When you get stuck along Beach Road, better take the Middle Road. This is a website for those who choose to tread Saipan's off the beaten path. * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * +

Mar 31, 2008

Earth Hour, Saipan style!

Lights were turned off or dimmed from New Zealand to China, Rome, Hungary and San Francisco on Saturday night for Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign to highlight the need for energy conservation and the threat of global warming. It started from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. in many cities around the world.

Not to be outdone, Saipan did more than what the organizers of Earth Hour had asked for, to help save the environment.

The difference is that on Saipan, it was forced on residents by the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. (CUC) because of several hours of power outages during the weekend!

Charity Begins at Home

With the U.S. Presidential race in full swing, liberals and conservatives are busy trying to characterize one another with unflattering stereotypes. One stereotype that is often used against conservatives is that they're not concerned about the less fortunate in society. Conservatives respond that they are concerned about the poor, but that large government programs are not the most effective way to fight poverty. Conservatives say that such programs undermine the sense of personal responsibility that is necessary for poor people to advance in society, and actually encourage destructive behavior that perpetuates poverty. They claim that voluntary, community-based charitable activities, especially faith-based activities, are much more effective means of fighting social ills. Is this just a convenient excuse to avoid funding government social programs? Some liberals say that "Compassionate Conservatism" is a contradiction in terms.

Recent evidence suggests that conservatives practice what they preach. Conservatives households give 30% more to charity than do liberal households, in spite of the fact that income in liberal households is 6% higher on average than in conservative households. Conservative households are 18% more likely to donate blood than liberal households, and volunteer significantly more of their time to charitable activities.

None of this suggests that either conservatives or liberals are right about their policy prescriptions. Nor does it suggest that conservatives are better people than liberals, or that liberals are not charitable. It merely suggests that the so-called "stinginess" of conservatives on social programs may be motivated by a genuine, good faith difference in philosophy from liberals, rather than by hostility to the poor. It also suggests that debates on how to address poverty in America should be focused on the issues, rather than on attacking people's motives.

Just something to think about in case there is any time in between all of the name-calling during the upcoming election season.

Mar 29, 2008

On Saipan, a circumcision costs almost $8,000

The Commonwealth Health Center’s charging of $7,901.82 for a circumcision is outrageous! And this amount is just an estimate; the actual billing could be more than that. Read the story in today’s Saipan Tribune.

The procedure lasted for only one hour and 9 minutes. In July last year, the mother of the patient was told by a CHC employee that the circumcision would cost no more than $300, but the patient waited out until this month to undergo the procedure.

CHC’s reason is that hospital charges have gone up since Dec. 1, 2007 and that they put out notices in the media letting people know of their new charges.

Given that it is impossible for everyone to know about these rate hikes, CHC should at least provide patients and their families a cost estimate for a hospital procedure PRIOR to the procedure so that they could make better and informed decisions.

Almost $8,000 for a circumcision is so unbelievable! In other countries, it would even cost a lot less than CHC’s previous rate of about $250 for a circumcision for the same result!

Mar 26, 2008

Less than $10 million is about $3 million

On Feb. 4, Marianas Variety reported that the former Nikko Hotel Saipan – now Palms Resort Saipan -- was acquired by UMDA for “less than $10 million,” a deal which Former Speaker Joe Lifoifoi, chairman of the UMDA board, described as “very fair” for both parties.

A more accurate price tag is “about $3 million,” according to Saipan Middle Road sources.

Lifoifoi could have told the media that UMDA bought the hotel for less than $5 million but he didn’t. Saipan Tribune didn’t even have a ballpark figure.

Mar 25, 2008

Ben Again?

Is Fitial's decision to seek re-election good news?

Mar 22, 2008

Permanent residency for aliens courtesy of the CNMI gov't? Really now?

The Fitial administration apparently wants to grant its own version of "permanent residency" to longtime nonresident workers in the CNMI. But this early, the idea is getting lukewarm response; if not outright rejection.

Early this afternoon, Deanne Siemer, who calls herself a volunteer counsel for the governor, along with Maya Kara, met with representatives of longtime nonresident workers, for a "consultation meeting" regarding the granting of permanent residency to eligible alien workers.

It was not supposed to be a secret meeting, but nobody from the media was invited (or maybe they'd have an interview with the key players later), and only a few were advised of the gathering beforehand.

There were about 30 present in the meeting, including Atty. Steve Woodruff, Greg Cruz, and alien workers.

What makes the CNMI government's idea of granting permanent immigration status to longtime guest workers better than what the federal government would have offered?

Among the questions in people's mind: What exactly would a CNMI government-granted permanent residence status entail? What are the benefits to alien workers? To residents? Why only now? Is it only for show? To appease the federal government, now that it is federalizing CNMI immigration? What are the eligibility requirements? Whose idea is this? Why call it permanent residency? Why not long-term alien residency? How could it be done -- through plebiscite?

The next 'consultation meeting' has been tentatively set for April 2, so be ready with your questions.

A rainy and foggy Good Friday

It was dusty and humid at first, then it rained so hard, and it became foggy. That did not deter thousands from trekking to Mount Tapochau in observance of Good Friday, but there were fewer trekkers this year than the previous years.

Every year, 'almost' the same male devotees -- young and old -- carry the wooden cross to the summit.

The problematic economy also took its toll on the annual journey. The Saipan Mayor's Office did not provide portable toilets. There were only about six groups that provided free refreshments to pilgrims unlike years before when there were over 10. But that's part of the penitence, right, fasting?

Lastly, the roads were littered with disposable cups and plastics. People just don't get it.

Mar 20, 2008

Slurrrr Me A River

Here's another one for the community about the recent IMC incident on its sudden closure. Reports said that its owner spoke on TV about the incident and made such comments that the Philippine Consulate Office found offensive and branded as a "slur." The TV interview caught the Consul General's ears when he made such comments.

Ok. Now our highly reliable sources from the Filipino community called the Saipan Middle Road Headquarters that they are planning for a massive boycott on all Indian owned establishments here in the CNMI. How true is this? Still a plan. No confirmation yet from the group.

SUSUPE, Saipan - Philippine Consul General to the CNMI Wilfredo DL. Maximo urged a businessman on Saipan to be more cautious in his remarks in the future, following what he describes as irresponsible and sweeping statement on the character of all Filipinos on the basis of one employee in recent media interviews.

Island Medical Center owner Tony Glad, during an interview aired on KSPN-2 on March 14, expressed suspicion that his former Filipino accounts manager’s sudden departure from Saipan may have something to do with the forced closure of his clinic.

The Philippine consul general, however, has taken issue with Glad’s statement which the diplomat says is disparaging to Filipino workers in the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

“I am writing to express concern over your remarks during an interview with KSPN on 14 March 2008, during which you were heard to say, in connection with the recent departure of the Filipino accountant of Island Medical Center, that 'It is typical of the Filipinos...when they have problems...they [dis]appear and leave for some reasons,'" Maximo said in his March 19 letter to Glad.

Copies of the letter were also given to the media.

On March 5, the CNMI Department of Public Health ordered Island Medical Center to shut down due to alleged noncompliance with rules and regulations.

The health agency cited Island Medical Center’s “unlawful pattern or practice by issuing health
certificates either without blood screening tests or on the basis of false, forged and/or altered lab test documentary results."

In interviews with the local media a few days after the forced closure, Glad expressed suspicion that his Filipino accounts manager, Romeo Dolot, may have something to do with the violations due to the employee's sudden departure from Saipan.

Dolot reportedly went back to the Philippines.

Maximo said Glad's remark was a slur on all Filipinos on the islands.

Mar 17, 2008

"Zero Foreign Workers by 2014"? April Fool's!

Today's Marianas Variety carried a story with the headline: "Revised federalization bill: Zero foreign workers by 2014." As we read this from our offices high atop the Saipan Middle Road worldwide corporate headquarters building, we wondered whether it could be true. So we dispatched an elite team from our Fact-Checking Department, having them fan out around the globe in search of The Truth.

Here is what they found: The headline is incorrect. Under the federalization bill, the special CNMI guest worker program lasts through the end of 2014, as does the special exemption from the U.S. national limits on the number of "H" employment visas for both skilled and unskilled workers. However, both the special CNMI guest worker program and the exemption from H visa limits can be extended indefinitely as needed. And the CNMI will be allowed to use these special programs in addition to the other means of bringing in foreign workers that are available to the rest of the U.S.

And what happens when these special programs are finally allowed to expire? Will that mean that all foreign workers will have to leave the CNMI? Absolutely not, according to our highly reliable sources. When these programs eventually expire, the CNMI will no longer have a special advantage over the rest of the country in admitting foreign workers. However, foreign workers will still be admitted to the CNMI according to the same rules that apply to the rest of the country. Some in the CNMI administration claim that the CNMI will not be able to take in foreign workers when it eventually loses its special privileges. If that were true, then how is it that every single state in the Union, as well as each territory that is subject to U.S. immigration control, has foreign workers? Anyone who doubts this need only take the 30-minute plane ride to Guam.

According to our fact-checking team, the story by Gemma Casas underneath the headline in question is accurate. It is only the headline (likely written by someone else) that is misleading. We think this error is understandable, given the constant (but completely wrong) drum beat from some quarters that the federalization bill will require all foreign workers to leave the CNMI.

This has been a public service of Saipan Middle Road.

A true 'police' story

One rainy morning, a woman found a lady's bag on the ground outside a business establishment in Garapan. The bag's contents were in disarray; some of them soaked in rainwater. The woman, who thought that the bag's owner could have been a victim of robbery, took the bag in and inspected it for identification.

All the credit cards were still there, plus a Social Security ID, medication, and other papers. Not a single dollar was in the wallet. The woman called the Department of Public Safety office to have the bag picked up and returned to the owner.

The police officer who took the call told the woman to just drop the bag off at DPS in Susupe. But the woman said she doesn't have a car to go to DPS, so the officer told her to look for somebody with a car to have it dropped off, and he then put down the phone.

The woman was shocked to be hearing such statement from a police officer whom she thought couldn't see the urgency of having the bag returned immediately to the owner. Just how many DPS patrol cars ply the streets of Garapan? It took three days for the police to finally pick up the bag.

What's their tagline? Saipan's finest? CNMI's finest?

Mar 13, 2008

The Sweet Escape

Reading the news about the Island Medical Clinic and its plight made me realize I have several instances that I could share about an employee fleeing the "crime scene" in the CNMI. The certain employee Mr. Dolot immediately flew back to his home country, my guess would be the Philippines, just when the alleged scam was dug up by the Public Health. Its owner based on news said he was dubious when this employee bought a $15,000 car and wondered where he got the dough to purchase such expensive car for a non-resident worker.

This made me realize that I have known some non-resident workers that fled from the island for similar reasons. I know one employee of Century Hotel got away with alleged over $20,000 cash with him. The company didn't pursue but reported the case. I just found out another acquaintance that I used to bowl with also flew back home for the same reason. However, I heard he got more money from his company than the other.

Then I remember I was taking a friend to the airport and I saw someone I knew (close to a paper editor before) and she dashed from the cab with her backpack to the check in counter at the airport. I wondered why she was in a hurry. I wanted to say goodbye but a friend who was close to her said it was not a good idea. I didn't ask further why.

I found out that the woman left the island without consent from her employer. Again, why? I learned that the woman had to flee due to a case involving her colleague at work. I heard that her colleague stole covertly money from the company and she got afraid that she was going to be implicated with the case. Thus, she ran away.

Of course, the biggest case is the one that involved a MARPAC manager taking a huge sum of money.

What led them to such crime, obviously, financial difficulty. However, some just wanted to get a better car....

Mar 11, 2008

Chain Mail: World Silent Day on March 21

Bali Collaboration on Climate Change Takes you into a journey of Silence

We ask you to SWITCH OFF ELECTRONIC APPLIANCES FOR FOUR HOURS on 21st March 2008 at 10.00 – 14.00 hours

As a first step towards WORLD SILENT DAY 21 March 2008

You don’t have to be a superhero to tackle climate change. We can reduce green house gas emission by doing nothing!!! Through Silence. This is inspired by the Nyepi or Silent day practiced by people in Bali for many centuries, even now. For 24 hours people do not travel, work or light the lamps at night. One Silent Day in Bali is estimated to reduce at least 20,000 tons of CO2,the largest contributor of green house gas. Please see www.worldsilentday.org.

We invite you to contribute to green house gas reduction by reducing energy consumption on 21 March. SWITCH OFF YOUR ELECTRONIC APPLIANCES (computer, AC, TV, radio, cell phone, etc)





For more information, please contact: info@worldsilentday.org, www.worldsilentday.org

Bali Collaboration on Climate Change

Mar 10, 2008

Kudos to EE of MV!

Here's an article written by the famous EE of Marianas Variety:
Beautify CNMI! fundraising concert on March 27

By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

BEAUTIFY CNMI! and the Hotel Association of Northern Marianas Islands will hold a fundraising concert on March 27 at the World Resort Hotel in Susupe that will feature ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro of Hawaii.

The Variety’s report on Friday incorrectly described the event as an anniversary dinner.

Beautify CNMI! volunteer Angelo Villagomez — who is no longer the executive director of the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance as incorrectly reported on Friday — said HANMI is the event’s co-sponsor.

Friends of the Mariana Islands is a community partner, but “they are not Japanese” as stated by Friday’s report.

The ticket price — not “prize” — for a child under 12 is $15 and $25 for an adult.

Beautify CNMI! is selling tickets, not giving out prizes.

Tickets are available at the Marianas Eye Institute, the Century Hotel and the World Resort Hotel.

The coalition started out as a series of cleanup and tree planting campaigns on Saipan two years ago, and consists of volunteers who are trying “to make the CNMI a better place to live.”

Also this month, the group will give out the Beautify CNMI! Steward and Beautify CNMI! Champion awards to recognize the individuals or groups who have been environmental leaders during the past 12 months.

Last year’s Environmental Champion winners were Public School System teacher Bree Reynolds, Mariana Islands Nature Alliance board member Kathy Yuknavage, and local activist Capt. Carl Brachear. The winners of the Environmental Steward award were elementary school student Adam Sablan and the volunteer group Friends of the Mariana Islands.
Maybe the editor was clipping his nails when EE submitted the previous article. Just a thought.

Oh Brother Where Art Thou

Read this letter to the editor by business tycoon Anthony Pelligrino where he is questioning where have all the good old days gone. He is brought down to the memory lane bringing up the past when the CNMI used to be in that golden era. I believe he has posted some questions for the community to ponder on.
Sometimes I get the feeling that our feet are walking forward but our heads are screwed on backward. We yearn for 1986 through 1997-the “golden years.” During this period everybody and everything was on a roll making money and tourists were flooding into the CNMI. Land was being leased at fabulous prices. New hotels and other attractions were filling the skyline of Saipan. We actually reached over 736,000 guests in 1996. Ah, yes, those were the good old days. How we wish they would come back. Sigh! Sigh! But..

Today the picture has turned quite bleak. Government laments that revenue is way below previous years. Tourists are not flocking here as previously. No new hotels are piercing the skyline. Investors have become endangered species. Garment factories are obsolete. Indigenous people are packing up and flying off to happier hunting grounds. How could this have happened? After all, what did we do to scare them off? And, of course, the usual question: Who is to blame? It's not our fault. Right?
He is asking who is to blame here....

Mar 8, 2008

Free Publicity

Whoa. I guess the MVA doesn't need to spend for more publicity about Saipan since the Miura case trial for extradition. Now, with his hiring of Michael Jackson's lawyer in his defense? That is something to look forward to.

Is Saipan now known at least in the biggest state in the US? Are people asking where Saipan is? Has this perked Californians' curiosity?

In Japan, I believe Saipan is now more popular than ever. This is the time that the tourism agency should be taking advantage of, right?

Wrong? Let me know...

Mar 3, 2008

Teki Korner: Netscape Adieu, Ola Flock!

The Internet technology and community is bidding goodbye to one of the pioneers with regard to web browsers--the Netscape Navigator. According to the news, despite the attempt by AOL to revive the premier navigator the browser has lost its viability in the market due to the lion shares of MS Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox. I remember how my friends and I preferred Netscape over Internet Explorer. Now, we prefer Firefox than IE. Firefox improved Netscape's platform, thus its legacy will linger with the browser.

However, I just tried this new browser from the same Firefox technology and I am amazed by what it offers the users. If you haven't tried Flock as your browser, now is the time to download the exe file and try it.

Flock is simply amazing so far! I am now an avid Facebook user and Flock can integrate with Facebook. Flock provides sidebars where your friends and your own activities on Facebook will appear. Its media bar can be viewed and customized on top of the browser.

Flock also provides integration with the popular blog platforms. One doesn't have to log in to the blog accounts e.g. eblogger, wordpress, typepad etc, for a new post. There's a tab found in the browser that links users to blogs, media, webmails, rss feeds et. al.

Flock recently released its beta software.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Mar 2, 2008

Tina Sablan, Too Young?

Is Rep. Tina Sablan too young to be taken seriously up there in the Legislature? This is the buzz that we heard from some people, that the newspapers shouldn't be writing about her press releases or her stories at all.

Why not? "Because she's young and very idealistic," that's what they'd say to us.

But what do you think?

Cast your votes now ------->

Saipan Tribune vs Marianas Variety

There you go. At least 55 readers voted in this poll. Saipan Tribune and Marianas Variety's online edition tied with 43.6 percent of the votes. That means the voters would usually go online to read what's the latest in the CNMI. Residents from North and South Carolina, California and Massachusetts also cast their votes on this poll.

However, 36 percent of the readers grab the hard copy of Saipan Tribune more than the Marianas Variety (30 percent). Pacific Daily News got 1.8 percent votes both on its online and hard copy editions.

Pacific Times...nil...zilch...zero.

Thanks for voting!!!!

Oldest Hub to Shutdown?

Could it be true that the oldest diner here on the island is also in the brink of shutting down? I had the chance to chat with one of its staff and he told me that this diner unbelievably is thinking of closing the business due to the dwindling economy in the CNMI.

He said what used to be a popular night in the restaurant would mostly turn into almost like a ghost town. Yes. As in for a night no customer would show up to dine in. He said most of its avid customers have mostly left the island, hence, the turnout.

If this happens then it would be a sad note for its loyal diners.

Translate: saipanmiddleroad.blogspot.com


About this site

This site is the Saipan Middle Roaders' blog--the wannabes, the frustrated ones, and the repressed ones...

There are several thoughts that have been written on paper, online or on the walls of every NMI building's bathrooms.

This site is for the geeks, for the shameless bitches, and for the restless drunks.

This site is for everyone.


Posts on this weblog are entirely the authors' opinions and views only.