What's Happening

The purpose of this page is to highlight events and happenings on Guam from special events to legislative hearings and political highlights to lifestyle activities that in one way or another impact the people of Guam and Micronesia. Rlene writes short daily snippets in an attempt to keep readers up to date on the latest news about "What’s Happening" in this part of the world.

To view back submissions of "What's Happening" click here.

October 21, 1999
GNOC offers coaching courses
A bulletin to all the federations of the Guam National Olympic Committee sent to me stated that there would be a coaching course conducted to certify coaches regardless of the federation and that those not currently certified should take part in the course.

Lillian Taitano will be teaching the course on ASEP Coaching Principals. The course schedules are: October 22, 1999 (5-9 PM) and October 23, 1999 (8 am-5 PM) at the GNOC Conference Room in the Sony Building in Tamuning across from the Tamuning Elementary School.

Interested persons should call Mel at 646-7147/48 to participate.

The certification course is only offered yearly. A $70 fee includes all materials.

What do you think?

October 21, 1999
Guam Humanities Council calls for proposals

Several people I spoke to after I got the email announcing the calls for proposal from the Council sort of balked at the idea of granting funds to record things that are going on in Guam.

Jillette Leon Guerrero is the Director of the Guam Humanities Council and has been a long time friend of mine. She is a very hardworking woman and one that doesn’t get the recognition that she deserves.

As I spoke to what many would consider cynics on cultural issues, because they feel that preserving the Chamorro culture has lost its meaning when the perception is that the people who are getting the grants are perpetuating only one side to the constantly changing Chamorro Culture.

"The only preservation of the culture that is being accomplished is the view that many Chamorro to the core people are writing and preserving," said one passionate college student about the culture preservation as he is seeing it preserved.

"It’s always the same people applying for the grants and the same people writing the stories and they seem to be stuck in a time warp and can’t seem to see that Guam may be where America’s day begins to them but in reality they are not talking about how America is Guam," said a woman who is a part-time student and working single parent.

The conversation covered issues that reach into how the preservation of culture seems to be determined by the person who has creative license on what the grants are paying for. One example of that was discussed was how only certain people get the grants to begin with and of course the perpetual "pare system" adaptation of how the grants are written up also makes sure that those people get the grants.

I thought about how I am not certain if the conversation had much factual content or more discontent. So I decided to call Jillette and get her on the air to discuss the Council’s purpose and how the grants are funded and how the proposals are qualified and awarded.

One of the aspects of the conversation that made me curious was not how the perception is that only certain people get the grants but more what is being recorded as historical value regarding the people of Guam and the island’s development.

I even spoke to a young man this afternoon that is now out of the University and working here on Guam. He said that the preservation of Guam’s culture seems to include only a time in the period of the maturity of the people that are heard especially in fables of Guam.

It was clear to me that what he was saying is the agencies in the government of Guam are creating a view of the people and their history that suits the needs of those who are charged with the leadership and stewardship of the culture.

I wondered about that for a while and can see how people would be concerned about the humanities issues that Guam deals with that somehow don’t make the videos and reports and short stories and plays.

After all, I am not aware of all the plays that Peter Onedera, a cultural instructor at the University of Guam, produces but what I have seen at Gef Pago in Inarajan are adaptations of legend that have been told many times over. I have to admit that they are interesting and he puts great effort into the production of the plays that I have seen. But, I am not aware of depiction of modern day messing of the diverse cultural influences that the people of Guam are experiencing.

For example, I have never seen or read about the influx of Filipino immigrants to Guam in earlier periods and how they intermarried and what they have done for Guam. The Filipino community on Guam has contributed greatly to the people’s growth and development.

Or what about the Chinese and Japanese cultures and how they have become an intrical part of Guam’s culture. I have not heard of a play or a story that documents what these nations have done to advance the change in our taste buds or our music or our people.

Or how about the numbers of intermarriages that has produced children who have grown up on Guam and are now contributing in a big way to the community? Why aren’t we stressing that Guam is this wonderful and divers melting pot of nations that it has adopted all the best things from each nation of people to become a culture all its own?

I find it interesting that there are many half-breeds walking around in denial of the fact that they are only part Chamorro is at all, half. A local weaver brother duo coined the phrase "It’s a good day to be indigenous."

Well that may be a warm and fuzzy, but in reality it is a better time to be global. Multicultural and time to discuss the tremendous change that Guam has undergone in the past Century.

I would certainly hate to see people write about Guam and it’s people and not talk about its diversity.

Jillette said in the announcement, "Guam has undergone tremendous change in the past century. Economic, social, cultural and political changes have modified not only the physical landscape of Guam, but also the landscape of the island's mindset. The island has become home to a diverse group of people following different patterns of life. What was, and continues to be, the impact of this cultural interaction and the response of the indigenous people to it is a critical question."

I don’t think that there is a question that she is correct about the impact of the cultural interaction. The question begs our attention to how "historians" will depict that aspect in their preservation work. It will be based on their mindset and theirs alone.

Jillette also said, "As we approach the end of the 20th century the Council believes that its priority should be to help review, document, preserve and interpret the history of the interaction between foreigners, the Chamorro people, as well as the settled immigrants. For this reason the theme for 1999 regrant program is entitled "Impact/Response of Cultural Interaction."

It sounds like Jillette is right on track regarding the address of Guam’s cultural adaptation and that historical perspective many young adults feel is being left out of the history books.

What do you think?

October 21, 1999
Annette Donner from 10,000 feet
No, Mitch Warner didn’t shoot the pictures from the plane, but yes it was closer to the altitude that Mitch was at when he took the gorgeous shot of Guam from 13,000 feet.

But, what I am talking about is Annette Donner’s skydiving event as documented by Adam Davies and posted on his Internet WebSite by Patrick Kelly.

Regarding the proof, Donner said, "R, You can go to this URL and take the photos," http://bolts.guam.net/patrick/pictures/skydiver/.

Annette Donner and Eddie Cruz recently jumped out of a plane from 10,000 feet. It was Cruz's 13th time.

Annette sent an email message to many of us indicating her interest and inviting any or all of us on her list to join her. Many times I was ready to punch the reply button and say, "Yes! Annette, I want to do this. Can we do it tomorrow?" But I didn't.

Eddie and Annette can now talk about the experience and I am still waiting for the day when I can understand first hand what the feeling is like.

I have always wanted to jump from a plane and glide to the earth. For no other reason than I am afraid of heights. Now you may be wondering, "What? You are afraid of heights and you want to jump from a plane and glide all the way down to the earth?"

Well, if you know anything about me, there is very little that I actually fear. And, when I say, I am afraid of heights, it means that I don’t like looking down when I am up pretty high, about the top of a ladder will do the job.

But, I am also the sort of person who faces my demons and dispels them as often as I can. I do not shy from things that make my heart quarrel with my mind. I actually enjoy the battle and often my mind wins because my heart is too soft and treacherous.

I am more comfortable in the realm of rational thoughts than emotional feelings because my heart deceives me. I don’t trust it at all.

I trust my head instead because it rarely fails me. It deals with facts and reasons things out and refuses to be easily persuaded.

That is why I want to jump so that I can put aside the battle that has been going on for years about my fear of heights. My heart wants to control my actions but my mind won’t have anything to do with it.

My head says, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself. So, face it and do it NOW! Prove to your heart wrong."

So, why haven’t I jumped from a plane yet? Because my husband Bob will have nothing to do with the idea and has reacted sarcastically and indignantly about the concept since I first articulated my desire to him in 1984.

But tonight that all changed. After seeing Annette’s face as she jumped out of the plane completely free, I knew that that is what I want and need to experience. As I read her account which I have posted in the Pacific Women’s page in this site, my heart was struggling with the thought that I may buy it all and decide to finally do it.

I clicked on all the photos and was giggling a giggle that couldn’t come out of my chest, just so happy for Annette that I couldn’t stand it. I rose from my chair and braved the entry to the living room where my lord and master sat in his special recliner.

Bob looked up at me knowing that I was ready to announce something. "Shying from the whole ordeal I said facing the television which he was watching, "I am going skydiving next week."

I held my breath as I anticipated his response.

"O.K., that sounds like you’ll have a great time."

I spun around so fast I lost my balance. I was in disbelief but I knew better than to show it. I was afraid that he would reconsider and say no.

"I can’t wait. Annette Donner just jumped with Eddie Cruz and I just have to do this Bob. I can’t let another year go by without jumping."

"Why didn’t you jump with them?" He asked with a puzzled look on his face.

"Because Annette has always wanted to jump too but she chose to do it on her birthday this year. If she had done it any other time it wouldn’t have been an issue for me."

"I see." Bob said. "So, who is going to jump with you?"

"Well it’s a tandem jump so I won’t be alone, but I don’t know if anyone wants to jump?"

I stopped there because I don’t want the approval to be conditional on the fact that someone does it with me. "Quit when you ahead," my dad always told me.

And, when I heard those words in my head, I obeyed.

Click here Donner’s Descent from 10,000 Feet.

What do you think?

October 21, 1999
The earth is wonderfully made

f you don’t take time to appreciate the beautiful creations that are right outside your home, do so today.

Guam is such a beautiful place to be and I was reminded of that again while updating the WebSite this morning.

I received an email message from Nancy McClain, which contained music with beautiful expressions and pictures about how God is always there for man despite his frailties. And the scenes of waterfalls, ocean points and snowy hill sides.

It was a power point presentation and the message said, "Make sure your speakers are on." There was an attachment and since it was not an EXE file I opened it.

It was a very encouraging and soothing experience. Thank you Nancy for sending that to me.

What do you think?

October 21, 1999
Rlene "Live" and Katherine Cruz go regional in the Variety

Yes, Katherine Cruz-Norton of TV news fame and I are contracted to write weekly opinions for the Marianas and Guam Variety and the Palau Horizon.

Our columns will appear on the Monday editions of the newspapers and you can expect Kathy’s first article on November 1st.

My first article will appear this coming Monday, October 25, 1999.

Lila Younis, Operations Manager for the newspapers said that they have been interested in localizing the opinion page and are now ready to do so.

It was a natural tie for both of us. Kathy was looking for something that would take her journalism career to another dimension and writing opinions was a very exciting opportunity for her.

"I can do this!" She said to Lila at a coffee meeting one morning to discuss the details. "I have many opinions about things that go on here on Guam."

Katherine is a full-time student at the University of Guam. Prior to enrolling this last quarter, Katherine was a television news reporter and anchor for KUAM TV. She also worked for a short time as a reporter for Sorensen Pacific Broadcasting Corp. and was the nightly news anchor for Cable TV News.

For me, the opportunity broadens the area where my commentaries are available. Publishing these WebPages has made the commentaries available throughout the world to people who have left Guam and are interested in keeping in touch. But you need a computer to read the articles or someone with a computer must print it out to share it.

And, although we continue to get an amazing number of hits on the site, upwards of 200,000 per month now, there are still many people who constantly tell me that they miss my articles in the Pacific Sunday News.

I discussed the situation with Al Linton, general manager of Sorensen Pacific Broadcasting and Jon Anderson and indicated to them that I would like to cross promote the three efforts of the WebSite, the Talk Show and the Column. They had no problem with the concept and felt that the transition was very natural.

It allows for the promotion of K57 Radio in the papers and of the newspapers on the air. And, on the WebSite it all comes together. It is multimedia at work.

I met Younis through Tony Diaz during the preparation of the South Pacific Games. Ton called me one day and said, "Rlene, we are looking for wider coverage of the South Pacific Games reports that will be published in the Variety papers and feel that you may be interested in posting the articles that Eddie Siguenza and I will be writing for them on your site."

I knew then that it was a great idea and said, "Yes! Tony, how soon can you email me the articles?"

Tony took personal leave during the games to write for the Variety and is back to being a public information officer for the department of education.

As a result of that idea we continue to benefit greatly from Eddie Siguenza’s sports submissions which are also published in the Variety papers on the same day that they are published on this Site.

The most appealing part of writing for the Variety is that friends and relatives in Micronesia can now read what out comments are regarding issues that affect the region as well as Guam.

The paper’s circulation now reaches many of the islands in Micronesia to include: Palau, Pohnpei, Yap, Chuuk, the Marshals, American Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, the CNMI and Guam.

Subscriptions are sent as far away as Europe, the United States and Japan. The newspapers are also sent for archive to several Universities in the States, Hawaii and in Micronesia.

If you are interested in writing your opinions about issues that affect the lives of the people in Micronesia call the Variety and ask for Lila Younis, they are looking for more ways to improve the interest and expansion of the papers to localize and regionalize its coverage and articles.

What do you think?

Copyright since 1998 Rlene"Live" Productions