Rlene Santos Steffy
Ethnographer / Oral Historian
MARC Research Associate
Rlene's interest in sharing people's stories began in junior high school when she was asked to be part of the yearbook staff, a position that stuck with her until high school, where she graduated as editor in chief of the yearbook.
After high school she went on to become a probation officer with the Superior Court of Guam, and changed her career interest in 1978 to become a broadcast account executive for KUAM AM, FM & TV. She left KUAM in 1981 to become sales manager at (KGUM) K57 Radio, leaving that position in three years to start up her own advertising agency, Images Inc., with her close friend and cousin Bobbie Blaz Borja. After building up the business and deciding they wanted to pursue another challenge, they sold the agency to Fifth Wheel Inc, and went into retail as co-proprietors of Monday's Child, a children boutique. The name was inspired by Monday's Child (nursery rhyme - author unknown), which is the day of the week that Rlene was born.
In 1994, Margaret Sizemore, managing editor of the Pacific Daily News asked Rlene to write a column in the Pacific Sunday News which she did faithfully until November 1997. After immersing herself as a social, cultural, and political commentator, Rlene became a talk show host on K57 Radio, beginning with a one-hour turn three-hour and later expanding to a five-hour-weekly show in nine short months. In 2000, while still on the radio, Rlene became managing editor of the Guam Variety Newspaper. The next year, she returned to radio full time to begin hosting a 10-hour-weekly show on K57 Radio, this time, with additional responsibilities as K57's only investigative reporter.
With a strong desire to pursue her interests in oral-history collection and documentation on a fulltime basis, she accepted a grant from the Guam Council on the Arts & Humanities Agency in 2003 to interview World War II Survivors on Guam who were forced to march to and remain at the Manenggon Concentration Camp, in the Manenggon Valley, Yoña toward the end of the war.
Rlene is considered the leading oral-history practitioner in the region and is equally proficient in CHamoru and English, a skill of utmost importance in producing and documenting bilingual projects in mass media. Her native and intuitive knowledge of the CHamoru language enables her, as a traditional scholar, to discuss and analyze socio-linguistic and socio-cultural aspects of communication strategies and their significance in the oral modality among CHamoru language speakers. She is a mass communication specialist of 36 years, incorporating a unique combination of professional, practical and academic casework and experience in the areas of advertising, electronic media, journalism, photo-communication, public relations, cyber journalism and marketing. Rlene joined the Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, MARC at the University of Guam as a research associate, ethnographer, and oral historian on August 10, 2007, after the recommendation of MARC Director, John A. Peterson, PhD, and the appointment of Academic Vice President Lee Yudin, PhD.
(Written by Rosa Salas Palomo and Tammy Teodosio)
- 2014 i Tinaotao Marianas - The Peopling of the Mariana Islands (a Television History Series on KUAM TV 8)
Other Video Productions
- 2006 Historic Context: Oral History Overview of Guam and Micronesia
- 2007 Hagåtña Historic District
- 2007 Historic Context: Umatac Historic Sites
- 2010 Historic Context: Merizo Historic Sites
- 2010 Historic Context: Guam Massacre Sites
- 2011 Historic Context: Hotnon Ladriyu (Spanish Brick Ovens)
- 2012 Oral History: Digital Storytelling - 1st Marianas History Conference, Saipan
- 2013 Yap-CHamoru Reflections, Yap Homecoming Festival, Yap
- 2013 I Lina'la' Maga'låhi' Joseph Flores - Video Biography of the Life of Guam's First Guamanian Governor
- 2014 Manenggon March & Concentration Camp Survivor Accounts
Robert Joseph Steffy, CPA
Executive Producer / Finance
As executive producer Bob is administrator of federal and local government grants, private and personal funds awarded to Rlene"Live" Productions. He is a licensed certified public accountant for forty-three years in Hawaii and Guam. He received his CPA certificate in Honolulu on October 1971. He relocated to Guam in January 1974 to start the tax office for Peat Marwick Mitchell.
Steffy met Rlene in 1980, at the Guerrero Softball field at the Paseo during a Guam Business League practice. Before the league started, she convinced him to combine nine of her women softball players with Steffy's men's softball team to form a business co-ed team to play in the league. The Guam Business Co-ed team walked away champions of the league and Steffy pitched his first no-hit game during league play.
In 1985, after seventeen years with Peat Marwick Mitchell, Steffy opened his own tax practice on March 15, 1985, and continues to practice in Hagåtña, Guam. Steffy and Rlene married on August 28, 1986 at Iao, Valley, Maui, Hawai'i and have five children and six grandchildren.
Bob Steffy has been president of Guam Amateur Softball Association since 1981, and became president of Guam Major League Inc., in 2008. He has served as secretary general-treasurer of the Guam National Olympic Committee since 2000. He was elected charter president of the Oceania Softball Confederation (22 country membership) in 2005. In 2009, he was elected Oceania Vice President of the International Softball Federation in Caracas, Venezuela and elected to the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame. In 2013 he was elected president of the Baseball Confederation of Oceania. He is the only vice president outside of Australia/New Zealand for both Confederations.
Frances Vanenest Powell, EdD
From Teacher to Friend and Fan
When a teacher is fortunate, she'll work with a student who ends up meeting and even surpassing the promise that teacher saw in her. Rlene was such a student for me. Of all the students I taught over the years, she stood out; her face, her name, her personality never fading from memory as the years went by. I don't know if she adopted me or I adopted her, but she was family and an important part of our lives during the four years my family lived on Guam.
From the beginning, Rlene Santos stood out from most other students with her decisive, no-nonsense way of dealing with others. She met every challenge I could throw at her, and did so with relish, proving over and over that she had vision of something even greater than the challenge itself. One example took place when a local radio station approached my journalism students about hosting a period of time on air Saturday mornings. Rlene and several other students agreed to fill the stations' need and were faithful in showing up when they were supposed to be there. I wasn't surprised to hear, years later, that she had her own radio talk show, Rlene"Live" on K57 Radio.
Another example was when the administration of the high school had reason to believe funds were missing from the Student Council Organization, STUCO account. The principal, Sid Cottrell, and I decided Rlene was the one student with the most moxie, most diplomatic skill, and most common sense to help us follow the dollars and uncover the guilty party. Rlene, working with others, was able to bring the investigation to conclusion and to do so in a way that minimized the damage to the organization. It resulted in the resignation of the STUCO president.
Rlene was creative, and we made a lot of firsts during her high school years. My students made a movie based on an old island tale; we campaigned to get the Pacific Daily News to join the University of Guam and create a degree program in journalism; and we put together the first student newspaper/yearbook competition and workshop for the island.
"I don't know if she adopted me or I adopted her, but she was family and an important part of our lives during the four years my family lived on Guam."
Rlene was at the heart of every project, and she has carried all her experiences and talent to provide leadership in many of those same areas throughout her adult life. Rlene, for me, represents the face of Guam, the island and the people she loves. She is the Island Treasure.
Susan E. Blanchard
Susan E. Blanchard established SEB Communications 35 years ago and is a industry specialist in the following areas: visual corporate marketing, integrated communications, and concept creation. She has years of experience as a presentation specialist, multimedia design/production, tradeshow/event graphics designer, and provides onsite graphics support for corporate events worldwide. She is an adept Power Point designer and graphic productions and a certified Microsoft Executive-Tier Operator, video editor/ designer. Susan worked for Take Two (Film & Video) Ltd., from January 1983 - January 1992, a film & video production and post-production facility. When Susan lived in Hong Kong, she established one of the premier suppliers of visual communication services to the Hong Kong business community and received over 22 international film and video awards.
Susan and Rlene met and worked together at KUAM AM, FM, TV in Ordot, Guam and became life long friends. When Rlene was asked to produce video documentaries for the National Park Service, she called Susan and Susan laughed and said, "I have not done video production for years." Rlene told her she would have to start again, because there was a lot of work to do. Susan was editor for Oral History Overview of Guam and Micronesia, Hagåtña Historic District, Umatac Historic Sites, Merizo Historic Sites and Guam Massacre Sites with Rlene"Live" Productions.
"Susan is a brilliant editor. I have never seen anyone work at the speed and precision that Susan Blanchard works. She is a master at her editing." — Rlene Steffy, Producer
Frescania Taitano Taitague
After graduating with a degree in film production, Frescania joined Micronesia Publishing in 2011.
I Lina'la Maga'låhi Joseph Flores, a video biography of Guam's first Guamanian governor, was her first feature length film, with its debut in the summer of 2013. Since then, she has been working on the television history feature, i Tinaotao Marianas, now showing on KUAM TV8. The twelve half-hour series about the peopling of the Mariana Islands began airing on March 9, 2014, the 493rd anniversary of Fernão Magalhães' (Ferdinand Magellan) arrival to the Islas de los Ladrones, the Isles of Thieves. Now the Marians Islands. Ever the student of history and culture, Frescania has been deepening her understanding of these islands and its culture with every new episode and cannot wait to see what the future episodes (as well as other projects) have to teach her.
"She has a comprehensive understanding of editing. She loves movies, music and technology, is not afraid of working long hours, has an eye for detail and selects appropriate music, even if she had to create it herself. She is an accomplished pianist. Frescania is able to remain calm when unexpected challenges arise, and is committed to high-quality work. Editors must follow the director's notes, but my notes are found in the video interviews that I conduct. Frescania must watch and listen to entire interviews to find the story line. She proved her skill with the Flores biography project by developing a story of the difuntu Governor Joseph Flores in a 90-minute feature, to the pleasure of his entire family. Frescania's work ethic is commitment to follow my vision as producer rather than altering material to make a personal artistic statement." — Rlene Santos Steffy, Producer
Jessi Jon Santos
Transcriber / Editor
Jessi first interned with Rlene"Live" Productions as a junior and senior working toward her communications / journalism degree at the University of Guam. Ironically, a degree program that that was motivated by our George Washington Senior High School Journalism Class under the supervision of Frances Powell, PhD. Jessi's first project was to conduct an island-wide inventory of historic and natural resource sites within the island's 19 villages for research toward future documentaries. Since then she has worked on oral history transcription projects, and in 2013 positioned herself in the role of editor for the Manenggon March and Concentration Camp Survivor Accounts video documentary, a two-hour full length feature of World War II survivor accounts funded by monies from the Tourist Attraction Fund, through a grant from the 32nd Guam Legislature.
"'I can do it,' Jessi said, when I was contemplating whom I would choose to be Manenggon's editor. Have you ever produced video before? 'Yes, small video projects for my UOG classes,' she answered proudly. The Manenggon DVD is not a UOG class project. It is a full-length film of our manamko surviving the Japanese occupation during WWII. 'I can do it,' she insisted." I gave her a chance and have supervised Jessi over the past year and a half as she edited the Manenggon project. She thrives on the challenge and loves oral history. An editor is born. — Rlene Santos Steffy, Producer
Vanessa Benner Bautista
Transcriber / Graphic Artist / Editor
Vanessa began in graphic arts designing the monthly Employee Newsletter and a handful of advertising posters at Friesland USA (Foremost Dairy Foods, Coca-Cola, Foremost Crystal Clear Water); and continued with Frances Baumann on the project "Ramon on the Phone" an illustrated children's book, workbook and audio CD. Now a fulltime graphic artist with Micronesia Publishing, she has worked on numerous history slide presentations; History of Leprosy, History of the Guam Girl Scouts, History of Sumay - soon to be on DVD. Vanessa edits digital photos and creates illustrations on numerous video documentaries in the Historic Context series produced by Micronesia Publishing: Oral History Overview of Guam and Micronesia, Merizo Historic Sites, Hotnon Ladriyu - Spanish Brick Ovens, Guam Massacre Sites and the television history series, i Tinaotao Marianas. She has recently been assigned as editor for The Diaspora of the Flores Family scheduled for release in the fall of 2015.
"Vanessa is the epitome of competence. Her drive is unmatched. Her determination is unwavering. Her loyalty - unshakable. Because of her sound character, Vanessa wears many hats on our projects. Her can-do attitude has helped her to develop her graphic arts skills and she is now free-hand drawing and learning animation. She began with Photoshop, then Illustrator and convinced me to buy a Wacom Tablet to improve her work. She realized her potential as graphic artist in the Hotnon Ladriyu documentary and is the primary graphic artist for i Tinaotao Marianas television series. Vanessa has wanted to work with Permiere Pro, but I have held her back because I thought she needed more Wacom Tablet experience to improve her graphic arts skills. Now that she has developed the skill sets needed, she is now ready to cross train in Premier Pro. This year Vanessa was assigned to be editor for the Diaspora of the Flores Family. A full plate is how Vanessa likes her work load and is she able to complete the work to my satisfaction." — Rlene Santos Steff, Producer
Ron J. Castro ("Top Gun")
Graphic Artist / Photographer
Ron J. Castro has been a painter, sculptor, photographer, graphic designer, art instructor - he has worked in a variety of media for more than 30 years. A graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Ron's career was born out of his passion for the visual arts, and his ability to communicate to a multitude of audiences, using a myriad of media. The breadth of his experience spans art direction for private advertising agencies, publishing houses and magazines, set and production design and corporate enterprise. While his work is rooted in his cultural heritage, his childhood education abroad and his curious observations have lent Ron's perspective a versatile and malleable quality.
A recipient of the Governor's Art Award in 1989 and again in 1992, Ron served as the Official photographer at the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in July 2012. His works have been exhibited on more than 30 occasions, locally and internationally, and he continues to pursue projects both personal and professional. Currently the marketing manager for Nissan Motor Corporation in Guam, his community service includes contributions to the Guam Girl Scouts, Soropitmist - Women United Against Cancer, Guam Council of Women's Clubs and the Guam Special Olympics, and the preservation of our traditional artists and traditional seafaring through photography and art.
Ron is the lead graphic artist for Rlene"Live" Productions and has also contributed his photos for numerous projects. Castro Art Studio (Ron and his wife Mary Schoenherr Castro) designed the DVD cover, insert and disc art production for Oral History Overview of Guam and Micronesia, Hagåtña Historic District, Umatac Historic Sites, Merizo Historic Sites, Hotnon Ladriyu, Guam Massacre Sites, and i Lina'la Maga'låhi Joseph Flores.
"Ron and Mary and I have been friends since we met in 1980 while they were working for an advertising agency and I was at KUAM. Ron and I shoot with Canon SLR cameras and share SLR lenses. We work well together because we understand that deadlines were yesterday." — Rlene Santos Steffy, Producer
H. David 'Dave' Tuggle, PhD
Dave Tuggle is a retired anthropologist-archaeologist who lives in Tucson, Arizona, but whose spirit resides in the Marianas. He is assisting Rlene with the editing of her ethnographic interviews for book publication. Dave has been involved in archaeological and cultural historical research for more than forty years in Hawai'i and Micronesia. He is a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. He taught at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa for ten years, worked as the archaeologist for the Navy in the Pacific, and conducted archaeological and cultural studies for the Honolulu-based International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc. His current personal research focuses on the per-World War II Japanese agricultural settlement of Tinian. Dave will be working on multiple volumes of the ethnographic interview series as the development editor, paying particular attention to the overall style, pagination, content and structure of the publications and any necessary revisions with Rlene, the first of which is i Peskadót: i Pesadót; the Fisherman: the Scale (Balance; Micronesian Fishermen and Woman.
"I met H. Dave Tuggle, PhD in Tinian in 2008 during one of our 'trips' there, although separate but on the same clock and purpose, collecting data on traditional cultural properties. Dave is an erudite man whose discipline is of mind and body. He is calm, focused and thoughtful. If he were a watch he'd be a Rolex. Sound, precise and reliable. Dave has heard me speak about the invaluable ethnographic information that exists in the interviews in our collection. He taught me that until you put something down in black and white - pen to paper, it is hard to determine what information is contained in the interviews. After Tuggle read the English transcriptions of the fishing as a traditional practice interviews, Tuggle said he wanted to be the editor of our CHamoru Oral History Collection. That was all I wanted to hear." — Rlene Santos Steffy, Producer
Rosa Salas Palomo, MA
CHamoru Language Professor / Consultant
CHamoru - Fino' Håya
Rosa Salas Palomo holds a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education and MA in Reading Education with several credits from the UCLA in the area of Applied Linguistics. Her entire education career focused on bilingual-bicultural education and CHamoru language education at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels. As a full-time faculty at the University of Guam she developed CHamoru language courses, and as an adjunct she developed the third year courses for the CHamoru language classes. In the Fall of 2014, the first of the upper division CHamoru language class at UOG was offered with the second course to be offered in Spring of 2015.
Palomo has written numerous curricular materials in the CHamoru language and began the Fino' CHamoru Column published in the Pacific Daily News while she was working in the Guam Department of Education. She has also co-published with colleagues from the University of Bremen, Germany, on language issues. Her primary research focus is on language loss, change and attrition. More recently, she has developed a deep interest in lesser-used vocabulary in the CHamoru language and the words in contemporary CHamoru that have replaced their usage.
Rosa Salas Palomo has been studying the CHamoru language since she was 19 years old. Her CHamoru language education began with the late Dr. Donald Topping of the University of Hawaii. Her education continues today by observing and listening to CHamoru language speakers in the Marianas, and by openly discussing issues about the indigenous language of the Mariana Islands.
"Rosa's goal is that more people will be fluent speakers of CHamoru. Rosa is to the CHamoru language the way my American Express card is to securing my purchase. What she says is backed up with a strong linguistic understanding of the CHamoru language. As our language consultant, nothing is published unless we get her approval – she is our linguistic Spot On!" – Rlene Santos Steffy, Producer
Jeremy Navarro Camacho Cepeda
CHamoru Language Teacher / Consultant
CHamoru - Fino' Håya
Jeremy Navarro Camacho Cepeda has been teaching CHamoru language and culture for the past five years, and oversees the I Fanlalai'an Simon Sanchez High School Chamoru Chant Club. He has been an instructor of the I Fanlalai'an Oral History Project since 2006, and is a member of the I Fanlalai'an Research Team.
Within the Oral History Project, Jeremy also serves at the capacity of composition editor and language specialist. His expertise has led him into consulting and collaborating efforts on a number of projects which include the roles of: Steering Committee Member for the I Konferensian Chamorro 2006, 2007, and 2009; Language Consultant for the GCC Go'ti Yan Adahi I Fino'ta Chamorro's sixteen-volume "Fino' Håya" DVD series in 2010-2013; Language Consultant in the Seafaring Lexicon Workshop in 2009 and 2014; Associate Researcher for UOG's MARC Colonial Studies Working Group I "Diccionario Chamorro-Castellano" by Rev. P. Roman Maria De Vera 2013-2014; Associate Researcher for UOG's MARC Colonial Studies Working Group II "The Garrido Manuscript 1798" 2013-2014; Associate Researcher for UOG's MARC Colonial Studies Working Group III "The Camino Reál" 2013-2014; and Presenter for the Garrido Manuscript Presentation at the University of Guam in 2014.
Jeremy has also served as language consultant and segmented voice over for the "Historic Context: Hotnon Ladriyu" video documentary produced by Micronesia Publishing in 2011, and serves as language consultant for their "I Tinaotao Marianas", a televised video series on KUAM Television and other Micronesia Publishing projects.
"Jeremy is to the CHamoru language what Robert Redford is to baseball: The Natural. This young man's understanding of the CHamoru language puts him in the position of becoming Guam's first linguist. He has applied what he has learned from two other very well grounded CHamoru scholars, Bernadita Camacho Dungca, PhD and Rosa Salas Palomo. With his combined understanding of what they taught him, and his natural appreciation and ability to speak the language, Jeremy is what we say, 'Kapás', competent. But it's his dedication to the advancement of the CHamoru language that brings Jeremy to our team as a language consultant." – Rlene Santos Steffy, Producer