific Islands Environment Conference, which will be held on Saipan on June 22 to June 25, 2009, and is expected to draw attendance from government officials and environmental leaders across the Pacific as well as the U.S. mainland.

This year's theme is “Climate of Change: Energizing a Sustainable Future for Pacific Islands.”

The conference is designed to provide a forum for leaders throughout the Pacific Basin to focus on important environmental issues through excellent speakers and interactive roundtable sessions.

On Monday, June 22, there will be pre-conference workshops and a CNMI Energy Summit. The formal PIEC conference agenda runs from June 23 to 25 and will feature both plenary and breakout sessions with a strong focus on clean energy and climate change. Field trips will be held the afternoon of Thursday, June 25.

The Pacific Islands Environment Conference is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the governments of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. Register today at

There is no registration fee for the conference, although the field trips and some lunches are subject to a fee. A block of rooms has been set aside at the Saipan World Resort for conference attendees, with rates starting at $100 per night (tax included). Airport transfers are available for a fee. Discounted rental car rates are being negotiated and additional details will be available soon. Those interested in participating in the conference are being urged to use the hotel reservation form on the registration Web site to reserve their room before the May 22 deadline.

For more information about the conference, contact Nuria Muñiz at (415) 972-3811 or, or Michael Mann at (415) 972-3505 or For information on exhibit opportunities, contact Fran Castro at 670-664-8500 or

For additional information and registration, visit

PAWS thanks supporters

PAWS and Beautify CNMI would like to thank all those that attended the dog show this Saturday. It was a great event, which was made possible due to the generous donations and contributions made by the following persons and/or businesses (in alphabetical order):

Angelo Villagomez
Brad Ruszala
Cinta Kaipat
Department of Environmental Quality
Eric and Tania David
Fiesta Resort & Spa
George Hasselbeck
Gus Kaipat
Hyatt Regency Saipan
IT & E
Jason Sablan of Price Costco
Jason Tarkong
Jeff Schorr
Mike Tripp
Moby Dick's Restaurant
Pacific Islands Club Saipan
Pacific Trading Inc.
Palms Resort
Patricia Garshak
Price Costco
Representative Edward Salas
Retta Sue Hamilton
Ron Smith
The Kaipat Kids
Taco Bell & KFC
Trench Tech

And of course, we thank all of our volunteers-you know who you are!

PAWS would also like to thank HANMI for the $2,000 donation made for public outreach purposes. The money will be used to create and run weekly “Pet of the Week” advertisements on KSPN so we can place homeless animals in permanent and foster homes quickly. Thank you HANMI for helping PAWS make Saipan a better place to live and visit!

Katie Busenkell
PAWS President

Monday, June 15, 2009


About 40 dogs and 100 humans took part in yesterday's Beautify CNMI/Paws sponsored third annual Best of the Worst Boonie Dog Show, PAWS WARS Episode 3: Revenge of the Boonie.

We had a late start due to an equipment malfunction, but once we got started it was smooth sailing.

tan holdings beautify cnmi jerry tanWe started off by awarding the annual Beautify CNMI Champion and Beautify CNMI Steward awards. Laurie Peterka, Ken Kramer and Tan Holdings were recognized as Champions (our annual advocate award) and the Friends of the Monument were recognized as Stewards (our annual volunteer award).

laurie peterka beautify cnmi awardWith that done, I stepped off the stage and let veteran dog show host George Hasselback take over. We had six categories this year: fattest, most misbehaved, most talented, booniest, best star wars costume, and best in show.

At the beginning of each category, all of the competitors were paraded in front of the judges and then brought out one by one for judging. Dogs were scored on a 1-5 scale, with 15 being the highest possible score.

dog show judgesAfter all the competitors had been judged and scored, the winners for the round were announced and prizes given out. Before starting the next round we gave away a few raffle prizes.

I think the Star Wars category was the most popular. Brad Ruszala, as usual, kicked it up a notch and used his personal Princess Leia costume to dress his dog, Meatball. It was good enough for first place, with Snow White's rendition of Princess Leia actually tying her, but losing to Meatball in the tie-breaker.

This year we had help from some of the fighters from Trench Tech thanks to the involvement of Jason Tarkong and Cuki Alvarez. They upped the cool quotient of the hippie, tree hugger dog show at least 15 percentage points.

We also had tremendous support from the community. I put out a call for $20 donations to pay for prizes and over a dozen people donated, including Jerry Tan, Lydia Tan, Marianne Teregeyo, Marianne and Richard Pierce, Kathy Yuknavage, Susan Macario, Kyle Calabrese, Mike Tripp, Aya Matsumoto, Tyler Yoshimoto, Catie Hiney, Ed Manibusan, Joey San Nicholas, and Lina Dimaano. Pacific Trading, Seafix, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Fiesta Resort & Spa, Palms Resort, Moby Dick Restaurant, Expressions, Mike Tripp Productions, Price Costco, and Pacific Islands Club Saipan also donated support and prizes. Representative Ed Salas donated tents. I donated tables and chairs.

The Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands also used the dog show as an opportunity to donate $2000. The money will be used to help find stray animals permanent homes.

When it comes down to it, the Boonie Dog Show is a perfect example of how the Beautify CNMI spirit works. People pitch in what they can and we come together to do great things.

PAWS Fundraiser at PIC this weekend

In honor of this past weekend’s dog show, PIC is hosting a PAWS Day at the PIC Waterpark this Saturday, June 20, 2009. On this special day, PIC Waterpark passes will be sold at a discounted rate of $10.00, all proceeds will go to PAWS.

“This is a great opportunity for families to spend a day together on the river or splash about in the big pool, all while helping a great non-profit organization,” said PAWS President Katie Busenkell. “Better yet, what a great opportunity for parents to take some time off by dropping the children off at the Waterpark for a long afternoon!”

For more information on this special event, please call PIC at 234-7976 or call PAWS at 285-PAWS.

PAWS WARS a Success

PAWS WARS Episode 3: Revenge of the Boonie was an overwhelming success. We had three animals up for adoption and they were adopted. Dogs won prizes. Spectators were entertained. A good time was had by all.
Barbie wins dog show

A FIVE-YEAR old Pomeranian named Barbie is this year’s winner of the Best of the Worst Dog Show at the CPA airport grounds on Saturday.

Barbie’s owner, MC Torregoza, said she also entered her dog in last year’s event.

Second place went to two-month-old Pepa, a Maltese Poodle owned by Alverick Alvarez.

Named the third place winner was Kui, owned by Ken Baer.

The three judges — Brad Ruszala, Cinta Kaipat and PO2 Jason Tarkong chose the winners in each of the six different categories.

This year’s contest drew 26 dog contestants.

PAWS president Kathleen Busenkell said the contest was a success, and they will be organizing another dog show next year.

“We would like to thank our sponsors and supporters who had been helping us come up with this show, but the main thing is we would like to emphasize the importance of taking care of our dogs and other pets,” Busenkell said.

She said they may have to hold the show a little earlier next year as most of the dog owners are off-island.

“We have few repeaters this year, but we have several newcomers, too,” she said.

Some of the dogs in the show were up for adoption, stray dogs that PAWS found and is taking care of.

At the end of the show, two of the dogs found new owners.

The other winners in the dog show:


First place: Lucky — Amanda Lorenz

Second place: Missy — Bruce McMillan

Third place: Pepper — Wendy Lorenz


First place: Yoda — Andres Buitrago

Second place: Rossi — Kathleen Herman

Third place: Jake — Adam Hardwicke

Most Disobedient

First place: Chloe — Jillian Ferrer

Second place: Jake — Adam Hardwicke

Third place: Charlotte — John Blanco

Most Talented

First place: Dima — Scott Hayden

Second place: Meatball — Kathy Pagapular

Third place: Dirk — Liza Eller

Star Wars Award

First place: Meatball — Brad Ruszala

Second place: Snowhite — Edz Blanco

Third place: Yodu — Andres Buitrago

Sponsors for the show were Seafix, Hyatt Regency Saipan, HANMI, Pacific Trading, Price Costco, Palms Resort Saipan, Fiesta Resort Hotel &Spa, Pacific Islands Club, the Kikbak Band, Gus Kaipat, Trench Tech and Expressions.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tan Holdings, Friends of the Monument recognized with Beautify CNMI awards

Beautify CNMI announced today the winners of their annual Environmental Champion and Environmental Steward Awards. The awards are given out to recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses that have proven to be environmental leaders in the Commonwealth.

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.

This year Beautify CNMI will recognize Tan Holdings, Laurie Peterka, and Ken Kramer as the 2009 Environmental Champions.

Tan Holdings is being recognized as a model of corporate environmental responsibility. Under the leadership of President Jerry Tan, Tan Holdings employees and friends have been part of several environmental projects over the past year. All Tan Holdings offices on Saipan participate in a Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle program and the company participates in a reusable shopping bag campaign with Joeten. Employees, often with the participation of management, regularly participate in cleanups, including the recent island wide cleanup.

Laurie Peterka and Ken Kramer are being recognized for their roles in the creation of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.

Kramer was so inspired by the concept of the monument that he quit his job so that he would have more time to collect signatures. Kramer was the largest signature collector for a petition being circulated in support of the monument, collecting over 1000 signatures at the street market, in front of stores, at the Sabalu market, and door to door. Kramer also penned nearly two-dozen letters to the editor educating newspaper readers about the benefits of a monument.

Peterka is being recognized for the role she played as staff with the Pew Environment Group. According to one of her nominations for the award, “Laurie has been the backbone of the Friends of the Monument’'s efforts: always there, always supportive, keeping things moving, doing much of the organizing, writing, scheduling, as well as a lot of the scut work.”

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.

This year Beautify CNMI will recognize Friends of the Monument as the 2009 Environmental Stewards.

Friends of the Monument was formed to help promote the idea of creating a national marine monument in the waters around the three northernmost islands of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Friends of the Monument engaged in activities to help educate the community --distributing leaflets, conducting meetings, and coordinating with teachers for classroom presentations. The organization gathered more than 6,000 signatures on petitions in support of the designation of a Monument. The Friends sent representatives to Washington, D.C. to meet with White House officials, and participated in television and radio public service announcements and advertising. Ultimately, they were instrumental in the process that resulted in former President George W. Bush designating the Marianas Trench Marine Monument, along with three larger national marine monuments.

The awards were handed out at the Beautify CNMI/PAWS Boonie Dog Show on Saturday, June 13 at the CPA Airport Field.

Beautify CNMI recognizes Steward and Champion Awards winner each year in Spring. Nominations are taken from the community at-large and the Beautify CNMI Committee Chairs select winners. Past winners include Aqua Resort Club, Friends of the Mariana Islands, Marites Castillo, Kathy Yuknavage, Captain Carl Brachear, Adam Sablan, Katie Busenkell, Rose Callier, Mike Tripp, Marianas Dive, Nava Khorram, Max Aguon, Paseo de Marianas Promoters, and Bree Reynolds.

Beautify CNMI! is a coalition of concerned citizens, private groups, and government entities united to enhance the CNMI's natural beauty and foster community pride in its residents and visitors. The coalition was a recipient of a 2007 EPA Environmental Award and received a Certificate of Commendation from the United States Congress in 2009. For more information visit them online at

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weekly Email Update: June 10

Hafa Adai,

We have several events, meetings, and cleanups scheduled for this weekend.

First off, we have two meetings tomorrow. The Restoration Committee will be meeting at 1 PM at DEQ to plan a Laulau Revegetation Planting day, similar to the planting days we had in 2006. All are welcome to attend.

Also tomorrow, PAWS and Animal Welfare Committee will have their final logistics meeting for this weekend's Boonie Dog Show. We will meet at Oleai Bar & Grill at NOON and 5 PM. You need only come to one meeting if you are going to volunteer. We had a last minute breakdown of the generator and microphone we were going to use. If anyone has one we can borrow or rent, please let me know ASAP.

The Boonie Dog Show, PAWS WARS Episode 3: Revenge of the Boonie is this Saturday from 4-6 PM. Bring your dog and the whole family for a great show. Drinks will be available for sale and I recommend bringing blankets and chairs.

Finally, there are two cleanups scheduled for the weekend. Both are being led by Friends of the Mariana Islands:

2nd Saturday of the month
ISA Drive (from Botanical Garden to Airport Road)
Start at 8:00am it ends up till the volunteer works is all done

2nd Sunday of the month
Garapan Tourist District
Time: 8:00am to 10:00am

Thanks for all you do and I hope to see you at one of this weekend's events!


Monday, June 08, 2009

Carnival of the Blue 25

The best in ocean blogging this month can be found at Carnival of the Blue 25, hosted at Blogfish this month. Carnival of the Blue 25 represents the beginning of a third year of ocean-related blog carnivals. Woot!

PDM Promoters Cleanup Garapan

pdm promotersVolunteers from Paseo de Marianas Promoters got up early on Sunday morning for their monthly cleanup of the Garapan Tourist District. They have cleaned important area of Saipan every single month since October 2006.

garapan cleanupThank you for all your hard work! It is much appreciated!

A lot of trash

garbage litter cleanupIf only the Friends of the Mariana Islands had cleaned up this area on Dandan on the day of the island-wide cleanup. This has to be one of our biggest hauls of trash in a while!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

FMI cleans up Dandan with DEQ

Friends of the Mariana Islands, lead by thier President Marites Castillo, assisted the Division of Environmental Quality with a cleanup on Sunday in DanDan along the Saipan International Airport fence.

In just three hours the volunteers collected an entire trailer full of trash. Some people on Saipan are illegally using the Airport as an area to dispose of their household trash. FMI and DEQ turned this illegal dump site back into an area that the DanDan villagers and Commonwealth Ports Authority can be proud to call their own (and that CPA and MVA don't have to be concerned that our arriving tourist might see).

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Beautify CNMI Selects New Committee Chairs

During their regular meeting on June 4, 2009, Beautify CNMI partners brainstormed on projects for 2009 and selected chairs to head four committees.

Joe Kaipat of Division of Environmental Quality and Kathy Yuknavage of Mariana Islands Nature Alliance are to co-chair the Solid Waste Committee, the goals of which are to increase the percentage of solid waste recyclables collected, reduce littering, and remove solid waste from local beaches, roads, and villages.

The Solid Waste Committee has plans to develop an adopt-a-spot program in conjunction with a marine debris removal and recycling campaign.

“In the next year we want to take the success we’ve had with keeping Wing Beach clean and spread it to at least seven other beaches,” explained Yuknavage. “We have plans to work with the community putting recycling and trash bins next to some of the most popular beaches on Saipan.”

Angelo Villagomez of the Rotary Club of Saipan, Ronnie Rogers of Historic Preservation Office, and Kathleen Hermann of Division of Environmental Quality will co-chair the Restoration Committee, which will focus on re-vegetation projects and maintaining historical sites.

The committee plans to continue work on the Laulau Revegetation Project started by the CNMI Watershed Group in 2005. They also want to start a volunteer corp who will maintain local historical areas.

Dr. Dan Lamar of FHP Saipan will chair the Parks & Trails Committee, which seeks to create a system of local, state, and national parks under a Commonwealth Parks System.

“A Commonwealth Parks System connected by a series of trails would be a great draw for tourists,” according to Lamar. “It would also attract professionals who look at quality of life issues when deciding where they want to practice their profession.”

Laurie Peterka of Practical Solutions and local student Tyler Yoshimoto were named as the co-chairs of a new Beautify CNMI Committee that will launch a campaign uniting youth, the community, artists, and businesses to combat graffiti.

“This is something that I’ve been working on with the ISK8 Society for quite some time and I’m really excited to make it a part of Beautify CNMI,” said Peterka.

All of the coalition partners agreed that youth education and development through coalition building and partnerships should be an integral part of Beautify CNMI.

“It is so important to work with the kids,” said Hopwood Junior High School teacher Kimberly Vaillancourt.

Beautify CNMI! is a coalition of concerned citizens, private groups, and government entities united to enhance the CNMI's natural beauty and foster community pride in its residents and visitors. The coalition was a recipient of a 2007 EPA Environmental Award and received a Certificate of Commendation from the United States Congress in 2009. For more information visit them online at

Friday, June 05, 2009

Attend a meeting

Beautify CNMI sets monthly meetings

The Beautify CNMI coalition has set their monthly meetings for the second Thursday of each month. Meetings will take place at the TO BE ANNOUNCED at 6:00 PM. For more information contact Joe Kaipat at DEQ at 664-8509.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

FMI June Schedule

First Sunday of the Month
Dandan at the Airport
Time: 8:00am to 10:00am

2nd Saturday of the month
ISA Drive (from Botanical Garden to Airport Road)
Start at 8:00am it ends up till the volunteer works is all done

2nd Sunday of the month
Garapan Tourist District
Time: 8:00am to 10:00am

3rd Sunday of the month (June 21, 2009)
Father's Day! FMI will be having BBQ at our place

4th Saturday and Sunday of the month
Lau-Lau Beach
Time: 8:00am to 11:00am