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Lunar Eclipse was Spectacular

It's 76° Fahrenheit  26.7 Centigrade in Crown Bay St. Thomas,
79% humidity. Clear Skies
Wind out of the North at 9 mph gusting to 21.
Water temp: 79° in Charlotte Amalie  St. Thomas
We had a trace  of rain in the last 24 hours.
Doppler radar shows: Clear Skies with showers south of St. Croix
Satellite Photo Shows: Cold air north and west of us pushing out warm moist air south of us... Ripe conditions for clouds  and possible showers.

The national weather forecast calls for  Mostly cloudy with isolated showers. Highs 85. Breezy. Northeast winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.

Cruise Ship News - At Havensight  Dock – Eclipse and Norwegian Sun  - At Austin Monsanto Marine Terminal: Eurodam and Emerald Princess

At the top of the news on Tuesday December 21

Did you stay up late last night? Today is the winter solstice, the Shortest day of the year and we had a total lunar eclipse last night. For those who woke during the night – the sight was wonderful, while cloud cover interfered with the viewing of the last sliver of the moon at around 3 AM, the clouds cleared and at 4 AM the sight of the blood red moon was spectacular. This is the first time that a lunar eclipse and winter solstice in the last 456 years. If you missed it, go to later today, I’ll post a photo from the lunar eclipse as part of the daily Podcast from paradise.

Good News from the Next Generation Network project.  Julito Francis announced that Public Finance Authority had reconfigured the Board of Directors of the Next Generation Network  and added three new members – Douglas Woodhead who is director of engineering at Cisco Systems and a specialist in network systems, Alfred Boschulte a telecommunications executive who heads a company in New jersey and Peter Schultz who is the co-inventor of the fiber optic system is use throughout the world.  The Public Finance Authority also approved a consulting agreement with Atlantic Engineering to oversee the project while the Maguire Group has been selected to study the routes of the  fiber optics insuring they do not disturb existing historic buildings.  The project must be 67% complete by June 2012 and 100% complete by June 1013.  A small version of the network with be active by the end of 2011.

What is happening at Lionel Richards ballpark in Smith Bay? There is a new spring that is flooding the ball park and turning the whole area into a swamp.  No one knows how the new spring formed or where the water is coming from. Sad because so much rehabilitation of that park is going to be lost under the water.

Robert Mathes of Department of Planning and Natural Resources met with officials of HOVENSA regarding the recent releases of chemicals and the impact on local residents. Mathes asked the refinery's new acting Chief Executive Officer John George to immediately notify the V.I. Government when accidentally released hazardous materials have the potential to pass beyond the boundaries of the facility—even before the refinery has confirmed chemicals have escaped into surrounding communities. They also discussed setting up new warning alarms. And Mathes delivered three notices of Violation to HOVENSA with unspecified fines and penalties. The Governor  called HOVENSA an important part of the St. Croix economy but they must be a good neighbor to the thousands of Virgin Islanders who live nearby.

Meanwhile HOVENSA had another release yesterday morning – this time it was a release of steam containing a hydrocarbon mix from the plant, but HOVENSA shut the fluid catalytic cracker for repairs according to , Alex Moorhead.  The unit will be restarted as soon as repairs are completed. HOVENSA said the release had minor impact near the coker plant at about 7:30 AM local time.

St. Croix Charles Emanuel elementary school PTSA is meeting at 5:30 PM at the Cafeteria. Time to learn the Plato system and help children build stronger vocabularies.

Housing Finance Authority in Frenchtown will be closed today at noon and the St. Croix office will be closed on Thursday at noon.  

Virgin Islands Carnival Committee has an important meeting for all past village booth operators and anyone else who wishes to have a booth at Carnival 2011 – CAHS Cafeteria at 5:30 PM – potential changes in the village schedule will be discussed. Bands – your meeting is December 23 at Virgin Islands Carnival Committee headquarters at 5:30 PM That is Thursday of this week.

The Addelita Cancryn Jr High School will have their holiday PTA meeting on this evening  at 5:30 pm in the school cafeteria.  You will be serenaded by the school choir and school band.  Refreshments will be served.

Ivanna Eudora Kean High Music Department presents its Christmas Concert, called "A Time to Celebrate", this evening at 6:30 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.  Student groups performing include the Steel Orchestra, the Chorus; Jazz Choir and the Concert, Jazz and Marching bands.  There is a special performance by the Faculty and Staff Choir.  For tickets call 777-5299.

Department of Education Office of Special Education has the Youth Self-determination summit today on St. Thomas at Marriott's Frenchman's Reef  until 2:00 PM. That program comes to St. Croix on Wednesday at Carambola Beach resort 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM. State Director Carrie Johns will lead programs on how to turn your setbacks into comebacks, how to deal with stress, and how to keep Facebook, MySpace and twitter from killing your reputation.

E. Benjamin Oliver School Band Boosters have their annual Community Birthday calendar for sale.  A total of 1000 calendars are available and they will be sold on December 28, 29 and 30 at FirstBank waterfront, FirstBank Port of Sale Shopping Center. and FirstBank tutu. Next week. $5. For more information call 775-2000/

The Virgin Islands Department of Education donated several hundred textbooks to the St. Lucia Recovery Effort. Christa Harris – the project coordinator of the recovery effort for the people of St. Lucia said the donation includes approximately 300 cartons with mathematics and science text books. The Department recently updated the books used in the schools and the older mathematics and science textbooks can help by our Caribbean neighbors in St. Lucia, who were devastated the ravages of Hurricane Tomas. Let’s hope the students of St. Lucia receive real benefit from the texts as they move forward with rebuilding their communities.

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