Digging into anything and everything that makes the CNMI tick beyond politics...

Monday, December 21, 2009

CNMI gets over $1.7M estimated ad value in 2009

A view of Garapan as seen from Mt. Tapuchao. Photo by Raqs

THEY came at different times of the year: photographers and writers from, newspapers, broadcasters from radio stations, reporters from television stations, web site representatives, tour operators and travel agencies.

They all share a common goal and that is to visit the sights, feel and see the famous attractions of Saipan, Tinian and Rota and go back to their own places to produce articles and commercials to let the whole world know that the CNMI is a place worth visiting.
The visitors went to the famed locations such as the white sand beaches of Managaha Island, the scenic natural sites of the Grotto, Bird Island, Suicide Cliff and Banzai Cliff, the Korean Peace Memorial on Saipan, to the historical sites on Tinian and Rota. They sampled the optional tours available tours including arts and culture, dinner cruise, diving, eco/outdoor adventure, family activities, fishing, movie theatre, shopping, spa/fitness, sightseeing historical tours, water activities, wedding and honeymoon, and others.
They all experienced the uniqueness that spells the totality of the CNMI, and in return they have done their part in providing exposure to the islands to the rest of the world.
The success of all these fam tours are due to the efforts of the Marianas Visitors Authority through its managing director Perry Tenorio and the island’s tour agencies, hotel and restaurant operators and other sponsors who have worked with MVA to facilitate a smooth stay for the visitors.
From January to December this year, the CNMI has received over $1.7 million value of media exposure on TV, newspapers, magazines, radio and web site promotions. The products of the familiarization tours were targetted at millions of viewers, readers and listeners in the with the aim of attracting them to come and visit the CNMI.
With the visitor arrival figures steadily decreasing over the past years,
Here’s a glimpse of the exposures for this year based on information released by the MVA.


The popular East Asia boy band “TVXQ” was here from Jan. 13-17 to videotape an upcoming music video and SBS TV, one of the three major channels in Korea.


On Feb. 13, MVA hosted a familiarization tour from Asahi News Star, a cable and satellite news channel to introduce Tinian and Saipan as a destination for the senior market. It was also targeted to air on Yahoo! Japan. The estimated exposure value is $132,000.
On Feb.19, a tour group from from Busan, Korea packed in the sights of both Saipan and Rota. The group was composed of 12 tour agents and one representative each from newspaper Busan Ilbo, Saipan World Resort Korea office, Asiana Airlines, and the MVA Korea office.


CNMI was featured on air to 12 million radio listeners in Russia following a familiarization tour from representatives of Pevoe Popularnoe Radio in Moscow. The radio feature is valued at up to $100,000.
On March 13-17, an eight-member production team of the tourism channel “4S Charming” was here to produce 5-minute segments for the month of April. The show was targeted at over half a million viewers in 20 cities in China.
On March 21-26, a writer and photographer from Weekly Shinchou, a magazine reaching nearly 500,000 readers in Japan were here on a fam tour. The estimated value of the coverage is $54,000-$90,000
On March 23-27, reporters from Cosmopolitan, a monthly fashion magazine experienced numerous attractions for a supplement in Cosmopolitan Travel. The estimated value of the coverage is $102,000.


A six-member team from Brutus, a high-class fashion and lifestyle magazine in Japan visited Saipan for coverage introducing Saipan as a famous location for shooting covers. The approximate ad exposure value is $120,000.
Japan’s Body+ magazine, published monthly and reaches 70,000 readers, did a coverage of the January 2009 Winter Festival of Runs on Saipan and came back in April to do another 4-6 page feature with a publicity value of up to $76,000.


A 10-page coverage at an estimate ad exposure value of $45,000 was slated for Korea’s Singles Magazine in the Summer Special Travel Guide featuring destination travel information.
On May 29, the Housewives’ Life, a trend-setting Korean magazine targeting housewives slated four pages of coverage at an estimated exposure value of US$8,000.


Shape Magazine, a major Russian magazine reaching eight million readers was here to do a 6-page feature and an article on the magazine’s website. The estimated value of the article is US$250,000
From June 15-19, a five-member team from Japan’s Monthly Diving magazine was set to feature 10 pages of the CNMI’s year-round diving available sites at an estimated ad value of over $60,000.
Marine Diving, a monthly magazine with a circulation of 170,000 in Japan covered the first Flipper Race held at Managaha on June 20. The estimated exposure value of the article is over $39,000.


On July 3-7, 28 media outlet representatives from Guangzhou, China were here on a fam tour.


Nine media outlets from China were here on a fam tour on Aug. 8, including the Shanghai TV Station with a viewership of over 100 million, website integrated CCTV channel U.CCTV.com, Sina.com, video sharing website Youku.com, travel guidebook Gootrip Magazine, magazine Elite Traveler, newspaper journal The Labor Daily, Metro DM, and flight magazine The Moment. The total estimated value of exposure from this fam tour was over $58,000.


Six Russian media outlets visited CNMI on a 10-day fam tour last Sept. with an estimated ad value of US$458,000.


NS Homeshopping cable station and JAUTOUR of Korea visited the NMI to film a TV commercial advertising travel packages to this tropical resort destination. The one-hour commercial and interactive buying program, set to air on Oct. 31 has an estimated ad exposure value of $40,000.


Writers and photographers from the Chinese Kunming TV Tourist Channel were here to do a coverage set to air this month. The station reaching over one million households which was set to air this month.
The CNMI was slated to receive 15 minutes of prime time TV coverage each week last month on the Yel-Arna TV channel, owned by the Khabar Agency. The coverage was targetted to reach an audience of 13 million potential travelers, with an estimated exposure value of over USD $67,000.
Last month, MVA also hosted two media personnel from Delta Airline’s in-flight magazine SKY. Saipan will be featured in the January/February 2010 issue of SKY, with an estimated total ad value of $65,000.


MVA and the Japan Saipan Travel Association hosted the annual Marianas Tourism Academy 2009 for 56 travel agents and media representatives from major cities across Japan recently attended the annual from Dec. 7-11. The Marianas Tourism Academy aims to give the travel industry affiliates a chance to familiarize themselves with attractions, activities and facilities in the islands.
MVA and the rest of the community hopes that the seeds sown through hosting numerous fam tours will grow and will result to more tourists here in the future.
(This article was first published HERE)

Santa’s going to be broke

GONE are the days when kids look forward to waking up on Christmas morning to find their stockings filled with teddy bears, toy trucks and trains and Barbie dolls.

In fact, Santa Claus may have to fire his elves unless they have gone to graduate school over the past 11 months and took master’s degree classes to keep abreast with the latest trends on children’s wishes.
I haven’t noticed the transition but the trend of children’s wishes has gone high tech. In Friday’s issue of the Marianas Variety, an article came out where second graders from a school posted letters for Santa Claus with their wishes.
Santa has also got to be patient because almost all of the kids are asking things in exchange for being good, or for promising to be good upon delivery of the goods.
Here are excerpts of some of the kid’s letters.
Dear Santa, I want:
…a laptop and a Limo
…a laptop because every time I want to use our computer my sister is online. I also want lots of presents and an i-Pod.
… an i-Pod.
… a laptop and an i-Pod.
… a big computer.
…an X-Box 360 for Christmas.
…a watch for my dad, necklace for me and I want to be rich.
…a SPS and a car and a Happy Christmas.
…a DS and a big nice gift.
…a DS nintendo that can take pictures.
…a DS, color pink.
…a PSP and Ostrich Joshua
…a panda
…one of your presents (laptop)
…a sportscar
…toys, and i-Pod, Wii and PSI and laptop
…a car like a Mustang
…telephone and a computer and a new DSI and Barbie printer
…X-Box again and new games
…a pink i-Pod because I helped Mom and Dad
…a unicorn
…laptop, or DSI, or Wii or new PSP.
…give me a big house and I will be a good girl.
…give me a DSI and a lot of money and a laptop, and I wish I were smart, blond, pretty and white
(Santa don’t forget to bring your beauty and make-over kit)
…to go to the North Pole. Now this is one wish which may require Santa to put up a travel agency.
A couple of kids are more practical and wished for school supplies “because I’m good” and a big bike and a pack of pencils and a desk and a computer and five books “because I have been trying my best to be good.”
And finally, here’s one that would surely make Santa Claus feel wanted.
…I want Santa for Christmas. I would like to see him in person.
I guess Santa can breathe a sigh of relief because this is from a second grader, otherwise if the wish is from an adult he should not relax because he may be presented with a long list of wants and wishes after the courtesies and niceties.
At the base of the 30-foot Christmas tree at the Paseo de Marianas are colored ribbons with wishes written on them in different languages. Here are some to mention a few. I wish:
…for a better life
…to improve in school
…for Dora
… for more jobs
…for a bike and a boyfriend (in that order?)
…for world peace
…for a better future for my son
…for a great voice
…to have money.
And a thousand other wishes more. Santa Claus has some options to continue distributing gifts in the future. He could go to the Legislature to present a budget for next Christmas, write a grant application to the federal government, or retire from service but not here because he may not be getting any retirement benefits just yet.

(This article was first published HERE)

Guitarist, 2 girls donate hair to Locks of Love

Guitarist Badjoe Maestro and Manzanares sisters Macy(left) and Sydney shows their locks of hair
ready for donating to Locks of Love at the Hair Dimensions Saloon.

IT took a few snips for three individuals to bid goodbye to their long hair which will be donated to disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

Guitarist Badjhoe Maestro as well as sisters Sydney and Macy Manzanares had their hair cut at the Hair Dimensions Saloon on Saturday.
Federal court reporter Patricia Garshak encouraged the three to donate their hair to Locks of Love, a public, non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the states and Canada under age 21.
Maestro donated 12 inches of his hair while Sydney and Macy donated 10 inches of hair each.
The girls’ mother, singer Joan Cabrera, said she showed them photos of the children who lost their hair due to medical conditions.
“After seeing the pictures from the Web site, the girls said they are willing to donate their hair,” Cabrera said.
“I’m not sorry that I cut my hair. All my friends have short hair,” 6-year-old Sydney said.
Macy, 7, said that she is happy to donate her hair because “it will grow again.”
Garshak printed out certificates from the Locks of Love Web site and framed them with the girls’ names.
The three hair donors got a lot of support from friends and from the Hair Dimensions staff Vanessa Nabual, Mike Iscat and Rey Belgado who applied the finishing touches to their new haircut.
Garshak placed the cut hair in separate Zip lock bags which will be placed in padded envelop and mailed to Locks of Love in Florida.
Locks of Love uses donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics to help restore the self-esteem and confidence of the children and enable them to face the world.
Anyone can donate hair as long as they follow the guidelines. Colored or permed hair is acceptable. The hair should be clean, dried and bundled in a ponytail or braid before cutting. Hair is needed from men and women, young and old, all colors and races.
Garshak said she is hoping others will follow the examples of Maestro and the Manzanares sisters to give hope to those children who have lost their hair. She is also urging saloons and beauty parlors to donate their services to possible hair donors.
All hair donations must be mailed to Locks of Love at 234 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL 33405. For more information, visit www.locksofhair.org.

(This article and photo were published HERE)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Beauty in antiques

The economic crisis is no excuse not to enjoy the beauty found in things such as antique Fu Dogs & Qi store manager Marlon Regaton holds a Chaktra Tebitan singing bowl.collections and unique works of art.

On Saipan, one place to go to which holds a rare collection of antique objects is the Fu Dogs & Qi (pronounced chi) at the ground floor of the Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe. Step into the store and you will be transported into a totally new world, a world where antiquity and the beauty of art rules.
Paintings from 19th Century Japanese artist Hiroshige and other framed artworks hang on the walls, adding to the quaint atmosphere of the store. A long rack holding Japanese kimonos occupy one portion near the entrance.
Other Asian antiques come from China, Japan, Korea and Tibet. Many things were carried out of China and into Tibet.
Fu Dogs & Qi carries various displays of Asian antiques, art prints, textiles, and more. Check out the most popular products like the Jade/Sterling Silver Pendulum, Chakra Tibetan Singing Bowls, antique Ming Dynasty blue & white porcelain charger, Qing Dynasty bronze figure 3-legged censer, vintage Qing Dynasty 18th Century Amber Dragon Phoenix vase, Breta Matson’s fused glass art, antique China Ming Dynasty Bronze Lotus Buddha incense burner, and a pair of bronze carving Foo Kylin statue.
Here is a store whose shelves display objects containing volumes of history, mute witnesses to events and people of centuries ago.
One set that caught my eyes is a China tea set which store manager Marlon Regaton said dates back to the early 1900s.
“These tea cups and saucers were handpainted and is one of the collector’s items here,” Regaton said.
He added that the store owner, Ashley Moffatt-Uys (Uys is pronouced “ace”) is an art consultant and interior designer who conceptualized Fu Dogs & Qi and made all the selections work together in harmony.
Wandering around the store, I got the rare chance to inspect several pieces of art made from precious metals, brass, bronze, many of which had been buried in the ground for years and years.
I felt stress slowly slipping away as I reverently caressed the beautiful treasures that have survived for several years. It helped me to appreciate the finer things of life even for just for a few moments.
If only the objects can talk, what stories they have to tell!
Moffatt-Uys coined the name Fu Dogs & Qi from Chinese phrases Fu Dogs, which means symbolic guardians of temples, and Qi, which means energy or “life energy that inhabits all things.”
Since they opened in November last year, the antique store has seen a huge number of customers consisting not only of tourists but locals, too.
Fu Dogs and Qi is offering discounts on several items everyday.
“We would like the people to enjoy art and bring these works of art home with them,” Regaton said.
He said that they are waiting for a shipment of beautiful and unique furniture to be added to the store displays very soon.
Still thinking of what to give a loved-one this Christmas? You can drop by Fu Dogs & Qi and pick up something that your loved-one will appreciate.
For more information, visit http://www.fudogsaipan.com or call 670 235-9996.

(This article was first published HERE)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For your ears only

DO you often ask people to repeat themselves? Do you have to turn up the television louder than is comfortable for others? Do you always assume that most people are mumbling? If you answer yes to these questions, chances are you may be suffering from some signs of hearing loss.

Try stuffing your ears with earplugs to shut all noise for a few minutes. You may enjoy the silence, but when somebody starts to talk to you, you won’t be able to understand because you can’t hear him or her.
Individuals who don’t have hearing problems may take everything for granted, but not everyone is lucky.
Jennifer Ross, a Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist who had been dispensing hearing aids on Guam and the surrounding islands of the Marianas and Micronesia said that hearing loss will affect everyone based on a lot of factors.
Ross had been evaluating hearing and fitting hearing aids for those who have problems in hearing loss for 17 years.

Causes of hearing loss

The most common cause of hearing loss is aging and this will affect almost everyone at some degree if they live long enough. Ross said that the age of onset varies.
Other causes of hearing loss are either from sudden and excessive noise exposure such as from a firearm blast, or fireworks, or from prolonged noise exposure such as occupational noise from airplane engines, power tools, and even loud music over time.
Although she did not provide statistics as to the number of children born with hearing impairments, Ross said she has found a significant number of people in need of better hearing as a result of aging, noise exposure, genetic conditions, or other related medical conditions in Guam and Saipan.
Ross said that people under the age of 18 should initially have their hearing evaluated by an audiologist.
“To the best of my knowledge, there is an audiologist and an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor available on Saipan at CHC, as well as a visiting audiologist from Guam on occasion,” she said.
Ross added that everyone with hearing concerns should have a medical evaluation, preferably performed by an ENT physician who specializes in diseases of the ear.
Ross said that hearing evaluations should be done as a regular general health prevention check-up, annually if you are within the high-risk group for developing hearing loss.
“A high risk group would mean people over the age of 50, people exposed to occupational or recreational noise exposure, people with a family history of hearing loss, or anyone who might suspect hearing loss in themselves, or others close to them,” she said.

Ringing in your ears

“Ringing in the ears” is a condition called tinnitus, and may or may not be related to hearing loss.
“If you have no trouble hearing, but experience ringing sounds in your ears you should consult with a physician, as this may be a sign of a medical condition,” Ross said.
She added that if an individual experiences “ringing in the ears” as well as a hearing loss, and he or she has already had a medical evaluation to rule out a medical condition related to the ringing, then hearing aids may provide some relief by masking the ringing sound they are experiencing.
Ross provides hearing testing for the adult population who have already had a medical examination to rule out medical complications that may be related to their hearing loss.

Hearing instruments

To help people who are suffering from hearing loss problems, Ross dispenses the latest digital technology available in hearing instruments, as well as a full line of assistive listening devices such as television and telephone amplifiers.
She also has available alerting devices for the deaf such as flashing doorbells, flashing telephone ringers, flashing baby crying alerts, and others.
The price range for assistive listening devices and advanced digital hearing aids varies greatly; some insurance provides partial to full coverage.
You may be buried beneath piles of money but if you are deaf or suffer from hearing loss, your wealth will mean nothing.

Test procedure

Ross said that if a hearing test determines that you have hearing loss, and you have been medically cleared from any contributing medical condition that may be causing your hearing loss, then you have to follow the test procedure to have hearing aids:
Ross said that a trial of amplification will be done immediately to determine if hearing aids are beneficial to you. Next, the style of hearing aid will be recommended. In some cases it is a personal choice of cosmetic appeal. Some hearing aids are more discreet than others, meaning less noticeable, but it depends on the degree of hearing loss, the anatomical size of the ear canal, the dexterity of the person wearing the instrument, and other factors.
Third, Ross said that hearing aids are dispensed on a trial basis.
“Hearing aid usage and satisfaction is highly subjective and each person benefits differently, depending on the severity of the hearing loss, the length of time they have had hearing loss, and the conditions in which they will use hearing aids,” Ross said.
Ross visits Saipan to provide hearing care about once every four to six 6 weeks to create more awareness about hearing loss and present remedies available to those who experience this condition.
As an early Christmas gift, she will be here on Friday (Dec. 18) to provide hearing tests at no charge to those who have no insurance.
“Once your hearing is damaged from noise, it is not possible to recover it. Prevention of hearing loss is the best remedy!” Ross said.
In order to determine if you have hearing loss and may benefit from hearing instruments, please schedule an appointment at Marianas Medical Center by calling 234-3925 to 3927.
(This article was first published HERE)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meet the CNMI-ARRA grant writers

WHETHER it’s well-paved roads, improved water and power supply, additional nutritional assistance programs, housing projects and all other benefits that the CNMI is enjoying — these did not all fall from the skies when everybody was asleep. A lot of work and effort is involved before the funding is released and actually transform into actual projects the residents can benefit from.
As of October 2009, the CNMI has been awarded $69, 010,050 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. There are still lots of CNMI-eligible programs and millions of total funds in ARRA that can be availed of through various grants.
The opportunities are there, but who’s going to tap what potential funding is available, and what the CNMI’s priorities are?

Standing, from left, Christopher F. Fryling, ARRA PIO/IT and communications manager Winfred Camacho, Commerce secretary Michael Ada and John Furey. Seated, from left are Laurie Peterka, ARRA project coordinator Geri Willis and ARRA administrative manager Alfreda P. Camacho.

Grant writers

ARRA project coordinator Geri Willis said that choosing from among the applicants for grant writers was not that simple.
Laurie Peterka, Christopher F. Fryling and John Furey are the three individuals who were chosen from several applicants who applied for the grant writer’s slots advertised by the Department of Commerce in March this year.
Willis said the applicants were asked to submit several pages of proposal with their background, experience, involvement in projects and ability to meet several other requirements.
“The proposals were reviewed and scored before finding out who qualified for as grant writers,” Willis said.
Peterka said that the grant writers’ primary function is to seek various types of funding from the federal and opportunities and provide a report or listing of grant opportunities to various agencies they are assigned to and get instruction from directors of these agencies which are handling the projects.
“Some of the grants we’ve written are now being used in the application process,” Peterka said.
Fryling, who had been involved with federal grants as an architect in Florida said that as grant writers, they have to overcome all hurdles like land certification, regulations, and other issues involved in the research of a project before they can start writing a proposal.
Fryling said that they have to be alert for other potential grants all the time although they may be working on one project at a time.
“For instance we are working on a grant application project for CUC, and we come across a grant for clean diesel. It may not be directly related but it fits with our project so we will work on it,” he said.
For Furey, grant writing is interesting albeit complicated.
“It allows us to be able to address some important needs and all of us are citizens who use power, water and electricity, roads and all services that are expensive,” he said. In short, he said that they help the government identify resources to address these needs so everybody get better services.
These grant writers work as a team to assist those agencies who don’t have writing teams for grants.
Although there are some agencies that do have grant writers, the Department of Commerce can still offer assistance.
“We’re hired to keep our eyes open for potential projects that have the most potential for funding we don’t want to miss anything,” Peterka said.
She added that when they learned that ARRA funding was going to come out, they made a priority list and got everyone of the agencies on the list to contribute a list of primary projects which were narrowed for potential applications which had potential funding in those areas.

Tight time frame

The grant writers have only about two to three weeks window when a funding announcement comes out to work all the details and have everything ready to apply for a particular grant.
“If we didn’t have the projects ready to roll, we would miss the opportunity to get it because it takes weeks of researching before writing a grant,” Peterka said.
A grant writer’s job is critical because a very small word they might have missed in an entire paragraph could change the dynamic of what they are trying to achieve.
The grant writers said that “it’s not as simple as people think otherwise anybody can do and will do it.”
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral is a necessity because if you don’t know how to communicate and take the information you’ve gotten from the agency you are writing the grant for and put it correctly to the funding agency, you won’t get what you’re asking for.
Furey even urged the students to go to school and specialize in grant application writing and research.

Complex job

Department of Commerce secretary Michael Ada said that grant writing is very complex.
“The devil is in the details and the grant writers have to balance the work between looking at what agencies need and at areas most likely inclined to be awarded,” he said.
He added that several agencies like the CUC, DLNR, DPS, Customs and others have several needs but don’t have the time to write grant applications.
“These agencies have projects that are ripe for awards and this is where we come in and help,” Ada said.
“This is a whole new experience for the department. Some of the agencies don’t have grant writers so by creating this position we will be able to maximize the resources,” Ada added.
He said that one of the biggest challenges they face is telling people and making them understand how the applications for grants are being done.
He said that there may be plenty of CNMI-eligible projects for ARRA funding, but certain conditions have to be met before an application is even submitted.
“One thing we have to look for is the conditions of possible grants. For instance a grant is available but we are required to match it with cash, and we don’t have it so we won’t apply for it,” Ada said.
He added that there are also conditions that require a portion should be in loan, or that the government will be obligated by the funding agency to meet certain expectations for a number of years.
“For example, if the Department of Public Safety is going to hire new police officers and they can’t afford to pay the payroll past the grant, theoretically we’re in violation of the grant because if we can’t meet the obligation for the 5-year period, we don’t qualify,” he said.
To sum it up, both Ada and Willis said that the role grant writers play in pursuing possible federal funds is so important because only a few could be awarded grants out of so many applicants.
For opportunities or more information, visit www.cnmiarra.net.
(This article was first published HERE)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Survival tips to minimize weight gain during the holidays

The holiday season is here, and with it comes numerous parties with tons of food that could make Photo by Raquel C. Bagnolone forget his or her diet.

Food plays a vital part of many holidays, family celebrations and cultural traditions.
As the holidays present the perfect time for families and relatives to get together, you could not shake your head to refuse invitations that comes your way. If you don’t learn the meaning of “moderation” but just give in to the temptation of gorging up on all the bounties laid on the table on every party, prepare for the day of reckoning.
You may have not worked out the excess weight you have gained during Thanksgiving, and come January, when all parties are over, you think that all that is left are photos and memories of the feasts you have partaken of but you’re wrong.
You gasp in dismay as you step on the scale and hear groaning, not from you but from the scale. Sounds familiar?
Registered dietician Dianne C. Esplin, the Women, Infants and Children’s Clinic Manager said that you can indulge in the holiday feasts without having to feel guilty afterward, as long as you stick to some rules. Here are some tips Esplin recommends to follow.
*Fill your plate with colorful vegetables and fruits.
*Minimize the sauces, gravies and fried foods.
*Have a green salad with a light dressing, and a large glass of water as a first course to take the edge off of your hunger.
*Don’t deprive yourself of things you like, but have a small serving or “just a bite”.
*Beware of appetizers. You can overdo it on really fast on those fried or creamy tidbits. Have one and savor it.
This may be easier said than done, especially for sweet-toothed individuals and appetizers are usually served in such mouth-watering presentations it’s hard to say no, but just be careful not to overdo it.
The sad part is the excess weight you gain between Thanksgiving and the New Year parties tend to stay. It’s so easy to acquire excess weight but so hard to work them off.
Finally, keep in mind that there are more important things in parties than food. Relax and go around, greet friends you haven’t seen for a while and make new acquaintances.

(This article was first published HERE)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Art expressions

Three different persons, three varying fields of art but they all believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

This belief is what makes leaf painter Ernie David, artist illustrator Greg Bacnis and graphic designer/ illustrator Romy Cal tick as they share the artistic, natural talents they were endowed with.
The regular art exhibits of different organizations provide a venue for these local artists to showcase their artworks and connect with buyers at the same time, and these three artists shared a booth during the annual Holiday bazaar held at the Palms Resort last month.
David pours his talent in painting island scenery, beach views, flowers, birds, fish and other attractions on skinless leaves. His best sellers are the smaller paintings which require days of patience and effort to paint the intricate details to make the painting look as realistic as possible.
Graphic designer/illustrator Romy Cal works with intricate designs to produce island souvenirs. His signature artworks are customized table names. For as low as $6 with a minimum of seven letters, you can order colorful table names made of wood and designed with latte stones or other designs. The table names can be ordered with memo pad and pen holders. You could also order funny quotes instead of having your name.
Artist/illustrator Greg Bacnis is into pastel painting, charcoal and arts. His portraits vibrate with life, and his paintings are the products of commitment and dedication that would make you proud to hang on your walls.
These artists rely on their moods and inspirations to complete a work of art. An artwork could be finished in hours, days, weeks or even months.
David can be contacted at tel. no. 670-235-5474; Bacnis at grebacs_3@yahoo.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and Cal at tel. nos. 234-6278/79, 233-8030 or email him at rmcal@yahoo.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

(This was first published HERE)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Washable moments: Did you wash your hands today?

It could be a handshake from a friend or stranger. It could be from turning numerous door knobs in the office, rest rooms, stores and public buildings, picking up the telephone or pushing elevator buttons. These are just some of the things that your hands do and come into contact with everyday.

What you may not have paid closer attention to is that behind these routines lurk millions of germs that are transmitted from one individual to another. When you come in contact with germs, simply touching your eyes, nose or mouth will spread the infection much faster.
Hand washing is a hygiene practice parents hammer on your tender mind even before you learn how to walk. And remember as kids how we don’t always listen and follow the same instructions everyday? We thought our parents have nothing better to do but nag, nag and nag us to wash our hands.
When we were old enough to go to school, we thought we were free from the constant reminders to wash our hands but we were in for a disappointment because right from day one, hand washing is again taught like it is being a part of the kindergarten curriculum. There is no escape and no graduation because the situation is reversed when you have kids of your own and it is your turn to teach your kids the importance of hand washing.
In a nutshell, hand washing is one practice that everybody should do because it is unquestionably a very simple way and the most important tool to prevent the spread of infection and illnesses.

Hand washing campaign to combat flu virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends frequent hand washing to especially help prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu virus.
The CDC stressed that if people don’t wash their hands as often as possible, the probability of picking up germs from other sources and then infect themselves is great.
“You’re at risk every time you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. In fact, one of the most common ways people catch colds is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after the cold virus has gotten on their hands,” CDC stated.
In the CNMI, the Department of Public Health personnel are going full force in their campaign to combat the spread of the H1N1 flu virus with hand washing as the first step toward prevention.
The Public Health last month reported a slight increase in seasonal flu cases, and they are expecting more cases toward the yearend and up to early next year.
DPH program analyst Roxanne Diaz said that in anticipation, they are going all out campaigning against the flu in all schools. The 5-step flu-WATCH campaign starts with hand washing, Diaz said.
“We could never stress the importance of hand washing enough, not only to kids but for adults to make it a habit,” she said.
Washing your hands is like creating a first line defense against any attack of germs, and everybody needs that defense.

How to wash your hands

Use warm water if it is available and soap to wash your hands.
Make a lather by rubbing your hands together and scrub all surfaces.
Continue scrubbing your hands for 15 to 20 seconds each time. If you need a timer, the CDC recommends that you imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice and you’re done.
Rinse your hands well under running water.
Use a paper towel or air dryer to dry your hands after washing.
If soap and clean water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand rub or hand sanitizers to clean your hands.

When to wash your hands

As kids graduate into adulthood, they don’t need to be told to wash their hands anymore but come to think of it, how many times do you actually wash your hands in a day? Only when you take a bath or use the washroom? The technique is not to keep count of how many times you wash your hands, but to make it a habit or a routine practice for you and for everyone else in the family, especially:
• Before preparing, cooking or eating
• After using the bathroom
• After cleaning around the house
• After touching animals, even family pets
• Before and after visiting or tending sick family members, friends or relatives
• Before and after treating an open wound or a cut
• After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
• After staying outside from working, playing, handling garbage, etc.
• After changing your child’s diapers or after cleaning a child who came from the bathroom.
Never under-estimate the power of hand washing! Clean hands save lives and the few seconds you spend at the sink every now and then could save you trips to the doctor and spare you from spending hundreds of dollars in medical bills. Make that trip to the sink now and start saving your life!
(This article was published HERE)