Honoring Ruth Tighe

January 8, 2010

I know that I wrote a post about long-time CNMI resident and public servant Ruth Tighe being honored by the CNMI House with a Resolution, but since I wrote that post, I have received a copy of the Resolution and want to post it. Ruth is an absolutely amazing person and any accolades are well-deserved!

Here is the text of the resolution that was introduced by Rep. Heinz Hofschneider:

WHEREAS, Ms. Ruth L. Tighe was born in Wurzburg, Germany on July 9, 1931 and later emigrated with her family to the United States in 1934; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Ruth L. Tighe has been blessed with five children, and three grandchildren; and

WHEREAS, a well-educated individual, Ms. Ruth L. Tighe earned her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Albany, NY, and her Master of Library Science from Columbia University in New York City, NY; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Ruth L. Tighe first came to Micronesia in the late 1970s from the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science to assist the islands of Guam, the Northern Marianas, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific in preparing for the first-ever White House Conference on Libraries held in Washington, D.C. in 1979; and

WHEREAS, having fallen in love with the islands, Ms. Ruth L. Tighe returned to Saipan in December of 1980 to serve as a consultant to the Library Services section of the Department of Education; and

WHEREAS, after several years with the Department of Education/Public School System, Ms. Ruth L. Tighe worked for the Northern Marianas College, where she established its library; and

WHEREAS, because of her adaptability, intellectual curiosity, and exceptiona writing and research skills, Ms. Ruth L. Tighe’s long career includes assisting Coastal Resources Management, the Division of Environmental Quality, and the Division of Energy in the development of their printed materials; reporting for the Marianas Variety; serving as editor and chief reporter of the Marianas Review; serving as the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation’s Public Information Officer; and working as a legal researcher for Eason & Halsell before retiring; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Ruth L. Tighe is best known for her weekly column, “On My Mind,” an opinion piece which has appeared locally in one form or another since the mid-1980s, and can be found online at http://net.saipan.com/personal/omm ; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Ruth Tighe’s columns reflect her diverse interests and sincere concern for the natural environment and the welfare of all the people of the Northern Marianas; and

WHEREAS, because of her passionate commitment to the islands Ms. Ruth L. Tighe has often been seen and heard at public hearings and meetings on a wide range of subjects, including the cleanup of PCB contamination in Tanapag, the protection of the beautiful and historic Sugar Dock Beach, the wise stewardship of public lands, stricter clean water regulations, and the creation of a national marine monument in the Northern Marianas; and

WHEREAS, an enthusiast of the ocean, Ms. Ruth L. Tighe learned to explore and dive the CNMI’s waters at the age of 50 from the late Ben Concepcion, using Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA), and has accumulated a record of over four hundred dives; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Ruth L. Tighe is an active community member who has been regularly and instrumentally involved in the activities of organizations such as Beautify CNMI!, Friends of the Monument, the Commonwealth Retirees Association, the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance, the Friends of the Arts, and the Friends of the Zoo; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Ruth L. Tighe further has held memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Association of Law Librarians, the National Notary Association, the American Library Association, and the American Society for Information Science;

WHEREAS, in December 2009, U.S. Delegate Gregorio “Kilili” Sablan paid tribute to Ms. Ruth L. Tighe, citizen extraordinaire, in a statement submitted for the U.S. Congressional Record; and

WHEREAS, the House of Representatives of the Sixteenth Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature also finds it fitting to recognize the many outstanding contributions of Ms. Ruth L. Tighe in building the literary wealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, raising the civic consciousness of the community, and offering present and future generations a model of excellence in public service and active citizenship;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Sixteenth Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature, that the members of the House recognize and commend the extraordinary accomplishments of Ms. Ruth L. Tighe as a professional librarian, writer, educator, and citizen of the Northern Mariana Islands; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the members of the House of Representatives thank Ms. Ruth L. Tighe for her many years of devoted service to the greater good of the Northern Marianas community; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall certify, and the House Clerk shall attest to the adoption of this resolution and thereafter the House Clerk shall transmit certified copies to Ms. Ruth L. Tighe; Honorable Pete P. Reyes, President of the Senate; Honorable Gregorio C. Sablan, CNMI Delegate to the United States Congress, 111th United States Congress; and to Honorable Benigno R. Fitial, Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Every legislator signed the resolution except for Rep. Stanley Torres. He reportedly crossed out his name from the resolution. (Who does that?)

Marianas Variety editor, Zaldy Dandan offered a beautifully written tribute to Ruth also. Take time to read the entire editorial because it is excellent. Here are some excerpts:
...The Legislature, to be sure, also has a habit of giving away commemorative resolutions like nobody’s business, but recently, the outgoing House of Representatives honored someone who truly deserved it.

“Our Helen Thomas,” was how then-KMCV anchor Travis Coffman described Ruth L. Tighe, former Variety reporter, former Review editor, former columnist for the Star, the Observer and the Tribune. Thomas, the dean of the White House press corps, is one remarkable lady, but Ruth is more than just a journalist. She’s an environmental and community advocate, a supporter and promoter of programs and activities that celebrate culture, including local arts and crafts. With the other members of the Society of Professional Journalists, she organized events that 1) helped reporters improve their craft; and 2) allowed newsmakers and the local media to sit down and discuss the day’s burning issues.

She is, moreover, the CNMI’s pioneer, and remaining, online commentator. “On Her Mind” has been in cyberspace since 1997.
I don’t always agree with her commentaries. There were even times when I never agreed with her on anything. But I’ve always believed that if every citizen of a democracy is as open minded, inquisitive and concerned as Ruth, this will be a much saner world.

I first met her almost 15 years ago. I’d been on island for close to two years already, editing the Marianas Observer, one of the several weeklies on island. The Variety was the only one printing five times a week.

Every Friday evening, in a conference or living room somewhere on island, I would join Ruth, Nancy Weil, Tim Thornburgh, Sam Gugliotta, Jean Rayphand, John Biehl, Nick Pichay, Beret Strong and John Tweedy. We would read our literary output, share feedback, talk shop. It was this group that organized a writers night at Coffee Care when it was still located in Garapan, near DFS. The place was packed and there was an open mic. Ruth read one of her pieces in her calm, matter-of-fact voice, and like her best writings, it was clean and clear. It was about her wish to be buried on island and her search for a suitable gravesite, and I was struck by how dispassionate she was about this subject and how business-like her tone was.
I’m mentioning this now because in her latest online column, Ruth reported that even though it was predicted (by her doctors I guess) that she would not see 2010, she’s still with us.

Good news indeed, but Ruth, you must also know that because of your writings, your good heart and your advocacy for these islands you love so much, you will always be with us.
Ruth wrote a very thoughtful letter to the editor to thank everyone for the honor. Ruth is the author of On My Mind.

Photo from Saipan Tribune


Anonymous said...

Old grumpy haole hater Stanley Torres crossed his name off the list of recognition.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to a great lady!

Anonymous said...

Today some commentor in the MVariety called Stanely Torres a curmudgeon for his actions. What a perfect word to describe him.