Monday, June 30, 2008

South Carolina Monument Update

The Sunday edition of the Charlotte Observer carries a story about a proposed marine monument stretching from North Carolina to Florida.

There's a lot of stuff in the article to dissect.

******
A year ago today I was leading a summer camp for local public school students.

Two years ago today I went hiking along the Banadero Trail.

Three years ago today I was working for the League of Conservation Voters.

Three straight years of environmental activities. Four if you count today's meetings. How boring. So remind me again why is it that you people read my blog?

The End is Nigh

Rays are the best in baseball.
Glitch in the Matrix.
What's next, a black president?


Just a simple haiku to explain my utter incomprehension of the American League East. I don't know if I can live in a world where the Rays are playing 0.605 ball...and the Cubs are the best team in the National League?

Forget global warming, what's going on with MLB?

******
Jeff Turbitt is returning to the land of NASCAR and handguns. His sharp wit and his shiny head will be greatly missed.

******
Lil Hammerhead has another candidate poll up on his blog. Follow this link and then vote for Angelo Villagomez.

A New Hope!

Yes We Can!

We Want Change!

Biba Villagomez!

Do it for your country!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Name that Spot

Deanne L CoffeeLaurie and I took Heather on an island tour today. Can you guess where this is? I have no idea who Deanne L Coffee is. Any ideas?

Friday, June 27, 2008

William Aila Jr on MP 96950

William Aila Jr, Cinta Kaipat and Jay Nelson appaeared on John O Gonzalez' TV talk show, MP 96950, last month to talk about the experience of Indigenous Hawai'ians with the designation and management of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. I cut the hour long program into six 10 minute long segments and put them up on Youtube.

John's show is on every other Wednesday on KSPN Channel 2. As far as I know, you have to be on Saipan to watch it. I don't think it is rebroadcast anywhere else. Although we mostly use English on this episode, the show, as far as I know, is the only regular Chamorro language television program in existence.

Here is the show:











Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bedhead Goodbye

Angelo VillagomezWho has time to fix their hair when they have to get to the airport first thing in the morning?

Saipan Airport GoodbyeThe goodbye was very short. We woke up, drove to the airport, checked in, and then Kevin, Catie, and Mom walked into the terminal. I admit there were a few tears.

Ford FamilyCome back soon.

...by the way, has anyone seen Oreo? He's not in my apartment this morning. I did notice something wiggling around in Catie's bag this morning...

You don't think she....would she?

******
childrens drawing artworkKevin and Catie drew some pictures of me last night during dinner. Apparently their vision of me is of a machete wielding garbage picker-upper who only smiles in the pictures that I hang of myself in my apartment.

On a side note, Oreo looks pretty unhappy that the treats are on top of the refrigerator. Maybe that's why he ran away to Florida?

One Last Dinner

The family visit is almost over. I'm amazed at how fast a month came and went.

We drove around and made a few family final visits today. We also had lunch with some friends.

We also had some business to take care of, which we did.

Right now we're hanging out in my apartment watching a movie with my computer projector.

We're having dinner with some of my first cousins and their families in about an hour. I'm sure dinner will run late. After that we'll probably just go back to the house where they are staying and pack up.

I'm going to spend the night with them tonight so that I can drive them to the airport first thing in the morning.

I think they enjoyed their trip and I'm really glad that they finally made it out here.

In a previous post I wrote how "two worlds were about to collide." Man, did they ever.

******
My Mom has been posting pictures of the trip over on her blog.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Perpetuating Traditional Knowledge

I got a question today about the ability to carry on traditional and cultural practices within the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. First of all, all regulations will be drafted with input from the local community, so if there is something that locals want, there is a pretty good chance locals will get it. Secondly, the answer to a lot of the questions I get are already available online and elsewhere. For example, since we are using the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument as a model, it is simple enough to check out their website for information. Their website reads:
The Proclamation, signed by President Bush on June 15, 2006, that designated the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a Marine National Monument states that "a person may conduct an activity regulated by this proclamation if such activity is specifically authorized by a permit," and in section D of the findings, permissible activities include those that "support or advance the perpetuation of traditional knowledge and ancestral connections of Native Hawaiians to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands." [emphasis added]
*Notice that the proclamation does not define "traditional knowledge" or "ancestral connections," therefore they would be up for negotiation and interpretation.

This question usually comes up in regards to fishing.  Again, the people of the Marianas will determine how our monument will function, but we can look to Hawai'i and see that they made the decision to allow some permitted activities, such as certain types of fishing, to perpetuate their culture.

Good Luck, Diana

Angelo Villagomez and Diana FelixDiana Felix, my former college buddy, also known as the Trench Wench and the first female fighter on Saipan, has gone back to Titletown (Go Sox!!! Go Celtics!!! Patriots suck!!!). This picture was taken almost three years ago at a Red Sox vs Rays game in St. Pete. Apparently I thought bald was a good look. Apparently I was wrong.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Only two more days

The family goes home in two days. I'm kind of sad.

It had been almost three years since I'd seen them last. I think that the Universe is telling me that I'll be in Saipan for a while. Who knows when I'll see them again.

I wish I could have taken a one month vacation while they were here, but then there would be no co-ed soccer, no proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, and no Beautify CNMI.

Tomorrow they are spending the day at World Resort's Wave Jungle. We don't have plans yet for Thursday.

This will be your last chance to see my Mom for a while. Get in contact with me ASAP if you want to get together.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Coral Spawning Tonight


I sent an email out to the Beautify CNMI list that read:
Last year a lot of people missed the coral spawning. It spawns tonight. Contact your friendly neighborhood marine biologists at CRM or DEQ for more information.
One of our friendly neighborhood marine biologists replied:
I have been following the corals this year closely and while there will be some early spawners this month (tonight and the next few nights) the majority of the corals I have examined are getting ready to spawn shortly after the July full moon. As such, I've prepared an article that will be in the papers and also appear in Beach Road and other local magazines in early July. If anybody wants more details please contact me at your convenience.
The phone number for DEQ is 664 8500 and the number for CRM is 664 8300.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Beautify Fina Sisu

Fina Sisu Flame TreesI own one side of the road leading down towards my house in Fina Sisu. I want to line the entrance to my property with Flame Trees.

Kevin and Catie helped me plant the first tree.

We are going to cut the grass next week and hopefully plant the trees in the upcoming weeks. The rainy season is upon us, so that means tree planting season is about to begin again.

Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier Mix OreoOreo spent the day with us at the house. It rained most of the morning and after rolling around in the grass and mud for 4 hours he turned from a white dog with black spots to a black dog with white spots.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another Illegal WESPAC Meeting

According to the Western & Central Pacific Network the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WESPAC) has conducted another meeting without giving the public the proper notice in the Federal Register.
HONOLULU: JUNE 20, 2008 -- Decisions made during the Tuesday, June 17 and Wednesday, June 18 meetings of the June 16-19,2008, meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (Wespac) are null and void because, for the second consecutive regularly scheduled meeting, the public were not given proper notice as required by federal law (see attached Federal Register; no notice for Tuesday, two Wednesday agendas, and March instead of June). The affected actions include: the MHI Bottom fish season opening and a hearing for the National Environmental Protection Act changes. The decision-making portions of the meetings will need to be held again at an estimated cost of $50-$60,000. Official participants are flown infrom as far away as the Commonwealth of the Norther Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam and in addition to their annual salaries and benefits, officials attending the Wespac meetings are paid approximately $650-day per diem in addition to their airfare, lodging and ground transportation costs.

The failure to provide proper public notice also occurred during Wespac's March 17-18, 2008, meeting in the CNMI and the decisions made there had to be reheard and voted upon during a subsequent makeup meeting in Honolulu on April 15, 2008. In an april 15, 2008, media release, Wespac blamed "a bureaucratic error" by theNational Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Scott Foster, the Communications Director for the Western & Central Pacific Network said, "We have no doubt that Wespac's ED, Kitty Simonds will again lay this mistake off on others -- but the fact remains, as ED, Simonds job is to provide steady management which she has not done. Simonds must have known about this before the four-day series of meetings even began. Why wasn't anything said or the important bottomfish closure vote moved to later when it would have been legal?"

Foster also noted, "It gives us no pleasure to again call this error to Wespac's attention because this will require all interested parties to once-again attend or monitor yet-another meeting on yet-another day during yet-another month while our fish stocks move ever-closer to total collapse. Continued mismanagement by the WesternPacific Fisheries Management Council is driving the Main Hawaiian Islands bottom-fish stocks closer to collapse with the self-inflicted nullification of the few good rules they actually pass." "Fishermen should be upset if Wespac doesn't hold another meeting to re-do that vote simply because the Bottom Fish Season may reach the catch limit and close before Christmas" Foster said. "Wespac will have to do what they did after they botched the public notice of the last Wespac meeting and schedule a re-do that will end up adding to the already ridiculous costs paid by taxpayers." It is anticipated that at the make up meeting, likely to be called the 143rd if Wespac follows form, the Council will find itself in the unenviable position of having to approve minutes for the 140th, 141st and 142nd meetings due to Wespac's dereliction. "Kitty Simonds derelict management of the Council would have resulted in her dismissal if she was employed in the private sector." Foster continued, "this will probably not quiet the calls, by many groups, for her removal."
Tsk, tsk.

WESPAC continues to be the main source of opposition for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument idea. Their most recent activity is to coordinate an anti-monument petition with the Office of Carolinian Affairs. This is nothing new for them. They have been accused of manipulating indigenous people in Hawai'i, too.

I asked to sign the petition when I went into the Office of Carolinian Affairs this past Monday. I was told by the secretary that the WESPAC coordinator, who is a federal employee, had already picked them up (I have one other witness).

I assume that the petition is a result of the closed door meetings the WESPAC coordinator has been calling with Carolinian Affairs. I wouldn't know for sure though, because when I asked the director if I could attend one of the meetings, she told me that they were being called by the WESPAC coordinator and that he wouldn't want me there (I have two other witnesses).

Friday, June 20, 2008

BBQ on Sunday

We're going to do another day's worth of yard work at my Dad's house in Fina Sisu this Sunday. Want to help?

We're going to combine it with a going away BBQ for my family. They are leaving in a few days. Give me a call if you need directions.

:(

I'll provide plates, forks, and drinks, please just bring something to share. Might as well bring a chair and a table, too.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Presidential Suite

At the Pineapple Ball fundraiser a few months ago I successfully bid on a one night package at the Hyatt's i Sagua Spa Suite. The suite is inside the spa and the package came with two one hour massages. I bought it with the intention of giving it to Mom and Jim during their stay here. I promised them I would watch the kids while they enjoyed themselves.

Presidential Suite Front DoorWell, to make a long story short, they couldn't get a room in the spa suite, so they were upgraded to the Presidential Suite on the top floor of the Hyatt.

Blue wallHyatt BathroomPresidential Suite Living RoomPresidential Suite Dining RoomHyatt Regency BedroomThe Presidential Suite is amazing. There is only one bed, but it has a kitchen, a dining room, two living rooms, and two bathrooms. The master bathroom has a shower that resembles a car wash and a bathtub bigger than my bed at home.

Managaha Island CNMIHyatt Regency SaipanIt is on the seventh floor on the side of the building closest to the ocean. From the wrap around balcony you can see the beautifully manicured Hyatt grounds, the Philippine Sea, Managaha, and Marpi. There is also a great view of the pool.

Outreach extravaganza

Saipan Rotary ClubDr. Tom Iverson and Dr. John Salas from the University of Guam are here for two days to present the draft economic study on the benefits and costs of the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.

Yesterday we met with the Chamber of Commerce, then the Rotary Club, then the Northern Marianas College. We were going to have a public meeting last night, but there was a public meeting on CUC so we decided not to hold one.

Harry Blalock Island Issues Radio ShowToday we started off by going on the Harry Blalock Island Issues radio program and then we met with the Marianas Visitors Authority. In the afternoon we had offered to meet with the legislature, but we never heard back from them. Instead Dr. Salas and Dr. Iverson went up to Capital Hill and met with some of the leaders one on one. I don't think they ever made it over to the legislature.

Saipan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kyle CalabreseThere will be a public hearing at American Memorial National Park in about 90 minutes. About 50 people showed up for the last public meeting we had. It will be interesting to see how many people show up for this one.

The draft economic study has been reported on TV, radio, and in the newspaper and we've met with over 80 people so far. Reaching the public is never easy, but I think we've done a pretty good job.

If anyone would like a copy of the study, please email me and I'll send you a digital copy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ask and you shall receive

A reporter sent me the following message:
I write for the Fiji-based Islands Business, a once-a-month regional news magazine (islandsbusiness.com). I am writing an article that talks about the Marine National Monument, and the reasons why it is being supported and being opposed.

There are already a lot of articles written about, for and against it, making it easier to write a summary of what's happened so far.

But I need other data: A summary of the study authored by University of Guam economist Dr. Thomas Iverson. Earlier, he mentioned about $333 M in economic benefits to the region over the next several months.

Has Bush said anything about the proposal yet?

After the governor and the Legislature's rejection of the proposal at this time, what's Pew's next step? Where are we now?

How many signatures in the petition to support it as of today?

Thank you.
I sent her a copy of the University of Guam report and the following answers:
Has Bush said anything about the proposal yet?

The White House has done nothing public concerning the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. They have so far directed the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Interior to assess one monument, the war in the Pacific Monument in Hawaii and elsewhere. We are hoping that the President makes a public announcement soon regarding additional monuments, but do not know when it is coming.

After the governor and the Legislature's rejection of the proposal at this time, what's Pew's next step? Are you just now waiting for Bush's action? I read somewhere that he's supposed to have an answer by June 18. Is that true? (When was the very first time that Pew presented the project to Bush?) How far has Pew gone in pushing for this project?

See attached video. The Senate says they are in support of a monument. Even the title of the resolution indicates legislative interest in looking at the issue: To respectfully request that the President of the United States refrain from unilaterally creating a Northern Islands National Monument and imposing the regulatory burdens appurtenant thereto upon the People of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands without the consent of the local government. I do not know anything about the date June 18.

The White House initiated the monument discussion around the US. They informally invited individuals, governments and private groups with whom they had worked on marine conservation issues to suggest areas that might be suitable and important to protect as marine monuments. That was in late 2007.

Pew Environment Group has met with the Council on Environmental Quality to encourage them to assess a monument for the Mariana Trench. We do not yet know whether or not they will undertake such an assessment.

Pew has held numerous public meetings on Saipan since March. Along with many people in the Commonwealth, we believe this is a significant economic and environmental opportunity for the people of the CNMI and have been transparent and open about why we think so – with a consistent message in both Saipan and elsewhere. It’s really up to the people of the CNMI and the federal government to judge whether or not they want to take advantage of the opportunity or not. It is their choice, but we want people to be able to make an informed choice, not one based on rumor.

Is the petition supporting the project still ongoing? How many signatures have you gathered so far?

It is a group of student's collecting signatures. I don't know where they stand right now, but last week they were just over 1000 signatures. The emails from the petitions will be added to our email list should the president decide to assess the Mariana Trench Monument.

As Pew's rep here, how would you describe the nature of opposition to this project?


There are two basic opposition arguments. One is from people who are suspicious of anything to do with the federal government. That viewpoint is somewhat understandable given our recent experience with federal actions. But that attitude means it doesn't matter whether or not a proposal is beneficial or not. For those opposed to working with the federal government, even a terrific opportunity will be attacked. That is an unfortunate position to take in the face of this opportunity. We should be focusing on the message, not the messenger.

The second argument has to do with those who believe there we will be giving up future potential extractive activities. The only potential activities mentioned are mining and fishing. However, to date, the waters around those northernmost islands have not provided a penny of economic benefit to CNMI. If there were commercially valuable stocks of fish in those waters, someone over the past few decades would have started a viable fishery. As it is, everyone who tries to do so goes bankrupt. I suppose there might be some chance in the future there could be some minerals discovered, but we have no evidence to date. A globally-recognized Mariana Trench Monument could start providing economic benefits this year and every year into the future as Dr. Iverson’s work shows. Mining, while a speculative possibility suffers from two flaws: 1) commercial deep sea mining is not currently being done anywhere in the world, and 2) the proposed monument is in federal, not Commonwealth waters. So any benefits from mining even if it were to happen 20 or 30 years down the road would be federal anyway.
If you would like a copy of Dr. Iverson's economic report titled "The Economic Impact of a proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument: An Exploratory Study" please email me at angelovillagomez at gmail dot com and I will send it to you.

There will be a public hearing on Dr. Iverson's preliminary findings tomorrow evening (Wednesday) from 6-8 PM at the American Memorial National Park auditorium. Everyone is invited.

Monday, June 16, 2008

To stitch or not to stitch?

saipan machete fightI got in a machete fight today and then bled all over an undisclosed bathroom owned by Tan Holdings. It wasn't too bad once I stopped bleeding. Anyway, I've always wanted to see the inside of my own finger. So, should I get stitches or will this heal on its own?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day with the Laffets

LaffetOh man, has life been busy in the last two weeks.

Yesterday afternoon we had a BBQ with my father's brothers and sisters...and in-laws, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.

More to come later...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Caption Contest VI

The winner of Caption Contest V is Bryan.

Here is the picture for Caption Contest VI:

Pattie Coleman and Angelo VillagomezLeave your caption in the comments. The winner gets...nothing.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I scored! Twice!

Day 1 on the NMIFA Co-ed Soccer Summer League was a success. My team, which has yet to be named, played against Dean and Dora's team, also yet to be named.

The female players on my team are Katie Busenkell, Becky Covarrubias, Meaghan Hassel Shearer, Nola Hix, Brianna Martin, Laurie Peterka, and Rebecca Warfield. The guys on my team are David Banes, Mike Blasberg, Ian Catlett, Julian Fitial, Jetsada Phonsutjit, Jimmy Pua, Rio Sawhill, Glen Smith, and Angelo Villagomez. I put eveyone who showed up yesterday in bold. We're still registering players, so I'm sure we'll add a few more in the next couple of weeks.

We have more guys than women playing this year (so far), so if you know any women that want to play soccer, have them give me a call.

(please)

So back to the game, both teams didn't have enough players to actually play (because this is a scrimmage week), so we asked people from the other teams to come out. We picked up Tamarie and one other person. The other teams best players were Peter Houk, Peter Lokan, the league's #1 Draft Pick, Dave Duenas, and Madison Smith.

We kept the score 0-0 for most of the first half, but with about a minute to go I dribbled through several players (including Dave Duenas) and took a shot on keeper Dean Tenorio to score.

In the second half our team came out strong. In about the 35th minute, Jimmy Pua, playing soccer for the first time, crossed the ball from the left side through three defenders over to Julian Fitial, who tapped the ball in for a goal. Both of those guys were playing in their very first soccer game. Becky was still explaining the rules to them when the game was starting.

I've been playing soccer on this island for almost two years and yesterday's game was the first time I scored in an official game. This kid scored on his very first day!

No fair!

The other team fought back and scored off of a penalty kick. One of our players had a hand ball inside the box. For a while it felt like the other team was going to tie things up. Peter Lokan took shot after shot after shot, but most of them went wide. The ones that were on target were stopped by our keeper Tamarie (she's going to be trouble, she's actually on another team).

It wasn't meant to be though. In about the 50th minute the other team had a corner kick. I got a head on the kick and then dribbled the ball down the entire length of the field to score.

The game ended 3-1.

******
Tonight's game is Steve and Nicole's yet to be named team vs Jason and Tamarie's yet to be named team. Kickoff is at 5:15. This is a scrimmage game, so if the two teams do not have enough players (like we had last night), players from other teams will be allowed to play.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Top of the Fold

saipan tribune front pageThere is a front page story in the Saipan Tribune today titled Study: Marine monument will infuse $333M to NMI.

This story discusses the soon-to-be-released economic study commissioned by the Pew Environment Group that was authored by University of Guam economist Dr. Tom Iverson.

Here is a press release:
New Economic Report Shows Proposed Monument Could Generate $333 Million in Benefits for the Mariana Islands

Author Will Release Report in Saipan Next Week


SAIPAN, CNMI -- Angelo O'Connor Villagomez, Saipan coordinator for the Ocean Legacy Project of the Pew Environment Group has announced the release of preliminary data contained in the long-awaited study on - The Economic Impact of the Proposed Mariana Trench Marine Monument. The public draft of the study, conducted by University of Guam economist Dr. Tom Iverson will be released next week Dr. Iverson will be on Saipan the week of June 16 to present the preliminary results of the study. Events and times will be announced in advance.

Villagomez said, “Dr. Iverson is excited to share this encouraging economic information. The idea of a Mariana Monument has generated healthy public debate in the community, the Legislature and in the local newspapers. As more factual information has reached the public and government officials, the merits and potential of this marine monument are becoming much better understood. This additional economic data should help correct any erroneous information currently circulating in CNMI.”

David M. Sablan, President of Century Tours & Travel, noted that, “This is good news for the Commonwealth, and an important step forward for the long-term sustainability of our tourism industry. It provides additional proof of the value a Mariana Trench Monument would provide to our islands - 8,000 additional visitors and 400 new jobs will make a large impact. There’s no doubt in my mind that the fastest way to help improve our economy is to create additional reasons for Japanese and other visitors to continue to come here. There is ample evidence the world wide demand for ecotourism is growing, and businesses would love to have a National Monument designation to bring like-minded visitors from Japan and around the globe.”

Villagomez said. “It's unfortunate that some senior public officials have been so woefully misled about recent federal court decisions regarding CNMI's authority over the surrounding waters. Hopefully their uninformed statements will not allow federal officials to dismiss our legitimate concerns and needs and undercut a productive discussion with CNMI officials on the benefits a monument could provide.”

Many CNMI community groups and organizations are supporting the monument including the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, Beautify CNMI, Mariana Islands Nature Alliance (MINA), Friends of the Mariana Islands, Tao Tao Tano and Marianas Dive.

______________________________________________

Highlights of the study on the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument (MTMNM) include:

-“...benefits to the CNMI would include, but not be limited to: 1) the annual federal commitment to the monument, as evidenced by other monuments and sanctuaries, 2) media attention that would help stimulate increases in visitor arrivals, 3) visits by research scientists and high-end tourists who might enter the monument waters for research and ecotourism, 4) NGO and federal funds that will be attracted to ‘piggyback’ on the monument designation, particularly in the areas of environmental education and discovery.”

-“...assuming federal funding within the bottom half of the 14 NOAA-administered sanctuary budgets together with nearly 8,000 in additional visitor arrivals, the MTMNM would generate in excess of $10 million in spending, over $14 million in sales (via the sales multiplier), almost $5 million in tax revenues and 400 jobs.”

- “...present values for the benefits in the area of $333 million and the costs, perhaps $33 million.”

- “The economic benefits to the CNMI have a wide range of possibilities and are dependent on the ability of the relevant institutions to make the most of the prospect. ...The ultimate economic impact to the CNMI would depend on the ability of these actors to support and leverage the opportunity.”
******
The same newspaper also carries a story on Saturday's Best of the Worst Dog Show. Oreo had his picture in the paper. Again. (Oreo and Kevin were on the front page of both daily newspapers yesterday).

Oreo Kenobi Villagomez Best Dog on SaipanPhoto Credit: Jacqueline Hernandez

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Best Belly Dragger on Saipan

Dog wearing a mwaarI've been dreaming of having Oreo compete in the PAWS Boonie Dog Pet Show since I got him five months ago. I know that he's the best dog on the island. I wanted to prove it beyond a doubt.

Well, I actually didn't get to enter him into competition since I was a judge. Catie went ahead and entered him for me. She entered him into three competititions, belly dragger, most misbehaved, and movie star look alike.

Oreo Kenobi VillagomezI don't know how or why he did it, but when Oreo crossed the stage for the Best Belly Dragger competition, he literally crawled on his stomach for about 30 feet.

Way to go Oreo! He scored three 9's from the judges, which was good enough for first place.

Maltese Yorkshire Terrier Mix MalkieOreo also placed very well in the Most Misbehaved category. While all the other dogs lined up quietly, Oreo was yelping away. I think it was a combination of not being with me and being surrounded by 20 other dogs.

He didn't do as well as he did in the Belly Dragger competition, but he still managed to get third place.

Saipan Boonie DogsFor the Movie Star Look-alike round Catie dressed Oreo up like Cinta Kaipat. She cut up a Beautify CNMI t-shirt and made a small mwaar to put on this head.

PAWS Boonie Dog Pet ShowOreo didn't do so well in this category, as he was competing against the likes of Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Hannibal Lecter, and Tom Cruise.

I'm really proud of Oreo. We trained for well over...alright, we didn't train for anything. He just pooped on my floor and chewed on my soccer shoes to get ready for the dog show.

So let that be a lesson to you. You don't have to be smart or well trained to win the Boonie Dog Show, you just have to be naughty and cute.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Finadeni or Butter?

Angelo Villagomez Hermit Crab SaipanWe saw hundreds of hermit crabs on our hike of the Laderan Tangke the other day. This guy didn't have a shell. Isn't Saipan a cool place?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

We still need players

41 individuals have registered for the NMIFA Summer Co-ed Soccer League. We want to start the league next week, so get your registrations in! We'll need about 90-120 players if we are going to play with six teams...and we want to play with six teams. It makes things more interesting instead of playing the same teams over and over.

Download the registration form here and email it to me at nmifacoed at gmail dot com. If you have any questions you can call me at 285-6462.

I hate to name names, but yes, Brad, Kathy, Walt, and many others...hurry up and get your registration forms in.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Co-ed Soccer Summer League Info

The NMIFA Co-ed Soccer Summer League is set to kick off next week for a second year of co-ed action. Registration for the league is ongoing and organizers are looking to fill the rosters of six co-ed teams.

Teams will be picked over the weekend via a school yard draft. The two co-captains of each team will pick a player, then that player will pick the next player, and so on until the rosters of all six teams are full. With this kind of a draft, players will get to play on the same team as their friends, while also ensuring that the skill level of all teams will be roughly equal.

The Summer league lasts for 8 weeks starting on June 10, with games played on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. Each team will play one game per week.

Games will start at 5:15 on game days and will consist of 2 thirty five minute halves with 5 minute halftimes.

The Co-ed Soccer Summer League is an adult league, but younger players looking to compete against some of the island’s veteran players are encouraged to register. Last year’s youngest player was 13 year old Sami Birmingham-Babauta, now a Sophmore at Saipan Southern High School. All skill levels are welcome to participate, as this is a non-competitive recreational league.

This year there will be six teams as opposed to the four teams that competed last year. The sponsors for the 2007 league were Porky’s, Wild Bills, Godfather’s, and Fiesta Resort. The league is still looking for sponsors for this year.

The registration form can be downloaded at http://nmifa.blogspot.com/ (it can also be downloaded here). Completed forms can be dropped off at the NMIFA office located on Beach Road in Garapan or emailed to nmifacoed@gmail.com. The registration fee is only $15 and includes a Co-ed t-shirt and 8 weeks of play. For questions contact Co-ed League Commissioner Angelo Villagomez at 285-6462.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Batshit Crazy Bateman Enters the Race!

Bruce Bateman for CongressBCB for Congress!

It was bound to happen. With the number of candidates for Congress growing on an almost daily basis, it was only a matter of time before everybody's favorite "Drunken Face of Evil" announced his intentions to run.

Kudos to Jeff Turbitt for breaking this story. I'm looking forward to the responses from Lil Hammerhead and Marianas Pride.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Co-ed Soccer Registration

The registration form for Co-ed soccer is available here. Please print it out and return to me this week. We are going to pick teams over the weekend.

You can email the completed form to nmifacoed@gmail.com or give the form to me. My phone number is 285-6462.

The cost to register is $15 and includes a Coed t-shirt and 8 games. Games will be played on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday from June 10 - July 30.