Monday, August 31, 2009

Draft Subcommittee Meeting Minutes for Aug 31st

Beautify CNMI Subcommittee Meeting
Monday, August 31, 2009 - 5:30pm
Whispering Palm School, Navy Hill

“Operation Paint Over --- What do we want to do about/with graffiti in our community?”

Present: Frank Camacho, Angelo Villagomez, Tyler Yoshimoto, Rebekah Yost, Mike Pai, Laurie Peterka

Email/Phone/Other: Ichiro Shirata, Nick Nishikawa, Retta Sue Hamilton, Adam Hardwicke, Jim Arenovski, Victor Barrett, John B. Gonzales

1. August 17th meeting minutes reviewed and adopted.
2. Share ideas (3-mins so we can give everyone a chance and allow time for discussion)
a. Frank Camacho – Neighborhood Watch, Dan Dan
i. Multiple projects – focusing on Dan Dan park
ii. Working with sanitation on issuing citations
iii. Working with zoning on issuing citations
iv. Addressing graffiti in Dan Dan Neighborhood Watch
1. Painting over existing graffiti
2. Putting lighting in to deter vandalism
v. Judge Govendo comments
1. Minors – get parents to paint over damages
2. Community service hours
b. Angelo – anti-graffiti team
i. Couple of teams of people who always have paint in their car and paint over graffiti whenever they see it
ii. Team up with Mayor’s office and/or Neighborhood Watch
3. Report from Victor on Zoning village meetings.
a. Kagman meeting
i. Uneventful – not a big showing
ii. People there didn’t seem to think they have a graffiti issue
iii. Driving through the neighborhood, it doesn’t seem too bad
b. Beach Road meeting
i. People were concerned about graffiti around the hotels
ii. Eye sore for tourists and the community
4. Report from Laurie – email communications:
a. Shirata – will come to next meeting, tied up with work obligations
b. HANMI – Nick Nishikawa and the hotel association, work with Catherine Anderson to conduct a survey via email with the hotels
c. PD’s Office – Adam Hardwicke, will provide a write up on property damage laws (graffiti) here in the CNMI.
d. Crime Stoppers - Jim Arenovski, commercial filming schedule; we can consider adding our message or program to their commercials for about $200-400
e. John B. Gonzales – interested, but not able to make this meeting; thinking about how he can incorporate the issue into one of his weekly shows
f. Neighborhood Watch – Frank B. Camacho, Dan Dan
g. NRCS – last week’s meeting; suggested as a potential project for Resource, Conservation & Development Council (RC&D) to consider; Angelo elaborated on what resources are available
5. Consider next steps:
a. Developing a stakeholder list by village; dividing up the list and begin making contact to bring those people into the discussion (Crime Stoppers, Neighborhood Watch) – ACTION ITEM: Laurie
b. Plan out how to achieve a photo journal of the existing graffiti issues village by village – ACTION ITEM: Tyler
c. Assign one person to attend each of the remaining village-by-village Zoning meetings so that we can inquire about "graffiti" in that village – ACTION ITEM: Victor Barrett, Zoning Office to provide an email with remaining village-by-village meeting schedule so that we can share attendance duties.
d. Bring Eric Atalig, Neighborhood Watch – ACTION ITEM: Frank B. Camacho
6. Next meeting date/time/location
- Monday, Sept 14th, 5:30p, Whispering Palms School at Navy Hill

The principle concept is to follow the Beautify CNMI established style of getting things done. We build a coalition, share resources where we can and support individual(s) and/or group(s) that have an action plan.

Note: Current organizational partners already committed include Rotary Club of Saipan, Island SK8 Society, Crime Stoppers and HANMI.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

PIC Palooza 2009

saipan devoHow does a respectable candidate for Mayor of Saipan dress for a themed fundraiser? Like Devo, that's how!

Pacific Islands Club Saipan put on quite an event last night. I knew it was going to go well when I started getting frantic emails, texts, and phone calls from people trying to buy tickets. The word was spreading that we sold out.

Edz and I decided at the last minute that we were going to go as Devo. I had to buy new black shorts and a t-shirt (only $5 each at Roshi's!), but Edz already had plenty of black clothes to choose from. We made our hats from those things you put underneath a flower pot. We bought four different sizes, cut holes in the middle so are heads would fit and glued them together with crazy glue. A few coats of spray paint and we were ready to bring Devo back!

When PIC decides to throw a party, they go all out. The clubmates and staff who were working the party were all decked out in costumes and when you walked through the door you were given sunglasses and glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets. They said there was going to be food, but they didn't mention that there was going to be a buffet. If the chefs at PIC could teach the rest of the world to grill a pork rib, the world would be a better place. Not only was there a big spread with all types of bite sized goodies, but waiters were walking around with hors d'oeuvres, too.

The entertainment was split between a live band, a DJ, and whatever you want to call what it was the club mates were doing on stage. Last night I kept waking up from a nightmare where Jay was bouncing around in a blonde wig and cheerleading outfit. Please God, don't make me relive that ever again.

There were several contests, drawings, and prizes. Some of the prizes were Beautify CNMI t-shirts that I brought to be handed out, but the prizes also included free brunches, water park passes, hotel stays...even hotel stays in Guam!

As luck would have it, Edz' raffle ticket was the second to last one drawn in the raffle. James Eller's was last. Instead of simply giving out the prizes, they were forced into a video game challenge; whoever got the highest score in a game of Ms. Pacman would win the better prize.

I didn't want to tell James, but Edz has a lot of practice playing Pacman (which is essentially Ms. Pacman without the bow). There is an arcade at Godfather's and she challenges the customers to play her when it is slow or after her shift ends.

The crowd was really into it. This was probably the biggest video game challenge the island of Saipan has ever seen.

James EllerBut James never really stood a chance, although he put up a valiant effort. Edz took home the championship without hardly even trying.

James Eller and EdzFor second place James received a waterpark pass for two to PIC and Edz took home a one night stay at Pacific Islands Club Guam. There was only one problem: Edz can't go to Guam without a US Visa. Doh!

We traded our gift certificate for one free night on Saipan.

At the end of the night Kieran Daly, General Manager of the Pacific Islands Club, announced they had raised over $2500 for Beautify CNMI! and PAWS...each!!!! I nearly hit the floor when I heard. $2500 is enough money to pay for cleanups for a year. I never expected such a generous donation, especially after all the advertising they did and all the money they spent on staff, food, and drinks.

Thank you, Pacific Islands Club!

More photos are posted at the Beautify CNMI Fan Page on Facebook.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Operation Paint Over --- How do we want to deal with graffiti in our community?

This will be our second meeting. If you didn't get a chance to join us the first time, please come ---we are still very much in the planning stages.

When: Monday, August 31st, 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Where: Whispering Palms School at Navy Hill (park where you can and look for sign on the door)


1. Review meeting minutes from prior meeting.
2. Share ideas (3-mins so we can give everyone a chance and allow time for discussion)
3. Report from Victor on Zoning village meetings.
4. Consider next steps:

  • Developing a stakeholder list by village; dividing up the list and begin making contact to bring those people into the discussion (Crime Stoppers, Neighborhood Watch)

  • Plan out how to achieve a photo journal of the existing graffiti issues village by village

  • Assign one person to attend each of the remaining village-by-village Zoning meetings so that we can inquire about "graffiti" in that village

5. Confirm next meeting date/time/location - Monday, Sept 14th, 5:30p, Whispering Palms School at Navy Hill

The principle concept is to follow the Beautify CNMI established style of getting things done. We build a coalition, share resources where we can and support individual(s) and/or group(s) that have an action plan.

Note: Current organizational partners already committed include Rotary Club of Saipan and Island SK8 Society.

Questions can be directed to Laurie Peterka (483-7499) or Tyler Yoshimoto at

See or forward our FaceBook event link at:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Weekly Email Update: August 27

Hafa Adai,

This week's email isn't much different from last week's. We continue to sign volunteers up for next month's CNMI International Coastal Cleanup Day. We are looking for volunteer groups to adopt a stretch of beach for cleanup on Saturday, September 19, 2009. You set the time of your cleanup and organize your own volunteers, and we'll provide supplies and garbage pickup. The supplies were donated by Bridge Capital and will be available for pickup the week before the event and DEQ staff will haul all trash collected to the transfer station for weighing and proper disposal.

If you participated in April's Island Wide Cleanup, you know how this works. Email me for a sign up sheet.

There is also a fundraiser being held at PIC this weekend for PAWS and Beautify CNMI. PIC Palooza has an 80's theme and includes food and drink for $25. It should be a really good time and we'll raise money for two great organizations. Tickets are available from PIC or from me (help me out, I'm supposed to sell 20!).

I hope to see you there!


PS I gave away about 10 of the 50 donated Flame Trees to one of the local schools. If somebody could help me move the remaining trees from Capital Hill to someplace where we can plant them, we could plant them on Saturday or Sunday morning. I have one shovel and fertilizer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CNMI Coastal Cleanup Day

Beautify CNMI began its fourth year of service this year. Started with the simple idea of making the Commonwealth a better to live and visit, for going on four years now we've cleaned up beaches, roads, and tourist sites, planted trees, painted over graffiti, and promoted recycling and coral reef conservation.

In our first year we planned and executed an island wide cleanup called 1020 on 10/20, with the idea of having at least 1020 volunteers help us spruce up the island on October 20, 2006. Not only did we reach our goal of 1020, but we surpassed it by recruiting over 3000 volunteers.

Earlier this year in April we did it again and were even more successful. The weekend before Earth Day 2009, 27,070 lbs of trash were picked up by 4,140 volunteers from 61 volunteer groups at 54 adopted sites on Saipan.

Next month we hope to do it again with CNMI Coastal Cleanup Day.

Following the same model as the other two large cleanups, we are asking volunteer groups to adopt a beach for a day (and hopefully for a year!). We'll provide the tools and the trash pickup, you just provide the volunteers and a little bit of coordination.

From the Division of Environmental Quality:
Hundreds of volunteers throughout the CNMI are expected to clean their beaches next month as part of the world’s largest volunteer cleanup effort.

The 24th annual International Coastal Cleanup is Saturday, September 19 – from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Everyone is invited to participate. Saipan and Tinian are scheduled to participate on September 19, and Rota’s event is on Friday September 18.

On Saipan, a number of groups have already adopted beaches, including South Lao Lao and Cow Town, according to the Division of Environmental Quality. However, dozens of other beaches still need volunteers.

Several groups are working together to coordinate events on Saipan and Tinian, and the Coastal Resources Management Office is taking the lead on Rota.

The International Coastal Cleanup is the world's largest volunteer effort to help protect the ocean, according to the Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated solely to protecting ocean environments and marine life.

Last year, nearly 400,000 volunteers hit their local beaches, lakes, and rivers with a common mission of improving the health of the ocean and waterways. On one day, they removed and tallied 6.8 million pounds of debris, from 6,485 sites in 100 countries and 42 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

DEQ will retrieve and properly dispose of the trash collected from the cleanup on Saipan.

Cleanup supplies – garbage bags and gloves which were purchased with funds from a generous Bridge Capital donation – will be available at DEQ the week before the cleanup.

Interested participants are encouraged to sign up for the event so that organizers may arrange for proper pick up and disposal of garbage.

To request a signup sheet for Saipan or Tinian, contact Lisa Huynh Eller, Olivia Tebuteb or Carlos Ketebengang, DEQ, at 664-8500 or email - For information about Rota’s event, contact William T. Pendergrass, ICC Coordinator, or MJ Taisacan, CRMO Administrative Clerk, at 532-0466 or fax 532-1000.
Contact me for a sign up sheet and I will send you one. We will have a listing of all the cleanups up on the Beautify CNMI website soon.

In the meantime, photos from this year's Island Wide Cleanup can be found on the Beautify CNMI Facebook Fan Page here and here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Draft Subcommittee Meeting Minutes for Aug 17th

Beautify CNMI Subcommittee Meeting
Monday, August 17, 2009 - 5:30pm
Whispering Palm School, Navy Hill

“Operation Paint Over --- What do we want to do about/with graffiti in our community?”

Present: Laurie Peterka, John Yoon, Tyler Yoshimoto, Ichiro Shirata, Mike Pai, Rebekah Yost, Victor Barrett, David C. Sablan

Email Notes shared with group were sent in by: Penny Hofschneider, Liz Swain, Joanna Durvall, Andrea Carr, Cinta Kaipat, Michael Brazel

1. Introductions
a. Laurie – Skatepark, skaters, initial paint over project
b. Rebekah – students want to participate in community projects
c. John Yoon – student interested in community service (MBA senior)
d. Tyler Yoshimoto – student interested in community service (SIS senior)
e. Victor Barrett – New Zoning Administrator wants to work with community to make strides towards urban planning that is walkable, usable
f. Ichihiro Shirata – Tasi Tours, interested in environmental issues, seeing how we can deal with graffiti from a tourism perspective
g. Mike Pai – OPA, the community needs to address the graffiti issue as an eye sore to the community and to tourism
2. Shared ideas
a. Rebekah – lighthouse renovation, clean up, invite students to install murals “life as we know it”; ownership; buy a wall; tourist attraction
i. Who is responsible for the building
ii. It is historically registered
iii. Renew the program annual or bi-annually
iv. Contest to encourage ongoing participation
b. Tyler – taking pictures of graffiti on buildings and focusing first on getting graffiti cleaned up at private properties
i. Zoning can help by citing owners to get them to help clean up
ii. Set up a schedule of villages through business community to get existing defacement corrected
iii. Studies show that urban decay encourages theft, burglary, general disrespect
iv. An abandon building could be used for community center to give kids something to do
v. Junk cars need to be removed --- junk cars are 3-dimensional graffiti
c. Mike Pai – education programs at a young age
i. Look at peer pressure, boredom, anger/family issues
ii. Start with educating the parents
iii. Need to have a message in a hard-hitting public relations campaign that works into everyday language --- creates a new stigma, habit, subliminal suggestion
iv. We need a long-term set of goals and plan that move together in harmony
v. Instill a message of respect for the public realm
d. Victor – a start to a plan
i. Zoning is already on a schedule to start holding village meetings
ii. Victor could give us a slot on their agenda to feel out the communities concerns; they are going village by village
iii. First meeting is in Kagman – Wednesday, Aug 19th, 6pm, Kagman Community Center
3. Short recap of results
a. Projects could be/need to be set up to take place in stages – one on the heels of another in a logical order; for example, maybe target a string of events village-by-village
i. Start with a clean up
ii. Follow up with a mural contest
iii. Result is buy-in, removal of eye sore, and ownership of community public space
b. We project that we will need several meetings before we have an outline of our goals, plans and a timeline
c. It is imperative that all community organizations and business organizations get involved in the overall plan so that we can incorporate as many stakeholders as possible; currently we only have the commitment of the Rotary Club of Saipan and Island SK8 Society; tonight we add the CNMI Zoning Office
d. Overall, this committee’s objectives should be to offer support to a network of projects much like network-marketing with this committee at the top of the pyramid
e. Keep our expectations in accordance to what is reasonable and possible; in other words make a long term plan and take care implementing it rather than taking an ad hoc or one-off approach
4. Identify groups and/or leaders – tabled until further notice
5. Identify a standard day/time for meetings – Mondays, 5:30pm; start with two-weeks then move to once a month
6. Identify a standard location for meetings – Whispering Palms School at Navy Hill
7. Set next meeting – August 31st

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beautify CNMI looking for volunteers, coconuts

Phase II of the Laolao Revegetation Project is set to take place this Sunday, August 16 at 8:00 AM. Started in 2005, the long-term project aims to protect the Laolao Bay Watershed by reducing the amount of sediment accumulating on the adjacent coral reefs. Planting trees has been found to reduce the amount of erosion on hillsides.

Organizers are looking for at least 100 volunteers to participate. The Division of Forestry will drive saplings into the revegetation project area on the day of the planting, but the trees will have be hand carried up and down the hillsides to their eventual planting sites.

According to co-organizer Angelo Villagomez of Beautify CNMI, the Saipan Marianas Lions Club and several local families have pledged to volunteer. Villagomez added, “You can never have enough helping hands during these tree plantings, so I hope we get a lot of volunteer help for this one.”

Villagomez is also asking the community to donate coconuts for the planting day.

This will be the first time coconuts are used at the revegetation site. Coconuts are being used because they are likely to survive the acidic soil and poor growing conditions of the badlands.

Contact Villagomez at or 670 285 6462 to donate coconuts, especially saplings.

“I’m hoping that people can just drop the coconuts off in Kagman, but if they contact me early enough in the week I think we can arrange to have them picked up,” said Villagomez.

Organizers are asking volunteers to meet at the Santa Soledad Church in Kagman at 7:45 AM. Tools, gloves, water, and a light snack will be provided, however volunteers are still encouraged to bring a bottle of water, sunscreen, hiking shoes, and a hat. All volunteers for the Laolao Community Planting Day will receive a limited edition Beautify CNMI or Laolao Revegeation Project t-shirt.

Seven acres of tree saplings were planted at the site in 2006. Over 800 saplings and 250 cuttings consisting of six native species were planted and nearly 5000 native seeds were broadcast, including three garbage bags full of softball sized Barringtonia asiatica seeds, all of which sprouted. Six species of tree saplings were planted that year including Sosugi (Acacia Confusa), Kamachili (Pithecolobium dulce), Banalo (Thespesia populnea), Gaogao flores (Erythrina sp.), Da’ok (Calophyllum inophyllum), and Pago (Hibiscus).

The event is sponsored by the Division of Environmental Quality, Coastal Resources Management Office, Beautify CNMI, Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the Coral Reef Initiative.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Draft August Minutes

Beautify CNMI August 2009 Meeting
DEQ Conference Room
Thursday, August 6, 2009
3:30 PM

I. Attendees: Angelo Villagomez, Tyler Yoshimoto, Joe Kaipat, Carl Brachear, Lian Brachear
II. Agenda Adopted
III. July Minutes Adopted – Angelo will post on website
IV. Committee Reports
a. Restoration – Angelo
i. Laolao tree planting day is on August 16. Looking for 100 volunteers to help
ii. CRM is providing food
iii. DEQ is providing water, t-shirts. They are also doing press releases and fliers.
iv. Forestry is bringing trees.
v. Angelo will coordinate the donation of coconuts and will bring some Beautify CNMI t-shirts
vi. Hoping that USDA will provide Earth Team Coverage
vii. Angelo will need help finding volunteers.
b. Junk Cars – nothing to report
c. Solid Waste – Joe
i. Kathy could not make the meeting, but updated Joe on the MINA grant. They are still waiting on approval
ii. July 4 cleanup – volunteers cleaned 2500 lbs of trash along the parade route
iii. Kagman Biology Club cleaned up 1200 lbs of trash in July. Scheduled to do another cleanup on August 15.
iv. DEQ cleanup brigade got rained out this month
v. A company donated 12 empty oil drums. Joe wants to donate them to Parks and Rec or the Mayors.
vi. Dandan Community Watch is doing a cleanup of the Dandan Children’s Park this Saturday at 8 AM. Will clean the park and plant trees. We are donating trash bags and gloves.
vii. We are still waiting on our order of rubber gloves from Brabu.
viii. PDM Promoters did their cleanup.
d. Parks & Trails – nothing to report
e. Graffiti – Tyler
i. Created an email notification list. Discusses the ideas behind the graffiti campaign, the background of the reasons for the campaign. There are 18 people of the committee so far.
ii. Will contact DYS to participate
iii. Planning on having a meeting before August ends.
iv. ISK8 is meeting on August 6 to discuss graffiti. Hoping that they start a weekly graffiti cleanup.
v. MegaBYTE is going to donate 50% of the cost of a pressure washer and will store and maintain it.
vi. Had an idea to take picture of graffiti on a business and show it to the business owner. Ask the business owner for support if we help them.
vii. Will eventually looking for business support and government support. Several people threw out some ideas.
V. Miscellaneous
a. Bumper Stickers – We will do a bumper sticker and slogan contest starting in September. Will use $150 Bridge Capital donation.
b. PIC Fundraiser – PICpalooza on August 29. 80’s theme. $25 per person, funds to be split by PAWS and Beautify CNMI. A portion of this money will be used to purchase the bumper stickers in October.
c. RC&D Handouts – Angelo handed out papers from RC&D discussing their program. The organization is looking to rebuild in Saipan and is looking for Saipan Island Committee members.
VI. Other Business
VII. Adjournment

Approved July Minutes

Beautify CNMI July 2009 Meeting
DEQ Conference Room
Thursday, July 2, 2009
3:30 PM

I. Attendees – Angelo Villagomez, Kathleen Hermann, Joe Kaipat, Ken Kramer, Sharisse Rivera, Aya Matsumoto, Laurie Peterka, Sonia Silva
II. Adoption of Agenda
III. Assignment of Secretary – Angelo Villagomez appointed group Secretary
IV. Committee Reports
a. Restoration
i. Historical areas – nothing to report
ii. Reveg (Kathleen Hermann) – Laolao planting day planned for August 16 at 8:00 AM. NRCS, Forestry, CRMO, DEQ, and Beautify CNMI met to plan the event
1. Forestry is growing 400-500 plants
2. DEQ is purchasing 100 t-shirts and flyers
3. CRMO and Angelo are going to look for money to pay for food
4. Sharisse is going to write a press release, look for volunteers at NMC. Angelo will also help recruit volunteers
5. Angelo made a site visit, will forward results to partners. Planting coconuts at the site was brought up. It was suggested that people bring coconuts to the event.
6. An illegal road has been plowed into the reveg site.
7. Angelo asked about the $3 million grant for laolao reveg. Kathleen said that $2.5 million will pave road. $0.5 million will go to reveg, marine monitoring, signage, local coordinator & staff.
8. Restoration committee will have a meeting at the beginning of August to finalize the event.
b. Junk Cars – nothing to report
c. Solid Waste (Joe Kaipat) – Grant to MINA to support marine debris is on hold until stimulus money arrives
i. Grant will put garbage bins on beaches.
ii. Looking for community support. Planning community meetings. Going to ask people to pay for bins at beaches, perhaps in villages.
iii. Ken asked about the coral reef video made by DEQ. Asked about running it on TV.
iv. Weekly cleanups with FMI. 360 lbs last week.
v. PDM Promoters has a cleanup this weekend.
vi. Joe suggested Beautify CNMI cleanup at the end of the parade in t-shirts. The group liked this idea.
vii. Meeting with Parade group today. Angelo will promote the event if we get permission.
viii. Garbage bags and gloves are available for cleanups at DEQ.
d. Parks & Trails – Dan Lamar submitted written report. Available on Beautify CNMI blog at:
e. Graffiti (Laurie Peterka) – Tyler and Laurie met before he went on vacation. Drafting an email to recruit volunteers. Email explains concept of committee. Gives background on why we are pursuing this and some background. Have been researching projects from other communities. ISKI, Rotary, MVA, MTEC, Mywave, local schools, PDO, AGO have been talked to. Going to talk to Legislature, and Crimestoppers.
i. Angelo suggested talking to LEEP, JPO, Crime Prevention DPS.
V. Miscellaneous
a. Bridge Capital Donation – Bridge Capital donated $2000 to Beautify CNMI. The funds are in the PAWS bank account. Angelo will purchase supplies and PAWS will refund him.
b. PAWS WARS – A very successful event was held.
c. PIC Fundraiser – August 29, 80’s theme, all proceeds to benefit PAWS and Beautify CNMI. $25 per person.
d. Champion & Steward Awards – Handed out
e. Bumper Stickers – Angelo has had a few requests for bumper stickers.
i. The group is going to have a slogan/bumper sticker contest to end the first week of September. Angelo will coordinate this.
VI. Other Business
VII. Adjournment